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Jan 25, 2006

Behind the Scenes: Upper Deck All-Star Vinyl “The LeBrons”

Upper Deck will soon unveil their brand new All-Star Vinyl designer toy line. Holding exclusive licensing contracts with iconic athletes such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James, the concept is to introduce an athlete themed designer toy line for sports enthusiasts and kicks collectors.  All-Star Vinyl launches with a series of figures in partnership with Nike and based on their popular ad campaign “The LeBrons.”  In the ads the high school phenom turned NBA superstar, plays four different personas of LeBron:  Athlete LeBron, All Business LeBron, Wise LeBron and Kid LeBron.  Upper Deck is releasing four figures, one for each of Lebron's personas.  To sneak peek the full series, Upper Deck will be releasing an exclusive version of Athlete LeBron during the week of the NBA All-Star Game—featuring the red all-star edition Nike Zoom LeBron IIIs he’ll be wearing in the game.  The Chosen One Edition, the standard release of the 4 figures, comes out in April. 

We're excited to bring you a concentrated four-week or so behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Athlete Lebron figure.  First up, we have a series of initial sketches done by Upper Deck’s lead designer on the product line, Chris Brunner. Chris was given the challenging task of designing the figure and turn-around sketches based on a photograph of LeBron from the ad campaign.  Chris talks about the challenge and the solutions:


 

 

 

 


This project was pretty far out of my comfort zone.  I really didn't know where to begin.  I just had to keep beginning again. Coming from a background of Comic Books, Concept Art, Illustration (all 2D), I'd never come up against the problems of working in 3D. Even though 2D work is real and 3D in my mind, designing for an actual 3D piece meant so much of my usual "tool box" was useless. Can't rely on composition as it would be seen by any angle, can't rely on the line quality to communicate the personality, can't control the light source.  Whatever the piece was, it had to contain the "idea" independently of the surface quality. In that sense, it was similar to designing a logo--there's a million ways the McDonalds “M" can be, no matter if it's a neon sign, airbrushed mural or a yellow crayon drawing, it's still the "Golden Arches".  Although I had a million pictures of LeBron to work from, like anyone else he looked different from picture to picture.  The goal was to condense all that into one stylized exaggerated shape that still rang true as LeBron, not simply recreate one image in particular. Not to over blow it, it's just a different medium, had to learn new tools is all, solve new problems.


 

 

Look for the next installment of our look at the 1st Upperdeck All-Star Vinyl figure next Wednesday.

Posted by Jack @ 04:45 AM in Incoming | Permalink  | Comments (12) |

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Comments

I would get a MJ one for sure, dont know about King James,,,,,,

Really wonderful interpertation of the character.
Sick Sick sick attitude, awesome stance.. and totally oozing personality

Can't wait to see the line

How big?
if you ever are out of your comfort zone... and need a hand....

t

It comes to this. Big Biz Coping the steez of the independents. Interesting looking to see how this "TOY" is received in our circles. I still remember seeing the half ass attempt that had OBEY shirts on in the clearance Isles at K BEES for 5 units for 5.00 DED PREZ. Smells like ______ will look like _____

Good luck big biz at crashin our party!

KLOWM

PS. Call me if you ARE getting over your head and need a hand! HAW HAW !

staying out of the comfort zone is how you build skills- never easy, but i do just fine. folks who stay cozy are the one's who need a hand....

Yo Klowmie...

know this that all these tou companies have designers working for them,
some are good , some terrible, and some are so fuggin amazing that their work woudl make your eyes bleed....

there will be a moment in time when someone will realise this and let the designers realy design something.... cool, amazing from stat to finish...

as you say our iltlle circle is nice but you should not be a snob there is rooom for everyone that is how the market and industry grows....

you can only deal with repaints for so long......


the Citizen figures could have ben amazing but somewhere down teh line the ball was passed to someone that had no idea how to dribble......

ey klim, didn't mean to focus on the negative, thanks for the back up on all fronts

nice work is nice work.. no matter where it comes from....


you do not get to work fro places like mattel, hasbro or Nike if you suck...
I have been designing toys for 15 years adn I still learn something new every day...


I really dig the quality of the turnarounds. I can't wait to see the articulation breaks


Klim you ight don't let anyone call out for offering you view. You come correct on calling out they Dunnys an Quees though they fake beetches they drowning the market with not well though out colorways and toy artist and company 'shout out to DKNY you herrre me!
If they companies don't figure it out they will kill interest. Bad colaborations BAD artist doint they art be just dat BAD! Shit is wack at the Kids house right bout now. Knowattameen.
Citizen is wack! So they ledfootz and they DUBB lil white hip hop garbage jointz. They more out derr I need you all hepl callin out. They sprigt guy is garbage infiltraatin.
Card company guy. You all best killit the first time out so you all don't be getting called toys -dude call you toy in the grafff way of calling dude a clown or a punk upstate you all got skillz. Killit and show dey dudz whattap- Cuz datz wasssup aint no secind chance out herrr. Your boy Matty Bee.

errrrrrr.....

I just call it how i see it..
I really do not give a hoot...


Ledfoots had soem heart, so did teh litlle chubs.. internally anyway.... befrore things got "crazy Ill YO!"...


a great concetp can be turned to a turd pretty easy...

A turd will always be a turd no matter how you freshen it up...
it take a certain type of crew and a certain type of dedication to make stuff really shine...

when was teh last time anyone saw a toy besides the new Roto helboy and teh roto Hulk at mass that was really cool?

Litlle people are cooler than most designer figures

the new Dibo stompers from Litlle tykes has to be teh best new mass toy line last year...


I actually hav eno idea what I am talkign about.....

rant rant rant......

soem doit for the love, some for money....

but you rarely get a seconf chance....

Crap....
my typing skillz are Mad Ill yo!...

that is Dino Stompers from Litlle Tikes.....

A tight fig is a tight fig, regardless of whether it is from a little "independent" or a larger company. Just like a whack fig is whack even if it is from a little hole in the wall design studio. If someone is going to introduce vinyl figs of LBJ and MJ, it might as well be Upper Deck. They have a handle on sports and from the looks of the drawings, they are on the right track with the styling. I can't wait to see the pimp LeBron guy from the commercials. "You aint got like I got pops."

thanks fellas, glad you dig. cant wait for you all to see business lebron, its my favorite so far (cause the other two aint done). matty bee? i killed that one too. i kill it everytime. im typing from work right this second- i stay late cause i got heart- stayed late to finish penciling wise lebron, and let me tell you i killed it.

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