Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools in the World 2021

Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools in the World 2021

2021 Update! The Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools and Colleges in the World. Find the best places to learn to be a concept artist and become industry ready.

The 2021 Best Concept Art & Illustration Schools and Colleges 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 2021 please read how we rank the best schools and how we analyse the data in the sections located at the bottom of this page.

The Rookies World School Rankings® are not like other education based ranking systems. They are driven and judged by industry professionals without the interference of paid advertising dollars that cloud the judgement of other ranking sites.

Scott Thompson, founder of Think Tank Training Centre.

What is Concept Art?

Concept art is a visual representation which tells a story or conveys a certain look. It is commonly used in film and video games to convey a vision and set the tone for an entire game or movie. Concept art provides a strong reference point that helps align the creatives working on the project.

What does a Concept Artist do?

A Concept Artist visualizes characters, environments, props and more through storytelling. The saying, “a picture paints a thousand words,” should be the mantra of every Concept Artist. This type of artist is often tasked with working from previous designs, visualizing scenes from a book that will be made into a film, or creating new worlds and characters from scratch. They inject their personal style into their work while keeping true to the assignment and end goals.

School of the Year Trophies

Top Concept Art & Illustration Schools and Colleges in 2021

The official rankings for 2021 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.

Learn more about how we rank schools.

Rank School Location Score
1 New3dge France 94.99
2 ISART Digital France, Canada 87.99
3 The One Academy of Communication Design Malaysia 73.34
4 Syn Studio Canada, Online 71.17
5 3dsense Media School Singapore 61.07
6 ECV Creative Schools & Community France 58.35
7 Universal Arts School Spain 56.97
8 CG Spectrum Online 53.91
9 Bellecour Ecole France 50.95
10 Flinders University / CDW Studios Australia, Online 48.14
11 Academy of Art University United States, Online 45.72
12 Norwich University of the Arts United Kingdom, Online 45.23
13 Lightbox Academy Spain, Online 41.06
14 Savannah College of Art and Design United States, France, Online 39.47
15 Falmouth University United Kingdom 38.73

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Top entries submitted by Concept Art & Illustration students from these schools and colleges

Follow these links below to view some of the incredible entries that our judging panel were tasked with reviewing. These entries showcase the quality of work created by students which helped rank their schools.

Jordan Soar

I have always had a deep love for the entertainment industry, primarily in film and video games. From a very young age, it has been a dream of mine to work in said industry, and this goal is currently...

Félix Donadio

It's been a while since I want to draw as a living. Growing up, I really started to have an interest in digital art and 3D.

Kiara Leneuf

Drawing has always been a necessity for me since the very early stages of my life, and at 5 years old, I already knew that I couldn't live a life without art being part of my job.

Victor Anceaume

When I was little I always imagined myself telling myself stories, and gradually I discovered the profession of graphic designer and interior architect which made me realize that there are several are...

Nate Thorman

The drive to be creative is hard to explain, like an itch in the back of your neck that only goes away when you start doing something artistic but comes right back as soon as you finish. For a long ti...

Samuel Amar

Happened when I was at the end of my highschool days. When I had to make a choice concerning the futur, the only thing I liked at that time was video games and scribbling manga faces in the margins of...

Jeanne Plounevez

I've been drawing since I was a child. While watching animated movies and playing games, I realized it would be my dream job to create some characters, environments, universe... So here I am, trying t...

Felysia Chew

I've always been interested in the arts and knew from a young age that I wanted to pursue an artistic career. I'd turn to art as a safety net when things got tough. It was a space where I could expres...


When I was in the last school year, I didn't know what I wanted to do. After some " job-in-the-future-search" in Google, I discovered the Game Art universe. It mixed my two passions: videogames and dr...

Mathieu Lim

I was always a big fan of the entertainment industry, playing video games and watching cartoon every day since I was a kid. At some point, I started to ask myself if I could also create some, so I st...

Mercè Monistrol Biosca

I love drawing for as long as I can remember and I spend most of my time playing video games. While I was studying Beauty Arts I decided to mix both, and it was the best idea I've ever had! ...oh...

