About cedricstudio

I own an illustration studio specializing in concept art, character design, and toy design. Past end clients include Hasbro, Disney, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Scholastic, Verizon, General Mills, Best Buy and Target. For samples of my work please visit www.cedricstudio.com.

This Blog Has Moved To My New Website

After years of talking about it I finally hunkered down and built a shiny new website to showcase my illustration work. The “trusty rusty” site was six years old, which equals about 100 internet years. It looked old, it felt old, and it was getting a little cranky—it just wasn’t playing well with the search engines. It was time to send it to the old website home and bring in an energetic, fresh-faced, young punk website.

One of the biggest changes is that this blog has now been rolled into the new site at www.cedricstudio.com. So all you loyal blog subscribers will have to update your RSS feeds. I know that’s a bit of a hassle and I apologize. One of the main purpose for having a blog is to increase visibility of my work and ultimately land new clients, so it just made sense to have the blog hosted right here side-by-side with my portfolio. It also gives me an extra incentive to make sure each blog post is worth your time and attention.

If you subscribe to this blog via email I’m pretty sure I’ve set it up so that you’ll continue to receive blog posts automatically. So you shouldn’t have to do anything.

The site still needs a little tinkering but for the most part it’s ready to strut it’s stuff. If you run into any problems while browsing or have any suggestions for improving the site please let me know. I’d be happy to hear from you. And thanks again very much for your interest in my humble little blog.

See You At The Expo!

Tonight I’m flying to California for the CTN Animation Expo. Can’t wait! Before I leave I wanted to post a few items of interest:

1. Update on my freelancing presentation.
I’ll be giving a talk at the Expo on Saturday, November 19, 4:30pm, called “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks”. In an earlier blog post I said the talk would be 30 minutes. It will actually be an hour and fifteen minutes. Tickets to my talk are sold out but I’m told that when my presentation is over I can move everyone over to another room in the building (not sure which one yet) for an ongoing Q&A. If you weren’t able to get a seat at my talk you can still catch the Q&A. Just wait around outside the Exec Boardoom at around 5:45pm so you can join us as we file out.

2. Check out Stephen Silver’s new “Posebook” app.
Speaking of the CTN Expo, the amazing character designer Stephen Silver will have a booth there again this year. He’s got a new project that I think is pretty neat: He’s creating a new series of iPhone/iPad app for artists called Posebook. It’s a collection of professional costumed models in over 2,000 full-body poses (no nudes), hands, and close-up facial expressions for sketching. There’s also 6 instructional videos included as well as 25 sketches from some top character designers in the biz. That’s a lot of goodies for $9.99.

The first volume, “Males”, has just been released on iTunes. The second volume, “Females”, is coming soon. I recently downloaded the app and can’t wait to give it a try. Once the dust settles around here I plan to post a review along with a sketch or two. But from what I can tell so far it’s a great product.

3. I’m being interviewed on “On The Box”.
Several years ago I illustrated a cartoon Gospel tract for the ministry of Living Waters which has consistently been one of their best sellers – over 5 million copies have been printed in English and it has been translated into 20 languages. Last year, with the help of some talented animators I produced an animated version of the tract which to date has had over 300,000 hits on YouTube.

While I’m in California Living Waters has graciously invited me  to do a short video interview on their webcast, “On The Box”. It will air live on Thursday, November 17 (11:30am Pacific) and then be uploaded to their YouTube channel for future viewing.

Gotta go pack my bags. I’ll be back in the studio on Monday, November 21.

Updated PDF Portfolios Available For Download

I’ve gone through the PDF versions of all my portfolios, weeded out some old work and put in some fresh. I’ve also updated the “About me” page. You can download them at my website or with these links:

Character Design Portfolio 2011
Toy Design Portfolio 2011
Illustration Portfolio 2011
Comp Art Portfolio 2011

Enjoy!

My Freelancing Presentation is Sold Out, You Can Still Catch The Q&A

I’ve been informed that seating for my presentation on freelancing at the 2011 CTN Animation Expo (Saturday Nov. 19, 4:30pm in the Exec Ballroom) is sold out. I’m pretty sure there are still tickets available for the Expo as a whole, and most of the terrific speakers and panel discussions are still free to all attendees. But mine was one of a few that had limited, pay-per-seat seating and all those seats are now filled.

