This lesson is for all my friends who love penguins! Happy drawing!!!
Well, Halloween is almost here. Hope you guys all have your costumes picked out and plenty of candy by the front door. I’ve been having a little fun here at the studio and have come up with a few treats to share with you this year. Here is this years Halloween illustration.
Bob Ostrom is an award winning children’s illustrator who’s work has appeared in close to 300 children’s book and publications. If you’d like to work with Bob on your next project it’s as easy as following this link.
Is it time for a new logo? There are a lot of different directions you could go. Do you play it safe and try to look like your competition or do you take a chance and design something you know your customers will really love? How do you stand out in a crowd? A cartoon logo can do all those things and more. Ever wonder how to buy a cartoon logo? I design cartoon logos for lots of different companies large and small. Here’s an article I wrote to hopefully take a little of the mystery out of the design process.
My old friend Bill called me the the other day and asked if I could help design a new logo for him. Bill is a certified BBQ expert, I’m not just talking about Sunday afternoons with the wife and kids, Bill’s the real deal. He has a BBQ trailer and cooks for all kinds people throughout the south and southeast. So when Bill called and asked if would create a BBQ logo for him I couldn’t wait to get started. Here’s a look at the design process I use here at Bob Ostrom Studio logo Design World Wide Headquarters.
Step one – Need a Logo, Bob Ostrom Studio’s got you covered.
The first step in the process is mainly about gathering information. The more I know about your business, your demographic, how you plan to use your logo and where you plan to use it the better job I can do designing something you and your costumers will both love. A lot of my clients are not quite sure what they want to do and that’s OK too.
For those who are not sure think of it this way… a logo should be much more an just a pretty picture or something you drop in at the top of your newsletter each month. Your logo should work for you. It greets your customers and helps build your identity. It is a visual representation of your company and helps your customers remember who you are and helps differentiate you from your competitors. A good logo goes a long way.
Talking with Bill is always fun, he’s a great guy and even though it’s been a while it feels like just yesterday we were hanging out together playing football, flipping burgers and being high school buds. I keep a short list of logo designer questions handy when we talk so I don’t forget to ask all the important questions. Bill and I talk for a while and he tells me he would like to feature his best friend Charlie in the logo. I love the idea because aside from being Bill’s best friend Charlie is also Bill’s dog. As I hang up the phone it dawns on me that this is going to be a bit of a challenge. Bill’s dog is super cute and super cute is not the first thing that pops into my mind when considering Bill’s demographic, but that’s good. That means if we get this right Bill’s logo is going to grab a lot of attention. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a cartoon pig wearing a chef hat but if you hop over to Google and do a quick search for BBQ logos you’ll begin to understand what I’m getting at.
At the beginning of each project I start a shared folder on Dropbox with my client. I don’t know about you guys but I love Dropbox. I find it to be one of the most efficient ways to share info with my clients. I’m not affiliated with Dropbox in anyway and they aren’t paying me to say anything, I just like sharing what works and Dropbox works for me. Once I have a folder set up I send a link to my client and I keep copies of all exchanged files there. Anytime my client wants to share with me all they need to do is open the folder on their desk top and drop it in. A simple work flow means better communication and better communication means a better product.
Each new project starts with me, a big block of paper and a sharpie marker. My first job is to throw down as many ideas as I can. I keep the drawing loose and simple. That keeps the ideas flowing and stops me from overworking things. These are concept drawings and the only thing I’m concerned about at this stage is getting my ideas on paper. I rarely share this initial stage of drawings with my clients (but since your reading this article I thought I’d share them with you). As you can see sketches are pretty rough and hard to follow but that’s OK because I plan on refining them before I share with Bill.
After a while I’ve exhausted all my ideas. Now its time to step away for a bit. I know if I keep working any objectivity I might have about what is good and what is not will go right out the window. I know when I come back later I can review my work with a fresh set of eyes and pick out my best ideas. Those ideas will be refined and presented in a PDF file along with a few written notes and ideas we can explore as we move forward.
I make it a point to go over everything with my client on the phone or by Skype so we can look at it together. This is especially important in the early stages. Nothing kills creativity like email. Talking live allows us to interact and trade ideas as we brainstorm. Without direct contact the majority of those thoughts and feeling are lost, leaving me to guess at which direction to take… plus I always enjoy talking with Bill and catching up on old stories from our caveman days.
Once we have our concept nailed down I take all the input from our meeting and begin refining my sketches. This step is a much more polished presentation and is a lot closer to the finished product. This step is less about ideas and more about, what’s my finished logo going to look like? I resubmit and we go over things one more time. Our ideas are set, now and it’s up to me to make sure they come to life. If I’ve done my job well there are very few surprises and the client is usually thrilled with the drawings. It’s important to note that occationally there will be some refinements needed and this is always the best stage to make them. Making changes early in the design process is easy, cheap and quick, but as we advance it becomes much more work. That’s why I require an approval sign off at this stage before moving on. That way there are no surprises and I know everyone is happy.
