My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.



At work, I have various projects in different stages of development which is the usual way the toy product development team has to work.

Basically it's a revolving process of getting an art request, coming up with different concepts (usually rough sketches), submitting that to our creative manager, doing some tweaking as needed after getting his feedback, then submitting it to the product line manager for approval.

While you're waiting to hear back from the specific product manager, generally one of 6, (depending on the urgency or availability of the PM, you may go directly to their office for feedback, send an email and hear back that afternoon, or send an email to China 'cause they're at one of the factories and get a reply the next day); you get to work on the other art requests that you're juggling in various stages of development - just started, got first set of comments and approval to go to final art, got first set of comments with a ton of changes, got 2nd set of comments and additional revisions, etc., etc..

And don't forget, there's frequently other requests from sales and/or marketing with vendor feedback on samples that were produced and changes that they would like to have in order for them to actually buy the product for their retail stores; or sometimes we'll get ideas from consumers or vendors about what they'd like to have us create for them specially. So we have exclusives for that kind of thing.

And hey, as product designers or toy designers, we even come up with some original ideas of our own which occasionally end up as actual products. :)

One of the reasons I get certain product requests instead of the other artists on my team is due in part to the illustration work I've done in the past. Which is why I found it rather fascinating to recently check out the online portfolio by Kinuko Y. Craft, featuring illustrations for children's books and fairy tales. My traditional technique has some similarities to her production process; although I've had to modify mine somewhat because I finish the art digitally for most of my clients these days.

I originally got to know about Ms. Craft and her art because of a poster she created for the Dallas Opera, Madame Butterfly of which I bought a print. She has also illustrated most of the recent covers for a long time favorite fantasy author of mine, Patricia McKillip. Craft's style is definitely very recognizable. I especially enjoyed reading the part about her art technique development time, "...Sometimes a two page painting can take up to a month". Ha! I am lucky when I get a week. So, these days the quality of the final product is not up to my usual standards. Disappointing. But, I'm still expected to maintain the high quality finished look. Faster, faster!!!

Ah, well. I'm doing my best to educate my clients and their expectations. And for the moment, I do the stuff I sincerely enjoy at my home studio for my own projects.

For now.


MidnightOwl728 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MidnightOwl728 said...

Once again i have to say you have a most intresting life. Your work is quite nice and I would love to see your 3d models as well. You have a name on cg talk that you post? Well if you ever want an intern Take me. I am sure think I am nuts but one can dream right.

tygriffin said...

Thanks, I appreciate your kind comments! Following my dreams certainly has given me an interesting life. Isn't that a Chinese curse? :) Even so, I intend to keep dreaming and recommend that you do the same - but also use it as a goal. Sorry, don't have any 3D models worth showing just yet. I'll be posting any once I do!

MidnightOwl728 said...

Great! Would love to see toy design too. YOu talk about all this cool stuff. Also a question I am graudating in the spring with my bs in computer art. Do think it possiable to go in to toy design with that type of degree or should I got and get a degree in toy design. Any suggetion you can give me about the field I would most love that a super lot.
Midnight Owl

tygriffin said...

It depends on the company.

For example, the Bradford exchange was seeking artists with prior professional experience, a strong creative portfolio and Lightwave 3D skills; but that doesn't mean they needed to have a toy design degree. In general, I would say if you have excellent drawing skills, have recent computer graphics experience, can copy a style of product that the toy company produces as well as develop products with your own have a good understanding of color theory, try to keep up with what's in the toy market (you go to toysrus, kaybee toys, etc and know what's on the shelves) know what the trends are - what consumers are buying, or not buying...and you research the company you're interested in so that they know you've done your homework...then sure, you can definitely get a job as a toy designer.

You don't have to have a degree in toy design to work in that industry. But, yes, a degree in whatever industry you want to have a job in...ideally it helps you gain a better understanding of what roles you might be interested in, gets you a foundation of skills to get you an entry level job, as well as give you an introduction to companies that could offer you that first job.

But it's not necessary.

MidnightOwl728 said...

Any suggestion for boosting my lacking drawing skills. Sigh i sculpt and model better on the computer not then i draw.
Maybe the computer kill my drawing skill hehe or the lack that was there to start. Thanks for the info tho its a lot of help. My degree pretty much in animation and modeling but i real like the modeling and i would love to see some of them as toys some thing i can pick up and play with.