If you didn’t get a seat you don’t have to despair completely. I only have a half hour an hour and fifteen minutes to speak and I’m going to be trying to cram an awful lot of material into that time. If people have questions or want to talk more about freelancing I’m told that I’ll be able to move everyone into a separate “Q&A room” after the presentation to keep the discussion going. I’m not sure where that will be exactly but if you hang around the Exec Ballroom at a few minutes before 5pm about 5:45pm you can join us as we file out and move on to the Q&A location.

Only Three Spots Left In My Freelancing Workshop at the CTN Animation Expo

On Saturday, November 19 I’ll be giving a presentation at the CTN Animation Expo entitled “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks“.

I had assumed my workshop would be open to all attendees but I’ve recently been informed that my presentation is part of a limited series of workshops that are pre-pay only. Most of the seminars at the Expo are still free to attendees (and there are an awful lot of good ones to choose from) but the organizers have designated mine as one of a few for which seating is limited and there is an extra fee to get in.

In my case the fee is a very affordable $5. In case you are wondering, no this isn’t a scheme for me to make a few bucks. It wasn’t my decision and none of the money will make it into my pocket. Somehow I doubt the organizers are getting rich either. These events are massive undertakings and very complicated to organize. Considering the enormous time and effort they put in to make the Expo such a great event they deserve every penny they can make off of it.

I’m told that you’ll have to log back in to your registration account in order to sign up and pay for the extra workshops. I’d include the login URL but my computer just went through a complete wipe-and-reinstall of the entire operating system and at the moment I can’t find it in my backups. If you signed up for the Expo the organizers should have sent you a link. EDIT: According to CTN you log in to buy the tickets here.

I’ve also been told that there are only three open spots left for my workshop, so if you want to get in you’d better act fast! Hope to see you there!

Sketchbook Update: Sheriff

I’ve been trying to beef up my character design portfolio to get ready for the CTN Animation Expo next month. The other night I was up late noodling around on my Cintiq and this sheriff popped out. I liked how it was going so I thought I’d throw in some color.

Incidentally, if you are planning to go to the Expo I’ll be giving a talk on Freelancing called “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks“. My presentation will be Saturday, Nov. 19. at 4:30pm in the Exec Boardroom. More info here.

I’m Giving A Talk On Freelancing At The CTN Animation Expo

The CTN Animation Expo is without a doubt a “must-see” event for anyone interesting in working in the animation industry. On Nov. 18-20 hordes of animation lovers will once again be descending on the Burbank Marriott Convention Center for three days and nights of animation goodness. There’s still time to register if you’d like to attend.

It’s just been confirmed that I’ll be giving a presentation on freelancing on Saturday, Nov. 19. at 4:30pm in the Exec Boardroom. My talk is titled “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks”. Here’s a summary:

In the current economy more and more companies are hiring artists as freelancers. Unfortunately many talented people wind up earning less than they could, or miss out on opportunities altogether, because they haven’t learned about the business side of being an artist.

Cedric Hohnstadt has owned an illustration studio for over fourteen years and has created work for end clients such as Hasbro, Disney, DreamWorks, Verizon, Best Buy and Target. After working on hundreds of client projects he’s learned a lot of tips and tricks the hard way, and now he’s here to pass on some of them on to you. He’ll discuss how to know if you are cut out for freelancing, how to promote yourself, how much you should charge, how to talk to clients about money, and look at different areas where an artist can find work outside of the animation industry.

As a freelance illustrator and character designer I draw a lot of inspiration from the animation industry. This talk is my humble way of giving a little back. If you’ll be attending the Expo and you have any specific questions about freelancing you’d like me to touch on, feel free to contact me and offer a suggestion. I’ll be happy to consider it as I prepare my talk.

You can register for the Expo or get more info at www.ctnanimationexpo.com.

