In 2005 I was one of the first two production artists hired on to work on a brand new pre-school show for The Disney Channel called Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. After three seasons of being on the air, those of you with toddlers know exactly what I’m talking about. For the rest of you, the show is an intentionally slow paced educational program starring Mickey Mouse and the gang that primarily helps teach basic math to the little tykes. While the show is animated on the computer, fellas like me did some preproduction art in a more traditional method. My work for the actual show can be seen in the Animation section of my website.
Working on this show was a blast. For years I had doodled Mickey and his posse. In fact, when in college, I would often subliminally hide Mickey in my still life oil paintings until the teacher caught on. So to eventually get to draw Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie & Daisy for a living was an unexpected blessing. Not only were those guys in the show, but I also regularly got to draw Chip & Dale, Pete, Ludwig Von Drake, Clarabelle, and one of my favorite Disney side characters – Willie the Giant (from Mickey & the Beanstalk and Mickey’s Christmas Carol).
Much like the work I did for the Disney Channel’s My Friends Tigger & Pooh, my production art consisted of drawings of the gang done in ink, then colored in Photoshop. Now and then I have cause to draw the characters for friends and fans. When I do, it usually involves a nice sketchy pencil line, and some watercolor. I thought I’d share a few drawings from the past couple of years that were done for that purpose:
This pencil and paint piece above was actually done for a charity auction that I organized. I had called upon many of my professional cartoonist friends to donate a piece of their art, so I felt it was only fair to also step in with a piece. This ultimately went to my pal Bill Morrison, editor and art director for Bongo Comics. (I also bought one of his pieces!)
This was just a birthday card I did for a friend named (if you couldn’t tell) Patty.
My Uncle Ken Frye passed away earlier this year from cancer, so this card is a fun reminder of good times with him. A big chunk of the family gathered for his 69th birthday in 2007 and treated it like it was his 70th. He surprised us all and made it well past 71 for which we were thankful. This one was inked and watercolored.
And this last piece was something I actually did for work – unofficially. I organized a crew lunch at a local chili joint in Burbank known as Chili John’s. They’ve been serving the best beef, chicken and veggie chili since the 1940s around their lunch counter. Fire-breathin’, toe-curlin’ Mickey (you won’t see THAT as an action figure anytime soon) appeared on the flyer that went out to the crew announcing the lunch.