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Undergraduate study
Concept Art

IW29 BA/CA (IW24 BA/CAFY for Year 0 entry)


Course overview

Concept art is a key field of illustration that is relevant to a wide range of creative industries, including computer animation, games and film. If you’re interested in traditional and digital drawing methods and are attracted by a career that utilises those skills, think about choosing this course.

You learn the full range of skills required by a concept artist working in industry and concentrate on core drawing skills – focusing on both traditional and digital drawing methods. Specifically you focus on areas including:

  • character design
  • environment design
  • key moment illustration for storytelling
  • promotional art work.

You also develop specialist skills in 3D modelling and animation relevant to the work of a concept artist.

During the course industry professionals from companies such as Atomhawk, Dreamworks and Ubisoft provide valuable insight into their field of expertise. On successful completion of this course you gain the skills and experience required by a wide range of roles in the creative industries.


Course details

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

2D Digital Art

You are introduced to the creative possibilities of image making using digital tools. The fundamental principles of design and composition will be addressed and a range of image creation techniques will be explored using appropriate graphics software. Skills and topics introduced include: layers, transparencies, vectors, bitmaps, Outcomes & reproduction (web/print/screen) and Input devices

Drawing Principles

In this module you gain confidence in creating rudimentary images using traditional tools such as pencil and charcoal. The teaching enables you to develop your drawing technique and approach, and helps you produce images that effectively communicate simple ideas.

With a range of traditional materials, you are encouraged to experiment with different approaches to drawing. You learn methods and techniques to improve your observational skills in relation to still life drawing. This module also looks at other formal elements including tone, proportion, perspective and basic human anatomy.

Final Project

This module aims to guide you through the production of a small-scale individual project defined in part by you, with guidance from the tutor. The final project aims to develop an individual working approach and good project management. You will develop original ideas and concepts for an appropriate project in your chosen field of study. These may take the form of a short story, artefact, report, campaign, comic, concept art or other appropriate form related to the arts and media industries.

Illustration in Context

You are introduced to the work of established artists within concept art, illustration, design and comics. Seminars will put these practices into a theoretical, and historical context while also offering the opportunity to critically discuss these approaches and conventions to drawing. Workshops will ask you to explore, in practice, the conventions applied by these artists. With reference to the theoretical and historical contexts, you will be expected to review the work of the artists discussed within the seminar series.

Study Skills

You explore learning skills for undergraduate study at University, providing you with a range of learning material and practical sessions. You develop your professional skills including teamwork, researching a topic, report writing and delivering presentations, as well as time management and learning practice.
You learn by a combination of lectures, e-learning material and support.

You are introduced to the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Teesside University, exploring e-learning material and reading lists, and student support and learning resources.

Your assessment is a portfolio based on set tasks, including research into set problems.

Visual Perspectives

We live in a visual culture. This modules explores how we see and take meaning from images across a range of media platforms including television, cinema, the press and the visual arts.


Year 1 core modules

Asset Design and Modelling

You develop your abilities to design and create 3D Models, focusing on hard-surface modelling. You consider creative design and development processes for complex objects before evaluating the practicality and deployability of your designs within appropriate 3D scenarios.

You develop the skills to create your designs effectively and efficiently, considering their fitness for purpose as props, animated objects, or supports for other activities such as matte painting. This consideration includes topology, polygon resolution and the object’s general aesthetic.

Concept Art Pre-Production

This module develops your understanding of the role of the concept artist. You are guided though a wide range of concept art tasks and encouraged to develop an effective working practice. The unique challenges faced by a concept artist are identified and explored.

The module focuses on the generation of original ideas and develops skills in thumbnailing, iteration and presentation.

Drawing for Games and Animation 1

This module develops your visual perception and drawing skills – these are essential for a productive artist to communicate ideas effectively, swiftly and efficiently.

You are guided through a range of drawing exercises including figure drawing, environment drawing, and still life, enabling you to work through a variety of approaches to drawing. These exercises develop your observational and imaginative drawing abilities, and build on your artistic skills and range of techniques, using traditional tools.

Introduction to Digital Image Techniques

You are introduced to relevant digital software packages, such as Adobe Photoshop, enabling you to investigate the creative potential of digital painting. You look at initial approaches and techniques used to create concept art especially in the context of digital image making.

Marketing Art for Games and Animation

You focuse on concept art production, effective drawing techniques and visual storytelling skills. You develop your existing pre-production work, or examples of pre-production work from elsewhere, to produce polished final images for key moments, character and environment concept art, or other marketing artwork such as poster art.

This will be artwork suitable to be presented to a client as a pitch presentation.

Visual Iconography

‘Seeing what everyone else has seen, but thinking what no-one else has thought,’ Albert Szent-Györgyi. Iconography is the use of images and symbols to portray a subject, movement or ideal. You explore iconography in a range of visual media. This module challenges and expands your existing experience of your visual world and introduces you to alternative concepts.


Year 2 core modules

Digital Image Techniques

You will develop technical abilities in creating pre and post-production concept art, further building the skills you developed in the first year module Introduction to Digital Image Techniques.

