Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Introduction




                                                                   photo by Allan Moser

Welcome to my online portfolio-blog! Warning: there is a hodge-podge of items on this site, but it is to serve a particular purpose for working in the commercial consumer product realm. Keep in mind, non-PD viewers, designing a product is about understanding a specific demographic and satisfying a specific need/want.

*There are different areas in which I work. There is a small sampling in each area divided into 4 postings entitled:
                                              - Illustration: a sampling
                                              - Accidental Product Design and Development
                                              - Everything Imprintable
                                              - Pattern and Print  
(Be sure to go through all posts by clicking on 'older posts' at the bottom of each page)

After twenty years of product design and development, I have worked in different styles out of sheer necessity, but as an editorial illustrator and painter, I have a definite way of expressing myself on paper or canvas. There is a small representation within the 'Illustration' posting.

At present, I am working on developing my own product concepts, licensing images, three picture books and painting. 

(FYI: Since this is a professional outlet, I am not enabling the ability to leave comments. At this point, I have sent out the URL selectively and those individuals know how to contact me directly, but also feel free to contact me through the email address listed below....... )


                                                                          Thank you for stopping by!
                                                                          Please stop by periodically for updates 
                                                                          and new works. (Beginning with April, I
                                                                          will be adding new postings by the first
                                                                          day of each month.)
                                                                          Patricia Connor Smith

PS. Any copying, distribution or use of images on this site is a copyright violation and unlawful. 


                           This blog is dedicated to my dear friends, Gilda and Shawn...I will miss you always!



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Illustration: a sampling


Any copying, distribution or use of images on this site is a copyright violation and unlawful.


in the beginning

All I ever wanted was to be an illustrator from the time before I knew what an illustrator was, I would draw on the cardboards from the back of my father’s laundered shirts and tell the stories aloud to go with my art. I remember being excited when a fresh batch of shirts arrived, my first ‘hot press’ surface.

there's a place where dreams are born

      and grow

imagination takes flight

                                                                                                                           magic to do

                                                                                                                      travels begin

(this piece was in Illustrators' Annual...executed as a promotional piece for a pre-press company)

                                                                                                                               Hi Claire!

(as required, this piece was executed completely using B & S student grade colored pencils for an ad poster for the same colored pencils..)

on earth
This as my first book cover! (actually, my only book cover so far!). I designed and illustrated, plus hand lettered it.....The author liked it so much that he asked to purchase the original art. (This story was turned into a movie.) I LOVED this assignment! I loved interpreting a manuscript and trying to capture the essence of the story (with some mystery) by way of an illustration.




                                                                                                                                                      in between




       and beyond...........

 to be continued.......


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Accidental Product Design and Development

Any copying, distribution or use of images on this site is a copyright violation and unlawful.

I came by product concept, design and development by accident. Although now I realize it was a natural step.

Even though I think of myself as primarily as an illustrator and painter, I love the problem solving aspects of product development! I love figuring out the demographic with the wants and needs. Bringing together a viable product, suited for its specific selling outlet with budget and materials restraints is fun!

I had always been an idea person, but never fully channeling that part of my repertoire until one day a man wandered into the do-it-yourself-frame shop where I had worked.

Though I had done some bits of commercial art, I was more fine arts oriented, but most of my work background had to do with the teaching of art. In fact, I had not fully enjoyed the three dimensional design/sculpture classes my B.S. in Art Ed (K-12) required.

But way before that time, I had been thinking up ideas and stories and making our family kitchen table on rainy days, on the playground, in high school, in my imagination...

So one day, back in the eighties, when I was working temporarily in a frame shop in Jenkintown, a man came in to have a piece framed. His usual store helper was not there that day and he did not seem interested in anyone else's help as he trusted that specific employee's aesthetic.

Before leaving, he noticed a couple framing an illustration of their house. When he commented favorably on the piece, the they informed him that I was the artist. Impressed, he returned to the front desk seeking my framing help and giving me his card with a request that I call him to solicit free lance work.
Free lance turned into full time...... 

Thank you, L.H., for teaching me to be a working package and product designer......

This page is from my first catalogue. I designed the products, packaging, product logos, product names, display cards, the 40 page buyers' catalogue itself, plus wrote the copy. (try thinking of 40 different ways to say 'fragrant', 'pretty', and 'pastel'!)

