Comp Art: Costumed Mascot

As a freelance illustrator I’m often hired by ad agencies and marketing firms to create “comp art” or “marker comps”, which are fast, rough sketches used to pitch an idea to a client. They can be black-and-white or color, depending on the deadline and budget, but they are a lot of fun to do. Because clients are very protective of their ideas I am often asked not to reveal the comp work publicly. But every now and then someone gives me permission to tell the world what we were up to.

Recently I was hired by the Texas-based Launch Agency to help pitch a mascot idea to The Bramton Company, makers of a line of pet waste disposal products called “Bags On Board”. A few months earlier, Launch hired me to help them update the “Bags On Board mascot. Now, they wanted to pitch Bramton with the idea of having someone in a mascot costume hand out fliers and free samples at pet stores around the country.

I whipped up this color sketch to help sell the concept. It was a large, hi-res image done completely in Photoshop.

After some consideration the client ultimately decided against the costume concept. In the world of marketing that kind of thing is not uncommon. In the advertising industry a flurry of ideas come and go every day. It doesn’t make sense to do a highly-polished illustration just to get across the seed of an idea that may never even get off the ground. So the comps I’m asked to do are usually just glorified sketches, though I try to make them look nice enough to make the concept clear and appealing. Either way I still get paid, and I usually have a lot of fun helping out in the process.

Packaging Art: Bags On Board

Recently I was hired by Launch, an ad agency in the Dallas area, to create some artwork for a new packaging project. They were developing a new logo and packaging for “Bags On Board”, line of pet waste disposal products. They came to me with some concepts already fleshed out and hired me to do the final packaging illustration across the top. I wound up doing I think six different variations on this illustration, one for each product that was being showcased.

Parasites! (Advertising Illustration)


(Copyright © 2009 by Cedric Hohnstadt. All rights reserved.)

Earlier this summer I was hired by PreFurred Pet Care, a small business on the west coast, to help out with an ad campaign. They had seen an old piece from my portfolio depicting a cartoon flea and tick having a picnic on top of a dog’s head. They were wondering, could I sell them the image for use in a postcard campaign? After looking through my files I discovered I had already sold all the rights to that particular image, but I did offer to create a custom illustration just for them and their specific needs.

The client liked that idea and decided to do their own twist on the picnic idea. They would use a stock photo of a sleeping dog, and above his head they wanted to place a cartoon “dream” balloon containing some parasites getting ready to eat him. I liked the idea and did the above illustration. Here’s how it looked inside the balloon: