Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Toy Story 3

Now that Toy Story 3 has been released, I thought I'd post some of the character design work I did on the film. Working on the film as a character designer was a dream come true for me. I came on early on the project and had an opportunity to work on a whole bunch of different characters which was a blast. I also had the chance to work with a great art team on the film ( Bob Pauley Production Designer, Dice Tsutsumi & Robert Kondo as Art Directors, Craig Foster Graphic Designer ) just to name a few. And I also can't leave out everyone else on the art team all of which were some of the most talented individuals I've ever worked with, and lucky for me, the crew for the entire film was just as awesome.

Daniel Arriaga, Tom Gately, Dan Holland, and Daniela Strijleva rounded out the character art team with me, and they all were not only inspiring to be around, but brought so much enegry and creativity to the character design process of the film, that it was just exciting to be around. Lee Unkrich our director was awesome as was our Producer Darla Anderson. I also have to tip my hat to the entire TS3 story team, they really paved the way for us character designers to have a ton of fun and really succeed. I can't remember all their names, but their team really set the tone for the movie, and their creativity and character/story concepts are behind every character you see in the film. They all did a spectacular job.

While I worked on more than you'll see here, I thought I'd post some stuff from the characters that were not only new original characters to the franchise, but ones I had the most influence on. Below is a collection of some of the work I did for the film.


Mr. Pricklepants was one of the first characters I had the chance to work on. When I first came on to the show, I was assigned to begin working out the designs for Bonnie's toys. Pricklepants being the esteemed actor and thespian that he was, he was hilarious from day one and he definitely stole the show in the story boards which made my job as a designer pretty easy. As far as his design goes, I thought of him as sort of a stocky little bean bag toy you might find in an airport or something. Below are a few other sketches I did while exploring his bean bag/gum drop shape, style, and outfits.


Buttercup is another one of Bonnie's toys. Most of the work that went into Buttercups design was to try and make him the cutest little unicorn the universe had ever seen. One thing I thought that was really helpful in working out his design was referencing pictures of real horses to see how they moved. And using that reference to help figure out how much of that natural movement would translate into the movement of a little plush horse. Below you can see some of those sketches I did to help figure out his movement and shape.

I included the sketch below as it was the first sketch I ever did of Buttercup, at one point we thought he might have long flowing hair.


Dolly is another one of Bonnie's toys, and from the first time I started designing on here, Lee always thought of here has a flat little home-made looking doll, so that's where we started. In the early stages she looked as she is above. I wanted her to be the perfect definition of a cute little girl, so I referenced pictures of my wife when she was little (as she was seriously the cutest little girl their ever was) and put a lot of her into my design. I always thought of her as having cute little pattern dresses and her hair parted to one side with stylized little bangs and maybe a bow or bumble bee hair clip. Below are a few more variations I did on working out differences in her hair style and dress patterns and colors.


Chuckles was another character that really stole the show in the story boards. The artist who boarded him, really nailed the "worn out clown toy" look, so I just followed his lead and tried not to screw up his concept. Chuckles was a blast to work on, because in the film he's so broken, so down, and the fact that he's a clown just always came across as so dark to me and I couldn't help but fall in love with his character. Below are a few sketches I did on his movement, which should really just be called a "waddle." And a few other early concepts of his look.

One thing that was particularly challenging about working on him, as were a few of the other bad guys was, these toys weren't made to look evil, creepy, or mean, so we had to design them with the concept that they were made to look cute and fun as you would buy them in the store, but could have the proper look that could give them the dark edge they would need as characters.


The Robot was a character that was originally in Bonnie's group, but didn't end up making the cut. I worked on him for a while, and the concept behind his design was that he was a cute little battery operated learning robot. Below are a few other takes I had on him.


For a while, we played with the thought that Bonnie might either be making some of her own toys, or simply just have some hand made toys. These were particularly fun to work on as I just had a blast drawing a whole bunch of funny little hand made characters. I thought it might be particularly fun to play up their hand made feel by making them noticeably un-even in their design which I also thought played up their charm and silliness.

We also played with concepts of her having toys that were possibly shaped as veggies, fruits, or deserts.

Two characters I pined for were the tooth and the Popsicle. I thought of the Tooth as maybe something she got from her first visit to the dentist and the Popsicle just a funny little hand made craft guy made of felt and Popsicle sticks. To me they seemed like the perfect odd couple, the Tooth disliking the Popsicle for his carelessness when it came to health and sweets and all things responsible, and the Popsicle just being the sweet life of the party with not a care in the world.

Below are a few other quick sketches of hand made/craft toys Bonnie may have either made or just had lying around.


Stretch was one of the first characters I worked on in Lotso's Gang. It was fun to get to design a bad guy for a change, and it was also fun because his design evolved for a little while thought the process of finding out what type of character he would be. I originally thought it would be funny if he was some sort of water toy 9 thus the silly little sailor hat above ) but we ended up ditching that, and pushing him to a creepier design as seen below.

below are a few other sketches and passes at different variations of his face both happy and mean.


Below are some sketches I did as we were trying to figure out what type of light up worm would he be. I have a painted final design and quick sculpt I did which I'll post tomorrow once I find them. But for now you can see the beginning part of the process with him.


I didn't really get a chance to work on any of the humans in the film, except for the bad ass head banging garbage guy. Not too much work went into his design process, we tried to keep him pretty generic, but accessorize him with everything a metal head would need to be jamming out while picking up the trash. For a short assignment, I had a fun time sketching him in his head banging ways.


One of my first assignments on the film was to begin to develop some stickers / posters that teenage Andy might have in his room. Not sure if any of these made it into the final design of his room, but none the less, I had fun making some skateboarding stickers and graphics so I thought I'd share a few.

Monday, June 21, 2010

J.C. Leyendecker

I was recently asked to participate in the new blog Illostribute.com . Illostribute is a new collaborative illustration blog, conceived and edited by illustrator & artist Toby Thane Neighbors . The idea is to honor master illustrators (and occasionally fine artists) by seriously investigating their work, through interpretation.

The first master artist that was selected for this project was the amazing J.C. Leyendecker. His work is beautiful and elegant, and you can read more about him HERE , and below I've posted a few of his pieces which I referenced for my inspired painting.

As for my piece inspired by Leyendecker's work, what I focused on was his bold graphic concept of letting everything in black fall away, only relying on lighter objects in the piece to tell the story in the painting. I love how limited yet very descriptive this technique is that he occasionally used and so I thought I'd explore that concept in my piece inspired by his work.

Drinks With Leyendecker
Acrylic & Paper Collage
8" x 10"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guilty Insomniac

Here is my contribution to this weeks Chades Challenge hosted over at Austin Madison's Blog . I like to think of Racoons as little insomniacs, and clearly he's been up all night, and caught red handed

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Skeletor Vs. Sock Monkey

Here is a piece I recently did for an up coming art show "It's not a Doll, it's an Action Figure!" at the Bear and the Bird Gallery in Lauderhill Florida. The show opens this Saturday the 19th with an opening reception party that night from 7pm - 10pm. This was a fun and outrageous piece to paint, it was nice to finally get to illustrate stuffed animal guts with pink yarn...it's been too long. The concept behind the piece was basically when an action figure reaches his breaking point, how would they handle their anger when it boils over into a fight with a doll.

Skeletor Vs. Sock Monkey
11" x 14"
Mixed Media

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Moonlight Roller Boys

Over the past few months my wife and I have begun going to this local rollerskating rink in Burbank know as "The Moonlight Roller Rink" and while I can say roller skating to a bunch of random music with your friends is fun, what clearly makes the night is getting to check out all the local talent polishing up their skating skills. So with every trip to the rink, I'm gonna start chronicling the trips with a few sketches of some of the awesome skaters we've encountered the night before.

"The Ref"
This guy is the police of the roller rink hardwood. He doesn't mess around with making sure people obey moonlight protocol and keep it clean and fun in the rink. His attire includes an xx small ref jersey, extra tight jeans featuring his bulging crotch, two cell phones and a blue tooth head phone devise to keep it hands free on the hardwood. He provided us with the quote of the night which my wife over heard him saying to one of his buddies (no joke):

"People think my job isn't serious, but guess what, I take is very seriously, if there is a dropped sweatshirt or a spilt beverage in the rink, that could be a death on the floor!"

"The Punisher"
Dressed in all black and red in the face and covered in bulging veins, this guy skates with the heat intensity of a thousand hells. He never smiles, never laughs, doesn't enjoy the music, only punishes him self to get better by skating until his soul bleeds and forces him to stop. No quote from this guy, because he doesn't speak, he just skates and creeps everyone out.

More to come following the next trip to the rink...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Original Paintings and Prints in the store

So I've been so busy that it's been a while since I've had the chance to update the Store , so I've finally taken the time to remedy that and now there are a few new original paintings and signed prints available. I've got a lot of new pieces I'm working on that should also make their way into the store sooner than later. If you haven't checked out my artwork and print shop you can either click the link above, or click the yeti Icon over on the right side of the page.

More stuff coming soon, seems like this is fast becoming a busy month here on the blog.


I've been going through a bunch of older stuff that I haven't gotten around to posting yet, so here is something from the pile. A long time ago I designed a Tater Tot Elf for Sonic Drive-In Restaurants, so here are the fun and wacky drawings I did... above is the final design, below are some rough concepts and a BG to place the character on.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

It's Alive...& Dangerous!

Here is a piece that I recently contributed to a Sci-Fi podcast/website, once it's featured I'll post a link to the site. It's a piece I created a while back for a gallery show I was a part of in San Diego. The original is Black and White and all Acrylic & Paper Collage, but for this submission, I thought I'd use a little Photoshop magic and add a little color and a few highlights just for fun. In the end it's just your average brain in a robot suit, living and breathing in a lab by day, only to terrorize the city by night.

It's Alive & Dangerous
10" x 8"
Acrylic / Paper Collage / Digital

Friday, June 04, 2010

Chades Challenge - Patriotic Chinchillas

For those of you who don't know, my good buddy Austin Madison runs a bi weekly character design challenge over on his blog. Every two weeks there is a new concept for a character to design, this time around the challenge was to design Patriotic Chinchillas! And being that my wife and I own the coolest Chinchilla in the world (his name is Wicket) this seemed like a challenge I had to jump in on. Above is my serious contribution to the challenge, it's Wicket showing off his true patriotic spirit, which as my wife can tell you he displays on a daily basis. Below is my stupid contribution to this challenge, you see when my friend Austin creates a stupid hero, I have a strange urge to create an even dumber villain. Austin's contribution to this weeks challenge as seen over on his blog was a "Chinchilla Captain America" and so I thought to my self, what's Captain America with out the "Red Chin-Skulla!" Clearly the bar has been lowered as this is simply an evil brooding Chinchilla with skull face paint, but none the less here's to creating lame super heros Austin!

Patriotic Chin & Red Chin-Skulla