Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prying open the sketch Vault -eww it's musty in here

I thought maybe you guys would find this interesting. These are things I never show. Never -ever- never. ("Dis"claimer- I love you house of mouse - I do- I promise -I'll put them back in the vault)
I worked for many years as a character artist in licensed cartoon merchandise. I have about 15 big boxes of sketches from those years. You name the cartoon character (or Muppet) and I've got a drawing I did of them. The last hurrah of this career was with The Walt Disney Company. It was a dream come true to go to their classes and be trained to draw these characters. I haven't drawn them much these past 10 years - except to dazzle children.(and boy does it)  I love to look at these sketches from time to time. I learned so much from these years. Some of which I have had to try to intentionally shed to  pursue children's books - the super polished- overly perfect lines and "mass market" (hate that term) appeal of the "One image" illustration that doesn't tell much of a story. BUT - what a foundation of drawing. The sketches for these are far better than the finish- and my roughs even more so. Here's a rough and a clean up ..
So a peek into my past for ya... Onward and upward!! -Kelly


  1. I love that you were able to follow that dream, but I'm so happy we get to see your heart and soul in your own work now! Thanks for sharing these sketches.

  2. LOL! Love em! Sketches are so wonderful to look at. I tend ot love my sketches more than the finished pieces as well.
    Thanks for posting these.


  3. Why would you not want to show these? This is very cool Kelly! Not many people get to have such a great foundation/opportunity! Thanks for sharing a bit of your past! (and I agree with Heather - I love the spark of life that your stuff has now!)

  4. These are awesome Kelly! This was a time in your life where you had such a wonderful opportunity and it sculpted who you are today! I was in giftware and designed many licensed items as well. Not anything like what you did, getting training from Disney! But I have an appreciation for what you went through with having to create characters on model. Glad I left the field, but learned a lot as well. Thanks for the great post, Kelly!!

  5. Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for sharing! What a wonderful opportunity for an artist! Yes, I agree with the others, it shows in your work today. :)

  6. Definitely agree that the sketches have more energy & life then the finish. But it must have been a wonderful experience to have worked & been trained by Disney. Your professional polish still shows in a good way vs corporate. What a great foundation to build on.

  7. Thanks guys! Michelle- when you work on "properties" that are worth a lot of moola - you have to sign contracts. These contracts pretty much say "you will be happy when we sue you- sign below". - We are not supposed to promote ourselves with it. This art is all about 14 years old- I'd say it's lost to the sands of time.(I hope)

  8. These are really really cool!
    So jealous that you got to get trained there :)
    Thanks for sharing these amazing works!