5 Essential Tips for Becoming a Visual Development Artist in Animation

5 Essential Tips for Becoming a Visual Development Artist in Animation

Are you passionate about bringing characters and worlds to life through animation? Becoming a visual development artist in the animation industry can be a fulfilling and rewarding career path. To help you on your journey, we have compiled a list of 5 essential tips that will guide you towards success in this competitive field. Whether you are just starting out or looking to take your skills to the next level, these tips will provide you with valuable insights and strategies to help you thrive as a visual development artist.

Tip 1: Develop Strong Drawing Skills

Practice sketching daily

One of the most important skills for a visual development artist in animation is the ability to sketch quickly and accurately. To improve your sketching abilities, make a habit of drawing every day. Set aside time to sketch simple objects, people, and scenes from your imagination. This daily practice will help you develop your hand-eye coordination and improve your drawing speed.

Study anatomy and perspective

Understanding human anatomy and perspective is crucial for creating realistic and dynamic characters and environments in animation. Take the time to study anatomy books and practice drawing figures in different poses. Additionally, learn about perspective drawing to create depth and dimension in your artwork. By mastering these fundamental skills, you will be better equipped to bring your characters and worlds to life on the screen.

Experiment with different styles

As a visual development artist, you will need to be versatile and adaptable in your artistic style. Experiment with different techniques, mediums, and styles to find what works best for you. Try emulating the styles of your favorite artists, and then incorporate elements that resonate with you into your own unique style. By exploring different approaches to drawing, you will expand your artistic repertoire and develop a distinctive visual voice as an artist.

Tip 2: Learn Digital Tools and Software

Familiarize yourself with industry-standard software like Adobe Creative Suite

To become a successful visual development artist in animation, it is crucial to have a strong grasp of digital tools and software. Adobe Creative Suite, which includes programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects, is widely used in the animation industry. By becoming familiar with these tools, you will be better equipped to create stunning visuals and bring your artistic vision to life.

Take online courses or workshops to improve your digital skills

One of the best ways to learn how to use digital tools and software effectively is by taking online courses or workshops. There are many resources available online that can help you improve your skills and stay current with the latest trends in digital artistry. By investing time in learning new techniques and tools, you will be able to enhance your portfolio and stand out in the competitive world of animation.

Stay updated on new tools and technologies in the animation industry

The animation industry is constantly evolving, with new tools and technologies being developed all the time. To stay ahead of the curve, it is important to stay updated on the latest advancements in digital artistry. By keeping abreast of new tools and software, you will be able to adapt to changing trends and ensure that your work remains fresh and innovative. Remember, the more you know about digital tools and software, the more versatile and marketable you will be as a visual development artist.

Tip 3: Build a Strong Portfolio

When pursuing a career as a visual development artist in animation, having a strong portfolio is essential. Here are some key tips to help you create a standout portfolio that showcases your skills and style effectively:

Include a variety of work showcasing your skills and style

Your portfolio should demonstrate your versatility as an artist. Include a range of pieces that showcase different aspects of your talent, such as character design, environment design, color theory, and storytelling. This will give potential employers a comprehensive view of your abilities and help them understand the breadth of your skills.

Tailor your portfolio to the type of visual development work you want to do

Consider the specific type of visual development work you are interested in pursuing, whether it’s for feature films, television shows, video games, or other projects. Tailor your portfolio to highlight the skills and style that are most relevant to the industry you are targeting. This will show potential employers that you are serious about your career and have the specific skills they are looking for.

Seek feedback from peers and industry professionals to improve your portfolio

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your portfolio from others in the industry. Peers, mentors, and industry professionals can provide valuable insights and constructive criticism that can help you improve your work. Take their feedback into consideration and make adjustments to your portfolio as needed to ensure it is as strong as possible.

By following these tips and putting in the effort to create a strong portfolio, you will increase your chances of landing a job as a visual development artist in the competitive field of animation.

Tip 4: Network and Collaborate

Attend industry events and conferences to meet other artists and professionals

One of the best ways to network and connect with other visual development artists in the animation industry is by attending industry events and conferences. These events provide a great opportunity to meet other artists, learn about the latest trends and techniques, and build relationships with industry professionals. By attending these events, you can expand your network and potentially open up new opportunities for collaboration and growth in your career.

Join online forums and social media groups to connect with like-minded individuals

In addition to attending in-person events, it’s also important to engage with the online community of visual development artists. Joining online forums and social media groups dedicated to animation and visual development can help you connect with like-minded individuals, share your work, and get feedback from others in the industry. These online platforms are a great way to stay connected and up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the animation world.

Collaborate on projects with other artists to expand your skills and experience

Collaborating with other artists on projects is a great way to expand your skills and experience as a visual development artist. Working with others can provide new perspectives, ideas, and techniques that you may not have thought of on your own. By collaborating with other artists, you can learn from each other, push your creative boundaries, and create work that you may not have been able to achieve on your own. Additionally, collaborating with others can help you build your portfolio, gain exposure, and potentially lead to new opportunities in the animation industry.

Tip 5: Stay Inspired and Keep Learning

Seek inspiration from a variety of sources, including art, film, and nature

To continue growing as a visual development artist in animation, it’s important to constantly seek inspiration from various sources. Take time to visit art galleries, watch films, and spend time in nature to spark new ideas and keep your creativity flowing. By exposing yourself to different forms of art and environments, you can bring fresh perspectives to your work and continue evolving as an artist.

Take classes or workshops to continue improving your skills

Investing in your education is crucial for staying competitive in the field of visual development. Consider taking classes or workshops to learn new techniques and improve your skills. Whether it’s learning about new software tools or attending a life drawing class, continuing to expand your knowledge will only benefit your career as a visual development artist.

Stay curious and open to new ideas and techniques in visual development

The world of animation is constantly evolving, and as a visual development artist, it’s important to stay curious and open to new ideas and techniques. Keep up with industry trends, attend conferences and networking events, and be willing to experiment with different styles and approaches in your work. By remaining flexible and adaptable, you can stay ahead of the curve and continue to push the boundaries of your craft.


In conclusion, becoming a visual development artist in animation requires a combination of talent, hard work, and dedication. By following these essential tips such as honing your drawing skills, studying the works of industry professionals, building a strong portfolio, networking with others in the field, and staying up-to-date on industry trends, you can increase your chances of success in this competitive field. Remember, becoming a visual development artist is a journey that requires continuous learning and growth, but with determination and passion, you can achieve your dream of creating stunning visuals for animated films and TV shows.