Concept Art Foundations (formerly Introduction to Concept Art)

The Concept Art Foundations program at Algonquin College provides the opportunity for students to explore a blend of digital image creation techniques and traditional theory to create original characters and concepts for the entertainment industry. It is delivered partially online with video tutorials and online assistance, and partially in the classroom in smaller groups to allow individualized support and feedback.

Mobile DeviceBring Your Own Device (BYOD): As a student in this on-campus program, you will require a mobile computing device that meets the specifications outlined by your program at

(Please note this was previously referred to as a Mobile Learning Program)

Ontario College Certificate
1 Year(s)

Program Code: 1438U01FWO
Academic Year: 2016/2017

Our Program

One-Year Certificate Program

In this one-year Ontario College Certificate program, students explore a blend of digital image creation techniques and traditional theory to create original characters, environments and concepts for the entertainment industry. It is delivered partially online with video tutorials and online assistance and partially in the classroom in smaller groups to allow for hands-on learning. Students learn the fundamentals of colour, light and composition, as well as develop insight into career opportunities and industry standards. The structure of the program ensures individualized support and feedback to guide students in the production of a professional portfolio in digital imaging and concept art.

Graduates are eligible to receive an Ontario College Certificate in General Arts and Science - One Year, with a concentration in Concept Art Foundations.

Graduates can apply to another program at the College or continue their studies in Year II of the General Arts and Science Ontario College Diploma program. Some credits may be considered as transfer credits towards other college programs. Additionally, eligible students who complete the certificate program with a GPA of 3.0 or better are eligible for Articulation Agreements. All articulation agreements to postsecondary institutions can be found at: Two-Year Diploma Program

The two-year General Arts and Science Ontario College Diploma program begins in September (for graduates of the one-year certificate program) and in January. General Arts and Science Year II provides a well-balanced selection of courses in the social sciences and humanities. On successful completion of Year II, students receive an Ontario College Diploma.

Graduates of the diploma program may apply for Advanced Standing at either Carleton University or the University of Ottawa if they achieve a GPA of 3.0 or better. Articulation Agreements also exist with other postsecondary institutions.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Students are expected to have and use a laptop or mobile computing device when registered in this on-campus program. Hardware and software specifications required by your program are outlined at Mobile devices/laptops and supplies can be purchased directly from Algonquin`s New Technology Store at educational rates.


This program is well-suited for students who:

  • Are interested in exploring the concept design and illustration field.
  • Enjoy digital painting with computers and manipulating imagery. . Think visually and creatively.
  • Enjoy conceptualizing ideas.
  • Have a passion for movies and gaming.

Your Career

A General Arts and Science Ontario College Certificate or Ontario College Diploma demonstrates to employers, colleges and universities that graduates have the ability to learn at a postsecondary level, have enhanced skills in oral and written communication, can conduct research in a systematic manner and are flexible and open to meeting new challenges. These are important attributes in a world where change is rapid and adaptability is an asset.

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:
  1. 1.Develop, through general knowledge gained in a wide range of subjects, insight into both self and society.
  2. 2.Develop flexibility and clarity of both thought and expression in order to develop communications competence to a level required by business and industry.
  3. 3.Understand and utilize critical-thinking processes and problem-solving techniques.
  4. 4.Examine and evaluate various aspects of our changing society to assist in developing a sense of personal and social responsibility as a citizen in society.
  5. 5.Employ basic vocational skills drawn from the areas of the Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences or Vocational Studies (Business,Technology).


Programs at Algonquin College are delivered using a variety of instruction modes. Courses may be offered in the classroom or lab, entirely online, or in a hybrid mode which combines classroom sessions with online learning activities. Upon registration, each full-time student is provided an Algonquin email account which is used to communicate important information about program or course events.
Level: 01 Hours
ART0015 Environment Design I Developing worlds is the cornerstone of the concept artist's work. By gaining an understanding of composition, perspective and ergonomics, students generate convincing, fictional worlds. Students explore digital techniques for rendering realistic surfaces and materials, creating architecture, landscapes and props for integrated environments. 60.0
ART0016 Character and Creature Design I Character development is a crucial part of the fictional world that the entertainment industry creates. Online and in-class material supports the step-by-step process which includes silhouettes, posing, costumes and props. Creature designs are developed from animal studies researched by students. Using technology and the image editing software (PhotoShop), students create original characters and creatures for use in three-dimensional and fully integrated images. 60.0
ART0017 Fundamentals of Light and Value Essential to all images is the understanding of values. Using a blend of traditional theory and digital tools, students learn to create the illusion of depth making their original characters and environments come to life. Landscapes are used to understand values as the basic building block for composition and colour. Students progress engaging their audience and telling a story in a single image. 30.0
ART0018 Life Drawing I The foundation of character development depends on the acquired knowledge of the human form through study and observation. Using sight measurements and knowledge of anatomy, the complexities of the surface details created by the skeleton and the musculature are explored and applied. Technique, posture and muscle memory are strengthen along with this knowledge to produce increasingly professional looking and detailed studies and gestures. 45.0
ART0027 Photoshop for Concept Design Adobe Photoshop is a vital tool for digital artists. This vast software is applicable in many fields of art and is a standard in studios around the world. Through in-class exercises, videos, and in conjunction with projects from other courses, students gain practical knowledge about Photoshop. Students are able to express visual ideas digitally and enhance work to create immersive art pieces. 30.0
DAT5758A Computer Applications The effective use of industry-standard software is vital to career success. Emphasis is placed on the production of professional-looking multimedia presentations, spreadsheets, and multi-page documents using Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Internet security and privacy are also addressed to enhance awareness of the implications of working online. Students develop the computer foundation to advance in academics and the workplace. 45.0
ENL5000G Communication Skills Communication remains an essential skill sought by employers, regardless of discipline or field of study. Using a practical, vocation-oriented approach, students focus on meeting the requirements of effective communication. Through a combination of lectures, exercises, and independent learning, students practise writing, speaking, reading, listening, locating and documenting information and using technology to communicate professionally. Students develop and strengthen communication skills that contribute to success in both educational and workplace environments. 45.0
Level: 02 Hours
ART0020 Environment Design II Having a variety of stunning and original environments is a key advantage for any portfolio. Students push the level of view selection and deal with a number of challenges. Students incorporate different design languages to integrate characters and props in their environments. Individual and group projects prepare students to take creative direction in a team setting and solve the creative problems presented to them.

