There are a number of massively talented illustrators, concept designers, and visual effects artists who work to bring other people's projects to life. But many of them have incredible ideas of their own—ideas that we'd love to see as movies, video games, or television shows.
Top image by Anthony Sieben.
There are concept artists whose visual point of view is firmly felt in the movies that they have worked on, such as Ralph McQuarrie with Star Wars and HR Giger with Alien. And there are concept artists working in Hollywood who direct and art direct films of their own, whether shorts or features. Here are a handful of artists whose work in illustration, print, and games have caught our eyes, and whom we'd love to see translate their visual perspective into a feature film.
Obviously, this list is by no means comprehensive; this is a very small sample of artists who happen to have repeatedly caught our eye. There are tons of amazing artists working in print, games, animation, film, and a host of other areas who have amazing worlds and amazing films running through their heads. Post your favorite contenders in the comments.
Barcelona-based Sergi Brosa is a freelance illustrator, character designer, and concept artist, and his vibrantly colored illustrations show a careful attention to fashion, architecture, and technology. His images often feature machines that are at once bespoke and futuristic, and the details invite us to imagine the world they inhabit—which is why his images show up so frequently in our Concept Art Writing Prompts.
Concept development artist Robert Chew has been wowing us with his series of illustrations featuring robotic animals, especially his Big Five series, which imagines a future in which anti-poaching operatives are aided by mechanical rhinos, lions, and vultures (although the poachers have some robotic tools of their own). Chew is looking to turn the series into a book to benefit the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, but we'd love to see a movie.
Sweden-based artist Simon Stålenhag also has a rather intriguing illustration series that would make for a striking movie setting. His retrofuturistic illustrations imagine great machines coexisting with a Sweden of decades ago. Often, these machines appear to be decaying, and sometimes they are joined by a passing dinosaur.
Dave Melvin is a concept artist and instructor at the Academy of Art University, and he has some particularly striking creature designs. Although some of his creatures feel purely fantastical, others seem pulled from a future where biological technology has advanced to create new organic beings.
Claire Hummel is a concept artist who has rightfully been getting a lot of attention for her work on Bioshock: Infinite, and we've swooned over her historical Disney princess series. She's an artist that I highly recommend following on Twitter, not just for her artwork, but for her writings on historical clothing. She recently posted a huge list of resources for folks interested in historical costuming, and she has posted some great rants on the use of things like corsets as outside garments. Much of the artwork Hummel posts online is fanart and her professional concept design work, but it would be lovely to see an original historical fantasy using Hummel's close attention to detail.
Pascal Blanché's Derelict Planet series of illustrations imagines a strange world that is both ancient and futuristic, with touches of Moebius and HR Giger. It's easy to imagine a film where explorers try to uncover the mysteries of this distant planet.
Sam Nielson is an artist for Disney Interactive's Avalanche Software, but he comes up with plenty of fun characters of his own. His deviantART gallery is filled with not just his professional work, but also the wonderful scenes he sketches up for fun.
Anthony Sieben's portfolio features some wonderfully alien creature designs that would be perfect for a space opera. He's also done some animation while studying at the Haute école Albert Jacquard.
Sandara, who teaches digital painting at Digipen Singapore and does freelance illustrations for books and games, recently caught our eye with her rendition of Batman as a fantasy knight and the Joker as a terrifying dragon. She has a number of fantasy illustrations in her deviantART gallery, but a few have narrative threads running through them: especially a few digital paintings about a girl in a fantasy world who finds and alien seed and a young man traveling with one of Boston Dynamics' Bigdogs.
Justin Sweet and Vance Kovacs, who have worked on the Narnia films, Thor, The Avengers, and more, get a single entry because they recently collaborated on a concept art book for the fantasy world they conceived together: The Art of Eclipse: The Well and the Black Sea, which was recently the subject of a massively successful Kickstarter campaign. Their concept art already has a series of stories behind it:
The echoes and anthems of shepherds and kings. A Well, a Boy. A Horn. A Serpent coursing a Black Sea. A River of Bones. A Daughter in Her Orchard. A Warrior Returning Home.