Creative Freelancer Conference starts today

Sorry for the lag in posts lately. Last week I was on vacation with my family, and this week I’m in Chicago for a client meeting followed by the first annual Creative Freelancer Conference. The conference starts this afternoon, and I’m very excited about it. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of other creatives, doing a little networking, and soaking up tons of great info and advice on how to take my freelance business to the next level.

For those of you who can’t attend the conference, I’m told that at least some of the speakers’ presentations will eventually be for sale as MP3 downloads. If that’s indeed the case, as soon as I find out I’ll post a link to the content here on my blog.

Evolution Of A Racing Game

Yet another project I can finally go public with. Earlier this summer I was hired by BI: The Business Improvement Company to help develop an online racing game with an Olympics theme. The concept went through several stages. Here’s a brief rundown of how we developed the look of the game:

First I wanted to nail down the “look” of the characters. I wanted to give the client a couple of options so I sketched up a few characters in different styles. The crouched runner is meant to represent a more conservative style, and the two running characters were meant to show more cartoonish extremes.

Due to a misunderstanding on my part, I thought the client liked the more cartoonish styles. So I developed six goofy runners with a variety of body shapes.

Once I realized my mistake, I worked up another version with characters that were less extreme. I included a running sketch to show how the characters would look once they took off. The characters would be animated in Flash, so to keep things simple for animation each run cycle would be viewed straight-on from the side instead of from an angle.

I also made sure there was a clear range of ethnicities in the runners.The client liked it but decided there should be an equal mix of men and women. For budgetary reasons we also cut the number of runners from six down to five.

Here’s the final concept sketch, with women runners and color added. It was lots of fun to draw!

I also animated much of the game. Hopefully I can post the animation at a future date.

Plastic Tree Concepts

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, one of my clients specializes in themed birthday cakes. They decided they’d like to manufacture little plastic trees to use on some of the cakes, and asked me to draw one up. Here’s the concept sketches and final turnarounds I submitted.

The tree could only be so tall and so wide. The grey boxes in the first image represent those dimensions that the tree had to stay within.

Some Character Design Sketches

Here’s another project I can finally let out of the bag. A large regional company is in the process of rebranding itself and expanding its market base. I was hired by an ad agency to help develop an updated version of this company’s current mascot. After a couple of rounds of sketches the company decided to go in another direction with the project, so this is as far as my involvement went.

The agency has given me permission to post some of the development sketches under the condition that I don’t reveal the name of the company. As part of the deal, I’ve been asked to change the colors of the character’s clothes (he was wearing the colors of the company’s logo) and also erase the logo from an article of his clothing. So, here are some of the modified concept sketches.

Toy Concepts For Disney’s “Camp Rock”

It’s been a while since I posted any actual artwork on this blog. I’ve been cranking out artwork like crazy all spring and summer, but because of NDA’s and other client arrangements I haven’t been able to show much of the work publicly…yet. Here’s one project that I can finally let out of the box.

One of my clients is a local company that produces themed birthday cakes for licensed properties. Each cake includes a toy as part of the decoration, and I sometimes get the privilege of working up concept sketches for the toys.

Disney’s megahits High School Musical 1 & 2 were recently followed up by a new TV movie, Camp Rock. My client was hired by Disney to develop a Camp Rock-themed cake. The target audience for Camp Rock was a little older than for most cake toys, targeting teens and preteens instead of kids. Ultimately the Camp Rock cake concept never made it into stores, but the client has given me permission to post some of my work. Here’s a few of the concepts I helped develop:

How To Retain Good Freelance Talent

If you are an art director or art buyer who hires freelancers, there’s a short article you should read from HOW Magazine:

How To Retain Good Freelance Talent

The article lists five things every freelancer wishes they could tell their clients. I found the article through HOW’s free e-newsletter, which is a great resource for creatives of all shapes and sizes. You can sign up on their home page.

For a longer list, check out one of my past posts: Being A Dream Client

You Write The Caption

On Saturday a local comic book shop was promoting an event and hired actors to walk around dressed as super heroes. It was as close as I could come to attending Comic-Con this year.

During a break my friend Mike snapped this photo in the parking lot:

Here’s your assignment: Write a funny caption and post it in the “Comments” section (please be clean and tasteful). Unfortunately I don’t have a cool prize to offer, this is just for fun.