Make food art. Send us pics. Win a cheeseboard + $100 Amazon gift card!


Here’s our cheddar and havarti Iron Man creation to help get your imagination going.

ToonStyle’s Snack Art Contest

It’s that time of year… to eat too much at all kinds of seasonal gatherings! And for all of us over-eating, it means someone is hosting that group and serving some great snacks. To help your next snack-attack-get-together go off without a hitch, we here at ToonStyle want to give away a cheeseboard from Picnic Time, and a $100 Amazon gift card. So, we’re having our first “character snack art” contest – just craft an iconic character with your favorite snacks and send us a picture. We’ll take submissions through the December 31 2018, and then we’ll open up the contest to our visitors to vote on the best snack creations.


Picnic Time has a bunch of great Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, and Pixar cheeseboards and serving trays.






Picnic Time – Spotlight Exhibitor Interview

Following our exhibitor spotlight on the amazing company Picnic Time, we have an in-depth interview with some more context around the beginning of the brand and what we can expect from them next. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did!

1) Tell us about your business – what do you specialize in, what do you sell?

As we have grown over the past 36 years, our line has evolved from a handful of picnic baskets to over 450 unique and innovative gift items covering a broad range of categories. Two years ago, in an effort to better align our products with their respective categories, we created the Picnic Time Family of Brands.

The PICNIC TIME brand stays true to its roots – offering the widest selection of picnic baskets, wine baskets, and picnic totes suitable for all occasions.

The ONIVA brand encompasses active living and outdoor recreation. This line offers a wide array of outdoor gear such as chairs and stadium seats, food totes, coolers and travel cases, gardening totes and kits, beach essentials, and so much more.

All of the accessories you need to enjoy beer, wine, and spirits can be found in our LEGACY brand. From beer flights to growlers, whiskey sets to bar accessory kits, wine totes and beverage carriers; this line has got it all.

TOSCANA is our tabletop and serveware brand which has been designed with sustainability, functionality, and style in mind. We have sourced natural beautiful woods for our innovative line of serving boards, serving planks, serving stations, and cheese boards.

Each of the four new brands has their own unique identity, while still maintaining the core attributes of quality and innovation that you have come to associate with Picnic Time.

2) What’s the story of how the Picnic Time got started?

Picnic Time was started 36 years ago with the mission to inspire people to spend quality time with loved ones. Mario Tagliati and Gustavo Cosaro met in 1982 while working in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Having similar values and business beliefs they came to Southern California and opened up a wine and cheese store. It was pointed out by their customers at the time that they had all the essentials for a picnic, they were just missing the picnic basket. Inspired by this idea Mario and Gustavo started hand making baskets in their garage and selling them retail from their store. It was a success! More than a generation later, Picnic Time’s goal has expanded – to help create lasting memories from those moments spent with loved ones.

3) What is your personal favorite franchise or character?

Disney has to be our favorite franchise added to the Picnic Time licensed product line. Disney ignites our creativity and awakens the child in all of us.

4) What do you like about the franchises you incorporate into your merch? Why are they a good fit?

The addition of Disney, Marvel, and Lucas to our licensed product line has allowed us to be more creative with our designs and reach a broader customer market. Our products are a great fit for these licenses as it has helped them expand their product categories and further elevate their brand image with high end table top and outdoor leisure products.

5) Are there any characters/franchises that the company plans to add merch for in the near (or distant) future?

We plan on expanding our Disney line by adding new character properties such as – Frozen, Aladdin, Princess Villains, Mary Poppins and Lion King

6) What’s another smaller vendor that you love to shop for franchise/character merch that you think not a lot of people know about?

Kidrobot.com is a great site for upscale and designer collectibles (Toys, Plush, and Apparel).

Thanks so much again to the folks over at Picnic Time for giving us a window into such an awesome company!

Luca Designs – Spotlight Exhibitor Interview

Following our exhibitor spotlight on Luca Designs, the company was gracious enough to answer some questions about their business and franchise favorites! See the full interview below and prepare to fall even more in love with this incredible brand.

1) Tell us about your business – what do you specialize in, what do you sell?

We specialize in creating unique character jackets that are fashionable and comfortable for everyday wear. Each of our jackets is handcrafted with a high attention to detail. 

2) What’s the story of how the business got started?

The business was started when Luca had one of his favorite jackets stolen at a charity event’s coatcheck. He made it his goal to design his own jacket and refused to buy another replica. Through the use of his unique tastes and design sense people demanded more of his edgy and unique styles.

3) What are the best things and most challenging things about having a business in this space?

The best experiences are being innovative and continuously impressing our awesome client base with over the top but accessibly cool designs. It can be challenging to keep up with the demand as we’re working to expand our reach but we love the rush of meeting a challenge head-on and succeeding.

4) What is your personal favorite franchise or character?

My favorite character is Venom, I also like Carnage and Two Face a lot. We’ve created a couple of Venom jackets and I’m hoping to be able to bring some designs for the other two to life soon.

               

5) What do you like about the franchises you incorporate into your merch? Why are they a good fit?

We chose specific characters from some of our favorite franchises that we feel represent our brand. We try to design based on the feel of the character, we don’t copy designs, rather we take inspiration from the nostalgia and create something fresh that works with the character. 

6) What characters have you not gotten to weave into your products that you’d like to add? Why those characters?

We will do all the characters we can, there is no limit which is why this is such an exciting endeavor. Some of the coolest ones to come are our unique Junkrat design (available on Kickstarter soon for pre-order) and the Cyberpunk 2077 jacket will be launching early next year. Luca is passionate about video games and loves to create designs based on some of his favorite gaming characters.

Luca has picked certain characters to test the boundaries of fashion and embrace the underlying nostalgia from growing up around them or being influenced by them. He usually pushes characters that speak to him and stand out in some way.

8) What’s another smaller vendor that you love to shop for franchise/character merch that you think not a lot of people know about?

We go to a lot of conventions in the United States and Canada, so we get to see a lot of great people making really creative items. Nothing specific I could point you to at the moment, it’s just great to see other people embracing their passions and we love talking with the other vendors and attendees at these events.

Thanks SO much to Luca Designs for taking the time to chat with us at Comic-Con and for letting us conduct this fascinating interview! We hope you love Luca’s jackets as much as we do – we’re looking forward to seeing the new crop top jackets they’re promising with characters like Mercy, Soldier 76, and D.Va!

Comic-Con Exhibitor Spotlight: Luca Designs

 

In honor of our first Comic-Con, we’re highlighting some of the stand-out vendors that most impressed us as we walked the exhibition floor in all of our Riverdale glory!

 

First up is Luca Designs , a company that crafts franchise/character inspired jackets of incredible quality. The jackets run the gamut of shows and movies, with samplings such as our very own Riverdale Serpents  and the Star Lord Guardians of the Galaxy signature jacket. What really caught our eye was the subtly of the designs and the impressive craftsmanship of the merchandise. The jackets are not only an awesome addition to any cosplay costume, but also a great piece to throw on for a regular night out as they’re very well fitted and not in-your-face. Luca Designs will even custom fit your jacket if you provide all of your measurements so it’s no surprise that the booth was swamped with people the whole time we were there.

We were lucky enough to get to chat with Luca himself for a bit at his booth and were inspired by his passion for both his business and designs. Now we’re just anxiously awaiting the red Cheryl Blossom Serpents jacket that Luca himself promised was coming up in the collection…
Stay tuned for an interview with Luca designs, it’s coming soon!

