Alumnus Leads Pop Culture Collectibles Design Contest

Animation alumna Allison Cundiff's winning statuette Photo: Molly Mickley (CCAD 2016)

Animation alumna Allison Cundiff's winning figure
Photo by Molly Mickley (CCAD 2016)

When Illustration alumnus and former Disney animator Tracy Mark Lee (CCAD 1990) was a student, he won an illustration contest sponsored by Columbus Monthly magazine. Fourteen years later, Lee wanted to give current students the same type of real-world experience so he offered to lead a semester-long project in the form of a design competition.

"I thought it would be neat to see what they came up with," said Lee, who is now a freelance animator and owner of Electric Tiki Design, a company that designs and manufactures limited edition collectible figures based on pop culture characters.

Lee's competition invited students to create a product that would fit into the Electric Tiki line.

Newly graduated alumni Allison Cundiff (Animation, CCAD 2014) and Donald Pencarinha (Illustration, CCAD 2014) were selected as finalists in May, and Cundiff won the first place award of $2,500 for her figure of Malcom Reynolds, a character from the space Western Firefly.

Lee worked closely with the 14 participating Illustration and Animation students throughout the semester-long project as they created thumbnail sketches, prototypes, and package designs.

Dalton Pencarinha (CCAD 2014) and Allison Cundiff (CCAD 2014).  Photo by Molly Mickley

Dalton Pencarinha (CCAD 2014) and Allison Cundiff (CCAD 2014).
Photo by Molly Mickley (CCAD 2016)

"[The finalists' products] were the closest to something that I could market," Lee said. "They looked the most production-ready."

Cundiff had never printed a 3D design or designed packaging before.

"I like to capture the likeness in characters," she said. "This project was really fun."

Lee is from Hartsville, SC (Thomas Hart Academy), Cundiff is from Readfield, ME (Maranacook Community High School), and Pencarinha is from Grove City, OH (Central Crossing High School).