Cheryl + Ray = Love

Happy Friday, House of Shine. Cheryl here.

Since it’s Ray Week, let me share with you my story of Ray.

One evening, three years ago, I was hanging out at the Beeny household. I’m sure we had just enjoyed a wonderful meal cooked up by Richard and we were bantering and laughing about our newly named lightbulb mascot, Ray, and how we were going to make him come to life at Highlowaha. 

Peggy had put together a mock up of Ray and I was showing Claudia a cartoon artist’s blog that I followed. We discussed what Ray would look like and what he would be for and I had no intention of volunteering to be Ray’s artist but by the end of the evening I found myself saying that I would sketch up a couple of Ray’s for Claudia too look at but I could not promise anything.

So, I went home and penciled out Ray for a couple of holidays. Just Ray with a holiday related hat or shoes holding something related to that holiday. I scanned them and sent them to Claudia. And, a couple of days later she emailed me and said, “I chose you.” Honestly, I was nervous. What if I couldn’t do it? But I could do it. And I have done it.

My first real Ray was for the Olympics and the second was for Back to School. The two that started it all.

I had no intention of drawing these elaborate backgrounds. They just kind of took on a life of their own and then each new Ray had to live up to the previous Ray. Sometimes they didn’t translate well but when they did, I loved them and couldn’t wait to send them to Claudia. I have a lot of favorites when it comes to Ray but my top favorites include RAYvolution, StingRay, CompadRAY, and AnniverseRAY.

All of Ray’s images are scanned and edited in Photoshop. When you see twinkle lights on the Christmas trees in both HoliRay and Jingle All the RAY, those are done in Adobe’s Photoshop. I would be nowhere without that software program. Well, I’d be somewhere but it wouldn’t be near as nice. It allows me to make the colors richer or smooth out the areas where the ink just wouldn’t cooperate. The funniest story from Ray was in Jingle All the RAY. That’s a partial true story and it still makes me laugh today.

The most stressful part of drawing Ray was when we wanted to get the images on t-shirts. That is not an easy or inexpensive task. There are just too many colors in the drawings. Poor Ray. He really did want to give the clothing line a try but I still believe that Ray could have his own line of items. I think he could do greeting cards, calendars, coffee mugs or posters. T-shirts just aren’t his medium.

The funniest thing about drawing Ray physically is that his head is large and his arms can’t reach over it. Periodically, a request would come in for a Ray that required his hands over his head and that’s just not going to happen. I love that he has flaws. Just like all of us. The other issue I have with Ray- I can’t draw is darn finger pointing out at you! It just comes out looking wrong. But we’re all able to laugh at my inability and work around it.

Now days, when we discuss Ray, I love pulling out the drawings and reminscing where he’s been and what he has done. I tend to forget all the scenes I’ve drawn him in. It does give me a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have created the little guy in all these different scenes. I like that my boys get involved like in T-Ray. JB pointed out that Ray wasn’t invented in the dinosaur era. He would have been fire.

And while I like the scenic drawings of Ray, I also love Ray just by himself like in the images above. I love the Twitter image of him and that was one we didn’t feature on the blog. It has been such a fun adventure for me in creating Ray and I guess I’ve always loved him. We even had a “Complicated” relationship on Facebook for awhile but I had to break up with him in case a real man came along. I’m excited for Ray’s new venture and to see where we get to take him next. Wherever it is- I’m sure he’ll…

Shining off until Monday…

Claudia Beeny

Founder and Executive Director

Posted on 7/22/11 10:00 am by Claudia Beeny in: Ray Wattson,Uncategorized

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