Creating ToonFest Merchandise | Backstage Toontown
Posted by The Toontown Team on July 31, 2023 at 2:00 PM
Hey, Toons! My name is Ellie and I’m a Brand Artist for Toontown Rewritten. Today I’m here to talk to you about the process of creating all of the Toontastic merchandise you saw this year at ToonFest: Birthday Bash! While I love every piece of art I create for Toontown, my biggest passion in working on this team is ToonFest! From initial rough sketches to the final product, we artists work long and hard to ensure each year’s merchandise is our best yet!
The first step we have to take before our pencils even hit the paper (or our drawing tablets) is figuring out what kind of merchandise we want to create! Even though our trading cards and poster are annual pieces of merchandise, we have to brainstorm what sort of themes, characters, settings, etc. we want to include in them. And it doesn’t stop there! We always try to include a couple of new pieces of merchandise along with our staples, and deciding on those is no small feat! This year we settled on a Flippy plushie, a Cog coaster, and Field Office stickers. Deciding on these amongst a large team is no easy task and can take many weeks of budgeting and researching across the web, but our goal is all the same: deliver amazing merchandise to YOU!
Coming To Life
After we make a final decision on what merchandise to create, the fun part happens: bringing it to life! This is where we finally get to break out our drawing tablets and sketch out all of the fun ideas that have been buzzing around in our heads. We start with a rough thumbnail sketch, which leads to a more polished sketch and eventually a final render. This may sound simple, but it actually involves many weeks of critiques, passing files back and forth to various artists, and communicating with companies on what works and what doesn’t. Drawing for print is much different than anything else; we have to make sure we are using colors that will still be vibrant after being printed and stay inside certain guidelines and templates.
Fun Fact: All of our merchandise this year was worked on by multiple artists! It’s a big team effort! Sketch Artists, Render Artists, and Brand Artists all worked together on different steps of the artistic process.
To give an example of how long it can take, the thumbnail of the Toontanic trading card was started by our Brand Artist Dixie and Sketch Artist Mads in early February, and I finished it off in mid-April! Other pieces of merchandise that aren’t full illustrations such as our Cog coaster this year have quicker turnaround times.
The poster this year was a huge team effort! Two Render Artists and two Brand Artists worked on it together, rendering out different characters, buildings, and props and sharing the file with each other to insert them in. Do you have any guesses as to who rendered each character?
Ordering The Merchandise
At last, the drawing is finished and we’ve placed the order. Now comes the hardest part: waiting for it to show up at our door! We’re excited to see it in the flesh and also nervous that it won’t come out exactly as we’d hoped. For example, we received a digital proof this year of one of our trading cards and noticed a couple of small mistakes we’d missed! Thankfully, we were able to get it fixed before it was printed. Once it arrives and it’s perfect, though, all that worry washes away and we are indescribably excited to see all of our hard work come to life, and even more excited to see your faces when you get to take it home with you!
How Can I Create Merchandise?
To me, there is nothing more rewarding than helping the magic of ToonFest come to life! Giving everyone lifelong memories that they can collect is my favorite part of being a Brand Artist. It is challenging but so rewarding. Does all of this merchandise talk excite you? Interested in helping make it come to life? You should send in an application to become a Brand Artist, Sketch Artist, or Render Artist today!