So you love designer toys, or are at least interested in them, which is why you're here, isn't it? Glad you found your way here, because we'll be going behind the scenes to check out the 3D sculpting process for our toys! Every piece of toy goes through a process of development, and most begin as a two-dimensional sketch on paper, or on a computer, before they get sculpted by hand or in a 3D sculpting software.
Here at Mighty Jaxx, our process gets really dynamic and interesting with the wide variety of artists that we design our toys with. Some artists, like Whatshisname, provide us with their own 3D files for their artworks. A rare handful, such as Jason Freeny, physically sculpt some of their toys and send them for 3D scanning. Most artists provide us with an illustration or concept art which we will then translate into 3D.
Kitty Fetus hand-sculpted by Jason Freeny
This week, our release of Smoking Lady by Seiji Matsumoto is a particularly interesting one, as the illustration style of Seiji Matsumoto is... so very 2D. His minimalist, almost line-art, illustrations and paintings exude a sense of peacefulness. The original illustration of Smoking Lady, which was what we used in our teaser, looks like this:
"Isn't that as simple as it looks?", you might ask. But simple pieces like this can be quite a challenge to add the 3rd dimension to, sometimes even more difficult than the complicated-looking ones! While detailed and complex pieces can be tedious to sculpt, turning a minimalist design into a 3D form while staying true to its original style takes lots of imagination. There is definitely more to it than meets the eye.
We currently have a team of three 3D-artists who turn our many concept art illustrations into 3D sculptures. This particular piece was sculpted by Nad, who had also sculpted other popular pieces such as Bird City Saints by Sentrock. She gave us a little insight on what it was like sculpting this minimal piece of work. Here's what we have learnt:
The only picture we could take of Nad. She's shy.
This work was sculpted using the digital sculpting program ZBrush. It took about two weeks working on and off, including making changes from feedback and comments from both the creative team as well as the artist.
To sculpt every piece of work, our 3D-artists refer to and study various objects, characters and even existing sculptures. For Seiji Matsumoto, his style is unique in its minimalistic lines as well as those round, bulging eyes. Therefore, the Vinyl Idolz by Funko was one of the reference sculpts for the facial features, particularly the eyes. The fun and cool vibe of Vinyl Idolz kinda suits this humorous pop-art piece. It is an important step for the artists to study existing, well-sculpted designs for them to visualise and problem-solve.
The biggest challenge that she faced was that there was only one view of the concept, and representing such an image in 3D while preserving the art style of the artist. Indeed, it's not something that people who don't do 3D sculpting often think about, but to visually represent an image created by lines, which is fundamentally 2D, into a 3D work that is does not depend on lines, can be pretty hard!
She told us that a minimal piece like this can be just as challenging as a complex piece with lots of details. Minimal ones require the form and proportions of the sculpt to be really clean and on point. If there are any unevenness or imperfections, it'll be really easy to spot and the sculpt may end up looking really strange.
However, this work gave her plenty of room to explore and try different styles that might work for this artwork. The problem-solving part can be brain-wrecking but when everything is finally done right, it's the best feeling an artist can ask for! All in all, it was a fun work to sculpt!
And that's how it is like creating a 3D artwork based on a simple line drawing. Every piece of work poses new challenges for our artists and we are happy to be able to turn this piece of art by Seiji Matsumoto into a limited edition polystone art collectible that you can now collect and display!
Smoking Lady by Seiji Matsumoto will be releasing for pre-order this Saturday, 2 Feb, at 9am (NYC) 10pm (SGP) 2pm (LDN). Mark the date to get it before it's too late, or allow our browser notifications to give you a gentle reminder!