Every once in awhile, I kinda disappear and run off and do things that are not comics. This is one of them. Drawings, designs, and concept work for a magical “Barbie”-like project.

I’m not going to tell you what this project was. While it was released commercially, none of the drawings here were used in the final work, though some of the designs were reworked by other artists, and bits of my other illustrations are in the final product. You’ve probably never heard of this project. I’m not sure how well it is doing in the marketplace. Since it’s aimed at little girls, and I never really had a serious problem with the client, I’m not going to name them here. I’ll just show you my sketches and give you some background info.

It’s no great hardship for me to draw pretty people in pretty costumes, so this gig seemed like a good fit. Originally, I was just hired to do simple character drawings for a flat fee.

Unfortunately, the job developed what we call “Mission Creep”. The original specs of the assignment bloated, but the pay did not increase with the increase in responsibility. Single character drawings became primary and secondary character and costume design, set design, and limited animation. Usually, you get more pay for this sort of thing, but not on this job. On the one hand, I was excited and happy to be doing animation and primary concept work. On the other hand, the pay was pretty bad. Oh well, can’t have everything!

The client was very pleasant, but also very exacting. There were a lot of little changes. Since the work was paid by the piece, not by the hour, this meant almost every change or extension on the job meant more work for less and less hourly pay. While I liked the client and the job, the pay began to creep down to minimum wage. I’d love to have continued the job to the end, but it was financially disastrous.

I should have refused some of the assignments, but I think the pickings were slim back then. I would have advised any other artist to walk away, but I didn’t. I began to resent the gig, even though it was pleasant work.

In the end, the decision to leave the project was taken out of my hands when I got a horrible case of whooping cough, which went into pneumonia. The client had no choice but to find another artist, and I was relieved. I ended up getting much better work shortly thereafter.

At the time, a small team of artists were working on the project also, but for some reason, none of this team is credited on the final work. My small contributions are also uncredited. It appears that all of the artists were replaced and only one artist got credit for the job. I don’t have any personal knowledge of why this happened.

My contribution to the final work seems to be fairly small, so no skin off my nose.

Hope you enjoyed the sketches!