Toy Tech: Mastering Light (Part 1 of 2)



Charcoal wash on gesso board: Joseph Sapulich © 2014

Many letters from design students asked me what is the "best style" to use and how I can switch back and forth from conventional pencil to digital media, oil paints and then charcoal washes. When do you know what is the right medium and technique to use, and what is the latest style trend that is most currently in demand?

Great questions and I have to say we have some really amazing young talent coming up in the next few years. Keep in mind that some teachers can help you while others can set you back. You really need to explore design blogs and always, always, always study the work of current professionals who make their concepts readily available by their online promotions.

Schools like Otis College of Art & Design are doing a great job in preparing the future designers of our industry. I have to say I’m partial to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California because all of my closest mentors were from there. Like so many others influenced by them, I implement the basics of their well-taught marker techniques for most of my ideation work. A lot of what I know about lighting I learned from their very experienced teachers

My closest mentor from the mouse factory refused to let me use a “style” or any fancy illustrative tricks when he first took me under his wing. I felt like Superman without his cape and like Thor without his hammer. In fact, it was so contrary to the core of my nature I actually felt like a politician without the ability to raise taxes—but I digress.

Wait a minute! The flow of light you say? What does that have to do with making a top selling toy! Well, as your really expensive design degree may have taught you already—there are a lot of brilliant ideas lining a lot of trash cans in corporate America.

To insure your company’s ideas get through the production pipeline, you just might want to present them in the best possible light—packed with energy, excitement and highly developed skills. A nice smile and dimples will only get you so far. Then again I know a few people who actually did get pretty far with just that so I take it all back—but you know what I mean.


Continued In Part 2 . . .

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