Freelance Fridge- Illustration & Character DesignFreelance Fridge- Illustration & Character Design

Feb
5

Alien Miner Pirate Character

SciFi Concept Art Alien Miner Pirate drawn in Markers

I finished coloring this drawing in markers last night. I had a lot of fun creating this alien guy!

So the story behind this guy: This alien is a miner turned pirate, using his digging knowledge to help excavate hidden treasures and artifacts. And of course he loves a good alien frou frou drink. :)

Jan
30

Abraham Lincoln & Amelia Earhart Character Designs

I recently created 2 character designs and a vehicle design for an educational start-up company. They wanted Abraham Lincoln and Amelia Earhart characters, with their special time machine twin-engine plane.

Abraham Lincoln Amelia Earhart character sketchesI started with concept sketches of the 2 main characters of course. Abe was supposed to have a more rigid, hesitant-to-try-new-things attitude, while Amelia had more of a happy, excited-to-jump-into-things attitude. I worked on making their character designs reflect that. Not only did I draw that in posing and expressions, but also you will see that I used straighter lines and hard angles on Abe, and more inviting, bubbly curves on Amelia- to also reinforce their personas.

Abraham Lincoln Amelia Earhart characters vector colorMy client absolutely loved the sketches. I then went ahead and finalized the characters in color. While I was finalizing them, I was rechecking my reference of the 2 historical figures and decided to taper Amelia’s pants a bit more. My client wanted to be able to use these characters for a variety of prints, including some large format printing, so I recommended that I create them in vector. That way, the images can be scaled to any size without losing quality.

history educational character designs Abraham Lincoln Amelia Earhart with planeAnd lastly, I finalized the plane design and incorporated it with the characters. They wanted a black, gold, and red twin-engine plane with extra add-on’s to make it a time machine. Upon my research, I found out that the twin engine plane that Amelia flew was a Lockheed Model 10 Electra. I used that as my base, and then added on some mechanical devices to make this plane fly through the centuries.

I enjoyed working on this project and I look forward to continued work with this client. After their initial launch, they plan for me to help develop more illustrations with these characters and eventually a comic too.

Let me know if I can help you develop some great characters for your museum, educational company, or product.

Contact James about My Project

 

Jan
21

People Sketching in Barnes & Noble II

People Stranger Sketching in colored pencils Cartoons in Barnes & NobleHad another People Sketching outing this week with a few artist friends. We went back to Barnes & Noble to sketch unsuspecting strangers. We found some great, unique characters to draw and exaggerate. I always have fun at these outings, but it is a little uncomfortable when one of your subjects catches you looking at them and drawing them. I guess I need to work on my covert drawing skills.

 

Jan
21

Hike & Sketch

Desert Sketch & Hike in ArizonaAn artist friend of mine came in town this week, and so we went on a hike in the San Tan mountains of Arizona. We took a break at the top of the Gold Mine Trail and sketched for a bit before hiking back down. It was very relaxing and a fun little hike. I hope to do it again soon!

 

Jan
18

Ice Hockey Girl Character Sketches

Junior Ice Hockey Cute Girls Cartoon Character SketchesA new client found some of my cute roller derby character online and asked me to sketch out some cartoon concepts for 3 junior ice hockey cute girl characters. She wanted them with a little sass, and a few band-aids and scratches.

 

Jan
18

Little Cam the CupidBot

Camera Robot Creature that takes pictures of couples in love

Say hello to little Cam the CupidBot! This little robot snaps pictures of people he thinks should be together and uploads them to a match-making website.
 
Feel free to share with someone who is the love of your life!
 
I created this cartoon artwork using pencil, pen, and colored markers.

 

Jan
6

Alien Creature Illustrated in Markers

red alien pilot with furry green jacket praying mantis eyes and cat nose

I’ve been itching to draw a weird alien, ever since the new Star Wars, The Force Awakens came out. Here’s one I illustrated traditionally, in markers and white pen. I had thought of the look for this alien late one night, while I was about the fall asleep in bed. I wanted an alien that a bit praying mantis, a bit cat-like, a bit lobster, with a crazy fluffy, furry jacket. 

Jan
2

Comic Book Illustration for Chesmar Homes

I recently completed the full creation of a comic book for a home builder named Chesmar Homes. This client project included:

  • Writing a new story for the comic
  • Concept development of the main character designs
  • Illustrating the comic book pages

Writing the Story:

In initial discussions with this client, I found out that they wanted a comic book illustrated, to share the “legend” behind how their company got started. They wanted a fun comic book to use as a giveaway and promotional piece, to give out to interested home buyers and new home buyers. They hired me to not only illustrate the comic, but also to re-write their story. The owner had written a very simple, whimsical story- about a village that only had straw houses and then the home builders came along to help them build stronger homes. It was a good start, but was lacking a strong plot line or character development. So I took inspiration from their fantasy story, but added a strong plot. This included creating a character to be a foil to the main 2 heroes, creating a clear antagonist, and building a rising action, climax, and conclusion. When I had completed the writing, we had a much more interesting and captivating story, with characters to love, characters to hate, and a problem to conquer. This was a great first step in developing a compelling comic book for their business.

