Graphigaut Studio's Interview, about Lost Memories' Kickstarter project
Ouloum Project’s has one main goal: to promote miniature arts. To do so, we wanted to add something special to this Kickstarter campaign. After discussing with the team, wondering what we could do in this regard, we decided to interview Graphigaut Studio. We wanted to allow everyone to know how an artist thinks and feels when he works on miniatures, so you could dive deep into the creative process with him.
Here’s the translation of the interview (the original one is in French), organized by miniatures.
Shaya, The Lost Twin
Jonathan (founder of Ouloum Project’s) gave me very clear specifications for Shaya, not only about the clothes she would wear, but also about the brand of her shoes. This allowed me to picture her in my mind very accurately.
I mainly spent time thinking about her pose, and how I would spread out the details on the miniature without overloading her with said details.
I decided to place most of them on the upper body, the weapons, the tools, the augmentations, while the lower body parts are lean, simple. I wanted the miniature to remain visually balanced.
Regarding the pose, I didn’t want her to look aggressive, with a rather standard martial pose, looking forward with her weapon in front of her. I decided to have her analyze data on her arm scanner: this gives us a good reading of the miniature, that remains interesting under different angles. I wanted to avoid the trap of the “2D effect”, the problem some miniatures have when there is only one interesting angle.
In this regard, I think I really succeeded, which is probably why it is my favorite Lost Memories miniature. I am often asked which photo of Shaya is the “main one”, the one that represents the miniature. I can’t answer this question since I didn’t design her to be seen only under one angle!
Timoe, Nature's Guardian
I had to put forward the “natural” aspect of the miniature, while avoiding the usual clichés for this kind of miniature: elves, dryads, and so on. While thinking about ways to highlight this miniature, I decided to do her hair into dreadlocks connecting her to the ground and lifting her up, giving her this levitating pose.
The way she is connected to the ground allowed me to give her this image of life, of natural and primal vitality. When I was picturing her in my mind, I could imagine her colors being shades of green and brown, colors you could find everywhere in nature.
I really think that picturing her painted helped me sculpt her, both in terms of proportions and pose.
Zack, The Tortured Twin
Zack required a lot of thinking, more than the other miniatures, unlike what most people would think. The miniatures with the simplest concepts are actually the ones requiring the most thinking: it is very hard to make them original, different, since their concept is already overused.
I want the miniatures I sculpt to feel unique, not just compared to the market, but also to other miniatures I sculpt. I don’t want anyone looking at Lost Memories miniatures thinking “they all look the same”, whether it is in terms of appearance, pose, or anything else.
Jonathan wanted Zack to give this “tortured” vibe. To show that he doesn’t master his powers yet, I wanted his arm to feel very heavy, too heavy for him to handle. I wanted everyone to be able, in one look, to see that Zack is overwhelmed by the situation, to feel his pain as his arm and shoulder are being dislocated by his sudden transformation.
I didn’t want Zack to look like yet another big guy with lots of muscles, with rock-like skin. This is how I got the idea for this pose in the end.
Alleia, The Reckless General
I could immediatly picture Alleia in my mind. Her Santiags boots, her black leather jacket biker style, the flames pouring out of her body… I pictured her as a female Ghost Rider. This also led me to picture her face with her skull showing through her skin.
The idea of the whip came to me for different reasons. I wanted to avoid giving her a conventional medieval weapon like a sword or an axe. I made the whip a dominant piece of the upper part of the sculpture, as I wanted to allow painters to use OSL techniques, to highlight the piece in a unique way.
The way the whip revolves around her also helps the physical balance of the miniature, unlike a whip that would have been lashing forward.
I wanted to correctly measure out the amount of flames to allow a good reading of the miniature: since there would be a lot of flames on the upper part of the miniature, I decided to put as little as possible on the lower part. Just a little bit though as a reminder, to improve the balance of the colors once the miniature is painted. I wanted the leather to be dominant in the lower part of the miniature, while the flames are dominant in the upper part.
In conclusion, picturing Alleia in my mind both in terms of appearance and pose was the easiest part. The real difficulty has been sculpting all the flames in the right proportions.