Prerequisites: ART0015
ART0021 Character and Creature Design II Characters and creatures evolve from the parameters of the story and fictional world they inhabit. With this in mind, we continue the development of concept design skills to create unique life forms online and in-class. The student creates more complex characters and creatures through research and development of the fictional world and the influence it would have on its life forms. Original character and creature designs are created for portfolio consideration.

Prerequisites: ART0016
ART0023 Portfolio and Professional Development First impressions can make all the difference when applying for further studies or building your professional network. Through in-class lecture, discussion and one-on-one feedback, students are prepared to put their best foot forward, professionally. With a focus on networking tools and understanding industry, as well as visual communication and presentation skills, students are prepared to represent themselves in person and in online communities with targeted social media. 30.0
ART0024 Life Drawing II Students continue to develop knowledge of the body and how it relates to character design. Through the understanding of portrait development and how to get a likeness, students increase their awareness of the human form. With heightened observation skills learned from portrait work, students progress to drawing full body poses.

Prerequisites: ART0018
ART0026 Fundamentals of Light and Colour Traditional and digital colour theory are explored as they relate to digital painting and composition. Building on a foundation in rendering value and form, students learn the interactions of colour as they effect mood, direct a visual path and add to the story of their designs.

Prerequisites: ART0017
ENL6000B Communication Studies - Collaborative Focus The ability to exchange ideas effectively contributes to success in a variety of endeavours. Students apply principles of clear communication, considering focus, relevance, organization, tone and style. Tasks include research, analysis, documentation and presentation. Through lecture, discussion, and individual and team-based assignments, students focus on communicating in a variety of contexts and mediums. Particular attention is given to the requirements of teamwork and interpersonal communications. 45.0
SSC0083 Creative Thinking Thinking creatively is the most important skill a concept artist can bring to any project in the industry. Through a series of in-class exercises and presentations, the student's awareness of the role that creativity plays in developing a fictitious society is broadened. Historical use of creativity in ancient societies is reviewed. The student is progressively introduced to problem-solving projects using contemporary aspects of the creative process. Finally, the student explores what mankind may expect in the future in terms of broad issues and cultural development. 45.0

Fees & Expenses   

2016/2017 Academic Year

Total Fees for the first year of the program:

Domestic tuition/ancillary fees: $5,205.30. *

International tuition/ancillary Fees: $14,731.34. *

* Amounts include tuition fee, program specific lab and material fees, applicable eText fees, Students` Association fees and compulsory ancillary fees. Fees are subject to change. For detailed fees information please visit

Note: For further information regarding your books, please visit

Books and supplies cost approximately $150 per year and can be purchased at the campus store. Some textbooks include a software package which is mandatory as it includes evaluation components for the program.

Admission Requirements   

2017/2018 Academic Year

College Eligibility
  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Applicants with an OSSD showing senior English and/or Mathematics courses at the Basic Level, or with Workplace or Open courses, will be tested to determine their eligibility for admission; OR
  • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate; OR
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate; OR
  • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program). Eligibility may be determined by academic achievement testing for which a fee of $50 (subject to change) will be charged.
Program Eligibility
  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent).
  • Applicants with International transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above along with proof of either:
    • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service-Overall band of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band. OR
    • TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 80, with the minimum of 20 in each component: Reading 20; Listening: 20 Speaking: 20, Writing: 20

Should the number of qualified applicants exceed the number of available places, applicants will be selected on the basis of their proficiency in English.

Application Information

Applications to full-time day programs must be submitted with official transcripts showing completion of the academic admission requirements through:
60 Corporate Court
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 5J3

Students currently enrolled in an Ontario secondary school should notify their Guidance Office prior to their online application at
Applications for Fall Term and Winter Term admission received by February 1 will be given equal consideration. Applications received after February 1 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as places are available.

International applicants applying from out-of-country can obtain the
International Student Application Form at or by contacting the Registrar`s Office.

For further information on the admissions process, contact:

Registrar`s Office
Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Ave, Room C150
Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
Telephone: 613-727-0002
Toll-free: 1-800-565-4723
TTY: 613-727-7766
Fax: 613-727-7632

Additional Information

This is a hands-on program with many visual design demands in which, students must be able to actively participate in order to successfully meet the learning requirements.

For more information, contact Mary Ellis, Program Coordinator, at 613-727-4723 ext. 2405 or
Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time