American Horror Story Infantata final design - This was a great character to work on over at Tinsley Studio. It was an incredible challenge and the most fun I've ever had working on a TV show
What sorts of sources inspire your work?
When I'm on the job, what inspires my work is a great assignment. If I am doing a superhero costume or creature design work for film, inspiration comes very easily. Of course not every job is going to be that fun! The trick as a concept artist is to really enjoy the process and the challenge, whether it's a cool character or a shoe. The process of painting, designing and executing those illustrations must be enough to inspire you.
I find that when I'm working I get a lot of my inspiration during the research stage. Every project you start begins with research. If I am lacking motivation before starting the job, I find it during the research phase when I go online looking at different options for what I am about to design. I find my inspiration there.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Koba design - Here's a design that I did for the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This was a unique experience because the design did not take that long to get approved. Weta did an incredible job executing this character
When I'm working on my own properties, I pool from all sorts of different inspiration. Music has a big influence on my work. Anytime I'm painting or writing or sculpting, I'll create a playlist that pertains to what I'm doing. I love doing that because it helps me visualize what I am trying to create. The music acts as a soundtrack and I can imagine the characters more clearly, moving and interacting with one another.
The Amazing Spiderman lizard concept - This is a concept that I did for the film. As a comic book geek myself, this was a real honor
Finally, my favorite interview question! What would be your dream project to work on?
That's a hard one. I feel very fortunate working in this industry. The only thing that would be better would be working on my own properties. I've written a couple of treatments and scripts that I eventually hope to get off the ground. If my job was just to design my own projects, I think that could make me happier than what I'm currently doing.
Vampire - This was another Photoshop demo that I did for my Concept Design Academy class. Concept Design Academy is a great school in Pasadena that I've been teaching at for several years
A lot of people trying to get into the industry are concerned with the technological side of concept art. They tend to focus more on learning new programs and learning the latest tricks. Though this is valuable, it pales in comparison to having a strong foundation grounded in traditional art.
Find a Path
In the pursuit of becoming a concept artist, knowing exactly what you want to do and which companies you want to work for is imperative. A huge advantage I had entering the workforce was catering my portfolio specifically to getting those jobs that would make me the most artistically fulfilled. A lot of people waste time in school trying to figure out exactly what they want to do and miss out on time that could be best used honeing their portfolio.
Get comfortable and open to criticism. Having your work criticized and judged is a daily activity. Nothing you do as a concept artist is precious. If you can't take criticism and if your ego is too fragile, this is not the job for you. The best thing to do is to find balance. I enjoy working on my own projects when I get home – that's the work that I do 100% for me. It's a great way to keep things in perspective.
Finally, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in our interview!
To see more by Jerad Marantz, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 8< previous page