In my first year as main designer in a small group, the company went from 17 million to 22 million and won back the account of a huge chain. (begins with 'K') I was told my ideas were always four years ahead by the company's main 'Product Development Engineer'. (He's still there...Ask him! (:)

                              These products were designed for mass merchandising.

 Color was paramount as the sale of the products was often the result of 'impulse buying'.


For 'Flower Fair', I designed and illustrated the ceramic decals and round pleated soap labels, set up the header card display, helped stylized the photo, and named the product. I also designed and sculpted the perfume bottle top. The perfume was a big seller.

After the Box Company closed, I continued to free lance for several former clients. One was B & B Accessories. Check out samples from my signature line of spring silk scarves under the 'Pattern and Print posting'.

I was hired in the nineties by the owner of T.F.M. I was given the choice of working in the design studio or being a Product Design Manager. I chose the latter. It was product development boot camp!

I managed the development of this (first in the series) Christmas 'collector egg'.  I designed most parts of the metal components, (specifically, the doors, but also, parts of the base) giving my sketches to the sculptors to follow. When closed, you see two facing angels and the Poinsettia clasp.

The miniature clock collection was another project where I was the design manager, but I also added hands-on design elements, specifically, some decal work and the concept rough sketch for the brochure-featured Putti angel clock which was passed on to a studio artist to execute the final 2-D art.

The mainstay of my Franklin Mint position was managing the design & development of the Catholic and Christian product lines.  The music box below was such a project. This 'Life of Christ' music box was a high-end Vatican-sponsored project. This meant that we used all reference and art from the Vatican libraries, and then, received their approval. This was an extremely complex project bringing together sculptors, engineers, and miscellaneous designers.


In product concept illustration, I have worked on over 50 Santas, angels and Christmas ornaments for various large companies. 

Keep in mind, with product concept illustration, the art is not for print, but rather to first, bring the concept to life on paper and then to convey the idea to the sculptor or 3-D artist to create a sample or prototype.

This is a concept illustration created for L-----Corporation. The photo of the final piece is below my sketch image. I was given a brief concerning the general aspects of the story, the iconic palette and the positioning of elements, but I took it from there. I am known for my penchant for detail and costuming.


For PL''s  Holiday 2009 collection, I was asked to come up with little original animal characters to be used in various scenes that would hold tea lights....Here's my initial concept sketch..........

I designed most of the stories, posturings, costumes, palettes, etc. for 'Forest Friends' from PL's Holiday Scents Novelty Collection. First you'll see my concept art, followed by the final product...............

It was the product manager's suggestion that I just change the position of the bunny from holding on to the reindeer in the back to being tucked under his/her arm. Great suggestion, Lisa!


The Director of Product Development suggested a campfire with slits through the campfire logs and the product manager wanted a birds' nest in the tree....the rest was me.....

                                                    for Spring 2011..... 

The Design Manager came up with the idea to have two tea light holders that fit together. She also offered input, but I invented the characters, 'the story', and their outfits, environment and 'props'.

           The concept art:


...........and the final product:


Rough sketches....Easter figurines

For two years, I have been working on concept designs and illustrations for  T------------, a vendor who sells primarily on a TV shopping network. Knowing they had a Christmas-in-July collection, I came up with a concept and a family of product forms which they bought on the spot! Barely any changes were made as you will see in comparing the concept sketch with the corresponding product shot. This line was highly rated!

  The angel dinner bell received a 5 out of 5 star rating in customer reviews.

The angel mug also received the highest rating by the customers. Note the wings form the handle.....Also note: these were initial rough sketches and for concept only.

At the same meeting, I also presented sketches for a line of holiday tableware. The company already had a very successful line of year-round bakeware as their mainstay. I studied the pre-existing pattern as it was a design that came across very well on TV. I simply had the idea to replace elements in the everyday design with Holiday icons of equivalent weight, proportion, etc , i.e., peppermint and holly. The ideas were sold to be developed right away!

the original sketch.....

                                                    and the final product......

Rough sketch for a reindeer mug. Art director suggested I incorporate the jingle bells on the plate.

Familiar face?

                                             Presently for sale on the site....

angel concept sketch for I.R.

                       concept illustration for a whimsical Halloween clock............                            

a concept sketch for a wreath in mixed media for a major collectibles company.....

Pieces with Jewelry Elements

Christmas card illustration.

There's so much more in my portfolio as I've been working steadily in product design and development for over 20 years as a free lancer, and as an in-house designer and product manager.................