Signature Publishing launches first Aardman arts and crafts magazine, Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty

The entirety of the Aardman cast of characters are being brought together for the very first time, through the launch of a children’s magazine titled, Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty.

The result of a new partnership between the Bristol-headquartered studio and Signature Publishing, Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty will celebrate the much loved Aardman characters, including the likes of Shaun the Sheep, Wallace & Gromit, Morph and Timmy Time, as well as the creativity that goes into drawing and modelling them.

The magazine will feature activities like colouring, crafting and baking, while covering topics like How to Draw Wallace & Gromit, and how to create a Shaun figurine from the supplied modelling clay.

“We are thrilled to work on this very special collaboration with such an esteemed studio as Aardman, bringing their iconic characters to life through creative play and colouring in their very own unique children’s magazine,” said Rachel Craven, commercial and advertising manager at Signature Publishing.

Ian Downes of Start Licensing, said: “We are delighted to be working with Signature Publishing on this Aardman magazine.  They were quick to recognise how well Aardman and their characters were suited to an arts and crafts magazine. They have used the characters really well and this is a great example of how a focussed licensing partnership should work.”

Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty launched on August 4th and is billed as the ‘ideal magazine to entertain and inspire children during the summer holidays.’ Each issue comes with a bumper colouring set including modelling clay to craft Shaun with, pens, colouring pencils and stickers.

Crayola and OceanX | “We’re encouraging partnerships to have a profound impact on supporting our planet”

The global non-profit ocean exploration organisation, OceanX has expressed its hope that its new partnership with the children’s arts and crafts brand, Crayola, will inspire more collaboration between brands and conservation groups.

The pair joined forces earlier this month to launch a new range of crafts kits to the US market, each designed to educate and inspire the next generation of ocean explorers and conservationists by blending hands-on creativity with a digital experience.

Titled The Crayola Experience Home Adventure Ocean Edition, the kits aim to ‘bring the wonder of the sea into homes across the US,’ by guiding children through a learning experience spanning the five layers of the ocean. Crayon characters will take them on their journey as they create a series of crafts inspired by sea creatures.

The education experience will also engage kids with its interactive video content, featuring nine activities including a drawing tutorial led by a Crayola designer.

Mark Dalio, founder and creative director at OceanX, told that the hope is the partnership between the two will “encourage other companies and organisations to think about how they can creatively collaborate” to “have a profound impact on supporting our planet.”

He said: “This partnership exists at the intersection of Crayola’s creativity and youthfulness and OceanX’s mission to share the wonder and beauty of the ocean with the world. It’s always been our goal to put audiences in the front seat of exploration, and partnering with Crayola will help us spark a lifetime of interest, curiosity, and love for the ocean.

“Crayola is one of the world’s most renowned family brands, trusted by parents and educators everywhere to use its signature thoughtful, colourful creativity to educate and inspire children.

“This partnership illustrates Crayola’s role in highlighting important issues facing our society while also inspiring the next generation to be stewards of our planet’s most treasured natural resource.”

Designed to inspire environmentalism and conservation, the Crayloa and OceanX collaboration has also launched an immersive experience across the Crayola brand’s own physical Experience attractions in the US.

The message, says Crayola’s executive vice president and general manager of Crayola Attractions and Retail, Victoria Lozano, is “consistent and congruous” with the brand’s mission to “help parents and educators raise creatively alive kids and inspire the next generation.”

Lozano told “This includes teaching them to preserve the world in which they will live in as adults. Our partnership with OceanX will help us create content and engaging experiences to accomplish that through cultivating a sense of wonder for the mysterious playground of the deep blue.

“This partnership will continue to develop creativity products and educational content to bring to kids everywhere.”

Kangaru Toys paints partnership with the National Gallery for drawing, painting, and activity sets

Kangaru Toys has landed a new licensing partnership with The National Gallery to develop and launch a series of drawing, painting, and activity sets.

Under the deal, the new range will be specially developed for the National Gallery, bringing together Kangaru’s expertise in the arts, crafts, and activity sector, and the world-famous masterpieces in the National Gallery Collection.

The line-up will include Junior art sets and learn to paint sets, as well as Adult Art and colouring kits. It will all be branded under the National Gallery.

Kangaru Toys is one of the fastest growing toy brands globally, specialising in stationery, colouring, crafts, plush, STEM, and novelty toys. The Kangaru Toys range within the UK is being managed by Paul Fogarty at Two In One Direct.

“Kangaru is excited to join the National Gallery to introduce new artists of all ages to the National Gallery COllection,” said Joe DiPalma, founder and CEO of Kangaru Toys.

“We’ll supply children and adults with the right tools, pens, markers and inks, and canvas, while allowing them to be inspired by these great artists. Art kits and related supplied will bring the museum experience into homes and allow folks to explore their creativity while learning the stories behind the paintings and their narrative.”

Judith Mather, buying and brand licensing director at ther National Gallery, added: “We look forward to this new partnership with Kangaru Toys and the expertise it brings in developing this new range, introducing the National Gallery to budding artists of all ages.”

The range will be available in the National Gallery Shops and in art material specialty retailers over 2021.

US: Sesame Workshop builds global toy portfolio with MasterPieces Sesame Street partnership

The iconic pre-school property, Sesame Street is continuing to grow its international portfolio of toy partners, having signed a new partnership with the US games, puzzles, toys, and crafts specialist, MasterPieces.

The new MasterPieces Sesame Street products will begin to appear on shelves across the US this summer with a raft of launches designed to engage children in original craft activities, memory games, and classic card games designed to entertain and educate young minds.

