Interview with Mimic

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the toy designer known as Mimic.  His  recent projects include a translucent red cyclops Qee which is part of the recently released Qee 5b series, a  yellow cyber tiger which is part of Trexi Series 1 (April 16th), and an inspired yellow monster 20inch Mad*l as part of the Mad*l 2k5 show.  As his responses indicate, he’s quite humble which is refreshing considering that he’s likely to have a big impact on the vinyl toy scene in the near future.  Ok enough with the intro… away we go!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.  Are you a full-time artist?

Unfortunately, im currently an unemployed designer from the South Coast of UK. I went to college for far too long and have bits of paper with qualifications on, woo! I spend most of my time on the various designer toy forums and probably talk the most rubbish!

Q: What were some of your favorite toys growing up?  Do you still have
any of them in your collection?

Star Wars has always been a big influence on my life, growing up in the
era of one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, you couldnt really
escape it. My first toy memories are of Matchbox cars and Action Man,
but I got bored of that pretty quickly. Action Force was my passion, a
futuristic fighting force, it had everything, but that was in the days
when "boys would be boys" From my early teens till my twenties I didnt
bother much with toys, until Spawn hit the shops. I was overwhelmed by
the quality and characters in the sets, and, thanks to Dan of
Playlounge who ran my local comic store, I was always able to get the
rarest, newest, biggest Spawn toys.


Q: Beyond a toy designer, I know you are also an avid collector.  Any specific designers or toy lines that you focus on?

Im a big fan of Toumas work, ive got most of his Knuckle Bears and Fang
Wolfs. I love Graffiti based designs and infact the toy that got me
into the scene was Seens Spraycan Monster, as soon as I saw it I had to
have it. I have tons of Qees and all Series1 Dunnys and early 8". I go
more for the bigger size toys on the whole. I prefer a good 8"!

Q: What was the spark that drove you to start working on designer vinyl?  Was there a specific moment/toy/person that started you on your way to fame and hopefully fortune?

Well Seens Spraycan Monster got me into the scene and Furi Furis
Electronic Virus designs got me interested in designing. Shortly after
I started collecting the Design a Qee UK Expo came about and I jumped
at the chance to design a toy! I went to the Expo in London and met
Raymond, he seemed a really down to earth guy  and I showed him my
designs so he could put a name to a face and then I proceeded to
bombard him with designs. A moment he probably now regrets LOL. Ive
always wanted to design toys tho. The first and only comp I won as a
child was to create a design for a 4×4 Rough Rider, I was sooo happy to
win and have my design put onto a car you could buy, unfortunately I
never saw the end result.

Q: How long have you been trying to get your designs made into toys? Are toys your first commercial design work?

Since the UK Expo 🙂 Now I have a design in the Qee series and a Trexie
design coming out, Id really like to get my own toy line. I have ideas
im working on but I just need the backing, unfortunately not being in a
stable job for the past year and a half, I have no money to throw at my
projects, but you never know… right?

Q: Mimic’s design style is "….." ?

I_Monster Qee by Mimic
Er, bloody weird? Individual? crap? I dont know really its up to other
people to describe it really. Its semi personal, some of me goes into
my work, but 75% of it is just the odd world in my head. I try to make
it partly serious, my Qee design I_Monster is partly me, partly a view
on the worlds state of affairs and partly odd monster with one big eye.
You take it how you wont to.

Q: What was your first toy to be produced?  How did it feel when it was "real" – when you could hold the finished product in your hands?

It was the Qee, I only got them a coupla weeks back. I was very pleased
to hold it in my hands, excited that I could give one to my Bro and say
"look man I designed that, put it on ya keyring" Its great feeling that
peeps on the forums are liking my design, it makes the wait worthwhile.
My style has moved on slightly since I design I_Monster but to see
people are diggin the style is a real boost.

Q: Since the Trexi line from Playland Imaginative is brand new, were you able to prototype your design on an actual figure or did you have to rely on a template file?  Is designing "virtually" harder than working with a physical object?

