Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy | Paul Budnitz | Skillshare

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Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy

teacher avatar Paul Budnitz, Kidrobot Founder, Designer, Entrepreneur, Author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      A Brief History of Designer Toys


    • 3.

      Training Your Eye


    • 4.

      Initial Sketches


    • 5.

      Final Sketches


    • 6.

      Explore Design on Skillshare


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About This Class

Designer toys have been described as one of the few truly original worldwide art movements of the last two decades. Initially created by street artists and designers using soft vinyl, the designer toy movement now encompass a wide variety of artists, styles, and materials, and has spread worldwide.

As the founder of Kidrobot, Paul Budnitz helped bring designer toys to America. and has designed and art directed hundreds of limited edition toys — including virtually every toy created by Kidrobot from its inception through 2011. He's well known as the co-creator of Dunny, Munnyworld, and many other iconic toys.

Budnitz will be sharing how to design a successful one of your own including the history of designer toys from 1998 to the present, what makes it a designer toy, and how to create a great sketch.

Meet Your Teacher

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Paul Budnitz

Kidrobot Founder, Designer, Entrepreneur, Author


Paul Budnitz is the founder of Kidrobot, the world's premiere creator of art toys, apparel and accessories. He also owns and runs Budnitz Bicycles, two technology companies, is the author of several books for adults and children, exhibits and a photographer and filmmaker, and speaks extensively on creativity worldwide. Budnitz has founded over a dozen companies.

Budnitz designed or art directed virtually every product created by Kidrobot from the company's inception through 2011. Budnitz's original designs include Dunny with Tristan Eaton, Munnyworld, the Kidrobot series, and many others.

In December 2008 over a dozen toys created by Budnitz & artist Tristan Eaton were accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Kidrobot... See full profile

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1. Introduction: In about the year 2001, some friends showed me some of the toys that were coming out of Hong Kong. They were actually made by Michael Lau. I ended up flying over there and just looking at these amazing designer toys that were being made in Hong Kong and actually in Japan at the same time. So, I flew back and I started Kidrobot. In this class, students will sketch out their own designer toy, how it's created all the way from initial sketches through the factory, what professional toy designs, toy sketches look like, how to choose color, and really everything you'd need to know to make a final design you could bring and have manufactured. To me, the most important thing to learn if you're a designer is to develop your eye. One of the best ways to do that is to actually learn how to really look and see details in what you're doing. I've partnered with Skillshare because I thought it was really the best online forum for learning design and you've had other really great classes on Skillshare. To be among people like Jeff Staple, he's also a close friend of mine, is really a great privilege. My name is Paul Budnitz, I'm the founder of KidRobot, of Budnitz Bicycles. I'm an entrepreneur, I'm an author, I'm a designer, and I generally just like to make things. 2. A Brief History of Designer Toys: Welcome in my class of designer toys. This segment talks about the history of designer toys because it's important if we're going to work in a certain medium, that we understand the history and where the art form is. By understanding history we can make sure that we don't repeat what's already been done, and also gives us a lot of ideas of how to work and where to go on our own designs. In the late 1990s, a few artists in Hong Kong specifically Michael Lau and Eric Soo started taking apart GI Joes, and they would tear the heads off and they would mold new heads and they would mold new hands, and then they would sow new clothes for these little toys and they would sell them at toy conventions. Now, in Hong Kong in China and also in Japan, adults collect toys in the U.S. I think that might have seemed a little weird until 10 or 15 years ago, but there toy collecting was really as popular as is comic books became here for adults. So, Eric Soo and Michael Lau would take the toys and they would cut their own cardboard boxes with exacto blades and write their names on the top and started selling them in these conventions, and they became very popular. There were little one off limited editions. Slowly the two of them started to manufacture their own toys as well. People started to collect them, and they were very hard to find. Now, the coincidence is that simultaneously in Tokyo small fashion labels in Harajuku started doing the same thing. So one of the best known is Bounty Hunter and Harajuku who was the owner of Bounty hunter. It's a very small Goth clothing store. They sell black t shirts, and black nail polish and spikes. He started making vinyl toys and he made these little toy stores as promotional items, and the toys became so popular that people started standing in line to buy the toys. They're really amazing because there is really a thematic difference between what the Japanese and Chinese were doing. The Chinese their toys were all about pop culture about music and hip hop and street clothing, and if you look at the toys that actually came out of China at that time they were really interesting because they looked like American street culture like hip hop was really popular but it was seen through the eyes of Chinese kids, who had actually grown up in the projects, the Chinese project. So it was really interesting because it was like these you'd have like street gangs dressed in like hip hop clothing but they all had this sort of Asian flavor and it made what they were doing really cool, while the Japanese guys were really much more into nostalgia. They were really into American culture in fact Huraku who grew up near the Okinawa military base, and his mom used to bring home American cereal which is his favorite thing. So a lot of his toys designs are these twisted juxtaposed cereal box characters like Franken Berry and Captain Crunch. But he would twist them and do them in black vinyl and put evil eyes on them and things like that. So, for him and then if you look at secret base which did a lot more work that in the movie Monster Nostalgia, the things that we're coming out of Japan really looked backwards and then twisted sort of older culture. This started to evolve or some there were a few American artists that got involved. Future made some toys for a record company who was involved with, and Coz came out and started doing his own toys too and he'd produce them also in China and Japan. Frank Cosic also was involved very early on with Bounty hunter, in fact the first smoking lab toy was made by Bounty hunter not by kid robot, with Frank. The other thing to note about the toys at that time is they were using rod casted vinyl. The reason why a lot of the toys are made out of vinyl is because it's a very inexpensive process to work with. So vinyl toys require just a copper mold, which is very inexpensive, where if you look at ABS injection toys which is the hard plastic toys that you see around a lot more those molds can cost $10,000 or $20,000 just to make a single mold. So by using this sort of old fashioned production technique, because vinyl toys have been around forever, they can make toys very inexpensively and they can do small runs, and that's how the limited