Tobar an Cheoil

Late last year I was asked to direct an Irish language music video for a series called Tobar an Cheoil. 

Above: A few promotional stills from the video.

The song I selected is called Cuirfimid Deaindí  a children's tune beautifully sung by Bernie Pháid from her album Síol. 

Traditionally babies would be bounced on a parent's knee to this song. On the highest notes of the song... the babies would be bounced to an almost atmospheric level. I wrote and designed a story inspired by the most famous baby knee bouncer in the history of Ireland.  

At the moment I'm not allowed to say or show too much about this project yet... but will slowly release more behind the scenes material after it airs in Ireland this autumn.   Slàn

Jail Break

Jailbreak from HouseSpecial on Vimeo.

A few years ago I was asked to create some concept sketches for House Special director Aaron Sorensen's short film "Jail Break."

Above: A few of my concepts for the film.

The style and feel was heavily inspired by early German Expressionist films such as The Golem, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari... among others.

Above: The final set!
For more behind the scenes click HERE.

AllState Ads




Not too long ago I was asked to design a trio of AllState ads for House Special Studio in Portland. First I sketched out a variety of character and bg ideas. Then... once director Aaron Sorensen and the client approved a few sketches... the crew used my 2D color designs to build miniature sets out of paper, clay and what-not. It's always fun to see your work interpreted by different artists. 

Above: Background Concepts.
Above: Some Genie variations.

Tong Daeng color

A while back a friend asked me to help out with some color sketches on a short film he was putting together about the King of Thailand's beloved dog, "Tong Daeng."

A progression of color for the fire sequence.

The overgrown temple, badly in need of repair.
Fire destroys the building.
Above: A small selection of sketches from Tong Daeng.

The main goal with these sketches was to provide a strong atmosphere for each of the environments. These were imagined in an almost impressionistic way to fit each of the story moments. The sketches would then be used as a guide and inspiration for the Imagimax artists.

Thailand has been such a great inspiration for me over the years, and it's always a pleasure to explore beautiful Thai landscapes and architecture.

All images (c) 2015 Imagimax

Eddie Of The Realms Eternal

Earlier this year I was hired as a creative director at Cartoon Saloon in Ireland. Most of the summer was spent helping develop several original TV series pitches... as well as a pilot for Amazon Prime... "Eddie Of The Realms Eternal." Here are a few short clips from the pilot.

Because we were a bit short handed at the studio I ended up art directing the pilot as well... with the help of some very talented young artists... and under the guidance of hot young director Paul Morris. If you are in the U.S. check out the entire pilot HERE.

Castle Sketches

Most of this year has been spent helping develop different animated projects for The Cartoon Saloon in Ireland.  

Above: A few early quick development sketches for a project that look nothing at all like the final version. But you have to start somewhere!

All images © 2015 Cartoon Saloon

Fat Five

Above: The final commercial designed by me, and directed by Aaron Sorensen at House Special. A link to a higher rez version HERE.

A while back I was asked to design a sort of experimental stop motion TV ad with 2D backgrounds.

Above: Part of the pitch package.
To pitch for the job we created a sort of proof of concept. Using one of my illustrations to build a practical set out of paper using the forced perspective of the 2D sketch.

Above: Part of the pitch package.
Originally the story took place in various locations... including a city. This is a quick concept sketch to show what that may have looked like. 

Above: A concept design
After the job was awarded, a storyboard was created, and stop motion set was built inspired by some of my designs. 

Once the practical set was lit and shot, I would go back in and design around the models. Which then would be put together for the final image.

Above: A few of the many concept sketches I created for the spot.

El Tigre Concept: Dad's humble abode

Some more Concepts from El Tigre- This time concepts for Dad's (White Pantera's) room.

White Pantera is a super hero... but refuses payment for his good doing... so lives in complete squalor. I thought it would be fun to push the contrast between the sparseness of Dad's room with the opulence of super-villain Grandpa's fancy crib.

As usual I explore the bathroom area early on... to get a better handle on what sort of man lives in this space.

El Tigre Concept: Grandpa's Crib

Above: Early sketches for Grandpa's Crib.

A number of years ago Jorge Gutierrez asked me to create concept sketches for his show  El Tigre. The goal was to create a bunch of fun visual ideas that I would then feed to the crew in Los Angeles. Since I was working overseas, I would basically have to pitch my concepts to the crew with lots of written notes etc.  If Jorge, co-creator Sandra Equihua, director Dave Thomas, and art director Roman Laney liked the direction of a certain rough idea, we would explore it further in additional sketches.

The Concept- Grandpa is a retired super-villain, and we wanted his room to be a little over the top. His every vice at the ready, gambling TV, exotic drinks, and lots of gold, red, and black. It was inspired in a large part by the movie Scarface.

The earliest sketches simply explored shape.

Badland Vista

Above: The badlands just south of our kitchen window.

After an amazing year of working and living in Seoul, we have returned to our Wyoming home. To me the sky always seems a bit bluer, and the light a bit richer after a long trip away.

Next stop... Ireland.

Image © 2015 Tod Polson

The Book of Life: 2D Flashback 002

Above: Some key color frames for the 2D bullfighting flashback

One of the key themes in The Book of Life was that the main star, Manolo, was unable to kill a bull in the ring. He did defeat a bull once however when it was struck by lightning. Which is the moment this key frame illustrates. Of course Manolo goes on to defeat the grandest bull of them all... with love.

Below: Some color day time color exploration.

The Book of Life: 2D Flashback 001

 A concept sketch for one of the 2D flashback sequences. Here we see an idealized version of Manolo's childhood... before the passing of his mother.

For the backgrounds in the 2D sequences I tried to use a design style that complemented Sandra Equihua's character designs: simple color and shape. Here I tried tying everything together by using background colors that echoed those of the characters.

Cocoa Astronaut


Above: A Cocoa Puffs commercial from House Special, directed by Aaron Sorensen

A while back I was asked to design a space themed commercial spot featuring Sonny and his "Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs." Commercials can be a lot of fun because the schedules are short, and you often get to work in a style that you normally wouldn't.

A few of the key sketches I created for the spot.

Book of Life: Parade Balloons 2

Above: Parade balloon concepts inspired by Mexican folk toys- for the animated feature "The Book of Life."