Once Upon a Sketch Podcast Episode 1 – Claude Bonnaud

Norman Grock and Wilson Williams, Jr. interview Claude Bonnaud about his work in the field of Toy design. Claude created his own Design studio in 1995 and began creating children’s licensed properties Since 2008. He has worked with companies like Crayola, Disney and Pixar. Claude Bonnaud shares with you some of his tips and tricks for creating wonderful toy designs. To find out more about Claude’s work visit his website at Please note that this podcast is released on the first Monday of every month.

Links mentioned in this episode: (37:00)

ToyNews (37:55)

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Past Series of Articles on Breaking into Toy Design:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Check out Norm‘s portfolio and Wilson‘s portfolio!
Follow Norm and Wilson on Twitter!

Once Upon A Sketch Genesis-Part One

Times are changing and something new and different is needed to break into the industry. Sometimes it’s better to work as a group rather than alone.

A. Pool your resources.
B. Cut your costs.
C. Use the collective wisdom of multiple people rather than go it alone.

After seeing other Illustrator Collaborative groups who promote themselves together in marketing plans, I thought it would be a great idea to do this as well. The problem was finding artists that I respected, admired and knew well enough to do this with. I also wanted artists whose styles were different enough that we didn’t step on each others toes when it came time to landing job opportunities.

The first person I asked to join was Aja Wells. Aja is a spunky young illustrator with amazingly warm and comforting characters. She is currently in the process of getting her Masters degree from the University of Hartford. I fell in love with her work and had to correspond with her to tell her so! Aja and I built our friendship after she wrote me a scathing e-mail tearing into me for not having my e-mail address prominently featured on my websites. She told me, “I was too good to miss employment opportunities over such a simple error and oversight.” She was frank, honest and a firecracker of a personality that I immediately took an appreciation of. She always speaks from her heart and is earnest and dedicated to her craft. Luckily when I asked her to join, she was interested!

The second person was Norman Grock. Norman and I met and corresponded through a group called, Zero 2 Illo. I was immediately impressed by his imagination, characters and skill level. Norman has the rare talent of not only being able to create characters but also being able to build worlds and universes from his imagination. His work explores the young male imaginative fantasy world in a beautiful and fanciful way. After the group was over we continued to speak with one another critiquing our respective work and new pieces. We shared childhood interests and inspirations that made us want to draw. Needless to say of the group we would be the ones to geek out over comic books, fantasy, video games, MegaMan or sci-fi movies! Norman is a hard working, witty,sarcastic and intelligent individual with a heart of gold. Again, the stars were aligned for me when he expressed interest in my project.

The third person to join our group was Edrian Thomidis. We’d met through a number of Illustration critique groups, SCBWI and forums. I was always impressed with her ability to infuse her work with raw emotion and personal experience. Her illustrations focus on the strength and love of family. You can tell the difference between someone who is drawing something they know nothing about and someone who has experienced something physically and emotionally and are able to translate that to paper. Edrian has that magic. Edrian is the multi-talented, intelligent and wisest member of our group. Little did I know how strong a personality and business sense she possessed. She has an amazing talent for looking at the bigger picture and making sure we stay on track with our goals and purpose. She is never without an idea or vision of how to make things better and expand on the technical or non-conventional obstacles we come across that we hadn’t expected. It was an honor to have her agree to be a part of this! The group wouldn’t be complete without her!

With the core group of artists formed we set forth and named ourselves, the Once Upon A Sketch group and started the process of creating our identity and figuring out how we would market ourselves and to whom.

Our group is unique in that we try to represent as many aspects of the Children’s Market as we can. Each of us has interests in various aspects of it and we wanted to use our group and our blog to investigate those aspects and gather resources that have helped us and will help others.

We plan on doing a lot more than just sending out postcards together. We plan on expanding our communities knowledge of the opportunities that exist in the Children’s Market beyond Children’s books. But I’ll talk more about that in part 2 of this article!!! Until then feel free to browse our website and give input! We’d love to hear from you!

-Wilson W, Jr.