Big Wheels

Recently I was hired by Alex Brands to help with the launch of a new line of Big Wheels bikes. They were considering using illustrations for the packaging and asked me to whip up a couple of preliminary concepts of what that might look like (one boy, one girl). Here’s what I submitted (posted with client permission):

 

2017 Highlights and Accomplishments

It’s been another exciting year of illustration adventures, full of thrills and chills!

ILLUSTRATION

  • An illustration I did for the Strottman Agency was published by Lowe’s in a Valentine’s Day kids’ activity kit.
  • Hasbro gave me permission to reveal some sticker illustrations I had done for a My Little Pony playset and a Fur Real poster for HASCON 2017. I also did a bit of illustration on a Star Wars playset that I hope to reveal soon.
  • Chuck E Cheese hired me to illustrate a music video on their YouTube channel.
  • I illustrated packaging for some new toys from Alex Brands (unfortunately I can’t reveal it yet).
  • I helped illustrate a bunch of fun cartoon monster characters for GoNoodle.
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune hired me to illustrate ads for a local car dealership and a local credit union.
  • I illustrated a booklet for a nonprofit through the O’Design Group.
  • I helped local agency Create Play Connect with some concept art for a pitch to Allstate Insurance.

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 Disney and Chick-Fil-A.
  • I was hired by a European company, Brand Loyalty Creative Lab, to design some Disney figurines (can’t show them yet unfortunately).
  • I was able to reveal some work I’d done helping out the Smiley company on a large toy concept pitch for Rubik’s Cube.
  • I helped design some plush toys for a new company (can’t say much about it yet).
  • I helped local agency Create Play Connect with some concept art for a pitch to Allstate Insurance.

CARTOONING

  • I’ve continued to post about one gag cartoon a week for most of the year.
  • I launched a Kickstarter for my first book of cartoons, Mostly Nonsense. Over 160 people backed the project! The book will ship in early January but you can pre-order it now, or buy the PDF version for immediate download.
  • My audience continues to grow. My cartoons were featured on the front page of sites like Imgur, 9gag, and Bored Panda. I gained over one thousand new followers on social media, I now have over 200 people subscribing to get new cartoons by email (it’s free!), and I gained some new backers on Patreon.

MISC

  • I was interviewed on the podcasts Origin: Stories of Creativity and Comics Coast to Coast.
  • I posted a few new videos on my YouTube channel.
  • I once again exhibited at both MSP Comic-Con’s.
  • I’ve posted some original art for sale in my studio store.
  • Although most of my work is very cartoony, I also do courtroom sketching from time to time. This year I sketched the trial for the Yanez-Castille police shooting (the one with the Facebook Live video that went viral). You can see some samples of my courtroom work on my other website, courtroomsketches.com.

Another productive year is in the books! Thanks to all of you who have supported me and shown interest in my work over the years. I wish you all a wonderful 2018!

Podcast Interview: Comics Coast to Coast

I want to say a huge thanks to Comics Coast to Coast for interviewing me on their latest podcast. We talked about a lot of topics from Monster Cereals to toy design to digital brushes to ethnic sensitivities when designing characters. I talked a bit too fast in the first ten minutes or so (newbie mistake) but if you keep listening it gets better. It was a fun conversation and everyone was super nice! They do a great show and their past episodes are definitely worth digging through. Give ’em a listen!

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: