Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Small World Plush

I was SO fortunate to have been able to work on the newest line of Small World merchandise for the Disney Store, specifically- the animal plush!! I officially flipped my lid when I found out that not only was I going to be designing Mary Blair inspired animals, BUT I was also invited to go on the initial research trip to Disneyland to tour the ride at 5am! It was very much worth getting up at 3am, driving down to the park with my sleepy coworkers, and being able to climb and tunnel through the facades to take billions of pictures of the characters we were going to make. We went in with lists and cameras, and came out with memories that will undoubtedly last us a lifetime. I remember returning to my desk after the long drive back and thinking "I need to make Mary and Alice proud!"

On top of the ride tour, we were able to tour the Imagineering Archives and pull even more reference. We spent a morning in an air tight, freezing cold room going through all the original pieces of color swatches and sifting through books filled with chenille pipe cleaners and plastic jewels that were used on all of the animals. Talk about cool! We had mountains of reference, now all we had to do was make them. Here are some of my initial sketches and pics of the final product for the first set of animals.

We wanted to have the yellow jaguar carrying an umbrella, but we had to ditch it due to costing :C


The final product


The hippo was tough, but fun! I think this was the most challenging one as far as details go. There was initial talk of ditching the bird, but we fought for it and eventually won in the end :)


The panda was challenging as well, not really because of details, but because on the ride it is positioned just so, and it was difficult to translate into a 3D toy. I've never noticed how lop-sided he actually is on the ride, he's really a neat optical illusion!

This was the second to last sample. I didn't get a picture of the final sample with mauve eyes. We tried to keep the eyes the same color as the ride, but they ended up looking very red.. and evil o__o

Originally, we had the poodle standing up, like he is on the ride, but the sample looked really bad so we had to put him into a sitting position.


The final product


What an awesome experience!! I will never forget the day we toured the ride, or the time spent concepting these guys. I'm very grateful to have been a part of this. 

You can buy all of these dolls and plush at the Disney Store, and Disney Store Online

I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!!

3 comments:

Jinny Hinkle said...

Awesome! I love the hippo and poodle.

Steph2888 said...

these are fabulous, Kristen. I adore the hippo!

Dom said...

The hippo is my favorite too, but they're all adorable and hilarious and awesome.