Stretch is part of an ongoing observation that visualizes the balance between life and the creative process in an honest, intuitive way. With these personal pieces, artist Cassey Kuo tries to let the subconscious dictate where things go. Whether it’s 10 minutes or several hours, the objective is to allow room for decompression and avoid compromising creative integrity. During the creative process, sometimes the tendency is to overextend ourselves and lose composure, but as Stretch so beautifully reminds us, nothing is absolute.
Cassey Kuo is a freelance visual development artist and illustrator who was born and raised in New Jersey. Her work strives to capture intensely human moments and compelling stories through energy-filled strokes that draw from her love of movement and anatomy. She dedicates nearly all her time to creating commissioned work and personal projects, only taking breaks to dance and explore. She currently works as a character designer at Late Night Cartoons Inc.
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Welcome to the quaint, peaceful farmlands of Sunny Halo Meadows, the proverbial breadbasket for citizens of the future. Taking design inspiration from the renowned space colonies of artist Syd Mead, artist Tuan Vo puts his own spin on a ring world-like farming structure in space.
Tuan Vo is a concept artist and illustrator based in sunny California. He is a graduate of San Jose State University, where he studied illustration & animation while working as a part-time assistant to a pastry chef. He’s since traded in his apron for a stylus, working as an artist for studios like Kabam, Lucasfilm, and Microsoft, among others. When not doing concept design work, you can find him at his local AYCE Korean BBQ spot, socializing at various artists events, or trying to keep his houseplants alive.
Jaelan 2 is a revival of an old character exploration that was originally doodled several years ago. In this updated character piece, Jaelan sports a revamped look for her equipment and shows off more of her home environment, giving us clues about how she survives during the bitter, cold winters. As she waits for another blizzard outside to pass, our fiery-haired heroine whittles a piece of wood to pass the time.
Mingchen Shen is a character and key art illustrator from Fremont, California. His original motivation to draw was fueled by games such as Magic the Gathering, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, and Pokémon. After graduating from UCSB with a degree in Art and Computer Science, he began working as a freelance illustrator for games, graphic novels and more. Most recently, Mingchen has joined the team at West Studio as its newest art director.
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Cliffs of Ereth Agoir depicts a frost-bitten fort perched atop of a cliff, overlooking an icy ocean beneath. The painting is part of Jokinen’s ongoing personal project, tentatively titled Norse Project, which draws inspiration from Nordic myths and nature.
Juhani Jokinen is a concept designer from Helsinki, Finland with over 10 years of experience working in the animation, film, and video game industry. His specialties include environment design, visual development, prop design and illustration. Currently, Juhani works as a Lead Concept Artist at Ubisoft RedLynx. In his free time, he enjoys developing personal projects, learning new skills, traveling and spending time hiking in his native home of Finland.
Low Sun Samurai showcases an Americana-fueled road trip to a place west of the highway. Pulling inspiration from the illustrations of fellow artist Robh Ruppel, Mike McCain pushes his use of shape and abstract patterns to create sharp angles, bold geometry and captivating texture work that transplants the viewer into a modern Americana fantasy.
Mike McCain is a creative director for independent game developer Harebrained Schemes in Kirkland, Washington. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Washington, he entered the game industry as a self-taught artist and designer. McCain joined Harebrained Schemes in 2011, where he art directed the studio’s breakout Kickstarter success-story Shadowrun Returns (2013), followed by his directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed follow-up, Shadowrun: Dragonfall (2014). He now helms Harebrained’s flagship project, BATTLETECH (2018), which launched in April to great reception. Mike continues to illustrate for both studio and personal projects when time allows.
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The mid-day sun was stifling as citizens wandered the markets of the lower city, unfazed by the sweltering heat. But Siggor longed for clear mountain air and winter snow as persistent needle pricks continued to jab his skin. The ways of ink, needle and blood were familiar to his people, but the artistic patterns this skilled artisan could produce made their work seem juvenile by comparison. As another bead of sweat trickled down his arm, Siggor grimaced, knowing he had to hold still or his artist would be furious with him again.
Even Mehl Amundsen is a freelance concept artist from Norway with experience working for studios like Volta, Blizzard, Riot Games, and Wizards of the Coast. In his spare time, Even has been developing his side project, TEGN, a fantasy universe based off his art. The first edition in the series of books contains 366 stories based off sketches he created over the course of a year. A frequent traveler, Even also enjoys leading workshops and sharing his expertise with beginning artists.
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Even though Atred was laid to rest centuries ago, on the apex of the mountain, his legacy lives on through the village he saved. Now we’ve built a community here, thriving on these mountains and even spreading out to create new villages. The mountain provides us with almost everything we need, and rarely do we have to go near its base. In fact, it’s been over three decades since we sent a party of thirteen to venture into the chaos below, and only one survived. Her stories seemed too far-fetched to believe. This last exploration brought up more questions than answers, and pushed the stories even further into myth.
