Aug 06, 2008

Behind the Scenes – Julie West’s Bumble and Tweet


We're back...  Last time we left you with a look at turnarounds of Bumble and Tweet, Julie West’s first vinyl figures due in the Fall from STRANGEco.  Today we’re bringing you the very first public shots of the vinyl color tests of both figures.  As you can see in both colorways (pinks and gray/green), the finely detailed deco has translated well.  The bees and birds are mostly absent in these shots as they do not yet have magnets installed for proper positioning. Very impressive especially considering these are not final and need a few minor tweaks.

Rather than having you deal with us rambling on, we’ve asked Julie and Emily Brough of STRANGEco for their impressions of these first color tests.   First up, Julie talks us through her initial reaction.

Seeing the color samples really brought the whole project together for me. I know that they aren't perfect (though they look pretty darn close to me!) and that we are missing the birds and bees at this point but everything looks pretty spot on.

I think that this stage in the process has really made them seem "real" to me, more so that seeing the other steps - perhaps only because they are closer to looking complete.

The factory did a great job with matching the colors to what I specified so I personally did not have any changes or complaints. There were a few bits that were really really detailed that they were not sure if they could print on, but it appears that they have sorted it out because all of the detail appears to be there. :)

I can't wait to see it all together with the packaging (which will be next :))

JW_001_clean JW_005 copy

We close with Emily Brough’s comments on her view from managing the production.  She touches on the mix of rotocast vinyl and injection molded pieces used for these figures – a necessary step to achieving certain detailed looks.  Additionally, minor alignment issues of "pads" seem to be the norm in product revisions.

We were pretty blown away by the accuracy of these first color samples. We had previously discussed removing some of the smaller elements (specifically the dots around the face) but they ended up pulling it off so well! The only real comments we had was adjusting the fit of the paint mask on the face (some fall a little short), but other than that... these are almost exactly spot on.

We've actually had the roto parts all colored and completed for 3 weeks so getting the Injection molded elements in (ed: face, birds, bees, branches, and hair sticks )  and putting the whole thing together was such a treat! For me personally, this is one of my most favorite pieces we've made recently. I think it's just beautiful and reflects Julie's work so nicely.... we're so excited to show them on Friday night @ Julie's show at Myplasticheart!

If you’re in NYC or near by, drop by the opening of Julie’s Sickly Sweet solo this Friday (8.8.08) @ myplasticheartnyc for her original art and a first-hand look at the Bumble and Tweet color protos.  Stay tuned to Vinyl Pulse for a look at the Bumble and Tweet packaging in a few weeks.

Posted by Jack @ 04:03 AM in Bumble and Tweet | Permalink  | Comments (0) |

Jun 25, 2008

Julie West’s Bumble and Tweet -- Colorways

Over the past few months, we’ve brought you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the development of Julie West’s  first original vinyl figures – Bumble and Tweet, in production from STRANGEco. We’ve done Turnaround drawings, sculpts, and today we’re finally moving into color – with a first look at the three colorway pairings --Spring (above), Candy and Tree (after the jump)  -- chosen for the production figures. Let’s start with Julie West’s take on the process of creating colorways.

Working with color is always one of my favourite parts of any project. I think that color plays as an important part as the line, texture, composition - and without key color choices or palettes my work would simply not be the same...      
That said I really struggled in the beginning trying to decide how to approach the color with Miss Bumble and Tweet. Because they are two figures that go together, I wanted the color to work together as "sets," but also have them differentiated from each other in some way.      
For this reason I did a lot of variations of the color. I scrapped a lot and started over a few times… I can't recall the total number of colorways that I did, but we did have to narrow it down. At different stages I sent them over for feedback and eventually, I ended up with 3 different colorways that I was very happy with.      
I wanted to have 3 completely different directions with the color, so I chose to work with different palettes that are recurrent in my work: pinks and reds / earth and nature tones / as well as a subdued neutral range.      
Overall, this step took me a lot longer than I expected simply due to all the variables (2 toys with 3 different colors and a lot of tweaking!) but I think it was worth it as I am pleased with what we have selected. I think they work with the toys as well as represent my work. I am excited to see the first printed samples. :)


