Emma Coats story basics

These are the tweets of Pixar story artist Emma Coats. These words of wisdom have been compiled and republished in various writers’ blogs. I love this stuff … so here they are again.

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The creative cycle.

Recently I was listening to a radio show. A panel of profession artists were talking about there work.

Asked about the creative process. She described it as:


There is a natural pattern to the way we tease solid ideas out of feelings and concepts. Many people have written about this.

I like to summarize my process as.

Consume, Collate, Copy, Create, Compare.

It reflects my first inspiration because consuming copying, and comparing are all ways of observing.

  1. Observe / Consume
  2. Collate
  3. Observe / Copy
  4. Create
  5. Observe / Compare.


First I consume the world around me. Actively collecting ideas from the books, galleys and Internet or passively noting things as I go around my daily life. My ideas germinate as I observe the world around me. I subconsciously absorb the information, and consciously seek out things that feel right.
Feeling right  is the key here. Our Brains are pattern matching trying to find things that fit new concept. I don’t need to justify the choices with too much reason. That will just get in the way. I need to promote the right frame of mind to help the subconscious process the information.

Soon I’ll have a pile of images which are a mixture of mood, style, overall design and interesting details.


Whilst I may like the feel of the ideas I’ve created. Not all of them are compatible. This may lead to different strands of design being developed. However if these two strands cannot be integrated a choice must soon be made over which route to follow. So while consuming I’m also sorting and categorizing.

UFO … example industrial vs alien


Eventually I start trying things.



The open source community never ceases to amaze me.

Openprocessing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions.

Concept art and inspiration Links

Man there is a lot of sci-fi art on the web. Every time I create a mood board I’m just swamped.

Some of my favorites are


Heres some work by Scott Robinson at http://conceptships.blogspot.com/

I was discussing Concept Art with my friend Nick who lectures in Finland. He directed me to this book.

The Skillful Huntsman: Visual Development of a Grimm Tale at Art Center College of Design.

It’s a great example of how to generate ideas. I found the silhouette studies really inspiring. Shape and feel can be the most important part of the process.

I’ll keep updating this post as I go along