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!

Puzzles for Patch Products

A few months ago I was hired by Patch Products to illustrate two puzzles for preschoolers, one with a farm theme and one with a zoo theme. Along with drawing all the animals I was to “hide” specific shapes within each puzzle for the preschoolers to find as they put the puzzle together. The puzzles are now available for purchase from Patch Products (Links: farm puzzle, zoo puzzle). I get no commission from the sale of the puzzles so this isn’t an attempt to make a little profit off of a blog post. Just wanted to let everyone know.

Here’s how the final art turned out (the unusual border shape is intentional):

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Artist In Your Life

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If you’re looking for any last-minute Christmas ideas you might want to browse through my Amazon.com store, Cedric Hohnstadt Recommends. It’s a collection of books, DVDs, and other resources related to art, animation, and freelancing. Each item is something I have personally owned, used, and found to be especially helpful and/or inspirational.

Full disclosure: If you order any of the items from Amazon after clicking through my store I’ll receive a tiny percentage of the sale as a kickback (you won’t pay any extra). So you’ll not only be filling someone’s stocking but you’ll be helping me support my iPhone app addiciton.

Sketchbook Update

I’m a strong believer in keeping a daily sketchbook.

I’m also a hypocrite. I often go days or weeks without cracking mine open.

Don’t get me wrong. I do a lot of drawing but the overwhelming bulk of my artwork is created for clients with strict guidelines and objectives that have to be met. Between commissioned work and the never ending slog of running a freelance business (emails, phone calls, bookkeeping, self-promotion, writing proposals, running errands, keeping a blog, etc.) its getting harder and harder for me to curl up with a blank page and sketch for my own study and enjoyment. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like a professional athlete who plays hard during the actual games but then never has time to exercise or come to practice.

As a result I’ve started to feel a bit stale in my artistic development. I’m catching myself falling back on reliable tricks and habits rather than pushing myself to learn and grow. That’s a slippery slope towards creative death. So lately I’ve been forcing myself to get back into it and crack open the ol’ sketchbook more regularly. My goal is to do a page a day. Some days I make it, many I still don’t, but I’m determined to keep pushing ahead.

Most of my sketchbook drawings are not very cartoony. In order to be a good cartoonists I believe you first have to understand how to draw realistically. You have to have a solid grasp the real thing before you can convincingly simplify and caricature it. So when I sketch I usually study real people, real poses, real clothing, etc.

I also do a lot of very bad drawings (though I don’t have the courage to show them here). You can’t grow and improve without making mistakes and my sketchbook is the one place where I give myself total permission to mess up royally. If all my sketchbook drawings were perfect it would only mean that I was drawing things I’ve already mastered. That’s a great way to get stale fast.

Here’s a few recent sketches. Nothing in this particular batch is from life—all are from photos or video stills.

Trifecta BBQ Sauce

A few months ago I was hired by the Trifecta BBQ sauce company to create an illustration for their new brand of BBQ sauce. It was a fun project which I blogged about showing the steps from intial concept to final artwork.

I’m an illustrator, not a graphic designer, so I did not do the full label design. I just created the artwork and then the Trifecta people hired someone else to design a label around it.

Here’s the final artwork I submitted:

Trifecta-Final6v2a

The preliminary bottling has now begun, and earlier this week I received six bottles showcasing the new label design, hot off the assembly line. I’m told this is not the final design—they are going to make some minor changes—but I thought I’d post a quick photo anyway:

I can’t wait to slap some steaks on the grill and give this sauce a try! This is the perfect time of year for it too. Here in Minnesota the snow has only been gone for about a month, the leaves are sprouting on the trees, and there are no bugs….yet.

There’s also a Trifecta website in the works at trifectasauces.com. As of this writing its not live yet but it should be going live soon. If you enjoy a good BBQ it would be worth giving Trifecta a try.