Monthly Archives: July 2012

The beauty of interactive entertainment – Rayman Origins

While most video game companies are worrying about 3D games and how many bloody soldiers they can fit on a screen, Ubisoft Montpellier has created a gorgeous game fans of beautiful artwork should take note of. This game is Rayman Origins. The first thing that artist should know about this game is that Ubisoft obtained a French government grant, dedicated to supporting the arts, for developing UBIArt tools. UBIArt tools is a 2D game engine that allows the artists to focus on what they do best, the artwork, and not have to worry about the technical side of how the game works. This is very evident in the imaginative cartoony characters, expressive animations, beautifully painted backgrounds and a fun slapstick comedic humor that any adult with a six year old living in side them would enjoy. The color and style of this game can be contributed to the Lead concept-artist Floriane Marchix. Continue reading

Contest-Imagine FX Rising Stars Contest

ImagineFX’s Rising Stars competition is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever. We’re looking for the finest artists working in fantasy and sci-fi art today. We’ve scrapped the age limit, and with new categories and an all-star panel of judges, this is the perfect chance for you to make a name for yourself in the area that you want to shine in. And there’s a whopping £20,000-worth of prizes to be won – just in case you needed the extra incentive!

Check out one of last years winners (and fellow Ringler), McLean Kendree!

All artwork is copyright Mclean Kendree follow link to his portfolio

The Prizes
There’s over £20,000-worth of prizes to be won by the ten over all winners – two winners to be chosen from each category by ImagineFX and our panel of judges.
We’ve teamed up with big names of the digital fantasy and sci-fi art world to offer piles of prizes, including a year’s subscription to Gnomon and Digital Art Academy, classes at Schoolism, copies of Painter 12 and new art books from Design Studio Press. Plus the winner of the Corel Painter category will be bequeathed the title of Painter Master, held by such luminaries as Ryan Church, Philip Straub and Todd Lockwood.

All artwork is copyright Mclean Kendree follow link to his portfolio

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Guest Post-Brian Krumm-3 Reasons You Must Attend the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass

So often we hear about these conferences and classes for artists to continue their education.  Many times with high admission prices and we wonder if they are worth it. We feel grateful that we can offer you insight from a trusted source who has attended an event we advertised and can give an informed review of his experience.

We posted a while ago about a wonderful opportunity for artists to take a Masterclass with veteran Pixar artists in Miami. (Post here)  We were lucky to have a reader and on the rise Illustrator that was able to attend and give us some feedback on their experience.

Brian C. Krümm is a freelance Illustrator with a promising career in front of him and a portfolio full of imagination under his arm! He informed us of his intention to attend and graciously offered to provide a review for us of his experience. So without further adieu let’s see what he thought!

3 Reasons You MUST Attend the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass


Why should you go to the Pixar Artists’ Masterclass?  Here are 3 reasons:


1) Learn

2) Experience

3) Network


To kick off the recent 2-day Masterclass in Miami, instructor Matthew Luhn gave us the following warning: Our time together is going to fly, and by the end of this course, you will never watch a movie or read a book the same way again.  He wasn’t joking!  The cost of enhancing your story-telling is $499, and it’s more than worth the investment of your time and money.

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Breaking In-Self Publishing-Doing It All Yourself!


In this candid video from Creative Talent Network. Four Artists; David Colman, Sean “Cheeks” Galloway, Stephen Silver, Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham share their experiences and wisdom from their self publishing efforts.

Very informative and insightful video. Enjoy!

Self Publishing – DIAY (Doing It “All” Yourself) from Creative Talent Network on Vimeo.

Today the roles of author and publisher have combined and are very much apart of the DIY (Do It Yourself) movement that include online animation media channels, blogs and self-publishing outlets.

Hear about the journey and the world of the creator/self publisher who has chosen this DIY route and who proudly wears the multiple hats of Author, Illustrator, Layout/Design, Printing, Publishing, Marketing/Advertising , Sales and “Creator”. Listen and gain first hand the knowledge, the rewards, the nuts and bolts, ups and downs, and reasons why these great talents choose to Do it All Yourself and publish without a third party company.

For more information visit:

Spreading Your Wings-Toy Design-Part 3

Past Articles:
Part 1
Part 2

At this point you have an idea of the standard procedures your job will take. You also have an idea of what to include in your portfolio.  So the next question is,

What other skills are necessary to be qualified to do this?

