Friday, June 27, 2008

A boy & his dog

Like a lot of kids who grew up to become illustrators I liked to draw cartoon characters and superheroes. Over the years I've worked with scores of licensed characters and properties in the toy business, and my love of character and production design started getting me projects where I'd be asked to come up with original character designs for toys at Mattel, Hasbro, and Fisher Price.

Some of that work will be covered in future posts.
These sketches are the result of an exercise I came up with for myself. One reason was for the experience, but also should any director or design manager ask to see some original character work.

The idea was to explore a range of looks for simply "a boy and his dog". The only restriction I gave myself was that the characters must be capable of being sculpted (no 'floating' elements like eyebrows). Nor could it be too graphic-based (Computer Generated, expressively 'inky' or 'washy', etc.)

I tried to cover a broad range of looks, bearing in mind the requirement of some visual chemistry between the 2 characters. Part of the challenge (and great fun) was playing with different ways the 2 could widely differ, but still complement each other.

Here's what I came up with;


I've always thought these sorts of personal side projects are vital for an artist or illustrator who is out there trying to make a living. They're essentially self-directed projects that work certain muscles and, over time, bring a lot of range and diversity to what you can show an art director.

I've been lucky enough to get work doing other production design for film and video games, having contributed vehicle designs to the 1999 film
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.

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