EDIT: I’m told that my presentation is part of a limited series of workshops that are pre-pay only. Most of the seminars at the event are free to attendees but the organizers have designated mine as one of a few for which seating is limited and there is an extra fee to get in (in my case $5). I’m not sure but I guess you have to log back in to your registration account to sign up and pay for the workshops. I’ve also been told that there are only three open spots left for my workshop, so if you want to get in you’d better act fast.

Upcoming Events for Twin Cities Cartoonists

This weekend there will be a lot of neat goings-on for Minnesota comic book and cartoon fans.

For starters, the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society will be holding it’s annual get-together here in Minneapolis. As part of the event, NCS president and local illustrator Tom Richmond has put together a special event for the public on Friday, October 14. Things kick off at 6:30pm when cartoonist Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) will give a public lecture about his work. Then at 7:30pm there will be a panel discussion with Q&A featuring several professional cartoonists from around the Midwest. Both events will take place at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Auditorium 150.

Then on Saturday October 15, comic book creators and fans from all over the Midwest and beyond will be gathering at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for FallCon, Minnesota’s annual fall comic book convention. As usual I’ll have a table so stop by and say hi. The National Cartoonists Society will also have a table so you’ll have a rare opportunity to meet several professional cartoonists from around the region.

Finally, while you’re at FallCon MAD Magazine’s Tom Richmond will be selling copies of his brand new book The MAD Art of Caricature, hot off the presses. My copy hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but from everything I’ve seen it looks like it will be one very thorough, very helpful book. Tom’s been leaking snippets here and there on his blog, and you can tell from the above video that it’s no lightweight volume. There’s a zillion “how to draw” books out there, thankfully it looks like this one will rise well above the norm. Tom has a reputation for not cutting corners and this looks like a top-notch effort. If you can’t make it to FallCon you can order copies of the book here.

Comp Art For Best Buy Pitch

Last month I was hired by Minneapolis ad agency Olson-Denali to work up some color comps for a pitch to Best Buy. They wanted to suggest some possible photography ideas built around a specific theme. The left third of each image was left open for insertion of text.

The deadline was tight—actual working turnaround was about 24 hours.

Eventually Best Buy decided to go another direction, but in this business that’s pretty common. It was still a lot of fun and I’m grateful to Olson-Denali for the opportunity.

Sketchbook Update: Creating A Character

Copyright © Cedric Hohnstadt 2011. All rights reserved.

Copyright © Cedric Hohnstadt 2011. All rights reserved.

Recently I’ve been trying to brush up on my character design skills. I’m planning to attend the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank this November and I’d like to walk through the doors with a beefed-up portfolio under my arm.

To get ready I’ve recently taken a character design workshop from Nate Wragg at the new CGMW online school, I’ve attended a lecture by character designer Chris Ayers, and I’ve been reviewing past critiques of my work from industry professionals. Over and over I keep hearing that in the animation industry it’s not enough to create a well-designed character if all you do is sketch him standing around in stiff and boring poses. Everything about your drawings – the pose, the costumes, the props and situations – needs to say clear things about who the character is and, ideally, tell a mini-story. As my friend Tom Bancroft says in his excellent book on character design, every pose should have a clear reason behind it. Animation studios don’t want someone who can just design a person or animal, they want someone who can create a character.

Chris Ayers has a really great trick that he uses to help him practice his character design skills. At his drawing table he has a ziploc bag full of little slips of paper. Written on each piece is a character type, a prop, an animal, or an attitude/expression. After he cracks open his sketchbook he reaches in and pulls out a few slips of paper and then challenges himself to create a character using that combination. For example, combining “rhino”, “lederhosen”, and “ready to fight” would probably result in a burly German rhino looking like he’ll knock your block off if you dare to snicker at his silly green outfit. If you purchase My Daily Zoo, Chris’s excellent drawing/activity book for children, he even has a batch of tear-off tabs in the back to get you started on your own ziploc bag of character ideas.

I loved that idea so much that I brainstormed my own list and now keep a similar bag near my desk. The other day I reached in and pulled out slips of paper reading “shark”, “charming”, and “southern gentleman”. I put those together to create the above sketch.

If all goes as planned I’ll be posting more sketches like this as the CTN Animation Expo gets closer.