Toy Vehicles for The Smiley Company

The Smiley Company has a line of toy figurines based on the classic smiley face we’ve all seen a thousand times. They hired me to help design some vehicles and playlets for an upcoming toy line. I hope to share the playlet art soon but in the mean time here’s how the vehicle concepts turned out.

Headbands & Glasses for Goldfish Swim School

One of my regular clients is Goldfish Swim School. I designed their mascot Bubbles the Goldfish and have done work for them off and on ever since. Recently they decided to create punch-out headbands and glasses/masks for kids to wear, with a different theme each month. Here’s some samples of what I drew up for them:

Children's headbands and glasses illustrated by Cedric Hohnstadt for Goldfish Swim Schools.

Weegos Packaging Illustrations

Alley Oop Toys asked me to help them with the expansion and rebrand of their Weegos toy line. Weegos are small animal characters that can clip onto pencils, backpacks, etc. They also wear mix-and-match shirts with fun slogans on them that you can collect.

The only character the client had was the sloth, but they wanted to expand into a line of additional animals. They hired me to design five new characters, including finished vector art for packaging and promotion.

Here are the characters I designed and illustrated for them:

I also illustrated a “money shot” of the sloth attached to a pencil…

…and Alley Oop toys sent me the Weegos logo, asking me to illustrate the characters grouped around it:

Here’s how the final packaging turned out:

Plush Hoodies

I was hired by Ontel Products to help them flesh out an idea for a new product: plush animals that can be unzipped and unfold into cozy hoodies for kids. They wanted some sketches of what those animals might look like.

I started by experimenting with some rough thumbnail sketches exploring various shapes and proportions:

After some back-and-forth we settled on a “look” and a template for the animals. Here are a few turnarounds of some of the animals I created to help guide the manufacturer:

Recently the client sent me some photos of the final product:

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.)