edition thing came about. They do these small runs of toys and they'd sell out and then do another run of toys, that was also why there has tended to be a repetition because they had the mold already. They can do a blue one and then a black one and do new paints, and people started collecting all the different colors of toys. Then coming out of China, there were other artists brothers worker, and out of Japan devil robots and everyone had their own style, and they were very weird and very hard to find. I mean, these were things like in 2001, 2002 designer toys were things that you would look for on eBay and not find. In order to find what was going on you have to look through these Chinese language websites and you were just sifting through things you can barely understand seems like amazing designs. In 2001, 2002 I saw these toys and started kidrobot to make them in the U.S. I started working with a lot of the people who were my friends really a lot of American stories and graffiti artists people like Tristin Eten and Hackey and Tara MacPherson and Gary Baseman and Syko, and Doughs Green. Street Art, first of all, I just love street art because you got to be real passionate to be doing work. You're not really great work that's both dangerous, you're not being paid for that kind of enthusiasm was kind of what I was looking for kid robot. But also there was sort of a similar theme you know there streetcars tended at that time and still do to some degree to create and come up with characters in a style and that's something that we could repeat and bring into the toys, and that made it a lot of fun. Well, we started creating our own vinyl toys we created dunny which was the first American platform toy. Medicom had created barbaric previously in Japan, and they really think in a lot of ways medicalise should be created should be credited with creating the first really popular platform toy. Again if you look at Medicom there are Japanese and there's a tendency again to look backwards a little, in a really cool way. So Barbara it's just sort of based on legal toys in a little bit, you can see the playmobil toys in them you see their DNA. When we design dunny, Trystan and I were trying to make what was the best possible canvas for someone to customize on? The shape of the face, the shape of the body, and I think that toy really helped kidrobot take off. But then, we just started meeting more and more artists. It went from one to the other by I think 2004-2005 kidrobot was producing almost 50 or 60 different toys a year. Because they were all limited edition, and that was what was so wonderful about them. You'd buy something it would sell out and you couldn't get anymore. It created this sort of sense of preciousness, and a sense that there was something moving in the arts that was really a lot of fun, and a lot of other companies were sort of springing up around us at the same time. The strange co I think did really probably the very best, some of the very best limited edition vinyl toys. I mean, really complicated beautiful stuff. Probably 2004-2005, we started to notice that people were buying our dunny toys and also our vinyl toys and they would repaint them. They would customize them, and then they'd be selling them on eBay. It became this whole movement of one offs where people would buy toys and they customized them themselves and some of the artwork. People like 64 colors, you make it to just do these incredible detailed work that you actually can't do in mass production. I mean, that was one to one of the great things about custom. When you're mass producing toys there are production limitations. Even if it's a small run of 100 pieces, but if your hand painting everything you can come out with amazing things and I think the custom toy movement has really been really kept something really alive in designer toys. At this point, designer toys have become a worldwide movement. There's artists in the USA, there is artists in Europe, there is artists in Asia, there's artists in Australia, there's artists in South America, kidrobot worked with artists in Afghanistan. Designer toys have spread all over the world and what's become really interesting to me is it's moved away in many ways from its roots. It hasn't completely left but the roots were in pop culture, in music, in hip hop, and street art. It's moved really in directions of fine art and design in fashion. When we did those toys with Marc Jacobs, with Gucci, vision air magazine, with Prada I mean, that was a lot of fun. But then we worked with smaller designers like Keenan Dufty, and suddenly fashion designers were getting involved and I think it's amazing because it just keeps spreading and going in different directions. Because designer toys have opened up, and they are so diverse now I think it's really a great a great time for new designers, because you're really free to do almost anything you want. In the next section, we'll talk about some of the DNA of what makes these designer toys special, so that people can really get an idea of can do almost anything, how to put what makes a designer toy designing toy into their designs and yet still make it really very much of their own. Students are interested in the history of designer toys, I really hate to do this but I wrote two books they're called, 'I Am Plastic', and 'I Am Plastic Two', and really the best place to learn the history of designer toys and to really look at what's been done I think are in those two books. They're like an encyclopedia of designer toys and they really go from beginning to the last book was published I think about three years ago, but it still remains really vibrant. You can see a lot of what's done, lot of different materials from flush to metal to wood to plastic to vinyl. I think there are 200 artists in each book. So, by going through those books and they are available on libraries you don't have to buy it, but if you can get a copy of either of those books, I think it's a great place to start. There are other resources clutter magazine is great, the discussion boards of kidrobot are great, toy talk comic-con when it comes up. Because it's just great stuff happening in New York comic-con in San Diego Comic-con. There's just great artists and great people to meet and a great community there. 