Fur Real Poster for Hasbro HASCON 2017

I’ve worked on a lot of projects for Hasbro over the years. Most of it is concept art that must stay forever under lock and key but every once in a while I do something I can show to the world.

Recently Hasbro hosted their first very own convention, Hasbro HASCON 2017. In one of the booths they wanted to put up a giant activity board featuring Fur Real talking animatronic puppies. Kids who stopped by were given Post-It notes and invited to stick on their answers to various word balloon questions. I was hired to illustrate the icons inside the balloons and also the background pattern. The Hasbro design team put together the final layout.

Here’s a photo the client sent me of the Fur Real booth at the Con:

Wish I could have been there. I live halfway across the country from the event but it was a lot of fun to take part even in this small way.

My Little Pony Playset Stickers for Hasbro

Over the years I’ve worked on dozens of projects for Hasbro. Most of what I do for them is “planning and production” so the artwork stays behind the scenes and will never be seen by the general public. The toy business is competitive and Hasbro is naturally very protective of their ideas, which I respect.

Every once in a while something I do for them makes it out into the world, usually in the form of packaging or stickers. Back in 2015 I illustrated some stickers for a My Little Pony Equestria Girls Pinkie Pie playset. These stickers were applied at the factory to give extra color and detail to furniture in the room. The playset was released last year and can be purchased from Amazon.

Hasbro has given me permission to show a couple of the stickers: a cork board and a board game. On the cork board two of the small character photos were pasted in from existing art but otherwise I created it all from scratch. Also, the lower corner of the game board was intentionally left blank to make room of a plastic spinner.

Here’s a silly, energetic video I found online of someone having fun reviewing the playset. Hope it gives you a smile:

Illustrations for Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese has a YouTube channel where they use puppets and songs to help sell their pizzas. Recently they decided to do a music video explaining the origin story of their band of characters. Rather than use the puppets they opted for some flashback illustrations done in a watercolor storybook style. I was fortunate enough to be hired for the job.

They asked me to not illustrate the characters as puppets. Instead, they wanted me to try and match other modern 2D versions of the characters which in some cases were slightly different designs from the puppets. I did a total of nineteen illustrations. Here’s a few samples followed by the finished video:

Valentine’s Day Illustration for Lowe’s

Valentine's Day Activity Illustration for Lowe's

One of my clients, the Strottman agency, hired me to illustrate a children’s activity page with a Valentine’s Day theme for the home improvement chain Lowe’s. The male and female character had already been designed by another artist but otherwise this was built entirely from scratch. My understanding is that these were printed and distributed to kids who came in to the store with their parents for family activities and workshops during February.

Advertising Illustration for Luther Auto

Luther Auto Illustration by Cedric Hohnstadt

Brooklyn Center is a Minneapolis suburb with a stretch of road containing several car dealerships that are all owned by Luther Auto. Last summer I was hired by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to do a full-color illustration for Luther depicting a simplified version of that stretch of road. The artwork was used as an ad in the newspaper and online.

2016 Highlights and Accomplishments

2016 was another jam-packed year for my illustration studio. I’m deeply grateful to have such a fun job where I get to work on so many exciting projects with so many amazing people. Here’s a few highlights from our most recent trip around the sun. (I’ll warn you there are a lot of projects I can’t reveal yet but I’ve linked to as many as I could):

ILLUSTRATION

  • I created a couple of more spot illustrations for Highlights magazine. You can view them here and here.
  • I was hired by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to help them pitch advertising ideas to several businesses and brands, including a national pizza chain, a local Renaissance-themed event, and a couple more projects I can’t reveal yet.
  • Speaking of art I can’t show, I also illustrated an activity puzzle for a major home improvement retail chain. I should be able to post the art sometime in February.
  • Goldfish Swim Schools hired me to illustrate a fun photo standee featuring their mascot (which I also designed). I’m also in the middle of a very large project for them that I hope to be able to show in a few months.
  • I helped out the Svedvick Collective with some ad concepts for a major cereal brand (again, I’m not allowed to show the work yet. Kind of a theme here.)
  • I illustrated another Gospel tract/comic for the ministry of Living Waters. This one dealt with the subject of Atheism.

TOY DESIGN

  • I continued to help with toy design and concept art for multiple Hasbro projects (most of which I’ll never be able to show for legal/confidentiality reasons).
  • I was hired by the Strottman agency to help them pitch several toy ideas to Chick-Fil-A. Once again I’m limited in what I can show but here’s a sample.
  • I helped out the Smiley company on a large toy concept pitch for a well-known novelty toy brand, which I hope to be able to review soon. In the mean time, this year I was finally able to reveal l small sampling of another batch of concepts I did for them back in 2015.

CHARACTER DESIGN

  • I was hired by Mountainside Farms, an east coast dairy company, to design a cow mascot for their packaging.

MISC

  • My goofy cartoon sketches evolved into a webcomic I’m calling Sketchbook Silliness. People seem to like it and a couple of the cartoons went mildly viral. I’ve put together a list of my ten most popular cartoons from 2016, and I recently launched a Patreon campaign for the project which you can support here.
  • I stepped up my involvement in the National Cartoonists Society. I’m now the social media guy for our chapter which means I run our Twitter feed and Facebook group. I also organized a draw-with-kids event at the Minneapolis St. Jude Walk/Run for childhood cancer, and travelled to Sioux Falls for our fall cartooning conference.
  • I once again exhibited at both MSP Comic-Con’s.
  • I re-posted a free download of sketchbook ideas for Inktober.
  • Although most of my work is very cartoony, I also do courtroom sketching from time to time. This year I worked at trials related to Prince, ISIS, a police shooting, and the man who killed Jacob Wetterling. You can see some samples on my other website, courtroomsketches.com.

Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. I feel very blessed. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and shown interest in my work over the years. I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2017!