Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ANTE UPS X SQUIBS PLAYING CARDS

I've been wanting to design a deck of playing cards for years and years. I mainly grew up playing War, Slap Jack, Poker, and Black Jack. Now I mostly play Egyptian Rat Screw, Hell, and Bush Hog Rummy at family reunions and the occasional game night. I've also been collecting playing cards while on vacations throughout my life. I finally got around to making my own. Woot!

 I'm not sure why the 1st Ante Ups card deck also became a Squibs Deck, but it did. These are the rough sketches for the card back and the suits.


Designing the suits to be unique, but still easily recognizable was more difficult than expected. I wanted the cards to be more than just a decorative deck. I play a lot of games that require fast reaction times, so they needed to be instantly recognizable.


I probably could have found a font that would have work well enough, but I like doing things the slow painful way most of the time. I sketched up all these on graph paper, then scanned them in. I tried making it a functioning font, but that's trickier than expected. I couldn't figure out how to get the kerning right, but I didn't need to type an essay. Someday I'll be able to type an essay in my awesome Sharpie written words. Ha.


This is the refined Squib that I went with,  but he still went through a lot of digital revisions. I also wanted the back to look similar to traditional Bicycle and Hoyle playing cards. Red, Blue, and Black are common card back colors, so I wanted to make some of each. You'll notice that I ended up using a darker Red and a lighter Blue for the final art.


 The face cards were by far the most work. I sketched these out in January, but stopped shortly after. After I flipped the art, I realized that I left out a ton of details in the sketches.  It was a daunting amount of work, and took me a long time to get started again. I only recently finished it all and it took way longer than expected. 


 I wanted to try and keep all the traditional elements for each card. The characters had to face the right way, hold the right weapon, be in profile or front facing, and of course commit suicide when appropriate. It took forever to fill in all the designs. Originally, the only Squib was supposed to be on the King of Clubs. As I worked on the art, the deck became more of a Squib deck than I had planned.


I had never printed a deck of cards before, but this is the basic info I sent to a couple place for quoting. There were a couple false starts and plenty of wasted time, but that's bound to happen on a new project. I ended up using a place in Texas that was able to match China pricing and even delivered ahead of schedule. It's so nice to be able to make something domestically for a change.


 The shipment arrived on a nice mini pallet that we'll either turn into a table or have a nice fire at the beach one night. It's crazy how heavy a bunch of card decks can be, but that's the same for most paper goods.


The printer was also able to send me some uncut sheets that I requested. I'm gonna frame some for myself, and might make a couple available for sale. 

I'm still amazed that I was able to finish 52 unique cards, 2 jokers, and 2 extra cards. Not to mention the back design and packaging design. 

These will be available 1st at San Diego Comic Con 2015. We'll be at booth #5051, so stop by if you can. I also hope to have another special item available for the folks that buy the 3 for $25 deal. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OKI DEBUT AT WONDERCON 2015

Oki is the 1st toy produced by Squid Kids Ink that isn't my original design. The guys at Robotoki had a rough digital model, but I re-sculpted it Rhino. It was just easier to do that, than to make production comments and have them change their model. 


Mana Studios did the output for Oki. 


Here he is mostly cleaned up. Cleaning up a perfect sphere is much more difficult than you want it to be. 


This is the 1st prototype done in China. 


This is the final Engineering model that the molds would be made from.


Roto vinyl is a crazy process. I'm amazed they get pretty uniform wall thicknesses and can get such a big object out of a small hole. 


So much work goes into even the most basic projects. Here you can see how they have to clean up each eye and spray each pupil.


 The body goes through all the same steps, until you have a mini army of Oki's.


Packaging always needs to be bigger and costs more than I expect it to. Of course you want to make sure the product arrives intact.


The packaging was designed to line up well next to another Oki. He also sits a bit lower, so he's lookin up at you like a puppy. Aaaawww. 


 Oki is a super simple figure, but I like him a lot. I'm anxious to see if people will customize him or just leave him as he is. 