Comic-Con Exhibitor Spotlight: Picnic Time

 

Second up in our Comic-Con Exhibitor Showcase series is Picnic Time, a company that offers a wide variety of licensed picnic accessories in addition to more traditional designs. Focusing mostly on Disney and Marvel, they give us everything we’ve ever dreamed of in a Captain America cheeseboard, or an Iron Man picnic blanket. I mean cheese and Marvel, is it even possible to combine two more amazing things?
Picnic Time stood out to us because the products are masterfully crafted and extremely high quality. Their Toy Story wooden pizza board or Ratatouille acacia serving plank would make a lovely housewarming gift for any Disney enthusiast; we love how their products are not only beautiful, but exceedingly functional as well!

 

If we had to pick a personal favorite, it might just be this Death Star Cheese Board, but with so many options to chose from, it’s much too hard to decide!

Riverd- I mean ToonStyle! Goes To NY Comic Con

Under the expert leadership of our head costume designer Diana, team ToonStyle became the Riverdale gang and ventured to New York Comic Con 2018!

We received a healthy amount of praise for our costumes, and I don’t think we saw a Riverdale crew with over four people during our time at the convention. It was pretty awesome getting picture requests from 15 year olds (presumably Riverdale fans) and 55 year olds (presumably Archie comics fans) alike. Archie, Cheryl, Veronica, and Jughead made great conversation starters without being a pain to wear all day. Strongly recommended!

We’re going to spend our next few blog posts going over some of our top finds from NYCC 2018, so keep reading!

How-To Group Costume – Riverdale

The ToonStyle team has set in motion a plan to transform… into the Riverdale crew!

(Photo by Entertainment Tonight)

It’s not easy to pull off a group costume, so we wanted to write up the main details AND the subtle ones for anyone else trying to pull this off for Halloween, because it’s just a few weeks away. 😱😱😱

Archie Andrews

Archie is a pretty average guy, so you have to hit a couple critical details if you want people to stop and notice. Namely, his Riverdale varsity jacket, and if you want to go all-in: his auburn hair. After that you have some freedom, but we chose to go with a plain white tee, jeans, and casual leather shoes.

It came together really easily EXCEPT for finding a good wig. We searched through hundreds of wigs on Amazon and there were just too many strange ones. Once false click had us ordering something out of the Ronald McDonald playbook. Eventually we settled on this one, and gave it a HEAVY trim down to an almost respectable size. That’s right, if you want a great group costume, you might have to bust out your hair cutting skills… and a bunch of hair gel.

Riverdale Varsity Jacket at Spirit Halloween

Auburn wig (with enough hair to spike up!) at Amazon

Cheryl Blossom

Next up is the fiery Cheryl Blossom, with her sharp tongue and full head of cascading red curls. We had more luck on this wig than the Archie one (no haircuts necessary, thank god!) and paired with a tight red sweater, close-to-inappropriately-short faux leather skirt and slightly heeled black booties, the perfect look was assembled. Because we think the Blossom’s would agree that the devil is in the details, we finished it off with a ruby spider brooch and Cheryl’s signature jewelry item, a black chocker necklace. Add fake eyelashes, heavy mascara and a red lip and you’ll be getting mistaken for this head River Vixen everywhere you go!

Long Red Wig at Amazon

Red Sweater at Amazon

Short black skirt at Amazon

Spider Brooch at Amazon

Boots at Amazon

Jughead Jones

Jughead is pretty distinctive in the comics, but his look doesn’t port over to the show so well. He has the distinctive beanie, but a lot of the rest of his costume is stuff you might already own, so this might be a great role to assign your most reluctant teammate. We found the beanie, got a wig for the tuft of hair coming out, and added a Southside Serpents shirt. Tie a flannel/plaid shirt on your waist, throw on a pair of jeans, and call it a day.

Southside Serpents Baseball Tee at Amazon

Jughead’s Signature Beanie at Amazon

Wig at Amazon

Flannel button down at Amazon

Veronica Lodge

For the girl (or guy) who’s wardrobe trends towards sexy prep school chic, Veronica Lodge is an easy outfit to throw together. Throw on a tasteful (but preferably short) pencil skirt, a tight sleeveless blouse, a classy strand of pearls and a killer pair of heels and you’re 90% of the way to a convincing Park Avenue vixen. Complete the look with Veronica’s signature black winged liner and intensely prominent brows!