3. Training Your Eye: This section is about what makes a designer toy design a toy and not something you'd say C on the wallet, Target or Walmart or Toys R Us. What makes a toy an adult toy and what makes it appealing? One of the things I really love most about designer toys is they really feel like works of art and if you look at all the great art movements of the 20th century and into this century, the things that really make those movements distinct are juxtaposition and appropriation, and if you look at designer toys, you'll see this running through as a theme in almost every great designer toy. So, what is juxtaposition? Juxtaposition is when you take two elements that don't seem to fit together and you put them together. So for example, a really great example probably one of the best examples is Murray Chax gloomy bear. Murray is a Japanese artist, he started drawing gloomy bear and little postcards and selling it on the street in Tokyo, and gloomy bear is this cute pink little bear and he's found by a little boy named Pity and Pity finds this cute wonderful pink bear in a little cardboard box and he brings him home and he feeds the bear with little bottles of milk and he nurtures the bear and as the bear grows up and gets bigger and bigger, it develops claws and fangs and eventually it bites the little boys head off. If you look at gloomy bear, it's this beautiful pink bear but he's got bloody claws and that's juxtaposition. It's cute and scary at the same time. Frank Kozik's Smoking Rabbit is another great example juxtaposition where you've got a cute little rabbit, little bunny rabbit and he's smoking a cigarette and he's got a little butthole and so you put these things together and your mind kind of gets a little bit bent and I think that's what makes things feel artistic. There's an example of a cute little blue teddy bear that says on its tummy, world's greatest dad, and that is not that bear really says one thing, it's not very complex, it says cute, right? That's why it feels like a child's toy because when we're children, we really feel one thing at a time. If you've spent any time around kids, kids look and they'll have like a cute toy and I'll have a happy toy, but really all their toys have one specific through line and emotion. When we get to adult toys and designer toys, usually there's two or three things going on at the same time and that's because as we grow up as human beings, we start to experience the world in more complex ways. We see the world really in contradictions. We may love our partner or a girlfriend or boyfriend or husband and wife, but we may hate them at the same time. Some days you want to kill them, that doesn't mean that the love goes away but that sense of two things not quite fitting together is what makes designer toys art and not just another product. When we designed Dunny, if you look at Dunny upfront, because it's just a blank toy, right? It's a canvas that we give to artists and let them paint on. If you look at Dunny, at first, it just looks like a bunny rabbit, right? But then you realize first of all, it's got arms and legs which is sort of weird, but the way Tristen actually drew the neck, it's cut at an angle, it's not cut straight. So, if you look at the traditional Lego toy, it's like this, its arms and heads just turn straight. Dunny and a lot of the kid robot toys actually have their heads cut at an angle and that creates a hunch and it makes the head turns and has a lot more, the articulation adds a lot more emotion and it gives Dunny this sort of like almost menacing kind of posture and so you've got this starts out as this cute bunny rabbit but the postures sort of menacing one leg is sort of in front of the other and that's another thing to think about when you're designing your toy. You don't have the posture, it doesn't have to be so flattened straight, you can give it some life and that life creates more depth to the design. The next thing probably to consider is appropriation and appropriation is when we take something from something else. Something from pop culture, something from history, something from commercials, from television, something we've seen in a comic book, famous figures and characters, and we appropriated into our art. The difference between appropriation and just stealing is that appropriation, when we appropriate something, we add something to it. We change it and tweak it in a way that kind of makes it a commentary. It doesn't have to be really specific, it doesn't have to be clear what we're talking about, but it somehow says something more. It's as if you're taking two things, putting them together, making a third thing that's so much greater. If you look at the masters of appropriation, that's Kass. So Kass a lot of his aesthetic, he'll take the aesthetic from say The Simpsons, or the Michelin Man, or he's used peanuts, he's used Woodstock, the