Tom Bancroft is not only talented and versatile (animator, director, character designer, illustrator, and comic book artist), he’s also about the nicest guy around. He’s currently finishing up a fantastic “how-to” book on character design. Creating Characters with Personality won’t be published for a couple of months yet, but Tom recently showed me a preview chapter and it looks incredible! Admittedly there’s a glut of “how to draw” books on the market, but this one is different in that it focuses exclusively on character design. It even includes tips and samples from other established and well-known artists (I saw a page by Jack Davis). I’m super excited about this book and encourage you to pre-order yours now! (Amazon.com has the wrong title listed, so if the link doesn’t work do an amazon search for Tom Bancroft).
(EDIT: I’m having problems with the images in this post. My apologies if they don’t load.)
Since I’m getting married Oct. 8, some friends of mine decided to throw me a surprise bachelor party. We’ve had a long-standing tradition of keeping it clean and fun while embarrassing the groom-to-be as much as possible. I’m the last one in the group to get married, so I’ve had it coming to me big time. It was an all-day embarrass-a-thon!
It started when my friends gave me a surprise wake-up call at 6am on a Saturday! They came from all over, but the prize goes to Rob, Todd, Kevin, and Dakotah. They left Fargo at 2am and drove 250 miles just to wake me up!
I’ve always been a Superman fan, so to kick things off they made me squeeze into a child-sized costume of the Man of Steel. Since my body is more jell-o than steel, we had to cut it at the waist to make it fit. Even spandex can only stretch so far.
Then they made me wear a yellow sandwich-board sign and took me out to IHOP for breakfast. In keeping with our tradition, whenever someone asks me “When are you getting married?” I have to sing about how much I love my Honey. Needless to say I did a lot of singing (the IHOP manager made sure the entire restaurant knew I was there).
After breakfast it was back to my place, where the guys hung a pinata in my front yard. I’m not sure what the neighbors thought, but I’m guessing they might hesitate before inviting me to next year’s block party.
Next was a costume change (a yellow tuxedo) followed by a drive to ValleyFair, Minnesota’s largest amusement park. I must be getting older, my stomach doesn’t handle those rides like it used to. But they’re still fun! And I don’t care what anyone says, you’re never to old for bumper cars.
For supper we went back to my place for pizza and video games. Then it was a third costume change and off to the Mall of America and Camp Snoopy. (I play a mean Fisher Price Yukalale).
Finally, we rode the light rail train to Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, where we sat down to a nice dinner in an outdoor cafe. While we were eating, a drunk Englishman came over and offered me his congratulations, then gave me a five pound note for good luck (I think that’s about $10 American).
Then it was back to my place for more video games and a good night’s sleep. The next morning Jennie (my fiance) came over and made everyone breakfast.
Was I embarassed? Oh yeah! Was it worth it? You bet. ‘Cause I’ve got the best friends and the greatest fiance a guy could ever ask for!
I’m currently working on a project designing a skateboarding cow for a dairy producer. It’s still being refined but this is my favorite sketch so far. It has to be two-color (black and blue). The client thinks the cow looks too old–I can see that–and they don’t like the pose. So back to the drawing board.
I can’t say what these are for yet, but I’ve been hired to design some characters for an upcoming project. Here’s two of them: A rapping duck and a German apple strudel. (Now I’ve got you curious, don’t I?)
Ah, the memories these bring back….
Things are pretty hectic right now, but I’m committed to keeping this blog going. So I’ll just take a moment and mention a few websites that have been really helpful to me in promoting my work and getting clients. Maybe they’ll be helpful to someone else who reads this.
First, two websites where you can showcase your work to art buyers: The I-Spot and Portfolios.com. Of the two I’ve had a great deal more success at The I-Spot, but both have provided me enough income to make them worth the cost.
Second, if you want to promote your work you’ll need a good mailing list. Adbase.com maintains data on thousands of companies and agencies that hire freelancers, including e-mail addresses. In my experience, some art directors despise spam (who doesn’t?) but many others actually want to receive “art spam” from freelancers. It actually makes their job easier when the artists send samples to them rather than them having to go look for artists. Just don’t send so often that you become a nuissance (an e-mail every 1-3 months is sufficient), and be sure to include a statement at the bottom of your message letting the recipient know how they can be removed from your mailing list.
There you go. Now get out there and toot your horn!