How To Get Great Concepts For Your Illustrations

Art by Gary Wilkinson!

Art by Gary Wilkinson!

One of the hardest parts of creating an illustration is coming up with a great concept. If your concept is a pig, you can put lipstick on it, but it’s still a pig!🐷💄

In our latest episode, we talk about how to get great ideas, using examples from our July art contest, “When Summer Vacation Goes Wrong.” If you want to see the visuals, you can find all the entries from the contest here 🤓

Here’s some things to consider when trying to come up with a concept:

  • Know your audience, and do your homework. Who will be viewing your work? That might inform how you approach your illustration. Do you want to play to the crowd with your concept? Or do you want to go with something unexpected instead?

  • Don’t include too much information, but don’t include too little either! It can be tempting to include lots of details, but sometimes the details can take away from the story if there’s too much information to decipher, or even become inappropriate if they are too explicit 😬 (some things are better left to the imagination!) But on the other hand, be sure to include enough information to actually tell the story. Sometimes there’s not quite enough info to understand what is happening in a scene.

  • Play to your strengths. Every artist has this problem at some point - your vision exceeds your ability. If you aren’t yet technically able to illustrate a concept you have in mind, then your storytelling may not communicate what you intend. It may just be easier to change the concept to something that is in your wheelhouse. If you don’t know whether your concept is getting across, ask for feedback!

  • Tell the story of the moment before the action, or the moment after. Sometimes the actual action can end up being anticlimactic. It can be more interesting to tell the story leading up to, or resulting from, the action.

  • Do the math and figure out what is expected behavior for your characters. Your storytelling can come undone if the character is not behaving as expected in a scenario. Tell the story in a way that makes sense.

  • Make sure you are telling the story you want! It’s easy to inadvertently tell a different story than what you intended. Try to eliminate the ambiguities and help the viewer reach the right conclusion.

  • Find a point of view that helps tell the story. If the point of view doesn’t allow the viewer to see the whole scenario, consider changing it to another angle.

Plus, hear our each of our thought processes on how we would come up with an image for the prompt from our August art contest, Superstition🤔

You can find our FREE podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, our website and now YouTube. Subscribe to get the latest!

And if you want to join in on this discussion, log onto the Forum and check out the thread on this episode 😀