Character Design:

As with any story-based project I work on, I like to design and develop the main characters- their look and feel- before I start sketching the page illustrations. For The Legend of Chesmar,  I felt it was best to develop Chester, Maria, and Robert D’Builder (the 3 Owners/Founders of the company), Winston (the Foil), and Mangus (the main Antagonist). The interesting part about this project, is that Chesmar Homes had an already existing base design for 2 of the characters, Chester and Maria:

Kendall Tiller's Original Character Designs

These were designed as a contest that Chesmar Homes had, to give a scholarship to a young artist. The artist did a great job. For the comic, I felt like I could take the characters to the next level, in regards to professionalism, appeal, and also clothing that worked better for the fantasy/fairy tale genre of the story. Also, the client had requested a more Polynesian/Native American look to Maria.

Fantasy Fairy Tale Character Sketch Concepts Chester and Maria for Comic Book

Here’s my sketches for Chester and Maria. You can see how I strengthened the character designs and changed the outfits to match better with the story that I had written.

Fairy Tale Fantasy Character Sketch Concept Pig Winston for Comic Book

And here is Winston, the lovable pig, that is the Foil to Chester and Maria. His clumsy, timid persona is a great contrast to the smart and capable heroes of our story.

Fantasy Fairy Tale Character Sketch Concept Wizard Robert for Comic Book

Also, there’s Robert D’Builder, who is a bit of the Mentor of the story, and also serves as the Narrator. This character was probably the most challenging to design, because the client wanted him to be a wizard, but specifically look like he’s in his 40’s (so not super old), not have a long beard, and be muscular, sort of like the build of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. A tricky character design, but I really like how it turned out.

Fairy Tale Fantasy Character Sketch Concept Big Bad Wolf Mangus for Comic Book

Lastly, my favorite character to develop, was of course, Mangus, the big bad wolf Villain of the story. I wanted him to look unique from other well-known wolves of Disney, Dreamworks, kids’ books, etc. It took me a few sketches to find a look that I felt represented the personality of Mangus, and at the same time was unique for this story.

Fantasy Fairy Tale Character Designs for Cartoon Comic Book

Here’s the final character designs, all colored and finalized. Now with these characters’ looks and personas established, I can sketch the comic book pages without having to think about the character development at the same time.

Comic Book Page Sketching, Inking, and Coloring:

Fantasy Fairy Tale Chesmar Comic Book Interior Page Sketch and Frame Layout Design

So, now that I had the story written, and the main characters designed and approved, I was able to start into the comic book page sketches. I started with thinking about the frames for each page, and laying out the frame boxes and dialog bubbles. I like to lay out the dialog bubbles first, as it helps me see how much room needs to be saved for the size of those.Fantasy Fairy Tale Comic Book Interior Page inked linework and layout

Once all the pages were sketched and approved, then I began inking the pages. I find that inking all the pages first, keeps me in the same mindset and I work faster, than if I ink and color each page, one at a time.

And of course, the last step is coloring and shading the artwork. Here’s all of the final comic book pages.

Having a comic book like this is a GREAT way for a business of any kind to add value, share a bit of their background, personality, and leave a lasting impression on their customers. I am happy to talk with you about what mascot, comic book, or product illustration I could create for your business.

 

Contact James about My Project

 

Dec
23

Cartoon Dragon Sketch

Sketched and Inked Cartoon Dragon Head characterHere’s a cartoon dragon that I sketched recently in my small travel sketchbook. I’ve been working on exaggerating my proportions more on drawings. Plus, I just simply love drawing dragons! I’m happy with how this guy turned out and I think I may end up drawing him again, with a full pose sometime. Who knows, he may even make it into one of my stories someday.

 

Dec
21

Imagiminis II Toy Figurine Design

Imagiminis 1 Fantasy SciFi Cartoon Toy Figurines Vector Illustrated CharactersA little over a year ago, I developed a new toy line for a client in the vending machine industry. This is the illustrated characters from that first toy line. A pharaoh mummy, mushroom creature, elf, king octopus, and robot. The concept, name, characters, logo/branding, and illustrations were all imagined and created by me.

Imagiminis 1 Fantasy SciFi Cartoon Cute Toy Figurines 3D Modeling RendersHere’s what the 3D modeled characters looked like for the first line. You can see that I had developed a very creative, imaginative, open-ended toy line, with a wide range of character types. The goal being a vending machine toy line that allows for collectability and a little something for every child’s taste.

Fantasy SciFi Cartoon Cute Imagiminis one inch toy figurines paintedAnd here’s how the first series of Imagiminis turned out- the 1-inch molded, cast, and painted plastic toy figurines. In the vending industry, the painting has to be kept to a minimum, to keep the costs low. Plus, because of the small size, there can’t be a whole lot of detail in the painting. This first Imagiminis toy line has been a huge success for my client. They continue to sell very well for them in the 1-inch capsuled vending machines.

