The Best Concept Art & Illustration in the World Rankings is something we take very seriously and no external influences or payments are entered into at any point. Our rankings focus on the quality of students portfolios that are submitted to our judging panel which best reflect the recruitment interview process.

We feel that traditional school rankings that include peer and employer reviews, faculty to student ratio, citations and other data are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. For a complete breakdown of how we rank the best schools for 2018 please read how we rank the best schools and how we analyse the data in the sections located at the bottom of this page.

2018 School of the Year Trophies

Top 10 Concept Art & Illustration Schools 2019

The official rankings for 2019 have been calculated based on the performance of students work submitted to our industry panel. Full details can be found further down the page about how we calculate and rank schools.

Rank School Location Score
1 The One Academy Malaysia, Malaysia 92.985
2 Syn Studio Montréal,Canada 84.94
3 Academy of Art University San Francisco, United States 73.03
4 3dsense Media School Singapore 68.1
5 Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment Kortrijk, Belgium 59.07
6 Flinders University / CDW Studios Adelaide, Australia 58.97
7 FutureGames Stockholm, Sweden 55.695
8 Gnomon Los Angeles, United States 55.56
9 ArtFX Montpellier, France 53.435
10 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, United States 52.56

Congratulate the Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools with a share of support.

How we calculate the school rankings

Data is based on the quality and performance of student work that is submitted to our judging panel for the Rookie Awards. This year the data pool included:

3,548 Entrants 500 Schools
89 Countries 38,838 Media Uploads

We feel that traditional school rankings – that include peer and employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations and other data – are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. This might work in industries with more traditional career paths, however, when it comes to technical and creative roles, such as Visual Effects, Feature Animation and Games, it’s a lot more complicated.

The Judging Process

Each entrant is reviewed by members of the official Judging Panel which includes over 120 highly influential and respected industry veterans. The Judges were asked to score entries based on criteria including — creative skills, technical skills, presentation, variety of skills, complexity, raw talent, and employment potential.

School Calculations

Based on the results of student submissions we received this year we have released the following in-depth breakdowns about the best schools.

Each school is awarded a final score based on the performance of each student representing their academic facility.

When analysing the average scores of each student per school there are three possible data formulas available to use: mean, median and mode.

The Rookies uses median. The median is the middle point of a number set, in which half the numbers are above the median and half are below. A median is intrinsically understandable. It is the middle number when the values are put in order.

  • Schools with < 8 student entries are excluded from ranking.
  • Incomplete student entries are removed from calculations. No penalties.
  • Each student receives a performance score. Max 100 points.
  • Median students score calculated per school. Max 100 points.
  • Each category finalist receives 10 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category runner up receives 15 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category winner receives 20 bonus points toward School Score.

School Information

Interested in finding out more about this top ranking schools? Follow the links to find out more about what makes them stand out from the crowd. Learn more about the courses they offer, their facilities, faculty members and more.

1. The One Academy

For over 25 years of creative education excellence, The One Academy has been renowned as one of the best art and design colleges in Asia with over 2,500 existing students in two of our main campuses. We are committed to our role as a world-class education provider by nurturing creative pioneers who can brace and surpass international standards.To achieve this, we provide comprehensive courses, for instance, Film Visual Effects and Digital Animation with Game Development, in collaboration with industry masters such as Andrew Gordon, Pixar animation director, Eduardo Pena, concept artist of The Hobbit trilogies, and also Ubisoft, to name a few.

2. Syn Studio

At Syn Studio, we specialize in teaching concept art and illustration for the entertainment industry. We believe that strong fundamentals in figurative drawing, painting and sculpture are the foundations of high-level digital artistry. This belief is shared by all of our teachers, friends and advisers which include top art directors, producers, lead and senior artists in Montreal, Los Angeles and San Francisco’s games, film and animation industries.

