it's not really  A B O U T   M E                                     

Yes, I love to draw.

And I love it when my creations appear to jump off a t-shirt or energize a web page. And if people can pick my work out from a crowd, that’s great. I love bringing something unique to the party.
But it’s not really about me. It’s about you. It’s about the audience. It’s about what’s needed—and what works.

It used to be about me.
As a kid growing up in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, I got quite a bit of attention by drawing dinosaurs and popular cartoon characters. Like other budding artists, I filled my high school notebooks with caricatures, and when that got boring, I’d send cartoons to my community newspaper and get really pumped whenever my drawings showed up in print.

Then I went to design school—UC’s college of DAAP. There I discovered that form follows function—a jangly way of saying: no matter how good you are, you don’t just design whatever you want. Every school project was a hard lesson in discrimination: if a line or a letter wasn’t absolutely necessary to get the point across, it got the axe. When I graduated, I was ready to reorder the world in the simplest possible terms and I was going to do it with black and white and Futura Bold.

But my first job out of school was at Huffy Bicycles. And the people there wanted everything to be FUN.

So, again, it was not about me. I had to think like a kid. I bought pogs like a kid, ate Airheads like a kid, and watched episodes of Ren & Stimpy—like a kid. I added wrestlers and bug characters to boys' bikes and helped develop a system of paint finishes with over 10 words for pink. Every day was like Christmas, except the trees had steel tubes and rubber tires to decorate.

Six years spent designing for kids just made me want more. So I took a job as a toy designer for Warner Bros. Again, it wasn’t about me, but this time it was pretty daggone close: I designed Looney Tunes toys, Matrix toys, and a host of twisted seasonal products. After 4 years designing toys with many a freelance job on the side, I went solo and founded Chuck Rekow Studios, where I could more fully concentrate on developing characters for a greater variety of uses: toys, books, animation, websites. Every project presented a new audience and a new design challenge, like:

How do you make an octopus or pelican look as cute as a kitten?

How do you make a diaper look overjoyed? (I’m not making this up)

How do you show kids how the respiratory system works, so they can save lives?

How do you indicate the breadth of the world’s mysteries with just two human figures?

When a family can’t afford the most expensive bike in the store, how do you make them fall in love with the one they can spring for?

There’s only one me and I don’t need a whole lot. So, if I’m going to design stuff, I’m going to have to design for other folks.
This is why this section is not  ABOUT ME.

What do YOU want?
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