Dale Schulz, creator of the Hungry Bunny in Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park, draws inspiration from items around his home to help him create designs for illustrations and finished products, which include a cardboard cutout Frankenstein mask and renderings of his creative ideas, in foreground.(CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Artist inspired to create in different ways

Creator of Hungry Bunny has had 40-plus-year career as professional designer and illustrator

Hungry Bunny, the large, pink, hammer-shaped rabbit sculpture in Maffeo Sutton Park evolved, from a creative mind, 3-D digital modelling, skills of craftspeople and a photograph of a three-metre tall pole.

Dale (Dasch) Schulz, a Nanaimo artist, illustrator, designer and owner of Dasch Studio, photographed the pole where the sculpture would be positioned in the park to get a sense of how big to scale up Hungry Bunny’s digital model. Similar techniques helped create a dog sculpture atop the roof of Dog and Suds on Wilgress Road.

“The models work in the real world when you can find a way to transpose them,” Schulz said.RELATED: Giant pink bunny sculpture makes statement about feral rabbit problem

Schulz, 56, knew he wanted to be a professional artist since sold his first drawing at age eight for several dollars for a piece he called Le Derrière, inspired by Pablo Picasso’s Nude (1931).

“It was done in blue pastel and then I was hooked, you know,” Schulz said.

He started working commercially when he was 15, painting store windows at Christmas time and drawing editorial cartoons for the Nanaimo Daily Free Press.He was also one of a two-person team who designed the early issues of the News Bulletin in the late 1980s.

“Over the years, I’ve done all kinds of stuff in town; built displays and did logos and set-painting and set design and theatrical posters and whatever I could to use up my creative energy and try to make a dime,” he said.

He’s worked for clients in Canada and the U.S., designing graphics and models for marketing campaigns for C-FOX Radio in Vancouver, Sobeys, Manitoba Telecom and others.

Schulz has worked with digital since 1999, but he still starts projects using traditional pre-digital graphic and design skills, by sketching ideas out with pencil, taking measurements of items with metal calipers and visualizing and working out ideas in the real world before he turns to the computer.

His 3-D renderings of vintage tin toys won the December Foundry Modo Toy Contest grand prize, a $1,200 illustration software package.

Modo, produced by software company Foundry, is a set of 3-D modelling, rendering and texturing tools for creating everything from artistic illustrations to digital models.

“I enter a few of these competitions because I like how much people share their techniques and their approaches and it’s kind of neat to see what people think about when you say, ‘Build a toy,’ right?” Schultz said.

He built two digital models from actual 1950s-era tin toys, a boat and a bus, from his vintage toy collection and created a finely detailed virtual display stage with lighting and packaging.

Overall, the creator of the Hungry Bunny said he’s had a satisfying career in the arts.

“It depends how you measure success,” he said. “Monetarily, I don’t think I’ve been very successful, but you know, I have a certain amount of freedom at my age that a lot of people don’t and I can say that I’ve turned my hand to a lot of real neat creative projects.”

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