Dyed-in-the-wool geek gets to create toys immortalizing characters from pop-culture hits like "Star Wars" and "Game of Thrones."

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SENIOR PRODUCT DESIGNER
Reis O’Brien

What do you do? I am a senior product designer for [Everett-based] Funko, which pretty much means that I draw toys all day. Well, it’s not that simple. I spend a lot of time brainstorming, concepting, designing, calling out paint colors, checking on the sculpts and working with the factories to make sure that the final product ends up looking like it did in my head.

How did you get started in that field? I started out as a T-shirt designer about six years ago, working for the original owner of Funko, who had sold it several years prior. We then struck out on our own, starting a new collectibles company. It was short-lived, but I learned a lot about product design and working with licenses. Eventually, that company was purchased by Funko, and I came along with the sale. I guess you could say that I landed on my feet.

What’s a typical day like? There’s no such thing as a typical day in the art department. I come in every morning not knowing what to expect. The best you can do is prepare yourself for the unseen curves ahead and try to hang on. Hopefully, it’s filled with lots and lots of drawing, which it usually is. Sometimes it feels like herding cats, but that’s part of the fun, too!

What’s the best part of the job? I’m a dyed-in-the-wool geek, so getting to work on licenses like “Star Wars,” Marvel Comics, DC Comics, “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead,” etc., is a never-ending “pinch me, I must be dreaming” moment. I also love my co-workers. We’re a pretty tight-knit group of artsy misfits, but we all have a strong sense of what it takes to get the job done.

What surprises people about your job? The collectors never cease to amaze me. Funko collectors are some of the best people I’ve ever known. They are nothing if not devoted, not only to us, but to each other. They’ve become a like a large family in themselves. Some of my favorite moments have come from meeting and interacting with the Funko Funatics. Truly awesome people, and they inspire me daily to design the best toys that I can.

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