Saturday, July 16, 2011
Interview with Steampunk girl
1. What were your thoughts and reaction when you found out your design was chosen for our Steampunk challenge?
Oh this is easy. I was so excited I couldn't sleep that night :) I had worked on that design for a solid month and more before submitting it. I loved that PatchTogether gave us a sneak peak a month ahead of time before the contest started what the theme was going to be. I couldn't believe that a design that I crafted in a computer could be turned into something I could hold in my hand. Not only that but you guys really made it a very high quality piece. I'm really picky and rarely blown away.
Working with PatchTogether during the creation process was fun too. I'm sure I drove you guys nuts with my requests for small adjustments. If you were frustrated you never showed it :D
2 What was the inspiration behind this design? Are you a fan of Steampunk?
Yes, I'm a huge fan of steampunk. It so fun seeing how things work. I'm also a fan of the gold and brass colors, they work so well together. I also like any sort of fantasy machinery that is just barely held together and you can see gears wobbling while the robot is trying to move. Steam burping out of pipes and the sound of metal grinding on metal is so much more appealing artistically then super sleek and refined robots. Those get boring fast to me.
I wanted to pair up steampunk with something that looked dangerous and delicate at the same time. I picked an insect since I just don't see them represented enough in resin figures.
3. Your style of design has changed a lot from the first design you submitted to PT to your latest designs. What have contributed to the changes?
It's true. When I found PatchTogether I was doing very cartoony chubby little creatures. I love to doodle those during meetings and I find it relaxing. A part of the reason I submitted those first was I honestly didn't know the limits that PatchTogether had for figures. I didn't want to do something super detailed since it might just have been too much. But the more I learned about the process and saw your portfolio I started to thing "hey, why not push it a little". Not only that it also helped me push my own art skills in 2d and 3d. I continued to make things more complicated and more realistic. Rendering the images took weeks to figure out and even if they wouldn't be chosen then I still had a piece of art that I could say I accomplished. I'm not really sure which is my favorite (cartoony or realistic) but it's good to go between the two and make sure I push myself. . . . and PatchTogether ;)
4. What software do you use to create your work?
I use a lot of pencil and paper but also photoshop, 3d studio max and for the Bonsai Dragon idea I used Zbrush. It took many many MANY hours and weeks before I finally had designs that I really liked and thought were worth posting. They absolutely did not "just happen". My initial sketches for Vapore Macchina Insetto and for Bonsai Dragon look nothing like the final piece. I didn't post WIPS on the forums but it wasn't because I didn't need them. I just so happen to have a slew of friends who gladly go over my stuff with a fine toothed comb. Maybe next time I will show every step of the way. I'm saying this mostly for the guys who get frustrated when their first design doesn't get a lot of positive comments. Neither would have mine. Just keep working the piece and cutting out stuff that doesn't work and redesigning until everything flows. Just keep trying and trying.
5. What have you been up to? Any new projects?
I've been quiet for a bit. I used to comment a lot on PT and enjoyed the community but lately I've been working late finishing up a video game :) Also, I just moved to a house so instead of painted pictures I'm 3 weeks into a massive repainting job of the interior and all the cabinets in the house!!! After that hopefully I'll come back to PT more often and maybe start up tshirt art again, that was fun.
6. What you find most challenging when translating your idea from a 2D design to actual toys? Does the final product meet your expectation?
Well for me honestly the biggest challenge is just understanding toy design. It's such an unknown skill that I don't have. And since I don't have that skill I feel very timid when designing a figure. With the Steampunk bug I kept thinking to myself there's just no way they can make an insect standing on 6 legs while still being balanced. I just haven't really seen stuff like that before. Not only that but PT started coming back with ideas like "Hey Lori, how about we make the wings semi transparent like stained glass". I think my response was, "Uh, you can do that?" then the next day I get an email talking about adding magnets to the body so the wings and snap on and off easily. The design just kept getting better and better. (If it sounds like I'm a fan girl it's cause I am). I can tell you how to draw and how to model in 3d, but taking it to the next dimension is just voodoo to me.
Now knowing 3d helps. Taking my 2d sketch and trying to match it exactly in 3d didn't work out at all. The spot where I thought the wings would look cool from the front didn't work at all when it was viewed from the side. It took a lot of pushing and pulling to get all the mechanical parts to feel like they made sense where they were. I think organic figures would be easier (just my assumption). Do you need to model it out in 3d, no. But for me it was a good project and challenge.
7. Do you collect any toys yourself? If so, anything particular?
I started out with some Todd McFarlane stuff a long time ago. Then I got a few Rabbids figures from the game, a few comic figures from Muttz and about a year ago I got 2 figures from a web comic called Looking for Group. I really have my eye on Zombie Cactus at the PT store. I've got a birthday coming up so maybe my Fiance is reading this ;)
8. How did you market your designs?
I'm really horrible at marketing myself. I popped onto deviant art just a few months before coming up with the Vapore Macchina Insetto design. I don't really have very many people bookmarking my site, but there are a handful, and it's exhausting taking in all that artwork on that site. The flood of talent is mind numbing and a bit intimidating. I'm too busy looking at other people's work to sit there and really try to drum up interest in my pieces. I also have a few favorite steampunk sites that I posted at once my bug was in the contest. I'm usually a lurker on those sites so I'm not sure how many people checked it out or not. It's really hard. I envy the people who have fans but we all have to start somewhere. Everyone had to build up a base at some point. It's just really really really hard work and you have to be consistent. That's where I fail at :) I keep changing my styles and changing the websites I frequent so no one really knows who I am. I also tried a few custom toy sites and they were nice enough to give me a shout (thanks Spanky).
9. What music are you currently listening to?
Anything Jazz and Chill lately. When you're working massive amount of overtime and are stressed it's best not to assault your ears with anything crazier then that. If I'm fully rested and ready for something fun it's usually Southern Rock.
10. Any parting words?
Well, I think I've covered a lot of my thoughts through out this interview. It almost felt like therapy :) I guess looking back at what I've written my general comment is that making art is a tough but very rewarding way to go through life.