Jake Angell

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Keepsake Artist Jake Angell

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Jake Angell

Title: Hallmark Production Designer
Date started at Hallmark: 2000
Date started at Keepsakes: 2012
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Jake Angell has lived in Kansas City his entire life, surrounded by the likes of G.I. Joe and He-Man as favored playmates in his childhood. It didn’t take long for Jake to pick up drawing as a hobby, teaching himself illustration between lessons. "In school, classwork was self-paced, so I'd finish my work and just draw all day long."

He studied graphic design in college, eventually learning illustration techniques in his own time that strengthened his passion for art. He’s worked for Hallmark for over a decade, but 2013 was his first year designing Keepsake Ornaments. "After working with packaging and game design for Asteroid Andy and various other products, I kept using and teaching 3-D programs on the side. Finally, I bugged the Keepsake Ornament team long enough for them to say: ok, we'd really like to get Jake up here to try it out!"

Today Jake is stilling trying out new things and dreaming of his favorite characters.

"I've got two kids and it’s really amazing to see my little boy discover all these great characters that I grew up loving, too."

See Jake’s 2018 ornaments

He’s Mr. Heat Miser!™ Keepsake Ornament

He’s Mr. Heat Miser!™ Keepsake Ornament

Way back in 1974, when Keepsake Artist Jake Angell was just a toddler, the stop-motion TV special “The Year Without a Santa Claus” introduced audiences to the Heat Miser. Now, 44 years later, it’s one of the holiday specials Jake watches with his own kids, ages 9 and 11.

“I’ve been watching that since they were little. Mom and Dad remember that one, I do, and now the kids do. So it’s fun to create an ornament like that.”

The Heat Miser ornament shows the mischievous trickster seated on a chair with its own stovepipe, just like in the TV special. “We had to research it quite a bit,” Jake said. “I had to pull a bunch of screen shots. The stovepipe chair doesn’t show up very long.”

Jake added that his kids think it’s cool that he gets to design ornaments featuring characters they know. “I’ve been over to their school to talk to the class,” he said. “They have a 3-D printer over there, so I’ve gone in and showed them what I do with 3-D printing.”

Link Keepsake Ornament

Link Keepsake Ornament

Like most kids his age in grade school, Jake loved visiting the land of Hyrule in the video game Legend of Zelda.

“My first gaming machine was the old Atari, then you had the Nintendo, where Legend of Zelda came out,” Jake reminisced. “That was one of the ones you just played over and over trying to beat the game.”

Jake’s Legend of Zelda ornament features the character Link, complete with sword and magical shield, crouched and ready to spring into action.

“Zelda was a puzzle game,” Jake explained, “and you’re always trying to figure things out. So, from the old Atari Space Invaders, it was a very different type of game. I wasn’t good, but I liked playing. I never could figure these out all the way.”

Jake had fun designing the ornament based on his childhood memories. “I never imagined I’d be doing this with things from my childhood.”

It’s Tricky Keepsake Ornament

It’s Tricky Keepsake Ornament

Jake got to revamp a fun way of rockin’ around the Christmas tree with a penguin whose old-school boom box is booming Run-DMC’s “It’s Tricky.”

“We pitch a bunch of different songs for ornaments,” Jake said. “We have a list of songs and try to come up with new ones every year.”

It was especially fun for Jake to get a chance to do this ornament, since he loved the song when he was a kid. Jake fondly remembers carefully pressing the pause button on his own boom box after every line, so he could write down the lyrics. “I remember thinking, ‘oh, so that’s what they’re saying’,” and added, “My kids don’t even know what a tape player is!”

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