Artists Who Build Worlds

This week on io9, we celebrate artists and designers who create the worlds that science fiction inhabits. We'll be looking at concept art from CGI movies to old school comic books and beyond.

Concept artists are the people who make fantastical worlds come to life, from designing CG creatures to painting the cities that eventually fill in the backgrounds on Coruscant. They make the covers of science fiction books pop, glue our eyes to comic books, and take videogames beyond hunt-and-shoot.

Artists Who Build Worlds

Oftentimes, concept artists are unsung heroes - most people don't watch a TV series and exclaim over how cool the futuristic cities in the background look. And yet without those backgrounds, those worldbuilding touches, the show would fall apart. Even when a piece of concept art becomes central to a story, like the Cloverfield monster (designed by Neville Page) or the new lightcycle from Tron (designed by Daniel Simon), audiences rarely realize how much work has gone into these gorgeous works and who has done them.

Artists Who Build Worlds

Concept Art Week on io9 aims to change all that. You'll meet the artists and designers who make your eyes bleed and your brain overheat with flaming images of awesomeness. We'll treat you to galleries of art that ranges from the awe-inspiring and insane, to the weird and (occasionally) regrettable. And we'll also teach you what it takes to become a concept artist, from the digital toolkit you need, to which schools to attend.

Artists Who Build Worlds

The point of concept art isn't just to make movies and books look more beautiful, though. Like great storytelling, a brilliant piece of concept art invites you to imagine what tomorrow might look like, or how light would fall across the tiniest details of a fantasy world. This is the kind of art that challenges you to imagine what it would be like to actually walk through an alternate world. It helps you to see your own world through alien eyes.

Which to say, concept art is just like classic art. Only awesomer.

Get ready to feast your eyes on some of the greatest, mind-blowingest art you'll ever see. Strap yourselves in for Concept Art Week.

Extra-special thanks to one of our favorite concept artists, the award-winning John Picacio, for designing the logo for this week.

Bottom image by Syd Mead.