Posted by Jack @ 04:30 AM in Bumble and Tweet | Permalink  | Comments (0) |

Jun 03, 2008

Julie West's Bumble and Tweet - Sculpting

A few weeks ago we brought you the first behind-the-scenes look at the development of Julie West's Bumble and Tweet, her first original vinyl figures currelty in production from STRANGEco. Today we bring you the second part of this series focusing on the sculpting process.  As you'll see below in the reflections on the sculpting process from Julie West  and Emily Brough of STRANGEco. the translation of 2D turnarounds into a 3D form can reveal unanticipated problems with the initial design.  In particular, Julie describes one fairly large  designdecision that was made after viewing the first round of sculpts.

"Overall I was really (REALLY) pleased with the sculpts. They were virtually exact to what I pictured - and apparently that is not always the case. There were a few bits that seemed a bit odd to me - mostly with the face. Thier eyes and noses seemed too pronounced and did not really fit with the rest of the toy. Since my work is typically really flat and 2 dimensional, it seemed strange to suddenly see the faces in 3d. After a bit of mulling it over, I decided it might be best to remove the 3d sculpted details on the faces and simply print them on.

For the most part, it all seemed pretty straightforward to me at this stage. I was really pleased and thought they did a great job. The things that needed changing seemed to be minor fixes."

STRANGECo's Emily Brough worked closely with Julie on the production of Bumble and Tweet. She took time away from her busy production schedule to give us  her thoughts on the sculpting process.

"After finalizing the character choices for this project, we were very excited to see the translation of Julie's work into 3D. And we couldn't be more pleased. As seen in the turnaround process, Julie thought a lot of the detail out ahead of time which made the sculpt process quick and painless. We only had to fine tune a few details to really nail her overall aesthetic"

As Julie mentioned, the primary change request was to drop the sculpting of the facial details and rely instead on paint application so as to create a more accurate translation of her art.  As Emily explains,  there were several other minor issues that became apparent once the figure was sculpted. 

"The only other major change was to the head dresses. At first look, they seemed too small. However, when we compared them side by side to the turnarounds, they were totally accurate to how she had drawn them. But the translation to 3D skewed the perspective somehow. The sculptor increased the sizes so we could get an idea about how it'd look and we ended up liking it much more. Around the time we were working on the sculpt, we finalized the color turnarounds and realized the sculpted dress patterns would limit what Julie wanted to do with some of the deco she had drawn out for the different color ways. Our final tweak to the sculpt was to remove those patterns and we were good to go!"

Click through for additional pics of the Bumble and Tweet sculpts. Look for the next update on Bumble and Tweet in a few weeks right here on Vinyl Pulse.


Posted by Jack @ 03:48 AM in Bumble and Tweet | Permalink  | Comments (0) |

May 07, 2008

The Making of Julie West's Bumble and Tweet


Today we're bringing you an exclusive first look (turn-arounds) at  Julie West's first original vinyl figures, Bumble (above) and Tweet (below), currently in production from STRANGEco.    Over the next several months we'll be bringing you updates on the development process through all the key stages -- sculpting and revisions, color samples and revisions, packaging, and the finished product.   Each update will feature commentary by both Julie and STRANGEco's production team. 


Julie West has exhibited her art in numerous group shows around the world.  Whether on a 2D surface or on a 3D toy, her characters bring a unique aesthetic driven by her signature rendering of facial features.  Her customs are remarkably well-executed with crisp, immaculate lines.  Here's Julie's take on the initial design process for her upcoming vinyl figures, the release of which ( ~ August '08) will likely result in the widest audience for her personal art to-date.

Julie: The characters are  an extension of ideas and themes that I use in my regular work - a 3d version of what I typically do in 2d. I tend to draw a lot of birds (especially birds) and bees along side human characters and they are really prevalent in my work.


Posted by Jack @ 04:30 AM in Bumble and Tweet | Permalink  | Comments (0) |