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:
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.
In fact here is an example of a character design I did before proceeding with a personal project of mine called, “Chef John’s Parade”.
I’m sure many Children’s Book Artist’s do a variation of this before they start laying out and designing their books. My primary point being that these same skills easily overlap into Toy Design and Character Design(Norman Grock will be covering Character Design later). Both of which offer freelance opportunities from a myriad of companies other than the ones you are currently sending postcards to.
So now that you know this field is an option I’m sure you have many questions.
- What do you need to include in your portfolio?
- What other skills are necessary to be qualified to do this?
- How do you find this type of work?
- What companies do you approach?
We’ll cover some of those things in Part 2 next Wednesday and the rest in Part 3 the following Wednesday. Also more on that toy project of mine. So come back and we’ll fill you in!
Please note. You can see all images larger by clicking on them.