Pencil Skirt at Express

Strappy Tank Top Top at Express

Faux Pearl Necklace at Amazon

Shoulder Bag at Amazon

Boots at Amazon

Check out part two for our reveal!

Teepublic Custom Shirt Review

Up next in our custom shirt printing series, we have TeePublic, another one of the top custom printing contenders. We’ll be evaluating these shirts on the same set of criteria to show you how they measure up with price, appearance, shipping, site ease of use, and variety of shirt choice!

 

Once you spend any time on the TeePublic site, it becomes clear that it is more about showcasing art from professional artists – as opposed to uploading your own – and likely questionable – custom images like we did with Vistaprint. As with most of these types of sites, you *can* upload your own art, but it is much more of an involved process and it’s clearly not what the site was intended for.

 

What we ordered: A Kung Fu Panda/Poe Dameron mash-up Classic T-Shirt in men’s Medium. As previously stated, this was not art that we uploaded ourselves but the design was sold by an artist via the TeePublic site.

 

Price: $20.00  – ★★★★
The price for TeePublic shirts was definitely at a premium compared to other sites like Vistaprint, but we felt good about the rate given that you’re paying for the custom art and the overall shirt quality is quite high. This is not the place you come to churn out 100 shirts for your upcoming family reunion, but it is a nice site to shop if you want a high quality shirt with the franchise mashup of your dreams.

 

Shipping: $6.99 (standard shipping) – ★★★★
We selected the standard shipping option which wasn’t particularly cheap at $7 and took 8 days to arrive. This was on the high end price-wise of sites that we tried, and on the low end of shipping speed, but all in all, given that the shirt was custom printed, $27 total (okay, maybe we added $2 for tax?) was a price we were willing to pay once we saw the final product.

 

Shirt Feel/Appearance/Cut – ★★★★★
Now for the good stuff, how did the shirt look, fit and feel? Overall pretty dang well with a few caveats that I will list below!

 

– Fit -★★★★
We ordered a men’s medium for Jim who is 5’8” and it was quite long. The chest, waist and shoulders fit pretty well so the length was the only “issue” but he said he would consider sizing down to a small if he reordered as it would compare to what one would usually find on a men’s large or extra large. If you’re at least a couple inches taller and usually wear a men’s medium, you’d probably be in good shape, but if you’re in the 5’8” or below range, the length is something to keep in mind.

– Fabric -★★★★★
The fabric quality was good – the shirt is cotton and felt soft. TeePublic also offers an extra-soft fabric shirt so if that’s more up your alley, you can get something even more comfy (for more $$ of course).

 

 – Quality of print -★★★★★
The quality of the print was really nice, it looked like any shirt you would pick up in a bigger retail store. A benefit of custom art created by actual artists (and not Diana and a free photoshop knockoff) is that the quality of the images is very high. This doesn’t always translate into a high quality print – as evidenced by some of our experiences with Redbubble – but in this case TeePublic did a really good job.

 

Choice of Shirts -★★★★★
Choice of shirts (and just generally things to print on) is a place that I’d say TeePublic really shined. They offer a number of women’s and men’s cuts with a ton of flexibility on the base color of the shirt. Jim took advantage of this by changing the shirt color from the default dark grey to a bright orange and it came out really great! In addition to shirts, you can order anything from a hoodie to a throw pillow so there are excellent options.

Site Ease of Use – ★★★★★
The site was really easy to use, mimicking the experience of something like Target or Walmart. Because it’s not centered around using your own art, it’s truly like shopping for clothing (or other things) anywhere else on the internet, with a few more options when it comes to fit and color of the item in question. The search box works pretty well if you’re looking for a particular character or franchise and from selection to purchase, it was only a few intuitive clicks. Setting up your own custom art as an artist is likely more involved (if you’re desperate to upload your own designs), but we didn’t even attempt so we can only wish you good luck.
 

