Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of WEENIES and other
Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant and Mike Strouth are Copyright (c) KISCOM/ The OBB
THE STYLE BOOK
Inside are several hundred pages with tabbed dividers separating the subjects and the individual characters. The book begins with an introduction to the concept and the black and white versions of the characters as they were seen in the original presentation along with a full page description of each one’s personality. This is the stuff that KISCOM and I wrote together in the months before the concept was ready to be shown. You have seen most of it already. So, I will include only the animation drawings here.
As these drawings were intended to be used for reproduction in a variety of applications, I copied all the original pencil drawings using my newly acquired Minolta copying machine. In the process, I purposely fattened up the pencil lines to make them look like ink. That is how they were presented in the Style Book. But for this website I’ve scanned the original pencil drawings to retain some of their spontaneity. On the other hand, I had to compromise and reduce their size, otherwise they woldn't have fit in.
There were many drawings for each of the main characters. But as the secondary characters became increasingly minor the number of poses I did for each decreased. For some, like “Texas Weenie” and “Hang Dog,” I didn’t bother to do any. I was running out of steam.
The Wee -Weenies: Teena Weenie
Once the excitement subsided, the work began. Throughout the year that followed, Mike and I were destined to pump out vast quantities of artwork. And Guess What? Coleco hired Cheryl Stoebenau away from Hallmark to take charge of Weenies Licensing! Remember her? I told you we would meet again. This was a huge step for Cheryl as she left her Hallmark career behind and committed her future to the Weenies.
The first thing that Cheryl required was a “Weenies Style Book.” Once again I got my chance to explore what life might have been like if I had opted to take that job at Disney; this time as an animator.
And so, I worked nonstop, pumping out animation drawings for each character. Toiling like a man obsessed, day after day, night after night, I produced dozens of pencil drawings, portraying all of our main characters in a variety of action poses. These were intended to serve not only as a guide for animation, but, more importantly, as pick-up art to be used by licensees, generating Weenies products. Over the next few weeks, I literally taught myself to emulate the look and feel of animation. Before long, I was actually getting good at it, and loving every minute of this journey down a road not taken. I was exploring the alternative, and atoning for passing up that job at Disney.
Soon, every inch of wall space and every object in my studio was covered with these drawings. They were taped to everything. A ten foot tall wall of paper surrounded me, as wide as I could see, as high as I could reach. I taped them up by nimbly standing on my desk. I was swimming in a sea of Weenies, and in over my head. When I was finished, a crowd of principals from Coleco led by Cheryl Stoebenau drove down from Hartford and visited the schoolhouse. With the "Great Wall of Weenies" still taped in place, they were blown away.
And all these animation drawings went into the Weenies Style Book. The book itself was a rather large affair, a thick impressive loose-leaf binder. My original hand colored comp cover can be seen on the copy below