It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas




Oh, Holy Night


Dreamsicle_Christmas_Ornament by Frank Grau

Christmas Flyer


Dreamsicles Cherub design by Frank Grau

Christmas Past – Part 2

Christmas snowman figurine designed by Frank GrauContinuing from yesterday, here are more Christmas giftware designs I created for various lines.

The “thin” snowman is from the same line as the “thin” Santa I shared yesterday.

I’m also sharing some designs I did for a baby shoe ornament line called Baby Steps. Rather than show my drawings, I thought I’d show you the finished product from images scanned from Cast Art Industries’ catalog. I designed about a dozen of these Christmas ornaments. I also designed another dozen of these, which were non-Christmas, musical versions, and of which I’m including an image.Baby Steps ornament designed by Frank GrauBaby Steps musical designed by Frank GrauChristmas ornament designed by Frank GrauChristmas ornament designed by Frank Grau

Christmas Past – Part 1

Christmas Santa figurine designed by Frank Grau

This is from a line of thin Santa figurines I created. I also designed thin snowmen for this line.

My last post covered Disney’s Pooh & Friends products I designed for the giftware industry, many of them for Christmas. I did many Christmas designs for other giftware lines as well. Those designs covered many categories, including figurines, ornaments, musicals, water-balls, and other items.

Here are several designs I did for various lines. These illustrations were done for design purposes only and were not “finished” pieces of art meant for public consumption. As before, I’m simply offering a glimpse into the artwork used to manufacture giftware products. I’ll be posting more from these same lines in the days ahead.

Christmas Santa figurine designed by Frank Grau

This was a Santa-character line I created for Christmas. I had done two different color schemes for this line. Once I gave Cast Art in-studio product painter, Julio Flores, designs with color schemes, there was usually no reason to color additional designs unless the design was elaborate enough to warrant providing additional direction.

Slapstix clown Christmas ornament designed by Frank Grau

This is one of many ornaments I designed for the Slapstix clown line. Leo Romero, an in-house sculptor at Cast Art, did the final sculpt.

Christmas cherub figurine designed by Frank Grau

I already posted plenty of Dreamsicles cherub designs, however, since I did so many for Christmas, I may as well share a few.

Happy Anniversary!

I’ve been blessed with the best wife in the world, and I just wanted to take a moment to tell her how much I love her, and that she means the world to me.

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…”