Robert Bowling has been kind enough to have been buyin my stuff since the debut of 10-Doh! at Designer Con 2010. He asked for my help to produce this figure and I'm really happy with the results.  I'll have some available at Booth #1548 during WonderCon 2015. They'll also be available online and in stores sometime after that.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SKI x LOOT CRATE = AWESOME!

 The guys form Loot Crate approached me at WonderCon 2014. This is a "little behind the scenes" of this project.
This is essentially a brand new Mini 10-Doh! figure. New hands, new shoes, and they include an accessory for the 1st time ever. This image shows how some of things changed throughout development.


Here are the mockups I did to show Loot Crate what I was thinking of doing. I wanted the labels that I created to be based on Zapper games. The Gumshoe/Bladerunner got replaced with Drx. Who, and the Gold one hadn't been thought of yet.


We also decided to do some new packaging. It's based on the original 7in 10-Doh! figure packaging. I'll probably continue to use this shape for future Mini 10-Doh! figures.


I made one trip to China to do final approvals for this project. I'm never there during actual production, so I always ask the factory to send me some photos. These images were amazing to me. Sooooooo many pieces. Ha. 


Here are a just a few of the steps in the process like assembly, applying labels, and packing. It's always cool for me to see progress shots of my products.


Most people aren't aware, but there's been huge delays importing stuff for a variety of reasons. My stuff got delayed and flagged for a US customs inspection. The image on the right shows all of the products in January's Rewind Crate. Due to the delay, it has a red "X" where a Mini 10-Doh! should be. It was crazy stressful, but it all worked out.


This was by far the largest project I've ever done for one of my own products. It was crazy to see all of these boxes in person at the Loot Crate warehouse. 


This label was done by my good friend Chito Arellano, aka @kwestone on Instagram. I have a ton of his work hanging up at home and I wanted other people to see it as well. He's obviously a fan of rabbits and Back to the Future.


If you couldn't tell, this is a mashup of Wild Gunman and Mars Attacks. This one is probably my favorite.


I wanted Loot Crate to design a couple of the labels as well. They know their fans well and I would have never done a Dr. Who mashup. I've just never got into the show, but I do like Dr. Mario. Ha.


Firefly is one of my favorite shows of all time, and almost everyone owned Duck Hunt. It wasn't easy to make Serenity all pixelated, but I think most people get it.


The Fifth Element is a polarizing movie. Some people love it, others hate it. I happen to love it and when I looked at the Hogan's Alley label, all I could see was a Mangalore from The Fifth Element.


 I left the gold design up to Loot Crate. I've already designed at least 3 gold 10-Doh! figures, and nothing popped into my brain right away. It's a great fit, even though there are 2 BTTF designs in the assortment. You can never have too much BTTF. Ha.


I also subscribe to Loot Crate. This was only my 3rd time receiving one, but I thought it would be cool to open it up on a Toy Brief with my friends at Toy Break. You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpLfZFrG80o

It's been a crazy experience working with Loot Crate and getting these figures made. Overall, the response has been very positive. Of course, there are always people that don't quite understand what I do or why I do it, buuuuut who cares. I like what I do, and I plan on doing it as long as I can.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

1 YEAR OF DAILY SKETCHES....YIKES!

I started doing daily sketches half way through Inktober/Botober in October 2013. I was mainly doing Botober considering I only drew robots, Ha. I always draw in ink, so using pens for Inktober isn't much of a challenge. I can't remember the last time I used a pencil. It had to be back in school, so 10 years ago. 


I would have loved to have a consistent set of sketchbooks, but it was simply impossible. I love the small brown sketchbooks in the picture. Unfortunately, the manufacturer completely changed their paper quality at some point. It's now super smooth and has a fake texture. I'll never use them again, boo. 

I used a range of pens through out the past year. My stock pile of my "old" favorite Jimnie Light pens ran dry, but I moved on. I currently use Tul pens, which are completely different and unforgiving. Sharpies are also fun to use. I really like the range you get out of them as the die.