Fong Zi Ying

I watched a lot of animation movies since young and I've always wanted to be able to draw professionally and to work as an artist. After highschool, I applied the Illustration, Movie and Gameart cours...

Chiu Yi

I always enjoy watching animation and film. I also read quite a lot when I was young, always fascinated by different ways of storytelling. I first realised I wanted to involve in the creative media an...

Farah Merand

I've always played video games but when I was in high school the visuals of some of them really made an impression on me and made me want to create something of my own, I started drawing the following...

Captain Sass Orson

Since I was a kid I always wanted to be an artist and to work in the entertainment industry. I was artistically influenced by all the comic strips I read and all the video games I played and wanted to...

Detailed information about the top schools and colleges for Concept Art & Illustration

The following schools are the top Concept Art & Illustration educational facilities for 2021 and offer great courses and curriculum that produces students that are ready for the challenges faced by professional artists working in Concept Art & Illustration. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.


1. New3dge

New3dge, located in Paris, is a private school of higher education specialized in the fields of Game Art, 3D Animation&VFX and Concept Art. We have tailored our student program and our teaching methods alongside some of the major players in these fields. We recruit our educators from our network of respected professionals around the globe. At New3gde, we give our students the opportunity to learn skills and work with cutting edge technology in an ever-evolving environment, guaranteeing their integration in the video game, 3D animation/VFX field and Concept Art. Our current placement rate is 92% More infos at :

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ISART Digital

2. ISART Digital

ISART Digital is an international school of higher education in video games and 3D-VFX animation. The school is based in Paris & Montreal and has a partnership with the Tokyo University of Technology. The school is ranked number 1 in Europe and Quebec (Canada) by LinkedIn, on professional integration in the Game and Interactive Media Design market. This leading position is the result of a studio-oriented policy: - Professional experience is at the heart of the studies, in an alternating structure of a week at school and a week in the workplace, throughout the year....

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The One Academy of Communication Design

3. The One Academy of Communication Design

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....

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Syn Studio

4. Syn Studio

Syn Studio is an art school in Montreal specializing in teaching concept art and illustration for the entertainment industry. For over 10 years, Syn Studio has been helping aspiring artists of all skill levels achieve their artistic dreams through their affordable online and onsite drawing, painting, concept art, and illustration classes as well as their Full-Time Programs. The online classes and programs are designed to help you improve your artistic skills dramatically in as little as 10 weeks! Syn Studio was recently ranked the world’s top-ranked concept art and illustration school for 2020 (ranked by The Rookies)....

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3dsense Media School

5. 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...

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ECV Creative Schools & Community

6. ECV Creative Schools & Community

Founded in 1984, ECV - École de Communication Visuelle is located in 5 majors French cities: Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes, Aix-en-Provence and Lille. The school of visual communication offers a 5 year-program in visual communication, graphic design and animated film.

The ECV provides an interdisciplinary, multimedia approach to the study of visual communication, and educates students in the traditional arts through a strong core curriculum. Furthermore, the school builds a creative environment that is both supportive and challenging, helping students to shape a complex world of cultural diversity and changing technologies.

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Universal Arts School

7. Universal Arts School

We could say that there are people who have great professional or personal success despite the type of training received. This means that we all have at our disposal a "click" that we can click whenever we want. The authentic formation must be based on producing an atmosphere in which the person awakens his inner self. There must be a climate of freedom of expression and confidence. Once one connects, learning can take off. It's about learning an art and a profession, a whole. At present there is a new revolution in knowledge and intelligence. We take into account concepts such as Emotional Intelligence, 9 Multiple Intelligences, Social Intelligence, Synesthesia, Neurolinguistic Programming, Lateral Thinking, etc. Now it is known that in order to lea...

