Coupla weeks ago. The comic book store; after a few pints. It’s the last place you’d expect an epiphany.
Buddy Don is scoping out the Star Wars action figures; I’m whining about work.
Don picks up an action figure based on the Ralph McQuarrie concept art. The toys themselves look pretty chintsy, but most toys do. The packages, however; loaded with McQuarrie’s artwork, look terrific.
“The trouble with working at a tshirt shop,” I say, “all I ever get to design is tshirts. I don’t get to learn anything else. I’d like to try some package design.”
Don looks at me like I’m an idiot.
“Then design an action figure tshirt,” he says.
Epiphany: I am an idiot.
It’s up to me to learn what I want to learn.
Because I’m an idiot, a week goes by before I realize I need to scrap my idea for the upcoming art show and instead design a package for my Hulk Herocap, (Herocap origin for another day) and enter that in the show.
I start to take a closer look at the construction of boxes. I make a trip to Wal-Mart and pick up a Spider-Man Mighty Muggs. (The colors on the Mighty Muggs boxes are appealing; if a little flat. I love the top panel, with the close up of Spidey’s Eyes, but overall, the boxes are a little boring. Why have a static image of the exact same thing that’s in the box? The box design should be more than appealing; it should be exciting. But the packages do feel very solid, not at all flimsy, which I like.)
I do a little package design research online: to try and learn techniques for cutting the boxes so i get a nice smooth line; if I have to worry about the ink bleeding, where I can get a plastic mold insert to secure my Herocap in the middle of the box. I find a couple of interesting sites: The Dieline and Package Design Magazine, but I find little on the nuts and bolts of making your own boxes.
I am on my own.
I start drawing up templates for the box on graph paper.
You saw some of the artwork for the Hulk box last week.
I learn a lot from the box of a Dashboard Monk that Don’s brother Les gave me.
I learn even more from finally putting together a mock up of my own box.
Here’s the artwork. If you take a closer look ( by clicking on it), you can see that I don’t have flaps on the side panels, and you can see that I ran out of room on my graph paper; so I didn’t have a back panel, which was going to be fine, because I would cut it out when I cut out the cardboard backer.
Only, when I cut out the panel, I cut it out an inch shorter than it needs to be; so I end up with a, what, parallelogram? With the front panel one inch wider than the back panel.
After I put it all together, I color in Spidey’s mask with a magic marker so that it’s brighter. The cross shape is the graph paper glued onto a cardboard backer. What you can’t see is the giant glue glob resulting from my clumsiness. What you can see is that the box is just too big for the Hulk Herocap prototype. Don’t worry, I will be making up a Spidey Herocap.
The cardboard interior felt dark, so I added a sheet of paper to brighten things up:
You can see here where I had to trim the top of the box to run (semi) flush with the side panels.
I kind of like the box shape. I think I’m going to use it; just flip it around so that the small panel is in front…Failure is the perfect teacher and I learn a lot.
Design a smaller box. Set up a cutting and gluing station separate from your drawing table. Be sure of measurements.