The other skills you will need will depend largely on what specific categorie of toy design you are attempting to do.

But one definitive skill you will need is the ability to understand and then communicate effectively a 3 dimensional concept.  Some may think that a shortcut for this is knowing a 3D program like Maya or ZBrush. But most people hiring will forego skill in those programs for an artist who is capable of accomplishing 3d conceptualization by traditional means.

Artwork is copyright Chris Lauria see more of his work here


The same can be said of having physical sculpting skills.  Are they a benefit to you and your employability? Definitely.  Can developing those skills be beneficial to growing your 3D drawing skills?  Absolutely.  Feel free to logically pursue artistic aspects that you feel can enhance your skill sets. Also remember that there is a stage in development that the artwork is sent to a sculptor to create the prototype of the toy. If you are sufficiently skilled in this art form, you can apply for that type of position.  But at the end of the day know that your 3D drawing skills are weighed the most heavily in terms of hireability.

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Guest Post – Aja Wells – How to Make Custom Magnets

We have a guest post today from Illustrator Aja Wells. A phenomenal artist and current MFA Candidate with the University of Hartford.

Aja drops by today to let us know how she creates one of her more popular promotional items, a magnet that features her artwork. So dig in and learn her technique and find ways to incorporate it into your own marketing plans for the future. To see more of Aja’s work follow the link to her newly redesigned website and blog.



When I prepared to attend my first SCBWI conference a few years back, I wanted to leave a take-away item that was more inspired than a postcard. While browsing my local craft store, I found some printable magnet paper. Excited, I bought a few pieces and made a print.

However, I quickly discovered that the actual paper quality was roughly equivalent to regular printer paper, and so the magnets looked dull and very home made. So, I returned to my local craft store and I found this:

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Spreading Your Wings-Toy Design-Part 2


Last week we talked about the fact that the same skills it takes to conceive of and create a children’s book bleeds over into other related fields.  (See article) These related fields are also potential employment and freelance possibilities that we should consider exploring. In this day and age it can be beneficial to be as diverse as you can. Many of us can attest to how hard it is to find work. So being able to look at other employment opportunities that don’t lead you too far astray from your general interests may be a smart option to explore.

Also know that this is meant to be a basic overview. A jumping in point. This is what you would use to get your foot in the door at an entry level position. The art of developing toy lines and the specifics in regards to production and manufacturing can take a lifetime to learn.

If Toy Design sounds like a possibility to you, then the first question you may have is;

What do toy designers do?

As with any job that involves creating a product of this nature, the creation of a toy does not rest solely in the hands of one person. There are many positions and jobs that encompass the creation of a toy from concept, to sculpts, to the final product.  The portion that overlaps the most with what a Children’s Book Artist does is the initial conceptual development phase. This will focus us mostly on the 2D portion of toy design.  At this stage being able to sculpt may not be required but can extremely beneficial to the realization of your design. This would not only be beneficial for you, but for your potential employee as well. Since your final product is going to be an actual 3D object rather than a 2D one.

Artwork is copyright Chris Lauria see more of his work here

Continue reading

Spreading Your Wings-Toy Design-Part 1


A lot of Children’s Book Artists are struggling with finding work. A part of the problem we surmise at OnceUponASketch is that maybe those seeking work are limiting themselves to Children’s Books when they most probably have the beginnings of skills that encompass more fields of expertise than they realize.

One of those potential fields is Toy Design.

A few years ago, I was asked to design a toy for a local company. I was told that I needed to draw a few options and send them in to the art director. They would select the one they liked and then ask me to draw it out in a turnaround. Not sure what a turnaround is?  It’s something like this:

Image Copyright Krisha Moeller 2008

Basically you take your character as designed and draw them in a fixed position from multiple positions; front, 3/4 front, left side, 3/4 rear, back and right side (especially important if the character is not symmetrical).  Once drawn and approved these would then be passed to the sculptors in China to then use as models for the sculpting of the actual toy.

To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. But in the process I realized that what I was doing wasn’t that unfamiliar to me. Usually as Children’s Book illustrators we get the script from either the writer or editor.  From it we come up with the look and feel of every character in the book. Their height, weight, clothes, hair color, etc.  Also their toys if they have any, their rooms, cars, buildings, creatures. The list is extensive. Very much the same as what I needed to do for that particular  toy.

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