Soumyadipta Roy on ‘Life of a concept artist’: Creating art out of nothing

The concept is everything for a creative masterpiece. The term ‘concept art’ was first coined by the Walt Disney Animation Studios in the 1930s. A concept artist is an individual who generates an imaginary visual design for an item, character, or area that does not yet exist. This includes, but is not limited to, film, animation, and more recently, video game production. Being a concept artist takes commitment, vision, and a clear understanding of the role. But what if an artist faces a blockage to generate a concept after a point in time?

 To know the journey of a concept artist better AnimationXpress reached out to an artist who has done wonders in the AVGC space from the wizarding world of Harry Potter to Wrath of Titans, X-Men and many more. Soumyadipta Roy, who studied English and later pushed his creative juice and passion for art into his present occupation, is now a part of the art team at BYJU’S and is currently working on multiple exciting projects.

Soumyadipta Roy

To kickstart a journey as a concept artist is not an easy ride. However, Roy was lucky and his passion drove him to opportunities that made him believe that concept art is a viable career. He shared, “My parents were encouraging about it – bought me a book on anatomy by Aditya Chari. A decade later when I met him, I was instantly inspired by the career. I officially became a concept artist when the very well respected actor/director Vishnu Manchu and his family gave me the opportunity to work in their movies. I was travelling on shoots, I was meeting actors and actresses, basing designs on them. We went out of the station to the location where the script was based on, did deep research to conceptualize how it to would look centuries ago. The work is so much fun. I knew this is something that I am good and can definitely do for a living. And that’s why I continued.”

Right tools are necessary to give shape and sculpt the imaginary world. According to Roy, in today’s workflow, the requirement for photo-real content is a must and he has noticed this transformation happen in a very short span of time. To produce such content, the right tools are necessary. He added, “The new tools are definitely very handy when they are used right. I am especially amazed by NVIDIA’s AI Research. The tools they’re coming up with…’s crazy! How a machine can now do art with simple instructions. And I think AI is definitely the future.”

The challenge for a concept artist is not just limited to creating and giving life to the concept, but also to deal with the clients. As most of the concept art of big banner movies are outsourced from India, thus there is a huge market for services. About the challenges, Roy shared, “I guess ambiguity in task brief could be dangerous. I think many of us have faced a client who comes up asking for ‘something’. We work night and days creating that ‘something.’ After all that when we finally show them something, that’s when they say what they don’t want! I had the opportunity to work with really great leaders to know the difference. Good leaders are always clear about where they are heading. Both sides should help find direction and keep moving forward. If anyone is facing a problem finding a direction, a quick tip would be to slow down and to ask thyself “Why?” 5 times. It’s a trick.”

Apart from that one of the most common challenges that an artist faces is a creative block. Roy shared his views on how we can overcome it. He said,  “It’s an easy thing to overcome…..if one is feeling blocked….it typically means that the person has not understood something and is afraid to take the next step. It’s a good idea for the leader in the house to give the person some time at this point.”

A concept artist can overcome a creative blockage while designing the concept for a project. He added, “It’s just simple procrastination, and it’s easy to get past it. Just ask the task owner, talk with them for some time on the subject and it will help. Draw three lines on the canvas that makes meaning – that should get things rolling.”

There are many students who want to pursue concept art as a career option because of the opportunities and the growth of AVGC industry. And it is very essential for aspiring artist to follow the track which will eventually give them jobs. But still many are in confuse state to opt for it as a career option. In that case, Roy shared, “The easiest way to decide if this a career for you is to first know if you are ok creating something from nothing. Like as a concept artist, you would be facing a blank canvas every time – and the goal is to make it pretty in time for others to take it further. It comes naturally to some folks, others take time. Professionally it is a useful skill for UI/UX, fashion designing, video making, movie making, games and marketing. Also, many of the big architects are artists in nature – their first draft for a monument could be a sketch.”