Tim Kaminski is an art director, concept and 3D artist based in Charleston, South Carolina, whose art focuses on vividly-colored environments and a passion for the color blue. He took up drawing at an early age, sketching wildlife in his native state of Michigan. This interest eventually led him to Northern Michigan University, where he graduated with an illustration degree in 2007. But after a brief stint as a graphic designer in Chicago (a gig he found “despicably boring”), he went back to school, receiving a Master’s in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013. He currently works as a freelance concept artist and recently became the newly minted Art Director at Wonderstorm, a new entertainment media studio started by former Riot Games and Naughty Dog vets.
Fisherman and Hunterfox introduces an whimsical duo of unlikely hunters as they both return from a wilderness excursion. Our Fisherman friend has had a successful day as he returns home with his hunting fox and a few fresh fish in his pail. But our Hunterfox and his fish pal don’t appear to be as lucky, as they come back empty-handed. The Fisherman looks surprised as he notices his unusual counterpart – perhaps he’s never considered that the animals he uses as hunting tools are more like him than he thought.
Nurzhan Bekkaliyev is a freelance concept artist and illustrator from Aktobe, Kazakhstan. A self-taught artist working in the industry since 2014, Bekkaliyev has become known for his charming, stylized character designs and their distinctive characteristics. In fact, his unique working style and process is so admired that 3dtotal recently featured him in their 2017 book Sketching from the Imagination: Characters.
Pirate Bay is a character piece done for an in-class demo at Brainstorm School, a private learning institution focused on concept art, design and illustration in Burbank, CA. Completed for the Design with Color & Light course, a costumed model under artistic lighting was used to capture a single reference photograph during the class, then completed at home.
Sulmo “Mo” Kim is a visual artist and educator based out of the Los Angeles area. After graduating UCLA with a dual degree in Fine Arts and Economics, he spent his first few years in the hospitality industry before realizing his true calling was in the arts. Kim then spent the next several years learning the craft of image-making at institutions like the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Red Engine Studios, and Brainstorm School, where he eventually made the transition to educator. He currently works as a freelancer, creating photo, video, and other creative content through his company VisualPops while moonlighting as an instructor at Brainstorm for the past three years.
Star Knight is the result of a simple character exploration exercise. Using the five-pointed star as a baseline for the character’s design language, the resulting design is conceptualized as a high-ranking royal soldier who serves directly under a king’s command.
Jason Nguyen is a freelance concept artist and illustrator based in Toronto. At just 21 years old, he is a self-taught concept artist who’s already worked professionally for about 4 years, proving that with enough passion, discipline and tenacity, anyone can pave their own way into the industry.
The Cloud Gate depicts a vibrant desert environment with a secret hidden deep in the rock. Shrouded by wispy white clouds and the depths of the red canyon is a gateway to other dimensions, waiting to be discovered. Will you venture forth to unlock it?
Anton Fadeev is a newly minted concept artist from Sochi, Russia. After graduating University, he began his career in the design and advertising industries where he developed an affinity for compelling color combinations and simple forms. After working professionally for a number of years, Fadeev eventually decided to pursue his dream of becoming a concept artist. He currently works as a concept artist at Counterplay Games, spending his free time developing personal projects and learning everything he can about his craft.
P77 Spaceship is a concept sketch of a transport cruiser pulling into a loading dock after a planetside scouting mission. Its sleek but utilitarian design is a combat workhorse in Deschambault’s dystopian sci-fi universe, Project 77.
Martin Deschambault is a senior concept artist from Montreal who’s always had a passion for concept design. He got his start by studying industrial design at the University of Montreal in 1999, then spent his early career in product design before transitioning to video games in 2005 by joining Ubisoft Montreal. Since then, he’s built up an impressive list of game credits, including work on Prince of Persia: Two Thrones, Rainbow Six Vegas, Far Cry 2 and Wet. He has contributed prominently to the Assassin’s Creed franchise, including the soon-to-be-released Assassin’s Creed Origins.
Martin is currently preparing for the release of Project 77, an art book based on a personal sci-fi IP he’s been developing since 2011. Set for release in November, Project 77 will be the first publication under ArtStation’s newly launched publishing arm, ArtStation Media. Click here to find out more.
Hidden is a personal piece that plays to the personal strengths of the artist. Highlighting his remarkable aptitude for value and structure, it focuses on broad, easily distinguished shapes and forms while pushing the anatomy of his subject to create a powerful visual contrast – and a hint of the unexpected.
