GrizzGruff is Born

I’m working on a new project using the same style of design work as when I was designing for Pinky Dinky Doo. This is a photo collage design for a fun client who definitely has a vision. I thought I’d show a bit of my process since this is so different from my typical stuff. Everyone, meet GrizzGruff. GrizzGruff is a misunderstood beast. He’s happy in his own little garden but tends to get pulled into rough and wild situations that are a bit out of hand or hoof. . . . So what’s a gigantic beast with horns, a ring in his nose and hoofs to do? Typically these moments of panic are when GrizzGruff does some of his best landscaping.

To reach a finished product like the one above I sat down with my client at a pretty low key diner in Brooklyn Heights and pulled out my sketchbook. GrizzGruff is just one of my new darlings . . . so we discussed the project in it’s entirety. I started fooling around with a few broad ideas for Grizzgruff. The client was set on horns and hoofs, but wanted him to be intimidating but comical as well. . . I suggested the nose ring. . . the sketching was fast and fun. I knew full well what the outcome of the product was going to be so that allowed me a lot of freedom to do very loose and fast, funny sketches. We fell in love with the one below.

However, while I was set on giving GrizzGruff a Teenage Mutant Ninja T-Shirt, the client wanted him to be built. Whatever. . . guys who wear TMNT shirts can be buff. . .

So after we agreed on a general idea and I was promised creative freedom as long as GrizzGruff wasn’t wearing a shirt and looked pretty much like the sketch above, I came home and began to gather my photographs. I knew I needed long haired dogs to create the textures I was going to need. Typically I use stock photos for this process but I had a few friends who wanted their fluffy pals to be part of the action. They took the three puppy photos below for me. The cow isn’t an acquaintance.
From here I just started to cut in Photoshop, pulling textures and colors from different places, brightening up or dulling different patches as I went along slowly building our lovely, misunderstood buddy from the ground up. You can see that the Shar Pei’s nose is GrizzGruff’s too and that his muscles are all Pomeranian. I really like this gig. From here these designs will be passed off to layout artists and from there they’ll get handed out to animators. I love designing for animation. It’s great to have something designed by me alone, distributed out to 60 animators and put together in an animated cartoon! Then I really get to see everything come to life and I can forget that it took tons of people to pull it together. It’s the best!

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About last night. 🦌💛 Crawling home on all fours after celebrating at the epic Puppy Par-tay my brother and sister-in-law put on for my dog nephew, Milo tonight. It was everything and more, complete with a bone-shaped swimming pool. #dreamtheimpawssibledream 🤘#livewithnoregrets We otter go exploring more rivers. 😍
#lifeachievementunlocked A Mama said there’d be days like this😍
Totally alone in the Natural History Museum’s Hall of Mammals for hours! Hashtag Blessed. It’s 1 AM. Do you know where your mini gummi bears are? 
#fairgame #latenightinthestudio #goodbyeoctober We’re celebrating today. I opened my eyes to Matt  crowing, “Amber! Wake up. They made it!” We have been following the inspiring pilgrimage of my mom @incredimombo & sister @prilliegirl_shakazoozoo via text & @instagram for weeks. They set out to trek across Spain a month and a half ago. This morning they walked their 500th mile and crossed into Santiago. Having read a lot about their journey before they set out to do it, I felt concerned at their determination. The Camino is not easy. It requires walking 10-20 miles a day 7 days a week. You have to carry everything you need on your back. The toll is physical, mental & spiritual. Many prepared and experienced hikers do not make it to the end of the journey the first or second time they attempt it. ☀️ So we’re dreaming impossible dreams and celebrating too. It would seem today is a good day to set out to do the impossible. When we moved to Utah I was sure I’d been too spoiled by my childhood on the ocean and my twenties in Brooklyn, to ever find anything to love in the desert. I fully planned on dying of boredom. I don’t know what I’ll do when we outgrow this little Wasatch apartment of ours! Watching the Sun kiss the mountains goodnight from our tiny balcony is beyond description. This picture doesn’t begin to do it justice. Home again.
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