Packaging Art for Leahy’s Leprechaun Ears

A couple of years ago I was hired by the owner of a small food company to design a mascot for a new line of chocolate covered cashews. His idea was to call them “Chocolate Covered Elf Ears”, since the shape reminded him of the ears on a small elf and he thought it would be a fun way to make his product stand out a bit from the other chocolate covered nuts on the shelf. I was asked to design an appealing elf character with chocolate ears—certainly not your everyday request—dressed in green so that he could be used for marketing pushes during both Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day.

Leahy's Chocolate Covered Leprechaun Ears

I’m not a graphic designer so the client hired another artist to design the label. Today I received a package containing the final product, “Leahy’s Chocolate Covered Leprechaun Ears”. Because of the word “leprechaun” instead of “elf”, and since we just wrapped up the Christmas season, I’m assuming this is the packaging that will be in stores for St. Patrick’s Day.

My family and I all agree, they’re delicious. The chocolate is smooth and rich, not dry or rubbery. It tastes like a quality product and I’m happy to recommend it.

So far the chocolate cashews are only available in one retail location, a Minneapolis specialty food store called Local D’Lish. If they become available elsewhere, either in stores or online, I’ll let you know.

Merry Christmas To All!

I want to take a moment to extend warm Christmas wishes to all my blog readers. I didn’t have time to put together a fancy Christmas promotional card or email this year (the image above is from last year) so this blog post will have to suffice. Here’s hoping your Christmas is filled with happiness and peace!

Speaking of Christmas, one of the things many people celebrate during the holiday is the birth of Jesus. Have you ever wondered just why Jesus being born was such a big deal? I mean, we don’t celebrate the birthdays of Mohammed or Buddha. And what’s with that whole “born of a virgin” thing anyway?

Glad you asked.

Last year I was hired by a Christian ministry called Living Waters to produce a short animation that explains the basic Christian message, including why Jesus came. To date it has received over 300,000 views on YouTube and has been subtitled into over twenty languages. If you like the video you can download an HD version for free to use however you’d like.

If you haven’t already I’d be honored if you’d take five minutes out of your busy holiday to watch it. If not, thanks for indulging me. Either way, here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Another Christmas Illustration

Artwork copyright © Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration. All rights reserved.

Here’s another Christmas illustration I’ve been working on as part of a self-promotion campaign. It’s really fun to be able to noodle something up just for me without any restrictions based on client’s needs.

One of my all-time favorite stories is Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Recently I’ve been getting inspired by watching and re-watching some of the film versions of the story. My favorites are the TV movie starring George C. Scott and the musical “Scrooge” starring Albert Finney. With all those Victorian-era images swimming around in my head I decided to doodle up this character. My wife thinks he looks like a chestnut vendor. I kinda like that.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Christmas List Suggestions


The Christmas shopping season is in full swing. If you are an artist, or you are shopping for someone who is, I invite you to take a look at the “Recommended Resources” list I’ve compiled on It’s a few of the very best books, DVDs, and other resources I’ve found on topics such as art, illustration, animation, character design, and freelancing. Items are divided into categories for easy navigation, and I only put items on the list that I have personally used and found helpful. I’ve got two tall bookcases in my studio crammed with books. This list boils down a few of my favorites.

You can also access the list through the “Recommended Resources” tab at the top of my blog.

Full disclosure: pays me a small percentage of each order that is placed after you click on the link. If enough of you place orders I might make enough money to buy some more .99 cent apps for my iPhone.