little bird from peanuts and he'll cross that with, they usually have Xs for eyes which are like dead eyes. He'll just start messing with it and messing with and messing with it until it's something totally beautiful and totally original. Another master of appropriation is actually Frank Kozik. Again, I mean Frank has his busts of dictators, one of my favorite ones is Chairman Mao with Mickey Mouse ears, and when we made that, we actually had a really hard time getting it out of China. Where it was it was made someone had to be bribed and someone almost gotten up to a lot of trouble, it sounds like what we were told. There's Frank Kozik's smokin' Joe Stalin. So, it's a dictator but he's in a baseball outfit. You know and again, he's taking these things, appropriating them these busts that are busts of famous dictators and making fun of them and it becomes a commentary. Another real master of preparation, really one of my favorite artists is Sucklord. Sucklord, I mean, if you look at his Gay Empire toy, he's taken the storm trooper from Star Wars, he's painted it pink, it comes inside a package that looks exactly like package you find with a Hasbro Toy. It has disclaimers on the back that are literally taken from mass-produced toys. So, he's appropriated like four or five elements from different things and he's put it together. Oh, and the toy comes broken. It's like the legs are broken off when you get it. It's like it's genius because he's taken all of these different elements and put it together and made something that's just totally transcended them all something really beautiful. So, when we think about appropriation, you can think about looking for things in culture that you can borrow whether it's logos, characters from television shows and movies, it's a little bit like again like if you look at early Beastie Boys albums and hip hop. If you look at the Black Album, the way samples are used and really were used at the beginning of sampling when music was still really free and they weren't worried very much about copyright. They were stealing and taking elements from everything to make great music and a good designer toy that's using it doesn't have to use pop culture references, there are a lot of totally original character designs. But if you are bringing those things in, you can look from all of the place and then really in the most unexpected places. If you take things and just do them too literally, you're not really making something new and you end up with copyright problems. There actually is a law that allows you to make art and borrow elements from other things and there and if you're actually mass producing something, you have to be fairly careful about what you're doing because if you just make a storm trooper toy, it's just a storm trooper. If you haven't done anything really significant to it now, the really good news is that when you're doing small runs of stuff, you tend to fly a bit under the radar and so when things are in a gray area, in my experience, people don't really go after you. But from the, really the standpoint of artistic integrity and really making something new and beautiful, it's important to make sure that what you're making is original and then if you're borrowing an element or an aesthetic or a small piece of something that's great but don't just take the whole thing because you'll end up just copying something and it won't be so interesting. Okay, so, as part of designing your own toy, here's a great exercise and it's actually something we used to do at kid robot. You can take take pairs of images and each pair will somehow juxtaposed two ideas, two cultural elements, two different things to come up with something new and there are things you might want to put into your toy and I've got an example here which is domestic hunger by Blaine Fontana and it's an utterly brilliant toy and as you can see, it's a cross between a sort of tacky plastic bird house that you might buy let's say at Wal-Mart. It's got a peaked roof and eyes and a shape that you might recognize as having been appropriated from the medieval horror film and so in a way it's like it's kind of a cross between a horror film and a cheap bird house and what he's made is this really kind of brilliant and scary and beautiful work of art. That's a great example of both appropriation and juxtaposition all in one and what makes this really work. So anyway get pairs of pictures, put them together, upload them to the website so we can see them and we can all talk about them and find things that would interest you in making your own toy design. 4. Initial Sketches: Okay, welcome to lesson two. In this lesson, we're going to start working on initial sketches for our toy. As part of doing that, I'm going to talk you through how a designer toys are made from beginning to end. So, often, we start with a sketch. A sketch can be just about anything. A sketch can be done in pencil. It can be done in a pen. It can done on a computer. It can be done in crayons. It can be a collage. I mean, we've made toys that just came out of someone ripping a picture out a magazine and gluing another picture on top of it. So, a sketch is really free form. It's where the general Genesis, the idea should hold the kernel of what's great about the toy. But it doesn't have to be really super detailed. Just to understand how the toy process works from the sketch, we then go to control drawings. A controlled drawing is a drawing of the toy that's shown from every angle. The important thing to know about controlled drawings and really everything you're doing