NBA Mascot Toys

Earlier this year I was hired to help pitch an idea for a set of very small toys (about one inch high) based on NBA mascots. My job was to design tiny busts of each basketball mascot in a unified visual style. I don’t follow sports much but I do love mascots, so this was a ton of fun!

Because of budget limitations I was only allowed to use an average of four colors per mascot. If I wanted to use five colors in one, that meant another mascot could only have three. It also meant that some of the mascots would not be 100% color accurate, but that’s one of the realities of the toy biz.

I started with turnarounds of four mascots…

…followed by front-only views of eighteen additional mascots:

I was really having a ball but then, unfortunately, the plug was pulled on the project. Fortunately the client did give me permission to share the work I did, which isn’t always the case with abandoned projects so I’m grateful. Oh well. Not every shot makes it in.

Style Exploration for Disney Figurines

A toy licensing company asked me to help them explore ideas for a line of Disney figurines. They wanted the characters to be recognizable but at the same time stylistically unique, almost as if the characters all belonged in the same world. It sounded like a fun challenge.

I started by noodling around just to see what might work and what wouldn’t. First I tried to see what I could/couldn’t do with Mickey Mouse, followed by Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-It-Ralph:

After some client feedback we eventually settled on a “look”. Next I began exploring possible poses for the figurines. They asked that the characters appear to interact with each other visually, but with poses that would also work as stand-alone figurines:

Eventually I worked up sketches and turnarounds for twelve characters. I can’t show them all but here’s what we wound up doing with Dash and Violet from The Incredibles:

Unfortunately the plug was pulled before the project could make it across the finish line. But it was fun while it lasted. (Images are posted with client permission.)

Deleted Post

After initially giving me permission to share my work, the client changed their mind and asked me to remove this project from my website due to legal confidentiality reasons. Sorry about that. You can view my other toy design, illustration, and cartooning work on my Portfolio page or my blog.

Plush Tortoises

Last year I was hired by a toy entrepreneur who had a vision to create plush tortoises that would be appealing but also scientifically accurate. He wanted toys that would help children learn to distinguish between breeds as well as explore various differences in body, pattern, and texture. The challenge was to create something that was cute and cuddly but also detailed and proportionally similar to a real tortoise.

So far the project is only at the prototype stage but he has given me permission  to share the work I did. Below are my sketches for three breeds of tortoise, along with photos of two of the finished prototypes. For more info you can follow the project on Facebook.

My Little Pony Playset Stickers for Hasbro

Over the years I’ve worked on dozens of projects for Hasbro. Most of what I do for them is “planning and production” so the artwork stays behind the scenes and will never be seen by the general public. The toy business is competitive and Hasbro is naturally very protective of their ideas, which I respect.

Every once in a while something I do for them makes it out into the world, usually in the form of packaging or stickers. Back in 2015 I illustrated some stickers for a My Little Pony Equestria Girls Pinkie Pie playset. These stickers were applied at the factory to give extra color and detail to furniture in the room. The playset was released last year and can be purchased from Amazon.

Hasbro has given me permission to show a couple of the stickers: a cork board and a board game. On the cork board two of the small character photos were pasted in from existing art but otherwise I created it all from scratch. Also, the lower corner of the game board was intentionally left blank to make room of a plastic spinner.

Here’s a silly, energetic video I found online of someone having fun reviewing the playset. Hope it gives you a smile:

Rubik’s Cube Toy Concepts

Recently I was approached by the Smiley Company. They wanted to pitch the Rubik’s Cube people with some ideas for expanding the Rubik’s brand into other toys and they needed a lot of artwork to help sell the concepts.

They gave me a giant list of really fun ideas. Most were fully formed but there were also a few I helped develop, all under the art direction of Smiley. There was so much work (over 65 illustrations) that I brought in some help on the final renderings from three other pro illustrators: Bob Ostrom, Justin Dial, and Carlo Lo Raso.

Here’s a small sampling of the final concepts I submitted (click images to enlarge):

Rubik's Cube-Twisty Math PuzzleSmiley Rubik's Cube Ceramic GardenSmiley Rubik's Cube RattleSmiley Rubik's Cube Build-A-Maze ConceptSmiley Rubik's Cube Origami Concept