The next step usually involves a little bit of time and a lot more precision. I hate to rush this step because rushing means cutting corners. I prefer to take some time to make sure everything looks the best it possibly can. Occasionally a client needs their work yesterday and I understand that. Depending on how great the need I’m happy to make arrangements. There is of course an additional charge to put my other projects aside and focus 100% of my time on their project but Bill isn’t in a rush and he knows that by allowing me the time I need he will receive the best work I can possibly give him.
Once the final art is ready I send a quick snapshot to my client. This is what I like to refer to as the wow stage. It’s when the vision finally comes to life and becomes a reality. If I’ve done a good job my customers response is usually…WOW!
I invoice my client and save the art to a shared folder on Dropbox. There might be a few minor tweaks to the colors but for the most part we are done and all our hard work has paid off. I try my best to anticipate where the logo will be used and to provide all the proper formats. I am always happy to talk with vendors and make sure they have exactly what they need. I’ll keep this logo on file for the next couple of months and then eventually archive it in case my client mistakenly loses their copy. One thing I stress to all my clients is to make sure they save several copies of their new logo and archive them. That way no matter what happens they’ll always have a copy.
Now that you’ve got the coolest logo in the world what do you do with it? This is where the fun starts. If you’ve got a great logo and a great company like Bills’ why not give your customers the opportunity to help you spread the word? Merchandising your logo is a great way to let your customers show you how much they love you and you cool new logo. Design some fun shirts and hats and let the world know you’re open for business (*disclaimer – this works best when you have a great company and a great logo)
Now that your customers know your brand, it’s time to get your logo working for you. Designing a marketing campaign around your logo is a great way to stand out from your competition. If you’ve got a business like Bill’s your character can help you sell items on your menu and help get your customers excited about upcoming events. Need more ideas for your cool cartoon logo give me a call. Don’t have a cool cartoon logo? I’m happy to help you with that too.
Bob Ostrom designs the funnest cartoon logos on planet earth. His logos have appeared on everything from professional sports teams jerseys to the sides of food trucks. If you’d like hire Bob to design a cartoon logo for your company just give him a call or send an email.
A few of my artist friends were asking me about the tools I use when I create my sketches and drawings so I compiled them all into this photo to share with you guys too. These are all the tools I pretty much use on a daily basis.
I LOVE working with mechanical pencils. You can see from this photo I have a bunch. I guess you could consider it a bit of an obsession but when I have the right pencil in my hand it just helps me feel creative. When I feel creative I like to draw so I make sure I always have the right pencil. My two favorites right now are the Sharp Kerry and the Steadtler Silver. Both are about as good as it gets quality-wise and I highly recommend them.
In this photo the paper and the clipboard aren’t labeled but the paper I use is just cheap copy paper…. the cheaper the better since I’m not worried about archive quality. Basically I just scan everything and color it on the computer anyway so why spend money on that? Cheap paper is also thin so that makes it easy to see through if I need to trace. One last advantage to using cheap paper is I never choke when I’m drawing on cheap paper and if I do who cares? I don’t know about you but if I’m working on expensive paper I have a whole different attitude about what I’m doing. I guess the best way to describe it would be like wearing a suit to mow the lawn. There are times when wearing a suit is important but for everyday stuff it just kind of gets in the way.
The clipboard is from staples but I have about 5 or 6 of those things floating around and I carry them everywhere. The reason I love working on a clipboard is I can work anywhere and when it comes time to scan my art it’s quick, simple and clean. The funny thing about carrying a clipboard around is that nobody ever questions a guy holding holding a clipboard (In fact, I imagine if you were to throw on a polo shirt while carrying a clipboard you can go just about anywhere, but that’s a story for another time). I hope you’ve found this list of art supplies useful. If you have a tool you just can’t live without please leave a comment and let me know what it is I’m always looking for the next best thing.
Hi Readers, I’m planning an upcoming class on Adobe Illustrator and I could use your help. I’ve got a super quick two part illustrator question for anyone who has tried to learn Illustrator on their own but for one reason or another got tripped up or frustrated and decided to put it aside for now
Thanks for you help and please leave your answers in the comment section.
Bob Ostrom is an award winner illustrator who also teaches Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign in Raleigh NC and for some strange reason has chosen to use third person for this author bio. If you are interested in taking a class with me or an online tutoring session please visit the classes page on this site or use the contact page to reach me for more info.