is that when you take a toy design to a factory or a fabricator to have it made, anything that you haven't specified will be immediately screwed up, it's just part of the rules of the whole thing. In fact, one of the early, it's pretty funny, we sent this pretty rough sketch because we didn't know what we were doing with one of the early Deny Designs, and the factory send it back to us with flashing blue lights for eyes on it just because they thought it improved it. It made it look better. So, it's pretty important that you're very, very specific about everything that you want. After control drawings, generally, a rough sculpt is made. The sculpt can either be done, usually it's done in wax, if it's done by hand. It can also be turned into a 3D model and cut out of a CNC machine. My provinces usually hand sculpting. The computers are great but they don't always have the same life, things tend to get symmetric and a little bit to clean although people have gotten pretty skilled at it, so it can work well. While this is going on, we also do a paint drawing. We'll take the original control drawings and we'll color it in more or less. Each color is specified as a Pantone color. This is a Pantone book as you can see. There are tons of colors and each color has its own number. So, if you look at actually, say, it can robot when toys being manufactured. If you look at the control drawings, there'll be a version where it's colored, and every color is specified. Every even tiny little eyebrow and eyeball and whatever is specified to be a very specific color, so the factory knows what to make there. After the resin comes in actual final version of the toy, if this is a vinyl toy or an ABS plastic toy, it will come out in plastic. We're going to talk a bit about of materials because there are all kinds of toys you can make. This is obviously a Plush toy. This is a mustache Labbit by Frank Kozik. The great thing about Plush, is it's something people actually make themselves. The first ugly dolls were made by David Horvath and Sun-Min in their basement. A lot of Plush, the great thing about Plush is you can just actually do it, you don't have to go to a factory. If you want to manufacture it, it's pretty easy do domestically, you can go to sewing company. Another material that we can work with resin. Resin is a material you mold, like plastic, but it's a heavier material. This is Ayatollah with headphones on by Frank Kozik. You feel the weight of resin and also can chip. It doesn't have that hollow plastic toy feel to it, and it's often something that people use for short runs. It doesn't hold detail quite as well as some of the other materials. But here's resin, and is also something you can learn to mold yourself in your basement if you want to. This is, I want to go to this guy here. This amazing toy. This is totally rad. This is a vinyl toy by Cronk, and this is vinyl. The reason people work in vinyl as I think I mentioned before is the molds are very inexpensive, they're made out of copper. The way every piece on this toy, the hat, and the head, and the body are made is, they're all made individually, and looks like a little crucible made out of copper, looks like a little ball. People take liquid vinyl and they dump it in. Then, there's what looks like a barbecue. There's a guy standing there with this fire coming out, it looks like a barbecue and the vinyl which is melted goes in. He actually spins this circle around and all the vinyl goes to the outside, and then he pulls it away and it cools off, and it will take a pair of tongs, and I'll pull it out and it'll stretch and stretch and go bling!, and you'll end up with like say the head of this figure. The great thing, again, about vinyl toys which is why a lot of this stuff is made from limited edition, is that those molds are very inexpensive, and you do small runs. Vinyl is soft, it's wonderful, it feels a little bit old fashioned, it has this beautiful flat texture to it, and it also has a tendency to form over time. So, Vinyl is not really a great archival material but the good manufacturers do make vinyl that'll last for many years. But you can see some deformity overtime. Last, material is ABS hard plastic. So this, If you look at this little robot thing, whatever it is, the hard plastic parts here that are very shiny, the feeling of hard plastic brittle toys that you probably grew up with, that's ABS plastic. The thing about ABS plastic is, it's great for mass production. It's very expensive to make the molds. An ABS plastic mold can cost between $10, $20, $30,000 depending on the size of the mould. That's a big heavy metal mold, because the plastic is injected at very high temperatures. It can be very precise. You can make a lot of stuff really cheap. I don't think it looks as good a lot of the time. But the ABS plastic can be used for great stuff. Because of its precision, you can make small parts that fit together very well which is harder to do with vinyl. So, that's good way to think about those materials. Other materials to consider are wood. Toys have been made out of CNC cut wood. You can make toys in die casting metal. You can make toys, I've just been toys that have made out literally out of beads. You can really get pretty inventive with materials, but those are that most of the standard materials that toys are made out of. Now that you have an idea of how toys are made, it's time to get sketching. What I'd recommend is that you start by sketching your toy and not worrying. First of all, don't worry about being good. The whole deal with sketching is that you