The Art of Coco review

Discover how Pixar brought the Land of the Dead to life.

Miguel watching as his flesh body decays, revealing his skeletal hands

Our Verdict

Packed with gorgeous concept art and a dash of informative insights, The Art of Coco is the perfect companion for a trip into the afterlife.


  • Quality behind-the-scenes visuals
  • Fascinating folklore insights
  • Variety of mediums on display


  • More insight from the artists involved would improve

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When it comes honouring the lives of friends and family members who have passed away, the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) does so with exuberant and colourful traditions instead of sombreness. These vivid celebrations are at the centre of Coco, Pixar’s latest cinematic release.

In a brief foreword to the film’s art book, The Art of Coco (opens in new tab), John Lasseter – who was until recently chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation – explains that the filmmaking team went to great efforts to ensure that they got the look of the film right while respecting Mexican traditions. And in this book, we see how the team’s research paid off.

The bulk of the book takes us on a tour of the characters and locations in Coco. This includes concept art sketches, environment illustrations of the Land of the Dead, and even character design (opens in new tab) insight such as clay sculpts of the film’s skeletal cast.

Spread of the Art of Coco

The book explores how folklore influenced the design of Coco
(opens in new tab)

But there’s more to enjoy here than high-quality visuals. Thanks to regular insights from story artists and production designers, you also get an understanding of Mexico’s fascinating folklore, and learn how it’s cleverly and tastefully used to inform the artistic direction of the film. Coco looks like one to remember.

This article was originally published in issue 159 of ImagineFX (opens in new tab); subscribe here. (opens in new tab)

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The Verdict

out of 10

The Art of Coco review

Packed with gorgeous concept art and a dash of informative insights, The Art of Coco is the perfect companion for a trip into the afterlife.

Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.