Toy Vehicles for The Smiley Company

The Smiley Company has a line of toy figurines based on the classic smiley face we’ve all seen a thousand times. They hired me to help design some vehicles and playlets for an upcoming toy line. I hope to share the playlet art soon but in the mean time here’s how the vehicle concepts turned out.

‘Slinky Headz’ Toy Designs for Alex Brands

Last year the toy company Alex Brands hired me to work up some character designs for a new line of toys called Slinky Headz. Each toy is a cylindrical monster character with a slinky inside, with the idea being that the top and bottom half of each can be removed and mixed-or-matched. One tricky restriction was that each piece needed to look good upside up and also upside down (in other words, if you flipped the face upside down it still needed to look like an upside-up face).

I was asked to brainstorm several rough designs, which were then narrowed down to a werewolf, a witch doctor, a zombie, and an lizard alien.

The client was happy with what I did but ultimately the decision was made to change gears and go with a different style of artwork for the final product. Oh well, sometimes that happens. Still it was a lot of fun to work on.

Headbands & Glasses for Goldfish Swim School

One of my regular clients is Goldfish Swim School. I designed their mascot Bubbles the Goldfish and have done work for them off and on ever since. Recently they decided to create punch-out headbands and glasses/masks for kids to wear, with a different theme each month. Here’s some samples of what I drew up for them:

Children's headbands and glasses illustrated by Cedric Hohnstadt for Goldfish Swim Schools.

Haunted Mansion for Kid Stuff Marketing

Kid Stuff Marketing creates happy meal-style toys and games for restaurants. They hired me to illustrate a “flashlight find” game with a haunted mansion theme. It’s a simple but very clever toy. Here’s how it works:

The artwork is printed on transparent plastic, then glued into a cardboard sleeve over a black background. When the transparent image is laid over the black it’s almost impossible to make out anything. (I was asked not to make the colors too bright to aid this effect.)

On the back of the frame is a punch-out “flashlight” with a white circle at the end. You slide the white circle into the frame, between the art and the black background, and boom! You can see the image.

I made this TikTok video to show it in action:

On the back of the cardboard sleeve are several questions (“How many cobwebs are there?”, “What is popping out from behind the couch?” etc.). It’s a simple but super fun gimmick! My kids loved it and said it blew their minds. They couldn’t figure out how it worked without any lights or batteries.

Kid Stuff Marketing does a lot of fun work and I’m honored to help them out. Here’s a few details from the illustration I submitted:

Happy Halloween!

Weegos Packaging Illustrations

Alley Oop Toys asked me to help them with the expansion and rebrand of their Weegos toy line. Weegos are small animal characters that can clip onto pencils, backpacks, etc. They also wear mix-and-match shirts with fun slogans on them that you can collect.

The only character the client had was the sloth, but they wanted to expand into a line of additional animals. They hired me to design five new characters, including finished vector art for packaging and promotion.

Here are the characters I designed and illustrated for them:

I also illustrated a “money shot” of the sloth attached to a pencil…

…and Alley Oop toys sent me the Weegos logo, asking me to illustrate the characters grouped around it:

Here’s how the final packaging turned out:

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: