Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tulip & Iris Cartoons

In January I was approached to do some work for a flower and bulb company in Holland. The company, Breck's is one of those firms that sends packets in the mail inviting you to buy bulbs for your garden.

Previously, they had hired cartoonist Ted Fine, the creator of the "Hazel" comic strip, as well as the Mr. Peabody & Sherman cartoon characters from the Rocky & Bullwinkle show, (characters I used to love as a kid.) Sadly, Ted passed away in 2008 after a long bout with cancer.

The company's main offices in the USA are in Indiana, but a design studio in Pennsylvania that had worked with Ted contacted me and served as my liaison with the company.

The trick of the cartoons is that they are personalized with the name of the addressee appearing in the caption of the cartoon, peering through the envelope window. (A very effective way to increase response rates from direct marketing.) I have done personalized cartoons for many clients, so it was old hat to write concepts for that purpose.

I was asked to create 4 concepts for their bulbs, (tulips or irises), and then after they selected their favorite, to finish it as a color cartoon.

Rough sketches of concepts, below: (click to take a closer look)

After seeing the concepts, they decided to do two personalized mailers rather than one...and asked me to create a second finished cartoon.

The second cartoon, (below), along with a sample mailer. (We decided to add the main characters' wife, with her expression of disbelief, to add to the humor.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

On the Drawing Board

We completed an addition to the house right before Christmas, and I moved back into my studio after it was carpeted, just in time to have things really break loose with work. (Timing is everything, right?)

With the beginning of the year brisk and furious, I have not had time to do much except draw, write, eat and sleep, (well, I did manage to ski a few times with Julia, but to me that's classified with eating and sleeping.)

I just sent off the last of some sketches and finished art that were due this afternoon, so I thought I'd take a breather and post a few things here, (including a new caption contest and maybe some new things for fun.)

First, a few of the more entertaining things that were on the board over the last few weeks:

(click to enlarge)

Art for Bayer Pharmaceuticals in New York. This was part of a presentation to management,
 depicting a new executive who is leading employees in a new direction. (Click to enlarge)

A corporate mascot, (one of several created this month). This one, a rough and tumble little bulldog, was created for a music industry client  in California. The second illustration is for their use at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music & film  festivals and conferences in Austin, Texas, March 11-20. (Illustration Link)

Packaging artwork for a new product designed to help toddlers wean themselves from using a pacifier. It apparently works quite well and includes a step-by-step mail-in project and a reward, (the child receives a teddy bear after successfully giving up the pacifier.) 
The illustration will go on the back of this package.
(I could use one of these, for when I suck on my pencils, etc.)

One of 12 cartoons commissioned by a financial services firm (E-MoneyAdvisor)

Three examples of a series of a dozen greeting cards created for a company marketing
reminder cards for veterinarians, (to send to clients, telling it's time for 
Fido and Fifi to come in for their tests, or to say thank you for your business, etc.) 
Lots of fun -- it was an opportunity to write and draw a bit outside of my usual realm.  

The first of six monthly comics appearing in magazine ads for a software company based in California.


Currently on the drawing board is more art for a new presentation for Bayer Pharmaceuticals, a corporate mascot for a California company, and a cartoon-based contest for Purina, (naturally, it will be a cartoon about a dog; it's in the early stages). Not quite as red hot and hectic as it has been over the last six weeks, but, (like the last bowl of porridge the Little Red Riding Hood tasted), just right. (Did I just mention Little red Riding Hood? I must be tired.)