Andy Ward
'Rat Bomb' for Hotwheels
 I’ve worked for several years with California based fashion label Tookata People and my favourite project to date was a collaboration with Mattel celebrating Barbie’s 50th year. I was asked to interpret Barbie’s iconic black and white swimsuit look of 1959 for a line of apparel, accessories, and jewelry for their spring/summer 2009 collection.  Some images here. I followed up with another season of Barbie interpreting a 1980’s disco Barbie which was even more girlie fun. After Barbie I was approached to work on another Mattel property Hotwheels. I had no end of Hotwheels as a kid. My favourite one I lost down a mousehole whilst killng ants with a magnifying glass at primary school. Now was my chance to put things right, do good and finally overcome my loss.
I initially pitched some style reference to Mattel from a job i’d done for another fashion label. This piece was inspired by a Big Daddy Roth car and I’d slipped a Johnny Ramone type character in the driving seat.
The style pack from Mattel pointed more towards a contemporary urban/graffiti look, and although a great look for their target age range the Tookata line was aimed at a slightly different demographic. I wanted the artwork to send out a few vintage signals, side step slightly the urban cool that I don’t think my work is suited to and reference the more raw, hand made feel of vintage hot rod culture. With the obligatory monster. Mattel were fantastic. We went through several rounds of sketching and settled on a rat character. Mattel had supplied a stock of vintage cars to choose from and having chosen the ‘Rat Bomb’ I just had to go rat.
Before the style pack arrived from Mattel I sketched out a few test pieces

The final line drawing and some rendering trials

The artwork was to be applied across a line of apparel and accessories in a range of sizes. I wanted the detail to hold up enough in the smaller reproductions and remain interesting but also offer enough on a larger scale. I scanned in some heavy handed spray painting and made up some photoshop brushes to add texture to the  bold shapes of the background. The artwork was to sit alone on a plain background and I wanted it to sit comfortably and have a presence, not float around and look unsettled. I used the flat colours of the race loop and city to act as middle ground between the plain background and the detailed character and bled them out with the spray brushes to resemble a graffiti stencil.
The final 'Rat Bomb' artwork

'Rat Bomb' repeat pattern

A selection from Tookata People's Hotwheels collection

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