Storytelling in Concept Art for Film & Entertainment

The role of a concept artist in the film and entertainment industry is to design for the story. Entertainment is based on a narrative and that must be communicated clearly. Often working from an early version of a script, a concept artist conceives and visualises sets, characters, scenes and story points – which is an incredibly important function because it shapes the overall design and aesthetic of the piece.

Academy of Information Technology sat down with Blockbuster Film Concept Artist Ev Shipard recently – to gain insight into the process he follows from script to cinematic art to serve an overarching story. He also shared his top tips for aspiring digital artists in the film and entertainment industry as well as insights into his upcoming Masterclass in Digital Narrative Painting in Sydney and Melbourne.

Ev is a highly sought-after digital concept artist who has worked with some of the biggest visual effects and entertainment studios across the globe. He’s contributed cinematic art to some 30 feature films including The Great Gatsby and Mad Max: Fury Road to Hacksaw Ridge, Alien: Covenant, Knowing and 300.

Concept Art by Ev Shipard

Across the board, Ev’s approach to visual storytelling is consistent yet highly specific. From rigorous analysis of the script to comprehensive research and thorough referencing, his process is proven and firmly bedded down. We asked Ev for some insight into how he approaches a script following a briefing – and here’s what he had to say:

From September, Ev will teach his highly specific and successful approach to creating production art for film and entertainment to a lucky group of digital artists in Sydney and Melbourne. He’ll do this via his Masterclass in Digital Narrative Painting at Academy of Information Technology – which will bring the context of a feature film production art department to the classroom.  Students will be led through the process of realising a narrative moment – learning pro techniques and art habits to develop their own interpretation of a unique script, that conveys a clear story.

Concept Art by Ev Shipard

Ev emphasises the importance of a contextual experience. “I think it’s important that students have an experience that is very much related to the industry. I will instil a process that can be relied upon to translate a brief into entertainment art that’s ready for production – and the projects we work through will mirror a typical project in the industry”.

With that in mind, students will replicate the workflows and processes used within a production art department. The masterclass will culminate in an exclusive industry showcase event attended by esteemed members of the industry and award-winning studios, followed by a highly coveted 60-minute one-on-one mentoring session with Ev himself.

“We will break down scripts, really analyse and get to the heart of what it is we are trying to communicate visually because ultimately, the art must service the narrative – our story” says Ev.

The Masterclass will commence in Sydney on Tuesday 18 September and will run weekly for a period of 10 weeks. Melbourne will follow shortly after with a 1-week intensive Masterclass, starting on 26 November.

Concept Art by Ev Shipard


When asked for his top tips to help other digital artists succeed in film and entertainment, Ev says it’s all about practice and revision, pushing yourself beyond what you believe you’re capable of and friendly competition.

“Fundamental drawing skills are so important. And no matter what your level of skill, it’s always wise to continue to go over the basics. It allows us to cement our process and reflect on it. Be prepared to go outside of your comfort zone too – both in your craft and when it comes to opportunities. This will help push you harder and make you a more versatile commercial artist. It’s also so important to surround yourself with like-minded creatives. Seek out artists and colleagues that can be your “mirror” – bounce back those ideas and review each other’s work. Friendly competition is always beneficial to development and it pushes us further as artists.”

Concept Art by Ev Shipard

To sign up to the Masterclass in Digital Narrative Painting, click here. To reserve your seat at a FreeDigital Painting Live Demonstration and Info Session with Ev in Sydney or Melbourne, head here now.

But hurry, spots are limited!




  • Share this article

About the author

This is sponsored content and helps to support ArtStation.