Concept artists are integral to the entertainment business – and increasingly so, as the gaming industry grows and cg imagery spreads across cinema. And yet, with a few superstar exceptions, their achievements are rarely celebrated, their names barely known to the public. That may start to change with the launch of The Concept Art Awards, the first initiative of its kind.

The inaugural ceremony will take place on September 7 in Pasadena, California. The idea is to draw attention to those individuals who design the characters, environments, and other creative assets that populate our favorite imaginary worlds. The host is the Concept Art Association, an organization dedicated to raising the profile of these artists.

“I really want to highlight this amazing group of talented individuals that I am honored to call peers, and what they bring to these industries,” says Ryan Meinerding, Concept Art Association co-founder and head of visual development at Marvel Studios. “I think this event is going to do just that. There has never been anything like it for concept artists before and I’m excited to say it’s finally happening, not just for the artist community but for a wider audience as well.”

The awards will be held as part of the Lightbox Expo (LBX), a new celebration of artists working across animation, live action, video games, and illustration. The event was founded by Bobby Chiu, who set up the online art education platform Schoolism, and Jim Demonakos, the creator of Emerald City Comic Con. Its first edition will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center on September 6–8.

“The Concept Art Awards is going to be one of those events where we will only truly understand the importance of it in ten years,” says Chiu, “but the first one will always be the most special of them all.”

The awards range across a number of categories, including live action for film and broadcast, animation for film and broadcast, games (both mobile and PC/console), original concepts/independent, student work, and fan art. There will also be a lifetime achievement award and a Lightbox Community Icon Award.

Submissions will first go through a peer voting phase, which will determine the finalists. The winners will be decided by judges, among them Meinerding, Krystal Sae Eua (Weta Workshop), Alex Alvarez (Gnomon founder), and Donglu Yu and Vitaly Bulgarov (Ubisoft).

Artists can submit their work via the Concept Art Association’s website until July 8; there is no fee. Finalists will receive free admission to the awards. Anyone else can attend with either a three-day or Saturday pass to the Lightbox Expo.

LBX’s mission overlaps with that of the CTN Animation Expo (CTN-X), which takes place annually in Burbank, California. LBX was announced after Chiu expressed dismay with CTN-X’s treatment of artists, as previously reported by Cartoon Brew. The two events are set to compete for the attention of established and aspiring artists in the region.

Animation news you can use
Support independent publishing

Your membership will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you. Support Cartoon Brew for as little as $1 a week — the process is fast and easy.

Become A Member   

Latest News from Cartoon Brew