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CG Spectrum

8. CG Spectrum

CG Spectrum was founded on the principle that students learn best through personalized, hands-on education taught by industry professionals who specialize in the discipline they are teaching. By giving students access to the most talented artists in the industry as their mentors, this helps ensure that CG Spectrum students are the best connected, best trained and best prepared for life beyond school in their respective fields. Our mentors meet students from around the world online for small classes or 1-on-1 specialised industry diploma courses. This personalised education gives our students an advantage, by allowing them to network with artists of major studios, regardless of their geographic location.

In addition to the unique 1-on-1 appr...

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Bellecour Ecole

9. Bellecour Ecole

Bellecour Ecole is a specialized art school in the fields of applied arts / design: graphics - multimedia - space - Product - Fashion and Creative Industries: 3d animation - FX - gaming - concept art. Bellecour Ecole provides training to +3 and +5 (Artistic Director, 3D director, )....

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Flinders University / CDW Studios

10. 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....

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Academy of Art University

11. Academy of Art University

Since 1929, Academy of Art University has helped prepare aspiring artists and designers for professional careers by offering 135+ accredited degree options in more than 40 areas of study. Choose from animation and visual effects, game design and development, illustration, fine art, communications, filmmaking, and more. We are first and foremost a professional school—a purpose-based art and design school where students develop their talents and acquire the specific skills sought by the creative marketplace. Our hands-on curriculum is taught by some of the finest minds working in today’s creative and innovative industries—professional artists and designers who bring their industry expertise to the classroom. Academy students graduate with a solid crea...

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Norwich University of the Arts

12. Norwich University of the Arts

Norwich University of the Arts is a dynamic, modern and creative community providing arts, design, architecture and media education from a unique campus at the heart of the city. Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) has established itself in arts, design and media education for over 170 years. But while our history can be traced back to 1845, our outlook is forward-thinking. From a city centre campus that boasts cutting-edge facilities, to an approach to teaching which saw us awarded Gold under the Teaching Excellence Framework and ranked 10th in the UK for teaching quality by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, our reputation for excellence is well-earned. NUA has thrived as an established University, developing a national ...

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Lightbox Academy

13. Lightbox Academy

Lightbox Academy is a Digital Arts School located in Madrid that came into being thanks to the most lauded Animation Film Production Company in Spain: Lightbox Animation Studios. The school’s academic offer encompasses the production pipelines in animation, series and videogames.

Having started with a foot already in the door allows Lightbox Academy to present a training program adapted to the real workflow in any studio or production company nowadays. The students learn to work in a professional manner, using the same software and the same mechanisms that are used at all major studios. And this method, the practical method, is further boosted by our teachers: working professionals in the digital industry who fin...

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Savannah College of Art and Design

14. Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design prepares talented students for creative professions through engaged teaching and learning in a positively oriented university environment. SCAD is continually recognized for educational and professional excellence, affirming our commitment to the highest standards of achievement in art and design in the U.S.

SCAD constantly researches and reimagines programs to instill the critical skills and knowledge students need to succeed in their chosen careers. SCAD consults industry leaders, gathers data on business and design needs and collects student feedback to inform the genesis and evolution of every degree taught at the university. SCAD offers more programs and specializations than any other art and design u...

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Falmouth University

15. Falmouth University

For more than 100 years, Falmouth University has been a hub of creative thinking and design innovation. Today, our portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate courses represents the breadth of the Creative Industries, from art, design and fashion, to gaming, music and film....

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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.

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.

Why our rankings are more accurate than others

School Rankings systems used by other websites focus on Incoming Student Skills. schools rank higher based on how selective they are. In other words, schools are rewarded by only accepting students with straight A's. This is like ranking hospitals by how sick their patients are when they arrive!

What we do at The Rookies, is rank school based on Outgoing Student Skills. We focus on how well a school has prepared a student for the job they've been training for. This the real sign of a top school and it can only be achieved by reviewing every single entry multiple times by highly respected people working in the industry.

The Judging Process

Each entrant is reviewed by members of the official Judging Panel which includes over 150 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.

Is your school missing from this global ranking?

Over 4,000 international students represented their school by submitting their work to the Rookie Awards 2021 and were reviewed by industry professionals.

To make sure your school is considered for next year's rankings, please email us or chat with us live right now to learn more.