A lot of people ask me what skills are required to become a professional game concept artist. So, I will try to answer that question here.
Firstly, there is actually very little demand for pretty, colorful paintings like you see in my gallery for instance. Smaller companies often see these 'mood paintings' as an expensive luxury. Larger companies often have very little use for 'mood paintings' and scenes.
In fact, in the 2 years since I have been doing concept art I have never been required to do any 'mood paintings' at all.
Generally, pretty scenes are only necessary for promotional marketing purposes and they are usually very tight, not loose. I have been lucky in the fact that I have been able to do plenty of tight marketing images from scratch, designing the entire image from my own imagination. However, most of the marketing art you see on commercial game packaging, posters and so on is probably done by an illustrator or graphic designer, using photographic references, 3d renders