Tell us about your background! What led to your job at Funko?
It was certainly a series of fortunate events! After I graduated from college with a degree in design communication, my husband and I made a living as fine artists in Los Angeles. Drawn in by that city's focus on film production, we both went to the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, one of the top 3D schools in the country. Around the time I was finishing the 3-year certificate of Entertainment Design and Digital Production, Funko Pop!s were, well, popping up everywhere, and I thought, "Wow, someone had a really amazing idea somewhere." A few months later, while still working in the LA film business and spotting more and more wonderful Funko toys in nearly every VFX artist's office, I was contacted by Funko to do an art test. It was so exciting! The test led to a job offer and I didn't even care it wasn't local, I came up to my husband and said, "We're moving to Washington state!" Now I make the toys I was seeing everywhere.
What do you do for Funko?
I am one of the Funko Priestesses. We summon the magic energies that condensate into each Funko product! Well, it's one way to look at it. I work in the mostly female scultping department, creating the 3D models which are then 3D printed and used as molds for casting your favorite Funko collectible toys. We're a fun group of gals and some boys who love creating, love our jobs and receive each new Pop! like an addition to the family. The sculpting department isn't very big so if you have a recent favorite Pop!, there's a good chance I sculpted it. You're welcome. LOL!
What are your biggest artistic influences and/or who are your favorite artists?
I think I actually work with some of my favorite artists! Other than my fellow Funko sculptors, I love the work of Mary Blair, Glen Keane, Don Bluth...too many. I'm also heavily influenced by fine artists such as Klimt and Bosch.
What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on at Funko?
I do a lot of characters I really love. Just recently I did the Strawberry Shortcake line. I had no idea, when I watched that as a kid, that someday I'd be creating these characters for a toy company!
What programs and/or tools do you use most often?
I generally use ZBrush the most. I'm well versed in a number of other programs thanks to my time at Gnomon, but ZBrush is my number one tool. I also use a huge Cintiq graphics tablet.
What is your dream project?
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" Pop!s, just to see the look on my husband's face when I come home with Admiral Nelson in a box! He'd go NUTS! For myself, I think it would be fun to do Willie Nelson!
What do you collect?
I collect my prototypes and the Pop!s I make. Some decorate my desk, others I just have to share with my seven year old daughter at home, who loves seeing what I make.
What is your favorite medium?
If you mean art in general, painting is still my favorite. Now I have a Wacom pen, and sometimes it feels similar.
Any advice for aspiring toy designers?
I could give a lot of technical advice, but I'll stick to this: Always remember that your goal is to make children happy. And that children can be any age. :-)