Plush Hoodies

I was hired by Ontel Products to help them flesh out an idea for a new product: plush animals that can be unzipped and unfold into cozy hoodies for kids. They wanted some sketches of what those animals might look like.

I started by experimenting with some rough thumbnail sketches exploring various shapes and proportions:

After some back-and-forth we settled on a “look” and a template for the animals. Here are a few turnarounds of some of the animals I created to help guide the manufacturer:

Recently the client sent me some photos of the final product:

Shark Mascot

Recently I was hired by SwimKids USA to help them re-brand with a new mascot. They had a cartoon shark they had been using but wanted to refresh it. Here’s a few rough concept sketches I submitted along with the final design:

Animal Character Designs

Dr. John Trent is a best-selling author who runs a Christian ministry called Strong Families. On their website they offer a free personality test, the results of which sort people into four broad personality type. Each one is represented by a different animal (Otters, Lions, Golden Retrievers, and Beavers). Different versions of the animals have been used in the past, including classy black-and-white line art versions for their website and illustrated versions for a children’s book called The Treasure Tree. I was hired by Strong Families to design an updated cartoon versions of each of the four animals.

Style Exploration for Disney Figurines

A toy licensing company asked me to help them explore ideas for a line of Disney figurines. They wanted the characters to be recognizable but at the same time stylistically unique, almost as if the characters all belonged in the same world. It sounded like a fun challenge.

I started by noodling around just to see what might work and what wouldn’t. First I tried to see what I could/couldn’t do with Mickey Mouse, followed by Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-It-Ralph:

After some client feedback we eventually settled on a “look”. Next I began exploring possible poses for the figurines. They asked that the characters appear to interact with each other visually, but with poses that would also work as stand-alone figurines:

Eventually I worked up sketches and turnarounds for twelve characters. I can’t show them all but here’s what we wound up doing with Dash and Violet from The Incredibles:

Unfortunately the plug was pulled before the project could make it across the finish line. But it was fun while it lasted. (Images are posted with client permission.)

Download My Updated Portfolio

It’s been a couple of years so I’ve updated my PDF portfolio with a some new samples. It contains fifteen¬†pages of illustration, character design, toy design concepts, webcomics, and misc. drawings. Download a copy to keep on file, take to a meeting, or email to a client or colleague.

Download PDF Portfolio

Champs

Recently I was hired to help create some character art for GoNoodle, a fun company that uses videos and games to help kids get more active physically and mentally. They were developing a series of fun monster characters called Champs. Another artist had done some terrific concept work but they asked me to build on it by asking me to imagine what those characters would look like at different ages as they grew up. For some characters/poses they provided preliminary sketches, for others I was able to build from scratch. There were about two dozen characters that needed four illustrations each. I took it to b&w line art, then passed it back to GoNoodle for final coloring.

The full range of finished art should be going public soon, but in the mean time GoNoodle has given me permission to share some of what I did for them. It was a super fun project and they were terrific to work with.