Tell us about your background! What led to your job at Funko?
Before I came to Funko, I worked mainly with traditional materials with a focus on ceramics and printmaking. I received a BFA in ceramic sculpture, but realized that being a full time studio artist wasn’t the right path for me and decided to enroll in the master’s program at DigiPen Institute of Technology. I had always been interested in animation and games so this seemed like the logical next step. From there I learned how to model and sculpt using digital programs, focusing mainly on character art. I was hired by Funko after being scouted at DigiPen’s annual career fair.
What do you do for Funko?
I’m a sculptor at Funko. I take concepts from the designers and translate them into 3D using the program ZBrush. Occasionally, the other sculptors and I are also able to design work from scratch!
What are your biggest artistic influences and/or who are your favorite artists?
There are too many to choose! Some of my favorite artists include Moebius, Yoshitaka Amano, N.C. Wyeth, Alexandre "Zedig" Diboine, Fabien Mense, Gastón Pacheco, and of course Akira Toriyama (Yay Dragonball!). Funko artists are pretty dang amazing as well!
What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on at Funko?
One of my earliest projects was Swamp Thing and I enjoyed every minute of it! Other favorites include Marvel classics such as Doctor Strange, Doc Ock, Spider Gwen, and She-Hulk. I also felt super excited working on Warcraft movie Pop!s and Mystery Minis. More recently, it’s been a pleasure working on and the new Wobbler line.
What programs and/or tools do you use most often?
ZBrush! For the sculptors at Funko, ZBrush is where most of our time is spent. I also use Photoshop and Keyshot occasionally.
What is your dream project?
I had a huge obsession with M*A*S*H* (movie and show) when I was in high school and college. I would love to be able to say I sculpted a Hawkeye Pierce Pop!. Some other dream projects include Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam Wing, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and ReBoot.
What do you collect?
Since I had a vacation in Japan earlier this year, I’ve revisited my love for Japanese toys – Gundam models, Dragonball Z figurines, Gudetama plush, capsule toys, etc. I had to stock up at the Ghibli Museum store as well…too many cute things!
What is your favorite medium?
At this point I would have to say ZBrush. I’ve spent enough time in the program that it feels very natural and familiar when creating things. You also can’t beat a pencil and paper!
Any advice for aspiring toy designers?
Definitely focus on the fundamentals! It’s super important to have the building blocks done right before you add any polish to them. Doing figure drawing and studying anatomy really helped me improve as an artist. After that I would say practice and more practice!