literally throw out a lot of ideas. If you worry at the beginning about doing a perfect job, you won't end up with something as great in the end, there's plenty of time for refining later. When you sketch your toy which is the next thing you should do, you can use just about any material. You can use crayons, you can use pencils, you can use pens, you can use paints, you can use your computer, you can use collage. The real idea here is to communicate because it's a sketch, the vibe of what you're going for. You don't have to do the toy yet from all sides, Although you can if those details are important. You can show the back of the top of the toy. Remember to think in material, think about accessories, think about is there any thing that you want your toy to be holding in its hand or wearing on its head or wearing on its foot? Is it figurative? Does it hang from the wall? Does it bolt into the floor? Does it, is it two-dimensional and it's pushed onto a window pane? There all things you can do with your toy that are non-conventional, that really make it a work of art. So, have fun with it. 5. Final Sketches: Welcome to the final sketch section of our lesson. In this lesson, you're going to learn how to create a refined drawing of a toy that will really help communicate what it is you're trying to make in the most detailed way possible. One of the most important things to know is that anything that you don't specify, will probably get messed up. Because really, if you don't specify every little detail, whoever's making this, whether they're sculpting it for you or it's actually gotten in the manufacturing process and you're choosing colors, they're going to have to choose something, and it's better that you do it than someone else. So, we're going to talk about all the details, really the fine details you need to make your toy designer right. When we do final control drawings for a toy, we draw the toy from all sides, from the front, from the back, from each side, and the top and bottom. So, that we can see every detail of what's going to be made. Everything from what's relief, that is what's carved in or carved out of the toy, including even if you want your name and logo on the foot, all that has to be put into the drawings. The other thing that's going to be important to our drawing is what parts articulate and move. So, if you want arms to move and legs to move, if you want the neck turn, if you want a hat to come off, you need to draw those pieces separately from each side. Because by doing so, you can really see what's going on, you can show with arrows and lines and drawings how different joints are cut, how pieces fit together, do you want them to be smooth? Do you want purposely want things to be rounded? Do you want a gap in between two pieces? All of these things are really important. Hands can be mitts, hands can have fingers. Traditionally in comic books and cartoons, if you look at say, Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse, they tend to have three fingers and a thumb. It's interesting, you'll see that a lot in toys too. Somehow when you get to five fingers it just looks complicated when it gets little. The other things to think about was when we get to color, and this is a pantone book, here's a pantone book. A pantone book has literally thousands of colors and each color is really specific and each color is numbered. Pantone numbers are in, they're built into programs like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. You can also buy one of these books at an art shop, art store, they're not very expensive. Vinyl is often cast as a matte material, that is it's not shiny. When something's matte, it reminds us of human skin. So, the toy feels a little more alive. I mean, if you look at a cheap plastic toy, one of the reasons it doesn't feel quite as nice is the toy is very shiny, and that shininess doesn't feel real. Because in nature usually, human skin, animal skin, it's matte. That doesn't mean you can't choose to use color, I mean, some of the great artists, if you look at a lot of the great kid robot black designs, if you look at Gary Baseman, he's really a master of using spot gloss. So, he'll use gloss in little places just to bring something out and really make it alive, and that's something you can do too, when you're specifying color as well. It's important also to know how the colors are applied to a toy because they're really applied one of three ways, one is you can use colored material, for the toy itself can be manufactured let's say in bright yellow plastic. This is a dunny by, I love dust, amazing. As you can see the vinyl itself is this dark, dark, deep red brown color. The next way you apply color really, they're called spray masks. This is for covering let's say large fields of color. What it's like is really, it's as if your masking taped off, what the factories actually using is a clamp that's usually made out of metal with little, it's like little screens cut out in it. That's how if you see this red color line right here around the face, that's a spray mask, and it was a field of color put on at once. The limitations of spray masks is really they're not super precise, and they're good for large fields of color. You can't wrap a spray mask because you can imagine all the way around. It's like you're spraying with a spray paint can. So, there are limitations there, you can do one surface from one direction. You can do multiple course in layers, but you have to think through that a little bit. Then, the last way that color is applied is with paint pads. A paint pad is a