MasterPieces is a staple of the US toy industry, having successfully delivered puzzles, toys, games, and more to the market for 25 years. It’s partnership with Sesame Workshop will see licensed product featuring a cast of popular Sesame Street characters, including Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and more.

David Rolls, president of MasterPieces, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Sesame Workshop. Together, we’ve been able to create some of our most captivating and fun, educational products that all feature many of the tremendously popular characters, including Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and more.

For over 50 years, Sesame Street, produced by the nonprofit organization Sesame Workshop, has delivered not only school-readiness lessons promoting literacy and numeracy, but also age-appropriate guidance on healthy habits, self-expression and self-regulation, empathy, friendship, and much more.

“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, and that means nourishing the mind and body,” said Gabriela Arenas, vice president of licensing, North America, Sesame Workshop. “We’re pleased to be working with MasterPieces to bring fun and engaging activities to children and families.”

The new Sesame Street products include craft kits such as the Sesame Street Garbage Truck ( a DIY wood paint kit featuring Oscar the Grouch), the Sesame Street Best Friends Character Bank, and the Sesame Street School Bus. In games, MasterPieces will launch the Grouchy Old Oscar card game, Elmo & Friends Matching Game, and Sesame Street 3-in-1 Educational Card Games.

Arts and crafts firm Craft Buddy lands major Disney licensing partnership

The arts and crafts specialist, Craft Buddy, has struck up a major licensing partnership with Disney to bring a raft of new licensed Crystal Art lines to market in spring next year. The range will be based upon some of Disney’s most iconic and popular characters.

The license will be available in a range of kits and sets across Craft Buddy’s established Crystal Art range (also known as diamond painting or diamond art), targeting an audience of children aged eight and upwards. Kids and adults across the UK will now be able to create pieces of wall art, cards, notebooks and more.

The technique used to produce sparkling Crystal Art is similar to painting by numbers with each design featuring a numbered, adhesive template. Using the magic pick up pen (included), artists can simply lift up the coloured crystals and place them on the corresponding dots. The result is a piece of rhinestone art which can be kept or gifted to loved ones.

Famous Disney characters will feature across all areas of the Crystal Art portfolio with more designs and products being added to the collection across the year. Disney fans can now re-create iconic movie characters using Crystal Art in four new Notebook designs: “Pride Rock” scene from The Lion King , “The Little Mermaid”, “Classic Minnie” and “Moana”.

Crystal Art Canvas Kits are available in a host of different sizes and multi-character designs, each pre-mounted on wooden frames making them easy to display. Four 30x30cm kits featuring a host of instantly recognizable Disney family favourites will launch as part of the new collection: “Elsa, Anna & Olaf”, “Lion King Family”, “Pooh and Tigger” and “Minnie and Mickey”.

Larger designs include three 40x50cm Crystal Art Kits “The Lion King Medley”, “Beauty and the Beast Medley” plus “Lady & The Tramp” alongside a 70x70cm Kit featuring “Frozen Friends” and a dazzling 90x65cm “Disney Princess Medley” design.

“This is an incredible range that we can’t wait to bring to market and which we have worked extremely hard to develop in partnership with the team at Disney,” said Gary Wadhwani, co-director at Craft Buddy UK Ltd.

“Crystal Art is a creative medium which appeals to all ages and through which we can see characters and scenes brought to life in dazzling formats. It lends itself perfectly to re-creating those iconic and much-loved Disney characters and we are already seeing huge potential at retail for this extensive range.”

Utilising their extensive fan base across their company social channels, Craft Buddy ran a survey earlier this year to find out which Disney characters their consumers would love to see integrated into their hugely successful Crystal Art collection.

Winnie The Pooh came top of the list of favourite characters chosen by their consumer base followed by Mickey and Minnie, Bambi and the Lion King; all of which feature heavily across the new licensed range.

Sagoo teams with Graine Creative to launch Rilakkuma arts and crafts kits for kids

The independent French agency, Sagoo has partnered with the French arts and crafts specialist, Graine Creative to produce five new kits for older children, based on the hit Japanese character brand Rilakkuma.

The deals adds to a rapidly growing portfolio of consumer products for Rilakkuma – the world’s most relaxed bear cub – in Europe, which already includes homewares from Blanc Cerise, and stationery, bags, accessories, and gift ranges from Blueprint Collections.

The Graine Creative range will initially launch with three products, including a crochet kit, aimed at children aged ten and over. The set includes everything needed for tweens to create crochet versions of Rilakkuma and his friend Kiiroitori.

Meanwhile, the new eraser set is aimed at children aged eight and over and includes plasticine and modelling tools to allow children to create Rilakkuma inspired designs, before baking them in the oven to transform them into erasers. Finally, the FIMO kit for children aged 14 and upwards, allows fans to create Rilakkuma characters to make into keyrings, brooches and various other accessories.

Rilakkuma is one of the top three most popular Kawaii characters in the world and since its launch by San-X in Asia in 2003, the relaxed bear has exploded in popularity and amassed over $2.5 billion in retail sales in Japan alone. The brand is recognised and loved throughout the world and has 359,000 fans on Facebook. Rilakkuma recently also became a star of Netflix, with 13 x 11’ stop motion animations available to watch on the SVOD channel.

Veronique Pichon, president, Sagoo, said: “Rilakkuma is growing in popularity throughout Europe and we are delighted to be partnering with some best in class licensees to bring the brand to retail. We are thrilled to be working with Graine Creative and are looking forward to further growing the consumer products programme throughout the territory.”