Throughout a series of lectures and seminars, you will be given a variety of tasks designed to enhance your skills in digital software. A strong focus of this module will be to work with more advanced techniques using both 2D and 3D software as well as rendering video files with visual effects

Drawing for Games and Animation 2

The module is designed to develop further skills in drawing and to develop methods of applying drawing in more specific situations. The main focus is communicating emotional responses through the artwork. It will encourage you to start developing your own style, and to progress your narrative storytelling in an image.

Life drawing will form a key part of the module, encouraging you to think about showing personality through posing and developing an understanding of characterisation, exaggeration and the use of shape language in developing characters and environments.


You will work in teams to produce concept art material, which would combine to create a pitch for a game, film or television project. This module is designed to give you the option to specialise in a particular area of concept art and gain the experience of working as part of a team.

You will be assigned specific roles and be expected to work in a professional manner similar to that in an industry setting. You will also be expected to present your work effectively in a pitch environment.

Organic Modelling

Organic modelling is used to create multiresolution 3D assets in the context of character and environment production and design, utilising relevant modelling and sculpting techniques to create a 3D object with soft or organic characteristics – this can be a character or soft environment asset.

Approaches to modular asset creation for game environments with a focus on architecture, environment planning and contemporary games engine pipelines will feature heavily, combined with the core principles of game character creation that will feature anatomy and animation appropriate topology.

Practice-based Research

An opportunity to develop skills in practice based research, through experimentation and research into the creative process, culminating in more original idea generation.
You will be encouraged to analyse and evaluate elements of practice-based research, and synthesise your findings into your own practice.

To enrich visual inspiration you will consider broad, deep and varied historical and cultural research. You will also gain valuable insight into the creative process through regular written reflection.


Final-year core modules

Advanced Digital Image Techniques

You extend your abilities in creating digital art work and expand your image creation skills using advanced methods such as digital painting in line with professional standards. You are expected to respond to a creative brief as an accomplished digital artist, ready for industry. You explore a variety of integrated techniques including the combination of 2D and 3D methodology.

Concept Art Project

This module follows on from Concept Art Pre-Production and expands upon the work created in that module.

You will develop your work to produce polished final images which fall into the following areas:

• Poster art
• Key moments
• Character & environment concept art
• Storyboards
• Other marketing artwork

This will be developed and polished artwork suitable to be presented to a client as a ‘pitch presentation’.

The module focuses on effective drawing techniques and storytelling skills. At the end of the module you will exhibit your work.

A single submission of work will be used to assess the module.

Drawing for Games and Animation 3

You create visual artwork and produce a sophisticated drawing portfolio in response to a challenging brief with a focus on personal artistic expression. Tasks emphasise the expression of a personal style and you are encouraged to approach your work in a creative and experimental fashion.

Professional Practice

You develop professional practice skills in concept art, through appraisal and evaluation of industry standards, culminating in an online presence and professional identity. You are encouraged to analyse and evaluate elements of professional practice and synthesise your findings into your own practice, demonstrating employment potential and future professional development.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Learning is through a structured series of lectures and tutorials. Lectures provide you with specific theoretical information relating to the subject while the accompanying tutorials focus on developing practical skills and working on creative briefs for assessment. Further support is also offered online.

You are expected to manage your time effectively and continue to work on assignments outside of timetabled tutorial sessions.

Although the majority of the learning is through individual work there are opportunities for group work where you can develop important skills required to work effectively as part of a team.

Support and feedback from staff are a key elements in the delivery of this course.

How you are assessed

The course is practice based, focusing on learning through the experience of doing. The majority of the assessment is in the form of practical projects.

In the first year you develop core skills in areas relevant to concept art.

In the second year you build on these skills and you are introduced to a number of specialist concept art skills.

In the final year you undertake a major in-depth final year project. With the guidance of staff you create your own brief based on your chosen area of specialisation.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 96-112 tariff points including at least two A levels (or equivalent), or 64-80 for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year). You are invited to attend an interview and present a portfolio of your work.

If you don't have an appropriate educational background for this course, you may receive an offer in a related but more suitable area.

If you’re applying for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year) please use UCAS code IW24 BA/CAFY.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Work placement

Being able to include work experience on your CV makes you a much more attractive applicant. You have a much higher chance of improving your degree classification and the boost in confidence will give you the edge in job interviews.

98% of our students who complete a work placement achieve a high level degree classification and are offered a graduate job within six months of graduating.

We have established excellent long-term relationships with businesses giving you the opportunity to apply for summer, year-long and graduate placements with key organisations such as: Microsoft, Rare, Team 17, ZeroLight, R8 Games, Hammerhead VR, Dojo Arcade, Schlumberger, Sumo Digital and Coatsink.

Student selection is carried out by employers through competitive interviews, often with skills tests. Placements are not compulsory but are assessed and contribute to your final degree award.

Our placements team gives you help and support throughout the placement process, including guidance on applications and interviews, to help you get a placement that suits you.

Career opportunities

As a graduate you have the skills and knowledge for a number of roles in the area of games, animation and film. These skills also make you relevant to many other potential markets such as book illustration, comics, theatre and a number of other fields that require an employee with strong drawing skills and creativity.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Entry to 2019/20 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£11,825 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years including a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 years including a work placement); January intake
  • UCAS code: IW29 BA/CA
    IW24 BA/CAFY for Year 0 entry
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points and interview

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2019 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342639
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)



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