So where do we start with our concept? Do we sit down and begin to sketch? Just pour out our ideas onto paper? Nope. Not yet. If you go to this step too early, you might end up with a good design, but it will not be what your manager wants.
Concepting usually happens in the pre-production phase of a game, and sometimes earlier. During this time the designer, along with the concept artists, will work on the game's design and overall style. You will be approached by either your lead artist or the art director and asked to provide some concept artwork for the design. They will provide some basic information to start you off (for example, the general style and overall look of each character). You can then begin plans to flesh out this information; this is covered in more depth in the "Preparation" section.
The aim is to have a clear idea of what direction you're taking, having a vision in your mind of what the character will look like and why. Concepting a character has three stages:
As you gain more experience in concepting, you may find that you need to do less during the first two stages and can more or less move straight into the design (sketching) phase. For the novice, however, it is important to begin at the beginning: researching the character.