Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween art - Hallmark Cards - 1981 & 1982

Here's where I went with the halloween poster art I would create while at hallmark Cards in Kansas City in the early 1980's. By 1981 my painting skills had gotten good enough that this Frankenstein poster was marketed at their stores the next year in 1982. It had these word balloons at the bottom that you could punch out and place in a slot at the top of the poster. There was a blank balloon where someone could write their own remark. A the upper right you can see the sales tab. The art was painted in gouache. The price was $2.25. The poster is too big to scan so I took a photo.

By 1982 I was really challenged with this poster below. The photo shop at Hallmark - which in those days involved cameras and film - set up a window pane with dramatic lighting. It was my responsibility to create a monster and make it look like he was coming through the window into your room. I worked from a small transparency to keep the colors keyed in and then had to mask out the areas where the window frame overlapped the monster and vice verse. It was very technical and I had to be extremely precise. The results were a huge success. It was marketed in 1983 I think for Halloween. This is also a photo of  original poster.

Around this time in 1982 I had been accepted into a training program at Disney Studios and made my way west to Burbank to start a career in animation. It was my last Halloween poster so I went out on a positive note.


Gribouille Smiley said...

Oh yes an old work!
Nice Colors!

Sinnamon Jam said...

Wow, these are amazing!
They look really refined and super professional!
I would love if this style of promotion was more prevalent.
It looks really nice! And it proves that gouache really can
be an amazing medium to work with, despite what everybody says about it.

Also, you did an animation program in Disney? :O
During its hey-days??

Charles Z said...

Thank you for your comments G & S.

Gouache was probably the main / favorite medium for painting at Hallmark at that time. Everyone used it especially the top artists. It was easier to fix if you made a mistake or if the card was published the artwork could be revamped and used for another card a few years later. The artists there were masters. It was an amazing educational experience working at the place plus a lot of fun.

I was accepted into a training program at Disney's in early 1982. I was scheduled to start later in the year. When summer came and I got to Burbank an industry wide strike went into effect. It lasted for more than 2 months. When it finally ended the entire animation business had changed and I wasn't able to reconnect with the people at the studio. I wound up finding employment at Filmation Studios instead and was on the development team for the He-Man series by late 1982. That's how I got my start.

Before that I was developing projects that went on to become Saturday morning cartoons while at Hallmark. I launched an entirely new department for the company. That was in 1981. Plus I was also one of the official Disney artists at Hallmark along with the Muppets and the Pink Panther. So I was getting some exposure to animation even before my move out west.

fanimation said...

Hey Charles, I remember that Frankenstein poster! I bought it and hung it in my room back in the day! I always loved that poster! Thanks for posting some of your Hallmark stuff!....I really like the poster below Frankenstein too!.....Looking forward to hearing more about your new Charater Design book!

Charles Z said...

Amazing that you remember the poster and bought it when it was out. Thanks for checking in John and sharing that! I've got a lot of work accomplished on the book but taking a break from it at the moment. Will be getting back to it soon.