Victory Boy Trexi by Mimic

I designed straight onto the template in Illustrator, I think I was the
first to submit a design to Jackie, when I saw the design I saw
immediatly something fresh there that I wanted to be part of. Im really
pleased for Playlab on its success so far and hope it grows. I find it
easier to design on to templates in Illustrator, because I use
Illustrator like a sketch book, I tend to jot ideas down then clean
them up.

Q: Can you describe the process of making a toy from the point at which you submit the final design?  Do you have a pretty good idea of when your "toy" will be released?  Do toy companies  send you artists’ proofs or anything of that sort? The wait must be agonizing.

Well to show how my Qee came to being would be a good example. I
started designing Qees early last year, I kept sending designs to
Raymond in the hope I might get it "right" and Raymond would agree to
produce the Qee. I think last May/June I finally made a design Raymond
was happy with. Then came the long process of waiting, lol Near the end
of the year I was sent my design back with Pantone colours suggested, I
tweaked one of them and sent it back. At the same time I had to design
a card to go with the Qee. A few months past and 2005 arrived, I was
sent some pics of a prototype of the Qee for my approval, it looked
fine so I approved it, More waiting and rumours of a release date, then
April this year I received the final product and they were released,
the rest, as they say, is too insignificant to write about…

Q: You and several other artists have contributed custom toys  to the Qeester Collective Tsunami  Charity Auction.  Your contribution, a Yoda Dunny, is mind-boggling.  The facial expression is quite evocative.  Was this your first go at customizing a Dunny?  How long did it take you to complete?  Also, just because it’s something I’ve wondered about: where did you get the light saber?

Ah customs, Ive done a few before the Yoda, but none have been too
succesful. This time I decided to approach it differently. I sprayed
the larger areas of colour and for the face etc I used stickers. It
took and age to design the stickers right and cut them so they would
fit the heads curves. With some help, ie my mother, I got the cloak to
fit. The lightsaber or Torch with tubing attached was fairly easy. I
found a small torch that fit the Dunny hand then coloured the glass
with green Sharpie, found some tubing that was the right diameter and
stuff that on the end of the torch, et voila!

Q: Of all your toy designs which is your favorite and why?  The most challenging?

Yoda Dunny by Mimic
For me it would be
my Yoda custom, it pushed my skills further so now im happier to custom
toys. Im pleased with the result and we’ll see from the auction if
other people are 🙂 I hopefully have another design coming out on an
established toy this year, im not sure I can say what it is, so I’ll
keep ya guessing, but its one of my fave designs to date, but as I say
the design isnt released yet so i dont know what the result will look

Q: What’s next from Mimic? A Dunny?  I know you’ve considered releasing prints of your artwork.  How’s that progressing? What’s your ultimate goal in producing toys? Your own line?

Id love my own toy line, as i said earlier, but its difficult. I would
really love to design an 8" Dunny that would be a great result for me.
As for prints, Ive been throughing the idea around for a while but it
seems that theres not much interest in them so, theyre on the back
burner. Ive got more customs to do, 1 for MPH, I want to do another
train, Im hopefully working on a collab with Blu and would love to team
up with Sket and/or MAD on a project. There are other things floating
about but im sworn to secrecy!

Q: Any chance you’ll becoming stateside anytime soon to meet your fans and sign toys? San Diego Comic Convention?

No chance really, im totally broke lol. I would like to one day, but im
also the worst traveller in the world lol. I try to make it up to
London when theres events on, im looking forward to the Qee DIY UK Expo
and the Lmac show.

Q: Any last words for your fans?

Fans? weird, do I have fans? that sounds like sheer madness. If there
are any out there, hello! Glad you like my stuff, vote mimic for his
own toy line LOL Be excellent to one another…

So Sket-one put me up to asking this:

Q: Sket would like me to ask you to explain to us uninitiated Americans what CHAV means.  I’m not going to regret this question, am I?

Skets a Chav LOL Chavs eh? Oh well, er theyre er, a bit like wiggas,
but without the dress sense, intelegence or music taste, and u know
what that means… They are known to wear too much Burberry and most of
it fake and really bad gold jewellry. Spend all their money on supin
their cars up, but not good cars, really cheap crap. Well hope that
helps ya, tho im hopin you never need to know.