Rodney Gentry

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Keepsake Artist Rodney Gentry

Rodney Gentry signature

Rodney Gentry

Title: Hallmark Production Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1979
Date started at Keepsakes: 1997
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

If you could visit Rodney Gentry's favorite places, you'd be surrounded by deep forests, snowy peaks, endless seashores and country gardens.

An avid fisherman and camper, Rodney and his wife travel at every chance. When he's at home, you'll find him landscaping his yard or riding his motorcycle whether it's cold or hot out. He also has been known to play a round of golf or two.

Like a lot of other artists, nature inspired his earliest painting, and he concentrated on deer and eagles as his subject matter. Rodney also liked to draw the sports heroes of the day.

By ninth grade, he knew he wanted to work for Hallmark, and Rodney joined the company right after graduation. He started in the manufacturing department but continued his education by attending art school. As he studied digital art, he used his new skills in the graphics department on Christmas gifts and wrapping paper.

His next move was to Keepsake Ornaments. His first assignment, a G.I. Joe® lunch box, still stands out in his memory as one of his favorites.


Hasbro® | 4th in the Family Game Night series

When it comes to Family Game Night, Hallmark Keepsake Artist Rodney Gentry has become the “go-to guy,” having designed each of the four ornaments in the series of board-game replicas: Sorry!® (2014), Monopoly® (2015), Candyland (2016) and this year’s edition, Clue®, the Parker Brothers (now Hasbro) detective game.

“I’m the game guy,” Rodney says. “I really do like all those classic games.”

One perk of the assignment—if he doesn’t still own the game, he gets to order it for research. With Clue®, he happened to still have the original board that he and his two brothers used to play on years ago. Despite the occasional temptation to peek in the “confidential” file, he said none of them ever did. “What I liked best was finding out who the culprit was,” Rodney said. “And, of course, winning the game.”

Having the original pieces helped him cast the tiny weapons from the detective game as close to their original sizes as possible. And all except the rope feature a metallic plating, replicating their looks as well. Following the structure he used for previous Family Game Night ornaments, Rodney was able to incorporate almost the entire board into the base, while the box serves as the backdrop.

He knows he must have done a pretty good job recreating the game since the approvers for Hasbro liked what they saw right away.

“They didn’t ask for any changes,” Rodney says. “That’s always a great feeling.”



Rodney’s interest in nostalgia doesn’t end with board games. Classic movies provide another area of considerable inspiration for the longtime Keepsake artist.

One of his most challenging movie projects? To create a 3D ornament inspired by the iconic 2D image of a plane twisted into a knot from the original 1980s poster for Airplane!

“I’d never really had to bend geometry like that before,” Rodney said. “Took me awhile to get the shape of the windows and the body of plane right.”

He used a 3D modeling program called Modo that gives designers the ability to bend, stretch and scale various shapes.

Fortunately, styrene is a pretty versatile material. But Rodney realized quickly that the mold could not be made in one piece. He ultimately had to design three separate sections—tail, fuselage, and wings—for it to fit together accurately.

Once he finished it and started getting back the rough samples, several of his colleagues stopped by to gawk a bit at seeing the poster “come to life.”

“Judging by the reaction from previews, I think and hope it will be a hit.”


Mickey Mouse Lunchbox

Disney Mickey and Friends

Back in 2002, Rodney designed a vintage G.I. JOE™ lunchbox ornament that came with a matching thermos, and it was just like the one he used to take to grade school years ago. So he was more than happy to take on the Mickey Mouse lunchbox and thermos for 2017.

He used the original lunchbox dimensions and reduced it proportionally. The ornament is made of tin, just like the original lunchboxes, and Rodney created a plastic handle with working hinges. And, of course, the thermos inside that would have contained soup back then is purely decorative now.


Find Keepsakes at your local Hallmark Gold Crown store.


Buy Keepsake Ornaments online.

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TM & ©2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
CLUE and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. ©2017 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. Licensed by Hasbro.