This highly sought-after position requires a background in the arts, production experience, and a willingness to work hard, even if a variety of educational and experienced courses could facilitate the process.

What is The Role of an Art Director?

The art director designs and supervises set construction, performs scenic work, and creates advertising visuals for motion pictures. This involves bringing the vision of the production designer to life through sets, props, and graphics. As a senior member of the art department, they work closely with the production designer, director, and producers to define the film’s visual style. They ensure that the rest of the art department executes their concept on schedule and within budget.

The work of an art director includes management, creative, and administrative duties to discover the most effective approach to visually convey a concept. Additionally, the art director oversees employees such as set designers and construction workers (cross-department coordination and developing budgets and timelines).

During pre-production, they oversee the construction of concept art, model sculptures, and pre-visualizations of concepts for characters, settings, and other film design elements. The position also entails coordinating the rental of vehicles for scenes, special effects, and animal casting.

Even though the majority of their work is completed during pre-production and they are typically among the first crew members hired, the art director is still required once principal photography has begun. During production, the art director assumes a more administrative role to manage set design teams, supervise the activities of the art department, and oversee set construction works and payments.

Everyday Duties of the Art Director

The senior-level position of art director is accountable for overseeing the daily operations of the art department. They supervise a team of scenic artists, set decorators, set dressers, assistant art directors, art department assistants, set decorators, and carpenters under the authority of the production designer. On smaller sets, the jobs of production designer and art director may be combined.

Once the art director has determined how the sets will be produced, the blueprints and sketches are delivered to assistant art directors and drafters to be transformed into construction drawings. The art director then supervises the construction by making frequent visits to the studios and set, in addition to holding meetings with the heads of the carpentry, paint, and plaster teams.

Creative Director vs Art Director

The duties of an art director and a creative director are comparable but distinct. The creative director or production designer is responsible for the film’s visual style. Art directors assume a more active role in the process by visualizing the creative director’s approach and vision.

The distinction between becoming an art director and a creative director depends on whether you prefer to develop intricate concepts or put them into reality. Despite the fact that many art directors remain in their professions, a significant number go on to become production designers. To learn more, please contact us.