“Three Dumbbells”

Here’s another Slapstix clown design I did at Cast Art. I probably did a hundred Slapstix designs while there, so not all of them were made. I don’t recall if we ever made this one. I eventually used a similar gag/pose on another character design I did.


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The Poker Face

I decided to dust off an old Slapstix figurine design from Cast Art for today’s post.


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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas



The Poker Face

Some people just can’t keep a straight face. Others, well…


Pooh & Friends Christmas

Since the Christmas season is getting an early start anyway, I figure I may as well share some of the Christmas (and non-Christmas) stuff I did for the giftware industry.

The following are a few designs I did for Disney’s Pooh & Friends giftware line (which included figurines, Christmas ornaments, water-balls, etc.). I had done the illustration for our marketing material. The figurines were porcelain, I think, so they had to be designed rather simply to keep the costs down. Porcelain wasn’t as forgiving as resin when it came to designing, and the product material often determined how complicated we could get with our designs. We often had to scratch designs because they were too detailed for the material used in manufacturing. Having our hands tied by the production process could really stifle our ability to be creative as designers. And it’s not that things can’t be highly complicated when manufactured in porcelain; it’s just that using porcelain would require multiple molds if things got too complicated, which raised the costs significantly, and we had certain price-points we needed to hit, so costs were always a factor to consider when designing. After all, these were not sold at Lladró prices, even if they were considered collectibles.


Incidentally, I designed these while working at Cast Art Industries’ in-house studio in Corona, California. Most of the stuff we produced were our own brands, which we also licensed out to other companies. The Pooh & Friends line was one of the very few licensed brands we produced for another company (in this case, obviously Disney).

A Heavenly Gig


I was originally hired at Cast Art Industries to illustrate licensing art for the Dreamsicles giftware line. I quickly also took on the additional duties of designing figurines and other product lines (as well as illustrating & designing packaging, catalogs, ephemera, etc). Most of the Dreamsicles illustrations were mixed media, done in colored pencil, pastels and gouache, and they were quite small (around 4×5 inches only). This was one of only a few of the larger illustrations, and it was probably the only one executed in oil paint.

The illustration I created for this gift bag was also larger than average, so that it would reproduce well.

After working on this line for the better part of eight years, I was pretty tired of looking at it. I don’t think I’ve posted any of it, however, so I’ll spend this week showing a few of the things I did for this line. It’s not remotely close to the best stuff I’ve ever created, but it gives an idea of some of the things one does for a paycheck. On the positive side, Cast Art was a fun company at which to find myself working. The people there were great, and I have no regrets for the time spent there. I often miss working in that studio, and I still keep in contact with some of the people with whom I worked before the company folded. It’s too bad that entire industry took a dive. I’ve had an opportunity to work for most of the bigger companies in giftware. Today, almost all of those companies have gone the way of the dodo.

I designed and illustrated this Dreamsicles spice jar collection for Lenox, who I think is no longer in business.

Though I’ve never had any professional training, I learned a lot about doing “cute” stuff from Tim Fabrizio, who was the senior designer at Cast Art when I arrived. Before working with Tim, I never cared much for “cute”. In fact, prior to working at Cast Art, I never even used the word “cute”. I recall my early days there, hearing all of these grown men having discussions about giftware and using the word “cute” so frequently. I never thought that term would enter my vocabulary, but, well, “when in Rome…”

Hog Wild

I wish I’d taken a picture of the Cast Art industries studio wall filled with the bazillion designs I drew for this figurine line, of which, amongst all the designs, only a couple dozen were sculpted and produced. I’ll admit, these were always fun to draw.