These are essentially the 1st and last batches of Squib sketches for now. I started with the 4x4 recap image, because that's how the Botober sketches worked out. I quickly changed to a 3x3 recap, because I thought over 2 weeks between recaps was way too long. It has bugged me this whole time, and you'll see why in the images below.


In addition to the daily sketches I tried doing some ink paintings on some scroll paper I bought on a trip while in China. I've never been a painter, and ink is even more unforgiving than paint. It's such a hard medium to control, even if I wanted them to look sloppy. Ugh.


I decided to participate in March of Robots to help support Dacosta's Kickstarter for his March of Robots book. These are the 31 sketches I did, but part of me wishes I hadn't. Only because I later realized I really wanted to reach 365 Squib sketches, and this ate into that total by 31 sketches.


After March of Robots I wanted to see a group shot of all my sketches so far. This is really a 4x4 square of the batches of 9 sketches. Of course the 1st batch of 16 Squibs throws off the perfect 12x12 square look, but I couldn't leave them out. I did leave out the 1st 16 robots though.


This is a 5x5 of the Squib batches of 9 sketches. I only wanted to include Squibs in this square, but it took a long time to be able to do it. You have to add 9 batches of 9 to increase from a 4x4 to a 5x5 square. That ends up being 81 sketches, or almost 3 months. Yikes. 


 I have this thing with numbers. I want them to line up, or work out, or make sense, or something. I didn't really plan out this year long challenge of daily sketches at all. I just wanted to be able to complete it. At some point that changed, like I mentioned. I passed 1 year, but I only had 316 Squibs. I didn't have the desire to do an additional 49 sketches. I kept sketching to reach 365 Squibs, but 365 wouldn't make a perfect square anyway. So I created this 18x18 square of my 324 Squib sketches. I arranged them chronologically from left to right, then top to bottom. It allowed me to rearrange that 1st batch of 16. It also satisfies my weird numbers thing, even if it leaves out the robots, ink paintings, and a couple at the end.

This year has flown by and it's great to be able to reminisce through these sketches. Some people wish I would have done some more variety, other just Squibs. Buuut, that wasn't what I wanted to do. I did want to start telling more about the Squib story, but that didn't really work out. It's tough when most of these sketches were done late at night, just before passing out. I do plan on starting a new weekly challenge in January with almost daily teasers. We'll see how that goes, Ha. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

KOZIK-SMASH THE STATE BLACK 10-DOH!

I first talked to Frank Kozik about doing a new version of his Smash the State 10-Doh! figure last November at Dcon. This image shows how it changed over time. The middle image is the one I showed him for approval.


We agreed to do 50 figures total. It doesn't sound like a lot, but doing anything 50 times is very tedious. Especially when you have to do 50 different things 50 times. Unpacking and repacking is just one of several things that I didn't take into consideration when planning this project. Little things like that add up quick and take more time than expected.


I never made any large black 10-Doh! figures, so I had to paint all of them. I don't have a paint booth set up yet, so my back porch had to suffice. 


I originally tried doing a 3D printed mask, but you can see the results were fuzzy and problematic. Unfortunately, I still have to pay for that mask. It's all part of the trial and error that goes into each project.


Carlos East of The Beast Brothers was kind enough to help out by creating these masks for me. I picked out all the eyes, X's, and stubble, while he painted them all. He totally saved my butt on this one.


I thought a real pixelated cigarette would be a great accessory to match the label. I did this model in Rhino and I Photoshopped the colors in for the mockup.


 Mana Studios did the output, molding, and castings. I had to trim, mask, and paint all 50 cigarettes.


 I was originally planning on drilling a hole in the body and using the peg on the cigarette to secure it. Carlos recommended that I use magnets. It was great advice, but a lot more work. I ended up drilling all of the cigarettes and bodies, then gluing in the magnets. It wasn't easy, but the results were well worth it.


This shows the mockup next to the 1st finished sample, and I'm really happy with the results.

These debuted at SDCC 2014 and sold pretty well. It's not a cheap figure and hopefully this blog helps explain why. I have some that are signed by Frank, so order soon to get those ones.