Steps to Become a Visual Development Artist in the Animation Field

Steps to Become a Visual Development Artist in the Animation Field

Are you passionate about bringing characters and stories to life through art and animation? If so, pursuing a career as a visual development artist in the animation field may be the perfect path for you. In this article, we will outline the essential steps you need to take to become a successful visual development artist, including honing your artistic skills, gaining relevant experience, and building a strong portfolio. Read on to learn how you can turn your passion for art and storytelling into a rewarding career in animation.

Education and Training

When pursuing a career as a Visual Development Artist in the Animation field, it is important to have the right education and training. Here are some steps to help you achieve your goal:

Obtain a degree in animation, fine arts, or a related field

Having a strong educational background in animation, fine arts, or a related field is essential for becoming a successful Visual Development Artist. A degree in one of these fields will provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to excel in the industry.

Take specialized courses in visual development

In addition to a degree, it is beneficial to take specialized courses in visual development. These courses will help you develop a deeper understanding of the principles of visual development and improve your technical skills. Look for courses that focus on topics such as character design, environment design, color theory, and composition.

Participate in workshops and conferences

Attending workshops and conferences is a great way to network with other professionals in the field and learn from experienced artists. Look for events that focus on visual development and animation, and take advantage of the opportunity to gain valuable insights and feedback from industry experts. By participating in workshops and conferences, you can stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques in the field, and continue to grow as an artist.

Build Your Portfolio

When aspiring to become a visual development artist in the animation field, having a strong portfolio is essential. Your portfolio is a reflection of your skills, creativity, and style, and it is often the first thing potential employers or clients will see. Here are some key steps to building a standout portfolio:

Create a variety of artwork showcasing your skills

Your portfolio should showcase a diverse range of artwork that highlights your abilities as a visual development artist. Include pieces that demonstrate your proficiency in different styles, techniques, and mediums. This will show your versatility and ability to adapt to various projects and artistic challenges.

Include both personal projects and professional work

In addition to including artwork from professional projects you have worked on, it is also important to showcase personal projects. Personal projects allow you to explore your own creative ideas and demonstrate your passion for art. Including a mix of personal and professional work will give potential employers or clients a well-rounded view of your abilities and interests.

Update your portfolio regularly with new pieces

As you continue to grow and develop as an artist, it is important to keep your portfolio up to date with your latest work. Regularly adding new pieces to your portfolio will show that you are active in your artistic pursuits and constantly improving your skills. This will also demonstrate to potential employers or clients that you are dedicated to your craft and always striving to produce high-quality work.

Gain Experience

Aspiring visual development artists in the animation field can gain valuable experience through various avenues.

Intern at animation studios or companies

Interning at animation studios or companies is a great way to get hands-on experience in the industry. Interns have the opportunity to work closely with experienced professionals, learn new skills, and gain insight into the day-to-day operations of a visual development artist. Additionally, internships can often lead to full-time job opportunities in the future.

Work on independent projects to build your resume

Building a strong portfolio is essential for visual development artists. Working on independent projects, such as personal illustrations or animations, can help artists showcase their skills and creativity. These projects can also demonstrate a wide range of artistic styles and techniques, which can be attractive to potential employers.

Collaborate with other artists to expand your network

Collaborating with other artists is a great way to expand your network and gain exposure in the animation industry. By working with other talented individuals, visual development artists can learn new techniques, receive feedback on their work, and potentially collaborate on larger projects in the future. Networking with other artists can also lead to new job opportunities and collaborations within the industry.

Develop Your Skills

Practice drawing and painting regularly

To become a successful visual development artist in the animation field, it is crucial to practice drawing and painting regularly. Set aside dedicated time each day to hone your skills and improve your technique. Whether it’s sketching in a notebook or creating digital artwork on a tablet, consistent practice will help you refine your style and develop your artistic abilities.

Experiment with different styles and techniques

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with different styles and techniques. Try using various mediums, such as watercolors, acrylics, or digital tools, to push your creative boundaries and discover new ways of expressing yourself. By exploring different artistic approaches, you can develop a unique visual language that sets you apart as a visual development artist.

Stay updated on industry trends and software tools

In the fast-paced world of animation, it is essential to stay informed about industry trends and advancements in software tools. Keep an eye on popular animation studios, attend industry events, and follow influential artists on social media to stay current with the latest developments. Additionally, familiarize yourself with software programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Procreate, as they are commonly used in the animation field. By staying updated on industry trends and software tools, you can adapt to changes in the industry and enhance your skills as a visual development artist.

Network and Promote Yourself

In the competitive field of visual development artistry in animation, it is crucial to network and promote yourself in order to stand out and advance your career. Here are some key steps to help you in this process:

Attend industry events and connect with professionals

Attending industry events such as animation conferences, workshops, and meetups can provide you with valuable opportunities to network with professionals in the field. Make sure to bring your portfolio and business cards to make a lasting impression. Building relationships with industry insiders can lead to potential job opportunities and collaborations.

Utilize social media and online platforms to showcase your work

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for visual development artists. Create a professional website or online portfolio to showcase your work and attract potential clients or employers. Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, ArtStation, and LinkedIn to share your art and connect with a wider audience. Engage with other artists and industry professionals to expand your network and reach.

Seek feedback from mentors and peers to improve your craft

Constructive criticism is a valuable tool for growth and improvement as a visual development artist. Seek feedback from experienced mentors, professors, or peers to help you identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in your work. Take feedback graciously and use it to refine your skills and develop your unique artistic style.

By actively networking, promoting yourself online, and seeking feedback from others, you can enhance your visibility in the animation industry and increase your chances of success as a visual development artist.


In conclusion, becoming a visual development artist in the animation field requires a combination of artistic talent, technical skills, and dedication. By following the steps outlined in this article, aspiring artists can develop their craft, build a strong portfolio, and network with industry professionals to pursue their dream career. While the path to becoming a visual development artist may be challenging, with hard work and perseverance, it is possible to succeed in this competitive field. By staying focused on honing their skills and staying up-to-date on industry trends, aspiring visual development artists can position themselves for success in the thrilling world of animation.