Download My Newly Updated PDF Portfolios

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I’ve just cooked up a piping hot batch of portfolio artwork for you to enjoy.

You can now download updated PDFs of my Illustration, Character Design, and Toy Design portfolios over on my Downloads Page. Save ’em, print ’em, or keep them on file.

As always, you can also download a free list of 100 sketchbook ideas. If you are in need of a mascot, there’s also a free character design questionnaire to help you think through what your needs are and how a mascot can help you promote your business or brand.

What are you waiting for? Head on over to my free download page before it gets cold.

2014 Highlights and Accomplishments

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2014 was another full and exciting 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:

Illustration

  • I worked on several really fun projects I can’t say too much about yet, including some product illustrations for some upcoming Hasbro toys and some local ads for a well-known household brand. Hoping I can say a little more soon.
  • I created a couple of spot illustrations for Highlights magazine. You can view them here and here.
  • I created some mobile messaging stickers for an upcoming project from a company called Tourean.
  • I illustrated a New York-themed coloring page for some Crayola packaging.
  • I was able to reveal some rough FPO sketches I did for a Best Buy catalog through the Olson agency.
  • I also created some concept sketches for CPC Intersect to use in a pitch to Coca-Cola, with the help of a couple of other local illustrators. (Unfortunately I can’t show those yet either.)
  • I was hired by Dugan Design to illustrate a cover for an upcoming humor book.
  • Just for fun I sketched up my first ever web comic, the Twinkie Weight Loss Plan. It was probably the most liked and shared thing I did all year.

 

Toy Design

  • I continued to stay very busy doing toy design and concept art for multiple Hasbro projects (which unfortunately I’m not allowed to show).
  • I was able to reveal some concept work I did in 2013 for an Incredible Hulk toy for DecoPac, Inc.

 

Character Design

  • I continued designing animated characters for new VeggieTales DVD’s including Veggies In Space and Celery Night Fever.
  • I designed some characters for a new upcoming project from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. I can’t yet reveal the final designs but I was able to share some early concepts.
  • designed a mascot named Sir Cumference for an upcoming project about weight loss.
  • I created some more illustrations using a mascot I designed for Goldfish Swim Schools. I’m hoping I can reveal those soon.
  • I also designed several characters for an educational website through an animation studio in California, but unfortunately I don’t yet have permission to share that work either. (I guess confidentiality was a theme this year.)

 

Misc

  • We moved! I’m now working out of a bigger, roomier studio in our new home in Burnsville, MN. We are still in the Minneapolis area but now with more elbow room. My new address is on my contact page.
  • I was nominated for a Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society in the category of Advertising Illustration. Ultimately I finished as a runner up but it was still a tremendous honor to be nominated!
  • Speaking of the National Cartoonists Society, they must be getting hard up for content because I was also featured on the cover of their monthly newsletter.
  • I was interviewed twice. First by animation studio owner and author Todd Hampson about balancing work, business, and life as an artist. I was also interviewed on the Creative Independence Podcast where I discussed my what I learned from my Kickstarter campaign for the Pose Drawing Sparkbook.
  • Speaking of the Sparkbook, after only nine months I completely sold out of physical copies of the book! Fortunately the digital version is still available along with my new-ish webinar “Bringing Your Drawings To Life”.
  • Since I’m making shameless plugs, this year I also released a 2-hour webinar called “Freelancing Tips and Tricks” (available exclusively on TaughtByAPro.com) and “Sketchercise!”, a new PDF sketchbook available on Gumroad or in my studio store.
  • I once again exhibited at FallCon and SpringCon, Minnesota’s semi-annual comic book conventions.
  • I was a featured panelist in The Pricing Game, a webinar for freelancers sponsored by the Graphic Artists Guild.
  • I posted a free download of sketchbook ideas for Inktober.
  • I started a YouTube channel. I’m still not sure what exactly to do with it but you might find a few things of interest to watch.
  • Like everyone else I took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but with an artistic twist.
  • I even took a few breaks to dabble in my sketchbook.

 

Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. This was one of the busiest years I can ever remember for my studio, but also one of the most enjoyable. I feel very blessed. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and shown interest in my work over the years. Here’s hoping 2015 is the best year yet!

Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

One of my clients is DecoPac, Inc., a novelty toy company that makes many of the cake toppers you see in bakeries and grocery stores. Most of their products are tied to licensed merchandise, and sometimes I get the fun of helping them develop a toy idea for a popular character. The challenge is to come up with something creative and fun for kids to play with, but that can also be produced inexpensively (often with no moving parts) and fit within the 3″ clearance space of a plastic birthday cake box.

Last year they asked me to help out with a toy for a new animated series from Disney/Marvel called “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” We worked up a couple of ideas. Now that the toy is in stores I can publish the final design, but the client has requested that I keep the other sketches under wraps.

Hulk Smash!

Hulk Smash!

Hulk Smash!

Here’s how the final toy turned out:

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NCS Newsletter

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a proud member of the National Cartoonists Society. It’s a terrific organization that includes some of the top professional cartoonists and humorous illustrators in the country among its many members.

The NCS has been around for decades and after all these years it seems they are finally running out of ideas for their monthly newsletter. They’ve had to resort to interviewing me for their cover story. Unfortunately I can’t post a link to the interview because it is a print-only publication and, to my knowledge, only available to members. If you make at least part of your living as a professional cartoonist you are welcome to join.

2013 Highlights and Accomplishments

This is a few days late, but I thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect on what an awesome and action-packed year 2013 turned out to be! Here’s a few of the highlights from my studio:

Illustration

Toy Design

  • I continued doing toy design and concept art for multiple Hasbro projects (which unfortunately I’m not allowed to show).
  • I did some packaging art and concept sketches for Crayola, which I also can’t show (yet).
  • I did get permission to show a bit of toy concept work for Toys-R-Us.
  • Some Cut the Rope  and Cars toys I designed for DecoPac, Inc. started appearing on cakes in bakeries all over the country.

Character Design

Misc

 

Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. This was one of the busiest years I can ever remember for my studio, but also one of the most enjoyable. I feel very blessed. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and shown interest in my work over the years. Here’s hoping 2014 is the best year yet!

“Cars” Cow Tipping Cake

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A few months ago novelty cake maker DecoPac, Inc. hired me to help them develop a jumbo “signature” cake to promote the Cars franchise for Disney/Pixar. Because this would be a large, triple-layer cake there was more freedom than usual to do something really fun and appealing.

I started by working up several very rough thumbnail concepts of possible ideas:

(Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)

The client liked the “tractor tipping” idea (bottom row, middle). So I worked that up into a detailed color sketch:

"Cars" Cake Concept by Cedric Hohnstadt for DecoPac, Inc.
(Click to enlarge.)

From their DecoPac refined the design and sent it off to the manufacturer. And yes, the “cow tractor” tips over and even makes a “Moo” sound!

Cars-Tractor Tipping ToyYou can also view the final product on the DecoPac website.