Jillian Tamaki on Idea Generation

Please Take a look at the work of Illustrator and Cartoonist Jillian Tamaki.

Read and Discuss Jillian Tamaki, Idea Generation


In a short post discuss the article.  Consider questions like:

What are Concepts?  What methods does Jillian Tamaki use to generate hers?

What are the specific steps she takes?

Do you have other methods unique to your process?


Be POLITE!  Be sure to read each other’s observations BEFORE posting your own.


  1. Sebastian Chapman

    Concepts are ideas. Jillian uses classic methods for her ideation. Mind mapping, research, word connections, immersion, and imagery. She starts with research, mind mapping, she may let it marinate for a day and come back to it; then she will add images to her words and start making connections before moving on to the thumbnail stage. The only thing I do different is that sometimes I will get an instant idea so I will write down words or a sentence explaining what I am envisioning and will do an extra rough sketch to remember it for later. I do image research last so that my mind stays clear and fresh.

  2. Zhiping Chen

    Jillian Tamaki’s methods for generating concepts, the passage does not specifically mention her or her techniques. It provides a general discussion about the importance of effectively communicating concepts in illustration without delving into any particular artist’s methods or practices. Therefore, it does not provide insights into Jillian Tamaki’s specific approach to generating concepts.

    What are the specific steps she takes?

    -Coming up a idea 

    -Reading something that is Interested to you

    -Collect that Media 

    -Take the source content seriously 

    -Start with words

    -Add image 


    -Build up Thumbnails

    Do you have other methods unique to your process?

    -Read something that is interested to you 


    -Collet  inspiration image/Media

    -Coming up a idea

    -sketching  Thumbnails 

  3. Fenix Frias

    According to Tamaki, concepts are ideas. She seems to think every idea has a purpose but some should never be used. Some ideas can be good and others can be bad. It’s a straightforward philosophy that I can get behind. I incorporate a lot of ideas from my bad concepts. She first starts by being interested in the topic and digs deep into research. She then collects media to inspire her project. Then she digs even deeper into the center of the content she acquired. She then grabs for ways of generating ideas like “Start with words” and “add images”. She wraps up by bringing those thumbnail sketches into final products. When it comes to my process I always like to listen to music that gives a similar feel to the aesthetic I wanna give off in my work.

  4. Layla_Flores

    Jilian Tamako stated that concepts are ideas used to communicate to the viewer to emit a reaction from them. She does a lot of research into the topic she is looking into and tries to find different ideas she can incorporate into her own illustrations. 

    Tamako starts by finding inspiration through different sources whether it be books or museums. From there she collects everything and starts brainstorming words that correlate to the topic. Tamako also finds a variety of images that she is interested in adding to her illustration. Lastly she put everything together and does thumbnails based off of her ideas.

    I have a similar process however mine is mostly based on images and finding references. Whenever I’m working on a school project I try to find images or art that connects to that topic. Once I have an idea of what I want to draw I then find references for the person or place I might be drawing.

  5. Aiesha Bennett

    As mentioned in the article, concept is an idea. Good concepts cause a reaction in the viewer who sees them. Jullian Tamaki comes up with her ideas by doing things like looking at references and collecting them, looking at written content, and doing thumbnail sketches. I enjoyed reading about her process because mine is similar. I use Pinterest a lot for inspiration and references for my ideas. I also like sketching out my ideas to play with different versions. People watching and being in nature usually helps me get ideas and think.

  6. Erick Fiallos

    Tamaki expresses that concepts are ideas that have to generate some emotion, feeling, or reaction. She establishes that she has certain rules or steps to get from a simple concept to a finished and functional illustration.

    It starts from simple concepts or ideas, going through searches in magazines, articles, museums, movies, etc. So you can continue to collect information, use a few words, and images, mix it up, and end up with a unique illustration with a clear message.

    Personally, my techniques are shorter to achieve that result. Of course, my lack of experience makes my process, although shorter, more complicated.

  7. Stephanie Erazo

    When working on a creative project, it’s super important to have a solid concept to build on. No matter how big or complicated the project is, having a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve is key. It helps you bring your ideas to life, whether you’re working on a painting, a story, or a design. 

    One thing that helps is making sure you communicate your concept effectively. You want to make sure that people who see your work get the same feeling you do. That could be anything from feeling happy and charmed to feeling curious or slightly provoked. Tamaki has some great advice on this – she suggests looking for inspiration all around you. Check out media, culture, books, movies, news, and fashion magazines. If you see something cool, save it in a “Reference” folder so you can come back to it later for ideas on colors and layouts. 

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