Toy Tech: The Mighty Pencil – Part 1 of 4




When I was in high school, my band teacher called me into
his office and asked me if I was considering music as a career. I said yes and
he leaned back in his chair and smiled. He then asked me if I loved music—not
just music generally but the entire industry. I responded that I did and he
asked me again if I truly loved the industry. I responded yes again and then he
repeated his question one more time.

 The teacher then leaned forward and with a fatherly voice
told me I would save the music industry by not choosing it as a profession. I
was taken back a bit by the statement that was covered with a thin smile but got
the message. To some, the trumpet was an instrument that made beautiful music
but to me it was only a horn that made noise.

After all these years, whenever I watch any music awards
show I smile silently to myself knowing that I personally saved the music
industry by not going into it. There is a certain kind of pride in knowing
that. All kidding aside, a few short years after that incident, I discovered
some amazing artist/designers who elevated the humble pencil to such a level
that, to me, it was an instrument in their hands. The line, the shading, the
intricate detailing and emotional impact all spoke to me like notes played by a
master violinist.

When I first worked under a Disney studio artist, I took his
pencil—ok I stole it but in my defense it was just a stump at that point—and I
taped it to my drawing board. From that day on no matter what I worked on, be
it an idea sketch or full-blown finished concept art, I would endeavor to elevate
that pencil to the level of a musical instrument—well, try anyway . . .


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