Toy Design: Jungle Animals

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Here’s one more project I did for DecoPac. It’s part of a series of jungle animal cake toys that were ultimately never produced.

The lion’s tail was meant to act like a lever which, when pushed, would cause his mouth to open and emit a “roar” noise from a tiny speaker.

I was asked to make the elephant sit on the cake as if he were giving himself a bath in some water, so we only needed to see the upper half of his body.

Ultimately the client went another route but it was still great fun to work on!

Toy Design: Monsters Vs. Aliens

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Here’s yet another toy design I worked on for novelty cake supplier DecoPac. It’s a cake tie-in for the DreamWorks movie Monsters vs. Aliens. It’s a little hard to tell from the photo but it’s a figurine of the Insecto character and two plastic finger rings featuring the characters B.O.B and Missing Link. The background is a concept painting from the movie designed to stand up behind the figurine.

At the time the movie was still in production and the trailer hadn’t been released yet, so all I was given to work with was some turnarounds of the characters and a concept painting of the giant Insecto character crashing through the Golden Gate bridge. Matter of fact, I still haven’t seen the movie.

Here’s the concept art I submitted, and a photo of the final cake design. One thing you’ll notice is that the arms were grouped together on the final toy. I suppose this was a safety concern, to make it harder for little kids to bite them off and choke on them:

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Toy Design: Sports Fan Bobblehead

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As I mentioned in a recent post I sometimes design novelty toys for DecoPac, a national leader in the cake industry. Often the toys involve licensed characters but sometimes they are more generic. For this project the client wanted to update the design of their “Sports Fan” cake. I’m not a sports fan myself but I would imagine this particular cake is a popular seller during the SuperBowl and other big sporting events.

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Several toy ideas were suggested including a lenticular lanyard, a folding stadium seat that would hold a beer/pop can, a small keychain radio, and a big screen TV bobblehead. Ultimately the bobblehead idea was chosen. Here’s the final design I submitted, followed by a photo of the actual cake:

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(Cake design © 2009 DecoPac Inc. All rights reserved.)

Toy Design: Surfs Up Mickey Mouse!

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For over a year now I’ve been designing toys for a company called DecoPac. They create many of the fancy birthday cakes you see in the grocery store bakeries, the ones with little plastic licensed characters on them. They offer a wide variety of quality cake designs for all occasions, and often develop fun themes using licensed characters to tie in with movie and TV franchises. On occasion they will hire me to develop toy concepts for some of the cakes. They are a terrific client and its a ton of fun.

The toys are manufactured overseas, and because of the many factors involved (including the length of time it takes to ship them across the ocean) the concepts may have to be developed a year or more ahead of time. Today I finally received samples of the very first toys I developed for them back in April of ’08, figurines of Mickey and Minnie Mouse for a surfing-themed cake. The shipment also included toys from two other cake designs which I’ll be posting in the near future.

For the surfer Mickey I developed a few different rough thumbnail ideas and then the final turnarounds. From there my sketches were sent to a sculptor and then finally to the overseas manufacturer.

Here’s the final turnaround designs as well as a promo photo of the final cake design from the DecoPac catalog. At the time the client wasn’t sure which colors to use on Minnie’s bow and swimsuit so they asked me to give them a few options:

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(Toy designs copyright © 2009 Disney/DecoPac. All rights reserved.)

Toy Concepts For Disney’s “Camp Rock”

It’s been a while since I posted any actual artwork on this blog. I’ve been cranking out artwork like crazy all spring and summer, but because of NDA’s and other client arrangements I haven’t been able to show much of the work publicly…yet. Here’s one project that I can finally let out of the box.

One of my clients is a local company that produces themed birthday cakes for licensed properties. Each cake includes a toy as part of the decoration, and I sometimes get the privilege of working up concept sketches for the toys.

Disney’s megahits High School Musical 1 & 2 were recently followed up by a new TV movie, Camp Rock. My client was hired by Disney to develop a Camp Rock-themed cake. The target audience for Camp Rock was a little older than for most cake toys, targeting teens and preteens instead of kids. Ultimately the Camp Rock cake concept never made it into stores, but the client has given me permission to post some of my work. Here’s a few of the concepts I helped develop:

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A few months ago I was hired by Peter Green Design to develop some toy ideas to pitch to Disney. I was given a list of possible toys based on three Disney properties (Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and My Friends Tigger & Pooh) and asked to do a rough concept sketch for each. A few were chosen to be considered as official Disney toys, and I was asked to do cleaned-up color versions of those roughs.

From there they went on to Disney. I’m told there’s a chance a few of them may actually make it into the production pipeline. With any luck, we may see something in stores by Christmas.

Either way, it was great fun to finally work with some Disney properties. Designing toys, I found out, is almost as fun as playing with them.