ToddWorld (the site, not me) was born 20 years ago...which in web years, I'm pretty sure, makes it a historic monument. In that time it's gone through several iterations. Sometimes it's served as my portfolio, at other times it's simply been a place I can stick things on the web. For now, I guess I'll simply refer to it as my "home on the web".
If you're interested in what I'm currently working on, or if you want to check out any of my artwork, or for some you're interested in my professional background then I guess you're in the right spot. So, scroll down below and have a look.
Typically I have quite a few projects going on at the same time. But this year I'm making a pointed effort to attempt to focus on a single project. The thought (or hope) is that with continuous focus, I'll be able to complete the project this year. Normally I just end up moving all the projects I'm working on forward a little bit at a time.
This year's project is "Deep Blue". "Deep Blue" started off as a game on the Xbox 360. I used it to learn C# and the XNA framework. I spent a little over a year on it, making it about 80% of the way to completion before the XNA framework drastically changed and ended up breaking a lot of the existing code.
The funny thing was, while creating the game, I ended up writing a backstory for game which developed into a full story. When the game hit a dead end, the story still showed promise. In my hour and a half one way trip to work and back each day I would "watch" the story play out in my head literally hundreds of times.
A while back I decided it was time to get the story down no paper, or at least digitally, and so the "Deep Blue" novel project was officially started. I've been (slowly) chiseling away at it for the past few years and now I've moved it to the number one project slot.
You can read along with the story on Wattpad as things develop.
I'll be straight honest, I'm not a painter (at least not in the "paintbrush and stretched canvas" sense of the word). But give me a Wacom tablet or a good ol' fashioned pen or pencil and I do ok. Here are a few of my 2d and 3d illustrations. Select an image to enlarge it. For more samples check out my Deviant Art page.
As far as my professional life goes, I've been incredibly lucky to explore and experience a handful of careers. Each career, although different, somehow seems carefully intertwined with the one before it. There's definitely a plan at work here and I've learned to just go where it takes me.
I took my crisp new Communication Design degree from the University of North Texas and started my professional career at a small in-house design department for a jewelry manufacturer called "Diamond H". The highlights included working with a digital photo studio during the very early days of digital photography and designing a line of watches for the most awesome Dallas Cowboys team ever. We're talking Troy Aikman, Michael Irving, Emmitt Smith and let's not forget "the Moose".
A couple of years later Danielle and I moved a little east to Meridian, Mississippi where I became Creative Director of Peavey Electronics. I worked with an incredibly talented team of designers, photographers and writers where we designed million dollar trade show booths, promotional materials, and ads that ran in over 40 magazines internationally each month. Getting to work with product endorsers from musicians and bands like "Alabama", "Van Halen", and "Steven Curtis Chapman" was a ton of fun. I helped launch Eddie Van Halen's Peavey guitar, which won Peavey it's first ADDY advertising award. I even got to tell Eddie what to wear one day (which blew my tennis racket/air-guitar playing mind).
Little did I know at the time that this is where my career in traditional advertising would come to a close.
I stumbled, completely by accident, into the interactive world. I walked into my Art Director interview at Broderick/Bates Advertising and walked out as the Interactive Director in charge of their website development. Who knew they actually paid people to create websites?! At the time I thought web development was a hobby...like stamp collecting. Oh how times have changed.
During this time I also somehow managed to create the official website for the greatest illusionist of our time, David Copperfield. David was also one of my boyhood idols so the whole six years I worked with him were a pretty surreal experience. I had the opportunity to photograph his secret magic museum, work with his very talented support team in the "Magic Lab" and even had a hand in helping with an illusion or two.
I rode high atop the .com wave and when the bubble burst I found myself at collectible and sport card manufacturer Donruss/Playoff/Score Entertainment (they never could really decide on a single name). I served as Interactive Director over their numerous product websites for sports and brands that included "Dragon Ball Z", "Dragon Ball GT", and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
My third career came to be from the combined experience of my interactive work and my involvement in the games industry at Score Entertainment, not to mention my many years of gaming as a kid. I was hired as a Game Designer at Blockdot, where over the course of nearly 9 years, I had my hand in the creation of literally hundreds of games for a wide range of clients including LEGO, Universal Pictures, Lucasfilm, Microsoft and National Geographic.
It was during the last four or so years creating games that I really began to see how powerful games could be as educational tools. To be clear, I'm not talking about "Reader Rabbit" or "Typer Shark" educational games. What I began to see was exactly how much could be learned by playing games like Civilization V, Spore, and Little Big Planet. Through work on games for companies like National Geographic and Scholastic I began designing more and more games that were fun and engaging to the player while at the same time taught them something new. I began to wonder, if you can learn a lot PLAYING games, then how much could you learn in MAKING them.
I took that thought and created games with my kids, and entire classes of elementary school students where they all learned physics, biology and even a little computer programming. Then I tried the same approach with adults at PepsiCo's University program. The results were amazing, we had kids that were giving up their recess and after school programs to work on their games. I saw grown adults get so competitive they wanted to retake their online training again in order to get a higher score than their co-workers. There was no doubt, both making and playing games proved incredibly educational no matter what your age.
And all that brings us to today. I guess you could say I am on my fourth career now, this time as a high school teacher at Village Tech Schools in Cedar Hill. It's an amazing school that is rewriting the book on education. I'm co-teaching brand new classes like "Geometric Design" and "Digital Literature" as well as extra curricular classes such as "Magic", "Game Design" and "Cosplay". This year I even get the opportunity to teach a class in web technologies.
What I love about Village Tech (besides the incredible people) is that they embrace change, they don't fear it. They are pioneers working hard to design a school system that works. One that encourages creativity and imagination. One that inspires kids to look for their own answers instead of memorizing the answers found in a book. One that focuses on relationships, because a school shouldn't just be about formulas, calculations, and theories, it should be about developing better people.
So, that's what I'm doing these days. If you'd like to chat about using games to teach in your school, or the incredible things people can learn from designing games (no matter what their age) just scroll down a little further for my contact info.
If you're still curious about me, would like to see more examples of things I've created, or want to see what I've been up to on Facebook or Twitter just click on any of the icons below. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All content ©ToddWorld 1996-2015 unless otherwise noted.