 

Some additional pluses:
– There is a LOT of custom art by amazing artists; if you don’t trust yourself to create something you’d want to wear, this is definitely the place to come!
– The shirts seem to wash well.
– They have contests for particular franchises and characters which yields some super cool designs.
So now that we’ve hit our key points, I’d say our rating of TeePublic is sitting at about 4.5 stars! The price was on the higher side and some things about fit and shipping left a bit to be desired, but overall we ended up with a great quality shirt with an amazing franchise mash-up print.
If you would like to hear our thoughts on TeePublic in a different format, we’ve uploaded one of our ToonStyle youtube videos where Jim goes through the pros and cons and you can see the shirt in action!
We’ll be continuing our custom print series so keep an eye out for more videos to come; both here and on YouTube!

Vistaprint Custom Shirt Review

This marks the first in our custom shirt printing series where we review the top online companies for making customized clothing! We’ll be evaluating the shirts on the same set of criteria to show you how they measure up with price, appearance, shipping, site ease of use, and variety of shirt choice!

 

We’re starting things off with the behemoth Vistaprint, probably one of the first companies that comes up if you search for “custom shirt printing”. Vistaprint is one of the more affordable options and is great whether you’re planning on printing one shirt or 1000. Along with shirts, VP offers printing on practically every item you can think of, from glossy fliers, to mugs, to custom tote bags. Because of the breadth of options and the low prices, we expected Vistaprint to be towards the bottom of the heap, but we were proven seriously wrong!

 

What we ordered: A custom Veronica Mars “Mars Investigations” logo (black) on a SignatureSoft Women’s small t-shirt (white) with Inkjet printing. I found the image online, turned it into a PNG with transparent background using online software (thank you Pixlr!) and dropped it onto the front of the shirt.

Price: $9.50  – ★★★★★
One thing you’ll quickly notice about custom shirt printing companies is that they want you to order in volume. This is great if you’re churning out 100+ shirts for the annual family reunion, but less good if you’re like me and just wanted a custom Veronica Mars shirt. The low printing prices you’ll typically see in your google results are generally deceptive; sure it’s $5 per shirt if you order 1000, but if you just want one, you’re looking at $25, or perhaps no shirt at all. Vistaprint delivers both on price and on small scale. This was the cheapest of the shirts we bought and one of the highest quality.

 

Shipping: $5 (standard shipping) – ★★★★★
Vistaprint’s shipping wasn’t the absolute cheapest, but I must say they impressed me! When I ordered this shirt on May 6th, the estimated delivery date was the 17th, but they had it printed by the 7th, shipped by the 8th and it arrived on the 9th! A custom shirt! Serious points for speed, and for getting it to me within three days when I just paid for standard shipping. You can pay (a lot) for accelerated shipping, but having ordered other things with them before, I’ve learned I can count on them getting my orders to me well before promised, so unless you absolutely NEED your item by a particular day, I’d say go for standard and count on being pleasantly surprised.

 

Shirt Feel/Appearance/Cut – ★★★★★
Now we’re finally getting to the good stuff – how’d the damn thing look, feel and fit? I must say that I was *shocked* that for the price, the Vistaprint shirt ended up being one of the nicest ones we printed!

– Fit -★★★★★
As mentioned above, I ordered a women’s small in the inkjet printed SignatureSoft. I’m a petite person, just under 5’4″, about 120 pounds and with a substantial bust. The shirt fit exactly as I would have wanted it to, it has a flattering crew neckline, nicely fitted on the sides and not too stretched out over my chest area (I’m sure some of y’all know the struggle). More affordable shirts often look pretty boxy and unflattering on my figure, but Vistaprint delivered on this one!

 

– Fabric -★★★★★
Here’s another place that Vistaprint knocked it out of the park; the shirt is super comfy and soft! It has a bit of stretch to it and doesn’t feel like cardboard, A+ in my book!

