In continuing our discussion on taking rough ideation
sketches to fully rendered final art, these remaining points should help you
bridge the gap between the two, and help make sure your toy idea is presented
in the most exciting way possible.
5. Line work in commercial design sketches is most often made
very prominent in final presentation art to clearly articulate details to
engineers during the manufacturing process. Usually an outline with shading or
color added to it will suffice, but fully rendered digital paintings with no
outline are also employed depending on the individual client and licensed
The sample of my fine art portrait painting shows how line
can be rendered into the final painting or completely lost as needed to turn the
form. If you are a design student, take time to really study the edges here to
see how some are sharp while others are soft and even ambiguous. All edges—both
hard and soft are integral components that work together to create realism and
6. Clearly define the area of light from the area of shadow.
Both light and shadow are equally important but they have two different key functions—the
area of light holds all of your details while the area of shadow holds the
actual structure of the conceptual image together. This is true in fine art as
well as commercial.
7. Leave some aspect of your concept image unfinished to add
energy and emotion to your finished work—if over worked and academically
rendered the image may technically be right but end up looking dull. As many of you already know, the
unforgivable sin in any boardroom presentation is being dull.
I realize that some studios have a very tight house style in
terms of rendering final presentation designs, but most are very open to
exploration especially in rougher ideation stages. I encourage you to
constantly explore new directions so you will grow in your skill set and
eventually evolve existing styles into newer updated versions. This is key for
any design team to stay fresh and up to date.
I hope this helps in answering some of the questions I
received from various designers and students in the toy industry. There are
still other questions I will cover in future posts. For now, I will leave you
with one more word of advise given to me by one of my mentors back in the day
before my comb over—keep it simple, keep it fresh and never stop learning so you don't stop earning.