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June 8, 2008
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Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 5 by toymaker-cl Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 5 by toymaker-cl
This was supposed to be the final playset in the World of Springfield toy line by Playmates Toys. They asked me to design a haunted house interior based on the very first Treehouse of Horror episode: "Bad Dream House" segment. The characters were an assortment of THOH characters requested by the collectors.

I created this color concept for presentation purposes, and I even created rough control views for the set, but it ended up getting shelved for another idea that Fox suggested. Apparently, when the fans heard about Fox's new idea, they hated it. The opinion was that it wouldn't sell based on the feedback they were receiving and neither set was produced.

Oh well.....

As with most of my Simpsons color concepts, the drawing was done by hand with a felt tip pen, then scanned and converted to vector. The color was dropped in using Illustrator.

For presentation purposes, I usually keep the Simpsons renderings kind of flat since the nature of the show has a flat color look to it.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions.
Thanks for looking!

- Chris
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:iconcookadile:
cookadile Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
I loved collecting those figures and playsets and think that one you designed would of made a great addition.
Howcome they decided against it?
I hope one day the simpsons figures make a return
Reply
:icontoymaker-cl:
toymaker-cl Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Professional
Hi cookadile

Thanks! Glad you like the designs.

This set was based on direction given to me by Playmates Toys. While I was working on it, Fox decided that they wanted to get involved in the concept stage and told Playmates Toys to make the "Island of Dr. Hibbert - Manimal Playset" for the THOH V set (you can see my design for it here: [link]) Scroll down. Playmates advised against it, and even took a poll with their fans to see which set they wanted. Despite fans voting for the "Bad Dream House" set, Fox told PM to make the "Island of Dr. Hibbert" anyway. Fans were ticked off that their vote did not count, and PM realized that sales for that set would be low. It was cancelled. I did designs for both sets, but preferred the "Bad Dream House" as the final set.

At this point, the line was about 4 years in, and sales were slowing. It was supposed to be the last set, but with Fox's meddling the line was cancelled altogether. :(

In all, I worked on close to 40 Simpsons playsets for Playmates Toys - most were made, some were not. I also worked on some assorted Simpsons items (figures and accessories) for the WOS line as well as some other Simpsons items they were considering.

Thanks for looking!
Reply
:iconhennesey:
Hennesey Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
I love it. I always loved the Treehouse of Horror episodes.
Reply
:iconitchyscratchy:
Itchyscratchy Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, must be awesome to do this for a living. Hope you don't mind me asking, but how did you get this job?
Reply
:icontoymaker-cl:
toymaker-cl Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional
Hi Itchyscratchy

Thanks for the fav, and glad you liked the set design!


As far as becoming a toy designer.....

I always enjoyed drawing as a kid, and I was also very competitive. It drove me to continue improving (and still does)

I loved drawing comics (super hero, horror, sci fi, fantasy) but went to art school to study graphic design. Ironically, it was some comic pages I had in my portfolio that got me my first full time job at Larami Toys. That was back in 1991 when they first launched the Super Soaker water guns. I did mostly package art there, but did some product design.

I had never considered working in the toy industry, but it seemed to fit once I started. While working at Larami, I got to know some studios that specialized in toy packaging and product design. While working at one studio (after Larami) I got to design action figures, playsets, and vehicles almost all of the time. That was when I said "I love my job"

Over several years, I had built up a network of product managers that liked my work and requested me for their projects. When the last studio I worked for became a manufacturer and laid me off, I started my own business with my initial network of clients. I've now been working for myself full-time for 7 years (and I don't even have a website yet!)

For the past year, I've been doing most of my work with Fisher Price, Hasbro, and The Bradford Exchange.

I am always trying to make new contacts, but I get a lot of my business from networking and word-of-mouth. I would never have been able to work for myself if I did not have previous relationships with a group of clients to start with.

To design toys, you need to draw well, understand how toys are made, clearly communicate your ideas, work with different clients, and act professional at all times. It also helps to stay in tune with current trends among children. While the collectible toys are more "sexy" to work on, the real money and success is with mass market toys for kids.

I hope this answers your question :) You just got a brief "bio of Chris Lauria".

While it gets hectic dealing with deadlines, I do love my job. I get paid good money to draw all day! :) And hopefully, I've made a few people happy by designing some cool toys!

Thanks again for compliments!
- Chris
Reply
:iconitchyscratchy:
Itchyscratchy Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
And thank you for taking time to give me such a well-written reply.
Reply
:iconsumperson:
SumPerson Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2008
Goshdarn it. If that set were real, I'd have picked it up in a heartbeat. Just think, not only would it have been good to display those figures with, it would have worked great with a number of horror-themed figures. Oh well.
Reply
:icontoymaker-cl:
toymaker-cl Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional
Thanks for the fav, and glad you liked the set!

I was hoping this set would go to production, but as you can read from my other comments, it just wasn't meant to be.

Thanks again!
Reply
:icondamncartoonguy:
DamnCartoonGuy Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2008
This could have been a really awesome set, especially with the vortex. A strange combination of characters, but having a Homer-in-the-box and Alien Maggie would be great.
Reply
:icontoymaker-cl:
toymaker-cl Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional
Thanks DamnCartoonGuy!

I agree, this would've been cool set. I actually went as far as creating the control art for this set at Playmates' request, but that's when Fox stepped in and changed the game-plan.

The character line-up was given to me by Playmates Toys. I think they chose the characters from a list of THOH characters that fans and collectors were asking for. While the toy line was alive, Playmates made it a point to communicate with collectors to see what they liked and what they didn't.

This set was going to be the "last hurrah!" for the WOS toy line, but it never made it to production.
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