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A Brief History of Tim

A steady diet of junk food and too much television in his youth led Timothy Young down the odd career path he now finds himself on. As a boy he loved to doodle and play with clay. His mother fondly remembers yelling at him for getting Play-Doh stuck in her rug. After a fun-filled but generally misspent youth, Tim accidentally attended Pratt Institute, where they convinced him that the scribbles he had made on his math and history notes could earn him a living as an illustrator. Inspired by the British 3-D illustrators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, Tim began to create sculptural illustrations. They were so well received by his instructors, by the time he graduated, Tim found himself with an apartment full of sculptures that would not fit into a portfolio.

 

So he loaded up the sculptures into a couple of boxes and showed them to the people at Broadcast Arts in New York. They liked the box full of stuff and hired Tim to work on Pee-Wee's Playhouse, eventually putting him in charge of design and model-making of the clay animated "Penny " cartoons.

 

Due to the fact that practically everyone associated with animation in New York worked on the show, Tim made lots of connections and wound up working on many animated commercials and other projects, including the never broadcast French's "Joy of Chicken" and the award-winning "Big Time" music video for Peter Gabriel, in which Tim’s right hand makes a cameo appearance. He also art-directed commercials for Time-Life books, NCTV, and Walt Disney World.

Though he was having fun in animation, his heart was still in illustration, so he began to seek clients. A friend from college gave him his first assignment for Doubleday Books, a 3D Alien artist for the cover of a catalog. Before long, Tim was creating 3D images for clients such as Leroux Liquors, Golf Digest, E - the Environmental Magazine, Popular Science and National Lampoon.

 

 

Tim was then offered a job at Marketing Equities, soon to be called Equity Marketing (now called Equity Toys). He spent two years as a full-time freelancer, designing premium toys for fast-food restaurants such as Arby's and Burger King. While there, Tim was instrumental in acquiring the Simpson's license, and was the first sculptor to figure out how to make Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson's hair work in 3-dimensions. The Burger King Simpson promotion was a big hit.

 

So Tim and Melanie Young packed up their stuff and moved to London. Tim Clarke, one of the inventor's of the Boglins puppet toys, told Tim to look up a company called Seven Towns when he got to England. Tim did as he was told and ended up working with Seven Towns for almost the entire time he lived there. He learned a lot about how toys are invented and created some new designs and sculpted characters for a lot of different toys like the Mini Boglins, Pet Aliens, Pocket Shockers and a bunch of others.

(While at Seven Towns, Tim and his work appeared in a profile of the company for the Italian magazine Gulliver. Someday, someone will tell him what it says about him.)

During his time in England he enjoyed walking the public footpaths, visiting Stonehenge numerous times (everyone who visited wanted to see it) and drinking in pubs. He also found time to freelance for other toy companies like Waddington's Games, Vivid Imaginations and Ideal Losirs, which he still can't pronounce to this day.

Oh, we forgot to mention, while in England, He and Melanie had two kids, one of each. Melanie left her job to take care of the kids and Tim had to do something he'd never done before. He had to take a full time job!

So they packed up their stuff once again and moved back to the land o' opportunity. But, after living in New York and London, where should they go? Los Angeles? Chicago? Cleveland?

In the end, Tim found himself back in New York with a job as Design Director for the idea factory (all lower case, intentionally). The idea factory had bought the license to manufacture "the Meanies" the anti-beanie babies. Tim and his team of designers created some great (if twisted) characters. Along with creating Splat the Road-Kill Kat, Floaty the Fish and others, he also found he had a knack for writing the limericks which appeared on the hang-tags. In his spare time, he started writing some of his ideas down, but did not have the time to do anything with them yet.

Tim and his design team also designed over 300 toy and souvenir products for Universal Studios, Walt Disney Stores, Disney on Ice shows and Barney.

Tim decided to pursue his dream of writing and illustrating children's books. He met a Random House published author who made an introduction to his editor. Tim went to New York and had a meeting where he pitched some ideas for books. None of them were picked up, but the editor liked his Creatures & Characters logo and asked for a book that looked like the logo. Two weeks later, Tim sent off the book I'm Looking For A Monster!. A few weeks after that Random House sent him a contract. Since then, Tim has learned that things don't work that way in the publishing business. You never get to pitch directly to an editor, and they never contract books that quickly.

Still jumping back and forth, doing illustrations here, toy designs there and the occasional animation project, Tim was about to make a big change in his life. Just as he was engaged to be married, his fiancée Melanie was offered a job in London. As she was born in England, she was eligible to work there. As soon as they were married, Tim could work there too. So they got on a plane and moved to the UK.
Around this time, Tim found himself living back in New Jersey of all places. He and Melanie added a third child and a bunch of pets. After his time at idea factory, Tim spent some time as the Design Director at Shelcore Toys. He was unsatisfied creatively and wanted to get back to the ideas he had started and put aside many times. So he and his family moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where Tim has now founded Creatures & Characters LLC.

Tim's second book with Random House, I'm Looking for a Dinosaur was a huge hit, or would have been had the economic downturn not caused Random House to cancel it along with half their catalog in 2009. After waiting out the Great Recession, Tim was introduced to the fine folks at Schiffer Publishing who published his books Shadow's On My Wall and They're Coming! in 2012.

In 2013, I Hate Picture Books! was released. It has gotten great reviews and for some reason Tim has been invited to speak to many great organizations and at prestigious events. He has signed hundreds of books at the Baltimore Book Festival, The Collingswood Book Festival, The Hudson Book Festival and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Ghouls & Gourds Festival. People have even bought a few of them.

He has especially enjoyed visiting schools. He reads his books, draws some pictures and answers questions like "Are you famous?" and "How much money do you make?" Tim identifies with school kids as he fondly remembers his own school years doing things like staring out the window and doodling on his test papers. He hopes to inspire children to do weird, fun things when they grow up.

Around this time, Tim met Karen Lyons; a plush toy designer who had worked on the Pee-Wee's Playhouse toys for Matchbox Toys. She introduced him to the people at Matchbox, and he was given the chance to design and sculpt the Talking Penny doll. He was very proud of it and couldn't wait for it to come out in the stores. Unfortunately, the dopes in the marketing department didn’t think Penny was an important character and the doll was never manufactured. Undaunted by this experience Tim sought other toy industry clients.
Tim worked freelance for a number of toy companies such as Jesco Toys, Galoob, Tyco, and Screamin' Products. What is the one thing these companies all have in common? The are all now out of business. Coincidence? Hmm?