Zeph, The Wanderer
I really enjoyed working on Zeph! In terms of conception, it is one of my favorites. Jonathan had very clear specifications as always, especially when it came to the clothes and the haircut.
My inspiration for this miniature came from both Quick Silver (Marvel) and Naruto. I wanted the miniature to strike a pose above ground, like a ninja jumping from one tree branch to another. The googles were also partly inspired by the young versions of Naruto, before he received his headband.
Zeph is one of the miniatures who required the most thinking about the pose.
I didn’t want his arms and legs to hinder the painting of his body, but I still wanted a pose that would show him jumping above ground. I had to draw a lot of sketches before I found one that satisfied me!
I wanted his facial expressions to be strongly sculpted with hard lines, with his mouth slightly on the side: I really wanted people to picture the wind in his face as he rushes forward through it at full speed.
I very rarely sculpt faces this way, but I really enjoyed the process.
Dregza, The Renegade Princess
Jonathan wanted a creature of the ocean, like a naga or maybe a siren. I don’t remember the details of our discussion on this topic, but I remember wanting to change the concept a bit, and he agreed.
I wanted her to be more of a water spirit than a siren, but I didn’t want her to be fully made of water, so painters wouldn’t have to only paint her blue. I wanted her to have a woman’s body too, but I still had to find ways to “dress her up” to remain politically correct.
Therefore, water covers her body as much as it is a part of it. The armor pieces sublimate the body while providing different types of surface areas to paint. Since she is both water and humanoid, I wanted to find balance between both.
I ended up deciding to sculpt her more as a water spirit than a woman. I wanted the water part of her body to carry her trident to give these feelings of weightlessness, as if the trident was just following the flow and being carried along effortlessly.
Oniri, the Oni-Bugeisha
We already had the concept for the Geisha from an old project, but we wanted to make it darker, as the power source it is now representing (Darkness). However, I didn’t want her to look angry or fiendish. I wanted to give her something more so she could be Darkness incarnate, as I was asked, but without trampling over the concept of the Geisha.
As Jonathan always gives me a lot of freedom, when I begun sculpting her, I had the idea to place a demon fused on her back. He quickly agreed to this, allowing me to progress very quickly with my idea and my sculpture.
The idea to use the Geisha’s own hair to sculpt the demon’s came while I was sculpting it on her back. I was trying to sculpt the demon under the Geisha’s hair but thought that if I used the same hair instead, it would increase the idea that they are one: this allows a new reading of the piece, as it allows us to wonder where the Geisha starts and where the demon ends.
Since the demon is physically embodied, he drags her backward. The miniature can be read both ways, especially if you look at it from the sides, even if I must admit that the long sleeves reduce this effect a bit.
I wanted anyone to be able to see either the demon leaning forward, or the Geisha leaning backward. I really tried to give this feeling that there are two miniatures in one, the fusion of both. I am really satisfied with the result though, as this miniature really has the 3D effect I was looking for: one would miss a lot by not also looking at her back!
Valhya, The Wrath Of Heaven
I had to sculpt a miniature that was between the concepts of the Valkyrie and the Angel, between the warrior and the sage. Jonathan wanted me to sculpt three pairs of wings, but I was quickly tempter to add three more.
For technical reasons, those three extra pairs hide the parts on her back where you glue the three first pairs. It wouldn’t have been very aesthetic to show those.
Also, for aesthetic reasons, I wanted the small wings to fall in place following the curves of her hips, as if they were parts of her outfit. I imagined that a character with a slender body like hers, yet having such big wings, could use extra pairs of small wings to stabilize herself in flights, to help her maneuver.
Of course, this was just my feeling as an artist, I know there is nothing logical in it and reality is different, otherwise birds and insects would all have many pairs of wings. Though, this miniature is sculpted for a magical world of fiction.
My goal was to sculpt a miniature that feels amazing, not realistic, so I really enjoyed myself!
For her staff, I wanted the design to remain very lean but the symbolic to be strong, despite how simple it looks. It is both a spear and a scepter, a weapon and a symbol, hence the sun-like shape at the base of the spear head.