Well, well, well, look what the PPG Gods dropped off, a brand new edition of Custom Corner with Michaal. We figured it was high time to get back on track showing off all the great fan artwork that goes unnoticed. I love promoting and showcasing all of the awesome artists in the Funko community; seeing all the amazing work is very inspiring, don’t you think? I’m so proud to officially be hosting the new PPG Custom Corner.
Today’s showcase comes from someone I stumbled across in a Funko fan Facebook forum (say that 10 x fast, I double dare you). He was exhibiting his most current piece, Link from The Legend of Zelda wearing Majora’s mask. I knew immediately he would be a perfect candidate for my first Custom Corner.
Please give a warm welcome to James. C. Peach.
[email protected] – How long have you been collecting Funko figures?
[email protected] – I believe it was around 2013 when I received my first Funko product. I had always had a passion for toys, but due to poor financial situation, at the time my collecting habits were on hold. I even needed to sell off a few of my treasured pieces to get through the rough patch I was in. It was around this time that a good friend of mine helped me get a job and in an act of generosity to help build my collection, he suprised me with my first Funko Pop!. The Funko Pop! I had been gifted not only sparked my love of all things Funko, but it ultimately altered my life course towards making custom figures.
[email protected] – What got you in to customizing Pops?
[email protected] – It was actually my Grandfather. While he wasn’t very familiar with Funko as a company (or it’s products), he did always have a passion for art. He mainly focused on drawing and sculpting and when I would go and visit him during the summer he would always try and teach me a new artistic skill. It was shortly after he passed away that I started to focus more on art. This focus was both a way to use the skills he had shown me, and a way for me to remember him. While I tested the water with various artistic mediums ranging from traditional canvas painting to metal craft, it was not until a friend of mine asked me if I could customize a figure that my passion really took off. It was my first time making a custom so I was not really sure where to start, but after a bit of trial and errorI started to get the hang of it.
[email protected] – About how long does it take you to finish a piece?
[email protected] – For something that is not overly complex it could take as little as a week from start to finish. For something that is more detailed it can take 4 or 5 times as long.
[email protected] – Tell us a little about your process of creating a piece, do you have any rituals?
[email protected] – When I first started out I would get an idea in my mind of what I wanted to make, find a Pop! to use as the base, and just start working on it! Since then I have refined the process a litle bit and I always start by researching the character I am making. This includes searching for images and looking into who the character is. This step is very important for characters I am not familiar with because it helps me understand the attitude of the character, how they carry themself, and what kind of body language they should have. I then look into which Funko Pops! are currently available that I can use for a base. While many customs can be created using a single Pop!, more often than not I will need to use 2 or 3. The Pop! will then be cut apart, repositioned, and put back together to reach the optimal body frame for the character. The next steps are: sculpting, baking, sanding, priming, painting, and lastly fine detail. For many of the customs I make I will also make various accessories or a custom stand, all of which are made by hand with wood or clay.
[email protected] – What’s your favorite custom you’ve made?
[email protected] – It’s always hard for me to pick a favorite, but I really did enjoy creating Link and the Full Metal Alchemist Roy Mustang customs.
[email protected] – Are there any projects you’re currently working on?
[email protected] – At the moment I have a few different projects in the works. I am working on battle damaged Iron Man, B&W I Love Lucy, zombie Joker, Sub-Zero, Princess Zelda, and Pyramid Head from Silent Hill.
[email protected] – Are there any particular artists that you draw influence from?
[email protected] – I would primarily say my Grandfather. If it was not for him and his artistic teaching I likely would have never gotten into art.
[email protected] – What tools do you use for customizing? Any preferred brands?
[email protected] – My view is that you do not need to use high end tools to create amazing art! For the most part Iwill either make my own tools (for sculpting) or use what is affordable and works well. For example: when it comes to paint brushes I tend to use the Realvalue brand.
[email protected] – Any “hints” for customizers new to the Pop! world, about particularly hard aspects of creating a custom piece?
[email protected] – In all honesty the hardest part about making a custom is not giving up! I have seen a lot of people make a custom, then feel like they did a bad job so they stop trying. Remember – even the great artists of the World like Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso did not wake up one day and start painting master pieces. They had to start with the basics, build a foundation, and improve their skill. So the most important thing I can stress is: no matter how good or bad you think you are if you have a passion for customizing never give up, and never let anyone else tell you that you CAN’T do it. Self doubt is artistic death.
[email protected] – What advice would you give someone just starting out?
[email protected] – In addition to not giving up? Practice. Practice. Practice… and more practice! No matter what skill or art form you are experimenting with, you will never get anywhere unless you are willing to put time into it. Additionally, it is important to remember that no matter what level you are at – whether a beginner or someone that has been doing it for years – there is always something new to learn and areas you can improve. Even for myself, I am constantly discovering new ways to make a custom and new ways to improve my technique.
You can see James C Peach and his artwork here:
Check him out, see what’s new and treat yourself an awesome custom creation!
Until next time – Michaal