From Cabbage Patch To Garbage Pail
Ask me to describe my most memorable 2012 assignment, and I might choose this one: a client asked me to turn someone into a Garbage Pail Kid so they could put him on the front of a t-shirt. Here’s the final:
What’s a Garbage Pail Kid, you ask? They were trading cards originally released in 1985. Each card featured a kid doing something disgusting, or as the serene victim of some horrible fate.
They were die-cut sticker cards, so you could peel off each kid and paste it somewhere else– where it would be sure to cause further disgust. I had a niece and two nephews who couldn’t get enough of them. Here are some typical examples:
In researching this post, I finally understood something that had always puzzled me: each of the original cards is numbered, and the number is always followed by either an ‘a’ or a ‘b’– why the suffix?
Turns out they always came up with two different names for each kid, and used the same art for both. A pretty sneaky way to get extra mileage– and money!– from a drawing… illustrators, take note!! Here’s an example:
Garbage Pail Kids were a parody of an enormously successful line of dolls known as Cabbage Patch Kids. Here’s what they look like. Sweet, adorable, and crying out for parody– you can almost hear them! That kid at the lower right is sure to become an illustrator someday– there’s no mistaking that dazed and vacant look… : )
Here’s how my half-and-half kid compares to an actual half-and-half Garbage Pail Kid. The AS20 had some special meaning for the client, but I don’t know what it was.
It would have been fun to try to mimic the trading card style exactly, but a t-shirt design works best with bold lines and flat colors.
What do you think? Were you familiar with either set of kids? Ever collected any trading cards? Do you ever get the feeling that parody has become a mindset these days– that we feel compelled to make fun of everything? Hope you’ll leave a comment.
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