I got this random email the other day from someone named Ashley asking the following questions:
"Hello, my name is Ashley.
For my art class we have to research an art career and i choose visual develpoment artist. could u tell me a little bit about it? and tell me any school requirments? any talents needed for this? what kind of education do u need? do u have to go to college? for this project we must also come up with an project to show of. this will be my first time doing this got any advice or anything. i hope u dont mind me emailing u like this but this looks like an interesting art career. well i hope to hear from u soon. have a wonderful day. bye.
Love Always and Forever, Ashley."
Every once in a while I get a random email from someone who has either seen my website or seen one of my posts on some forum or wherever. I have to admit, I've sent out a few emails with questions myself. So if it seems legit, I will send an email back. :)
Here's what I sent in reply to this latest one:
I'm not sure what grade your art class is in, elementary or high school, so if you need more information then I've provided here please let me know. :)
You asked if I could tell you a little bit about what a visual development artist does. Well, the title pretty much tells you exactly what it is - you visually develop products and ideas through your art.
In my current role as a visual development artist in the toy industry, I create concept art for a wide variety of toy and novelty products. Sometimes that means a quick pencil or marker sketch to help the product manager communicate their idea to a buyer. Sometimes that means a very detailed illustration with character turn-arounds with callouts of fabric materials, product dimensions, pantone colors, and a picture of the product inspiration if there was one. I have also worked as a children's book illustrator, a multimedia artist, a software interface designer, a portrait artist, a web designer, a graphic artist, a veterinary assistant, a gift-wrap specialist, and so on. I would love to work full-time as an artist in the animation industry one day, too. :) I have two degrees: one is a BFA in Communication Arts with a minor in Marketing, and the other is an Associates degree in Computer Animation and Design. All of those experiences and more have helped me in my on-going creative career as a visual development artist.
As a visual development artist or VDA, you would be responsible for helping to generate new ideas and concept drawings for the company you work for. You might also take those conceptual drawings into what could be called "final art" which would be very tight, clean b/w line art or color illustration (or series of illustrations or storyboards or character turn-arounds and so on) or 3D model of the idea and see it through actual production - whether that is for animation, game development, toy production, advertising, automobile production, book illustration, etc.. There are many industries that benefit from the assistance of a VDA.
School requirements for this job will vary. At the very least, some VDA jobs may require an associates degree and 2+ years of professional creative experience in a particular industry, or a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree (BFA). Other VDA jobs, depending on the industry, may require an Industrial Design degree (4 years) instead. From my own experience, I would say that any education that can help you learn draftmanship skills (drawing, sculpting, painting, CG art), that provides you with a variety of experiences, creative and otherwise, and keeps you interested in learning, inspired and self-motivated...and most definitely teaches good communication skills would be a good school to attend. As a visual development artist, you have to be able to communicate your vision to the people that hire you - so you need to be a good artist and a good communicator (writing and speaking) and have a ton of ideas at every moment. The more you know, the more original or new and improved ideas you can provide.
Talent? Talent might help get you started and keep you motivated to improve your drawing and other creative skills. But, you have to be willing to practice, practice, practice. Ask any artist and they will be practicing their craft every day. Carry a sketchbook around with you so that you can draw in it every day when you're on the bus going to school or instead of just sitting in front of the tv. You know what I mean. :)
To help you better focus your interest in becoming a visual development artist, I would say decide what industry you would like to work in, and then do some research about the kind of education and experiences that they would like to see in their creative employees. You can often find out by visiting those company websites and seeing the job opportunities they post and the requirements for those jobs.
I am not sure what you mean by your last question:"For this project we must also come up with an project to show of. this will be my first time doing this got any advice or anything." Do you mean, what kind of project would a visual development artist do?
I hope the information that I've provided is what you need for your report. Please let me know if you require any additional info. And - good luck with your project!