Coming Soon-Once Upon A Sketch launches their first Season of Podcasts

We are happy to announce that we will soon be launching Season One of our Podcast Series.

Each season will be dedicated primarily to covering a particular aspect of the Children’s Market. We’ll be interviewing professionals from each industry and letting them share their wisdom and knowledge with you, our future listeners. We’ll also be giving insight into our freelance experiences and answering submitted questions from you!

Season One of our Podcast will focus on Toy Design and the people working within the toy industry in varied capacities.

What we’d like to know from you is if you had the opportunity to ask a professional within the toy industry a question about their work, what would it be?

Please feel free to post your questions in the comments or e-mail them to us at We’ll do our best to include your name and questions when we interview.

Also let us know of any questions you may have for us in particular about any aspect of the children’s market. We’ll do our best to answer it on air or in a future article! So let us know!


  1. Denver Wagner

    Very Exciting! I am really looking forward to your podcast. One question I have is:

    How close to a finished product are companies looking for? If I have an idea for a toy or game, should I submit a simple sketch w/ the idea? A very detailed and specific design layout? A prototype?


  2. Wilson Williams – Preparing to Launch Season One of Once Upon A Sketch Podcast | Illustration and Art News for Illustrators and Artists

    […] Link: Wilson Williams – Preparing to Launch Season One of Once Upon A Sketch Podcast Pin […]

  3. Wilson Williams – Preparing to Launch Season One of Once Upon A Sketch Podcast | Uber Patrol - The Definitive Cool Guide

    […] External Link: Wilson Williams – Preparing to Launch Season One of Once Upon A Sketch Podcast […]

  4. Chris Lauria

    Looking forward to the podcasts.

    As a toy industry professional, I’d like to know what other toy designers charge for their concepts sketches =)

    • Wilson Williams, Jr.

      LOL! Chris I tried so hard to get the info out of other pros to no avail! It was crazy. Hopefully during the interview process someone will open up but toy people seem to be really good at keeping things on the hush!

      • Chris Lauria

        It must be a matter of national security.

        I know studios charge much more for their time than a freelancer, but I only have an idea of the range – not actual prices.

        I try to stay consistent with my prices, but while some of my clients gripe about every dollar, other clients have revealed to me that I can charge a little more =) It seems to have more to do with a client’s budget then a set rate, and if you’re willing to work with them. Obviously the bigger clients can afford to pay better while the little guys watch every $

        When the economy tanked, I noticed some companies tried to take advantage of a desperate freelance pool by paying less and asking for quicker turn-arounds. Did this happen in your neck of the woods?

        • WilsonWJr

          That’s part of the reason that we can’t get ahead in my opinion. Way too many artists believe in not sharing prices. Which only gives the clients the advantage. I know in particular of one friend who charged $1,000 to a client that another friend charged $6,000 for the same thing to the same client and truth be told both probably underbid. They both got the work. But one walked away with substantially more money than the other. The one who walked away the biggest winner was the client. Negotiating price for me is always the scariest part. Maybe when (and if) we do the roundtable we can discuss that a bit!

          In my neck of the woods. The economy did seem to change the pricing for some. But for most the prices and time alotted stayed the same but the number of jobs and projects available took a dive. Which is part of what brought on my drive to try and Achemmm “Spread My Wings” a bit. I just wanted other artists in the Children’s Market to know that there are other things we can do besides children’s books, educational materials and magazines.

  5. Deron

    We have been working really hard to get our project off the ground , toys are a big part of it. What can we do to make someone set up and pay attention, and yes budget is a factor


    • WilsonWJr

      Deron, from what we know, you would approach this as though you were creating a larger license. There are many processes to do this. The one that sticks out in my head is to gather a large enough following and level of popularity that you bring them (those interested in buying your property)to you. Many properties have gone this route. I would imagine you’d need to do the same. Think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m sure you could find smaller toy companies that may consider taking on your product. Larger ones tend to buy lic. of already established properties and not new ones with no pre-existing proof of success like product sales. There are also some network like Nickelodeon that will let you propose your ideas for television shows. I believe children’s book artist Dan Santat got his show, The Replacements, with Disney.

  6. Keith H.

    Hi WilsonWJr – Thank you very much for doing this! I’ve been looking for a way to get into the toy industry (as an artist) for a little while now. Hopefully these are the type of question you’re looking for:

    What would be your recommendations for a new freelancer that wants to break into toy design?

    Which schools seem to have the strongest toy design program (West Coast specifically for me, but open to any answers for group benefit)?

    What is the best way to approach a toy company for freelance work? Who do you contact?

    • WilsonWJr

      No problem Keith! We’ll do our best to get your answers questioned. At this time we are planning on having the public questions get answered during the roundtable podcast. We’ll keep you posted! Be sure to follow us so you can stay informed!

  7. Kelly Johnson

    Great ideas ahead! I’d like to know what general sources, the industry, goes to when determining what is ‘age appropriate’ as with each generation this seems to change.

    For instance, in the good old days, my mother had a Grimm’s Story book and in the 3 little pigs, the wolf is in the pot boiling. Due to -we all know what, such an illustration is not shown anymore. At least, not in a book for 3-5 year olds. So, how do you know?

    • WilsonWJr

      Thanks Kelly! Some things you don’t know until the publisher tells you. Often publishers play it as safe as possible. A lot also depends on what area of the Children’s Market you’re working in. In trade markets their is more wiggle room for content since the buyer (parent)controls what is purchased and read to the child. But in the educational market you will have a LOT of restrictions and no no’s. For instance even when at a pool or beach scene you can’t generally draw anyone without their shirts on or showing more skin than their arms and legs from slightly above the knees down. Which isn’t very realistic but in the hopes of not producing anything potentially titillating or that may produce giggles with children. But in general you can look to current children’s programming to get an idea of what is considered acceptable and what the new “low” is. At this time boogers, zombies and poo poo jokes are very popular. But those things shift constantly. We’ll try to investigate this a bit more for you and see what we can find! Thanks for the question!


Leave a Reply