This brings me to the new project- a second series for the Imagiminis line. My client has such success with the first line, that they wanted me to create and design a second series.

Fantasy SciFi Cartoon Cute Imagiminis Toy Figurines Concept Art Character SketchesI had a lot of fun with the first Imagiminis series, so I was very eager to work on the next 5 characters. This vending supply client always requests toy lines with 5 characters within it. To start, I sketched out these 11 character concepts. To keep in the vision of the first series, I sketched a variety of science fiction, fantasy, whimsical, and fun characters for my client to choose from. My suggestion for the top 5 to use for the line were the venus fly trap monster, snail critter, samurai, orc goblin soldier, and squid warrior. My client loved my sketches and suggestions, and just asked for the 5th squid character to be swapped out with the cute unicorn, to bring a more girly character into the mix.

Imagiminis 2 Toy Figurines 3D Modeling Building Fantasy SciFi Cartoon CuteOnce the character concept sketches were chosen and approved, I proceeded with the 3D modeling using zBrush. In this phase, as I am modeling each character, I tweak and adjust some of the proportions, to better fit for the round vending machine capsule in the end. Proportions and volume are key for these little toys- to make each one look and feel as large as possible for a 1-inch or 2-inch round capsule.

Fantasy SciFi Cartoon Cute Imagiminis 2 Toy Figurines 3D File sizing for printAfter building all of the Imagiminis characters in 3D, I export them from zBrush as sized STL or OBJ files for 3D Printing. Before the files get sent off to a 3D printer, I open the sized files together in Meshmixer, so that I can check the sizing of all 5 characters. It is important for a vending machine toy line like this, for all the characters to have the same look and feel in regards to the size and volume/mass. You want to be sure that each child feels like they have received the same “value” with each toy purchase.

Imagiminis 2 Fantasy SciFi Cartoon Cute Toy Figurines 3D Renders

After the 3D models and sizing is approved by the client, I render out nice, final color images of all 5 characters. These can be used by the client for marketing and promotion. They can also be used by the factory in China, for painting examples. At this point, normally, I receive the 3D printed prototypes and I hand paint them. Those painted prototypes then get shipped to the factory in China for mold making and paint examples.

Fantasy SciFi Imaginative Cartoon Imagiminis Set 2 Toy Figurines Paint and Plastic Colors

After completing all the work, I also created these plastic colors and paint styling sheets for my client to use with their factory in China. These examples help assure the client will receive what they want from the factory in China. When working with factories overseas, it’s important to be specific on every aspect of the project.

I enjoyed working on the second series of the Imagiminis toy line and I look forward to continued work on more toy lines for this great client of mine. I’m sure that Imagiminis II will be just as popular and successful and the first series.

 

If you are looking for a great toy designer and illustrator, feel free to contact me. I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Developing a strong toy line is a very complex & challenging endeavor and I like to assist my clients as much as I can.

 

Contact James about My Project

 

Dec
11

Llama Wearing a Sweater

Cartoon Llama Alpaca wearing a green sweater colored with crayola crayonsHad some fun last night sketching this cartoon llama wearing a turtleneck sweater. I sketched it in pen and then decided to get in touch with my inner child and color it with Crayola crayons. It doesn’t matter how old I get, I still love the smell of crayons and coloring with them. Stay warm this winter, everyone! :)

 

Oct
31

Nerdy Halloween Cartoon Characters

Cartoon Sketches of Nerdy Halloween Monsters, Headless Horseman, Mummy, and Creature from the Black LagoonFor the Halloween season, I decided to sketch a few of my favorite Halloween creatures, but making them nerdy. For the geeky character sketches, we’ve got:

  • Creature from the Black Lagoon, reading a comic book
  • Headless Horseman with a flaming pumpkin head, writing some code on a tablet
  • Mummy Girl combining some chemicals in test tubes

I had a lot of fun with with these! And I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!

 

Oct
27

Brandy’s Tees & Kid’s Menu Designs

Brandys restaurant text-based T-shirt Design Peace Love and Pancakes

Brandys restaurant Kiss Me I Just Ate Bacon text-based t-shirt designI recently designed 2 t-shirts for Brandy’s Restaurant & Bakery. They had a couple fun sayings that they wanted designed into text-based tees. Here’s how the Peace, Love, & Pancakes, and Kiss Me I Just Ate Bacon designs turned out. They have been selling extremely well for them. They have already reordered more shirts for both because they sold out so quickly.

Kid's Restaurant Coloring & Activities Cartoon Placemat Menu Front side

Kid's Restaurant Coloring & Activities Cartoon Placemat back sideAfter the success of the t-shirts, Brandy’s restaurant also asked me to illustrate a new kid’s menu for them. They wanted the 2-sided menu to feature their menu, a word search, some cute cartoon woodland animals to color, and a few other activities for the kids. I may have to snag a copy for myself to color!

I really enjoy working on branding and marketing efforts for businesses like this. Creating artwork and illustrations to help a company be more memorable is something I do well. If I can help you with your mascot, branding, tees, or other marketing imagery, please feel free to reach out anytime.

 

Contact James about My Project