 

– Quality of print -★★★★★
Admittedly I didn’t give Vistaprint too much of a challenge (white shirt, black logo), but it came out looking really good! The print looks quite sharp and any blurring around the edges I attribute to my own questionable image upload.

 

Choice of Shirts -★★★★
The choice of women’s shirts is one place where Vistaprint didn’t shine as much; for the shirt I ordered, I could only chose between four different cuts. The color pallet was more varied, but with regards to shape and neckline (in contrast to a company like Redbubble, for example), the options were limited. Given the quality and fit of the shirt I don’t fault them too much for this, but it is something to keep in mind. That said, in terms of THINGS to print on (aforementioned tote bags etc…) Vistaprint definitely takes the cake, so we’ll land them at four stars.

 

Site Ease of Use – ★★★★★
Okay so as a software developer, I’d like to think that I’m at least slightly better than the average person at all things computer, which makes me ashamed to admit that I had a bit of a confusing time using the Vistaprint site at first. You’ll see on the screenshot below that uploading your own image is literally the first option, but something about the way it’s designed made my eyes skip over it and onto the plentiful more complex (and frankly, not what I wanted) configurations below. After a few minutes of fussing (okay, and maybe some swearing), I realized my oversight and proceeded through the five or so clicks it took to make my custom shirt! Other than my initial confusion, the site was super easy to use and definitely would highly recommend, even for people that might not be super comfortable using a computer.
 

 

Some additional pluses:
– There’s generally at least one hefty discount you can take advantage of to bring the price down even further, especially if you’re a first time ordered.
– The shirts seem to wash well; granted, I did forget detergent, but the logo survived a wash and dry and the shirt didn’t seem to shrink too much.
– If you make an account (only need email/pw), they will save your design so you can reprint it on the same, or other products (see below)
So now that we’ve hit our key points, you can probably guess that my overall review is going to be two thumbs up! Taking all factors into consideration, I would give Vistaprint a SOLID 4.5 (maybe even closer to 5) stars on the whole experience! They’re not only incredibly affordable, they deliver excellent quality and customer service along the way! If you’re deciding whether or not us use VP for your next custom shirt endeavor, we highly recommend!

 

We’ve immortalized our thoughts in one of our ToonStyle youtube videos (also, the first in the series), so if you want to hear these thoughts straight out of the horses mouth (mine), or see more how the shirt looks on – head on over and toss us a thumbs up/comment while you’re at it 🙂

 

We’ll be continuing our custom print series weekly so keep an eye out for more videos to come; both here and on YouTube!

Metal Meets Fandom

ToonStyle is all about helping you bring your favorite franchises and characters out of their books, shows, and movies and into your clothes, accessories, home decor, and generally anywhere possible. Every time I thought, for example, “There’s no way that Ninja Turtle cufflinks exist, right?”, I was proven wrong. Many designs exist!

Today I had another one of those moments. I was bouncing through YouTube when I hit a very cool channel – Frog Leap Studios. A heavy metal expert with serious musical skills, Leo Moracchioli covers songs we all know and re-tools them with metal. It’s fun listening to Michael Jackson or Katy Perry’s hits, but it’s even more fun to see Leo rock out with some songs from our favorite kids movies. The songs are perfect mashups in the ToonStyle spirit.

The Playlist

  • My favorite of the bunch, Frozen’s Let It Go. A lot of parents have heard the original hundreds or thousands of times, so it’s nice to hear a different take on it.
  • Lion King’s Hakuna Matata.
  • I Like To Move It, which is a major part of the Madagascar franchise from Dreamworks. This song has already been covered many times, so why not once more?
  • The Simpsons Theme. I really enjoyed watching Leo and his daughter (I think?) build a LEGO Springfield.
  • Everything is Awesome, from The LEGO Movie. It’s great to watch Leo get in an adult-size Emmet costume and rock out. You can tell he’s into watching these movies with his family.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme Song. It’s not for the youngest audience, but the Fresh Prince was one of the great shows from my childhood.