little bit like a rubber stamp really. I mean, if you look at this toy you'll see this dark purple color and there's the orange color and there's black. Each one of these, each tooth, each little line, the little nose here and the little lighter purple underneath it, is a different paint pad. This toy probably has been hit by paint pads I would guess maybe 75 or a 100 times. So, if you imagine the factory, there's a large assembly line of these machines and there's a little arm in it. This guy will be set and held in place, and a little arm comes over and goes and it goes and it goes and it puts one little color on. Then, they'll take it out and they'll move it to the next one and another color will be put on it. By the time you're done you end up with something as lovely and wonderful as this. But, there are limitations to that you should know as well. For example, the more colors, the more details you use, the more expensive the toy is to make. One of the most famous toy artists who makes designs that are almost un-manufacturable is Huck Gee. He's just a master and his stuff is so complicated and so wonderful that generally, I think anyone that makes toys with him makes them out of love. Because you're really supporting his design, but, if you look at his stuff a lot of the time it's got a lot of little details. The other thing to know is that when you're designing a toy, you can design accessories, things to put in its hand. This goes back to Huck Gee again because he loves accessories. So, you can put little things to put in the hand, you can make hats, you can make feet, you can make skateboards, you can make rocket launchers, you can make sex toys, I mean these are for adults, you can do really anything you want. The thing about accessories is it's another mold, and if you're painting on it, it's more paint pads. If you do a ton of accessories, it can make an amazing toy and it may mean that toy itself costs $500 to produce and becomes unproducible. At this stage, I suggest that you just design, and go crazy, and don't worry about things like that, don't worry too much about restrictions, but just know that when it comes to actually producing your toy there will be restrictions. It's hard to do, here's another thing that's hard to do with color, it's hard to do a lot of really complicated gradients. Because these are all flat colors, you imagine they're being put on by a rubber stamp. So, doing a gradient color that let's say, a camel that wraps around the toy in a very precise way, very difficult. Because you can imagine you're going to have to match up some kind of paint that goes here, with paint that goes here, with paint that goes here and put it all together and that can be hard. So, in a way you have to think constructively as you go. Again, for your first designs I suggest you just go nuts, because my experience is you can always reduce and simplify later. So, you should really have fun with it when you're going and when it comes to time to actually make what you're making you can deal with those restrictions then. So, the exercise in this section is actually to draw your toy from all sides and all angles. Take the sketch you liked most and that you've developed most and start with an absolute front angle of your toy design. Draw a back, draw a side, the other side, and then top and bottom from all angles. You should do this in black and white, so no color. Do it as a line drawing, you could do on the computer, you can do it again with pens or pencils, whatever you want, however you can communicate it best. Then make a copy of it. If you're working on a computer that's very easy to do, if you're working by hand you can photocopy or scan another copy, and then do a color version and color in. Think when you're coloring, think about limitations. If you use a thousand different colors, if you use colors that run one into the other, it may be very hard to manufacture. It may make a beautiful drawing, but it will be difficult to make it as a toy, so try to think in blocks of color and in small detail blocks of color. You also might want to think about texture, you can think about gloss, you can think about matte, you can think about adding things that you go on. You can have flashing lights if you want on your toy, you can sew clothing for a hard plastic toys. You can, if you decide to work in plush, you can add plastic to a plush toy. You can be working in metal, you can be working in wood. So, there are all kinds of ways that you can create juxtaposition and really interesting toys out of a variety of different materials. You should specify that too on the color page. So, you can specify what things are made out of and how they look. Just remember, the main goal here is to communicate what your toy will look like when it's finished, so the more details the better. When you're done with it, upload it, and share it with the community and get comments from your peers. Remember, again, and people can remember this also when they're commenting, the goal of this is not necessarily always to make something that's perfect to start out with. When you're creating something, you should feel free to make mistakes and just to experiment, because if you don't, what you end up with is something that feels very rigid and tight. So, everything's a process. So, if you upload something and there are two or three brilliant elements in it, that's really great work. That is something that can be evolved into something that's truly great. So, feel free to really just go off the map with it and have fun. 6. Explore Design on Skillshare: way.