3. Academy of Art University

For 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university in the nation.  At the Academy, students discover a hands-on learning environment that’s more creative startup than classic classroom. Our instructors are professional artists and designers who bring their industry expertise to the classroom—translating blackboard theory into real-world expertise that students use, and hiring companies want. The Academy offers more than 124 accredited programs, and our students graduate with a solid creative foundation, business savvy, and an entrepreneurial spirit that tends to stick with them for life.

4. 3dsense Media School

3dsense Media School is a pioneering digital arts school in Asia, preparing students for careers in the media and entertainment industry for over 13 years. Dedicated to providing a real-world education, 3dsense aims to mold the next generation of elite digital artists and designers for the global industry. Some of the properties her alumni have worked on include Interstellar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Avengers, The Hunger Games series, Assassin’s Creed, Game of Thrones and many more. 3dsense was recently ranked top 20 in the world and 1st in Asia in the CG Student Awards 2015, School of the Year category.Besides education, the school also plays a major role in fostering a vibrant arts & design industry through its events and masterclasses.

5. Howest - Digital Arts and Entertainment

Digital Arts & Entertainment (DAE) is a state-of-the-art, yet accessible, English-taught Bachelor’s degree. Fully accredited, 3 years, amounting to 180 ECTS credits. DAE is taught at Howest, a modern and unconventional university of applied sciences, situated in a small but beautiful historic city in Flanders, Belgium, in the heart of Western Europe. At DAE you can choose between 4 study majors: Game Development, Game Graphics Production, Independent Game Production or 3D Production & VFX. It is an industry-approved and award-winning curriculum, with alumni in leading companies and studios all over the world, such as Blizzard, Bungie, Ubisoft, DICE, Rocksteady, Guerrilla Games, Larian, Unity, Studio Gobo, Sumo Digital, ILM, MPC, DNeg and many more.

6. Flinders University / CDW Studios

In partnership Flinders University and CDW Studios have created a very unique study environment where you are being taught by an instructor who currently works as a professional in that industry. Our instructors are world class, and have experience freelancing and working for some of the world’s top entertainment providers and creators, such as Blizzard Entertainment, Rising Sun Pictures, Disney, Warner Brothers and Lego just to name a few. By employing industry professionals CDW Studios and Flinders University ensure that students receive an intensive industry relevant education along with the critical thinking, analysis and structure that a Flinders University degree provides.

7. FutureGames

Futuregames is a successful private game development school in Stockholm, Sweden. We are centrally located in the trendy and unique Södermalm district with our school at medborgarplatsen – the heart of Swedish games development cluster. Futuregames programs are 2-3 year Swedish higher vocational education mostly funded by the Swedish government. There are today 4 different programs within Futuregames: game design, 3D-graphics, 2D-graphics and game programming. The school offer 120 yearly seats within these 4 programs and all students mostly work in multiple parallel projects together with leading game studios until ending their education with a 30 week long internship.

8. Gnomon

Since 1997, Gnomon has been educating many of the world’s best digital artists. The school in Hollywood, California, offers a variety of educational options to help students reach their goals in the entertainment industry, with a BFA degree in Digital Production, full-time vocational programs, specialised courses for high school students, and over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment. The founders launched Gnomon in 1997 with the support of the entertainment industry to help meet the demand for well-trained creative talent in the growing field of digital entertainment.

9. ArtFX

ArtFX is a private digital arts college, training its students in CGI, VFX, 3D Animation and Video Games. Located in Montpellier (France), the school was created by professionals of the film, video games and visual effects industries.As the only school in Europe specialising in compositing CGI into live-action footage, ArtFX is a reference for CGI and CG animation training. At ArtFx you will develop professional level skills and build a solid network of contacts thanks to our close partnerships with professional artists.

10. Savannah College of Art and Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design exists to prepare talented students for professional careers, emphasising learning through individual attention in a positively oriented university environment.SCAD visionThe Savannah College of Art and Design, an institution with distinctive yet complementary locations, will be recognised as the leader in defining art and design education. By employing innovation in all areas, SCAD will provide a superior education through talented and dedicated faculty and staff, leading-edge technology, advanced learning resources and comprehensive support services.SCAD valuesBeing a student centred institution.