Back in the day, one of my first toy designs was actually a
vehicle for an animated film I art directed called Larryboy! I worked on the visual development of the first two films in the series setting the tone of the characters and set pieces and then moved on to feature film visual development.
The series was basically a spoof of Batman and the hero’s
car was a parody of the Batmobile. To make it fun for the kids, I brought the character’s design features into the car giving it a personality, so
the entire car was roughly based on the character himself.
The cockpit was a variation of his mask and the vehicle's body reflects elements of the super hero's spandex costume along with other design details including his
utility belt and plunger ears. To my surprise, the toy went immediately into production with my concept art for the film being used along with other support drawings, but the design was primarily focused on the requirements for film.
When Fisher Price was ready to make another production run, our
design team re-tooled the vehicle for the next film to be specifically
geared more toward toy design. This is very common in the film industry to work
designs, especially of characters, to have a very clear vision toward toy and
I remember designing the location of the main character’s
headquarters for another film thinking only in cinematic terms. After
being told the entire location was going to be a play set I asked for more
time to turn that idea around—to see it from a different perspective and from a
child’s point of view.
As a designer, that was an amazing eye opening moment
for me—I never looked at anything from only one angle again. I learned the art of turning around an idea so the over all design sensibility could transend into multiple liscensed toy and product applications.
Continued In Part 2 . . .