Anthony Jones is a skilled concept artist, illustrator and art director who’s worked across a number of sectors in the LA-area entertainment industry. Since 2007, Jones has lent his talents to projects at prestigious studios such as Blizzard, Sony Santa Monica, Paramount Pictures, and Hasbro Toys, to name a few. He is currently a part-time instructor at RobotPencil.net, where he helps thousands of aspiring artists develop their skills while preaching his mantra: “Talent is earned, not given.”
The dark and devious Countess Báthory is inspired by Elizabeth Báthory, a real-life Hungarian noblewoman whose killing spree in the 1600′s led Guinness World Records to name her the world’s most prolific female murderer. Legends of the Blood Countess (as she came to be known) are downright chilling: she was said to have bathed in virgins’ blood to preserve her youth. This fantastic take on Báthory plays up her alleged vampiric tendencies, resulting in one sultry, diabolical dame.
Daeyoon Huh is a freelance concept artist currently based in the Los Angeles area. Already an experienced industry artist with stints at Section Studio and Digital Domain, the young talent is fresh off an in-house summer internship with West Studio and will be returning to the Art Center College of Design in the Fall to further hone his skills.
In the future, free access to education, science, and art has been restrained. But high above the mountains in the West, a grand city of wisdom and knowledge sits at the peak. Here, architects, scientists and thinkers of all kinds are free to learn, investigate and create. These scholars of the future keep their paradise safe by limiting access to the city to a single route: the futuristic “bubble trains” made possible by the advanced technology developed within the city.
Pablo Dominguez is a 21-year old concept artist and digital matte painter based in Madrid, Spain. Despite only having one year of industry experience, Pablo already boasts an impressive credit as a digital matte painter on Season 7 of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. Pablo is currently working as a freelance artist for several cool projects. View more of his works here.
It was probably an old construction building once, but long since has been used as housing in this very cold, Antarctic environment. At the end of the day, the men eagerly return to the comforts of home after a hard day’s work.
After a decade as a professional musician and 6 years as a software engineer, Stéphane Wootha Richard at 36 decided to pursue his childhood dream: working for film, animation and video games. He now works as a freelance visual development artist for the entertainment industry working for such companies and productions as Netflix Originals, Youtube Red Originals, Legendary Digital Networks, Powerhouse Animation Studios, AtomHawk Design Studio, and Future Publishing. His former band Loden provides the track “Midnight” for which he supplied the percussions and didjeridu.
The real-life mountain town of Prapic in the French Alps serves as inspiration for the idyllic piece, Mountain Above the Valley. Artist Quentin Regnes drew on fond memories he had of the area – which he often visited as a child – and says the scene is based on a line from a ballad about the region: come feel the pure fresh air in the wild Alps!
Quentin Regnes is a freelance concept artist based in France who specializes in concept art, illustration, and art direction primarily in the animation and video game industries. Some of his credits include work on the graphic novel Blackfury and the animation short Fish n’ Heats. See more of his work here.
Inspired by a trip to the Pacific Northwest, Orb explores ideas for a personal project about the discovery and exploration of lost civilizations. After following the winding pathways of an ancient trail, a lone wanderer has unearthed an orb of unknown origin. A marvelous, unexpected sight to behold, sure. But what is its purpose? And where are its creators?
Luke Belderes is a concept artist based out of the Los Angeles area. Since graduating from Art Center College of Design, he has been working steadily in the film and commercial industries for the last 5 years. After recently suffering an injury that sidelined his painting, Luke is eager to dive back into making personal artwork that he enjoys. Orb is his first step back into his personal projects.
Ship Breakers is a study of a ship breaking yard, where decommissioned vessels are dismantled and stripped for parts and raw materials for recycling and reuse.
Giorgio Grecu is a London-based concept artist who has contributed to a wide mix of projects such as Halo 3, Killzone, Doctor Who and Mortal Kombat. After extensive industry experience at companies like Microsoft, Kuju Entertainment, and Atomhawk Design, Giorgio struck out on his own to embark on a freelance career. His most recent project is the upcoming real-time strategy game Warhammer: Dawn of War III, where he provided art direction for the game’s cut scenes. Check out more of his artwork here.
Deep in the solitude of a wintry forest, travelers discover the remains of their missing companion in A Warning. Unsettled by the demise of their slain comrade, the pair mourn solemnly and wonder whether they may be next.
Lynn Yang is a freelance concept artist and matte painting based in Seattle, WA. Originally born in South Korea, Yang came to the US at the age of 13 where her passion for art flourished. Yang continued to follow her passion through the years, eventually graduating from the Entertainment Design program at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. She has since worked at illustrious creative firms such as Rhythm and Hues, The Mill and Microsoft and continues to work in the industry as a freelance artist.