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A thought on process

With the campaign looming for the Dweorg Kickstarter i have been thinking a lot about the creative process, especially my creative process. It seems that there is an expected way in which, as a designer, you are expected to create your content. This process goes from concept to finished piece in a very linear way with the work being approved at various levels by those leading the creative team and steering it in the way of the overall vision for the project. This is a process i was very much involved in and followed for many years, but when i decided to venture out into the world of miniature production i shunned that process which had been so prevalent in all my work previously. I stopped creating full concept drawings an opted for sketches of ideas on a piece of paper and pulled the finished elements together in the final sculpt. It was no longer a case of a design for a specific project but a general idea that i wanted to convey in the designs. I found myself taking elements from previous projects and tinkering with them. It was in this way that the Dweorg were born and over a period of a few years while sculpting, cast and then converting those casts that the full idea behind the people came to be what they are today.

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First concept drawing of Dweorg Mech armour from 2013

In the upcoming 2016 Dweorg campaign i’m running on Kickstarter i have revisited some of those initial concepts such as the Troll Hunter Heavy Support miniature. The original armour was taken from the first idea i had for heavy Mech-armour. I wanted to create a support weapon akin to that you could find on GW Terminators and so i looked at using a heavier Troll Hunter armour. Whilst i was looking at various possibilities i was going through my “redundant sculpts” box and came across the basic sculpt i had done. There were some aspects of it i thought were perfect for the job and some that i thought were just bad design. After a few minutes with a hacksaw and a knife i had removed the parts i couldn’t stand from a resin cast and had a basic  shape. Then, i took to adding some green-stuff and the, what was becoming generic, Troll Hunter helmet. It seemed to work so i moved forward from there in the same way you would convert a miniature for a unique look. There wasn’t a preconceived concept sketch, but more of a series of three dimensional concept sculpts that lead up to its creation. This is not to say that i haven’t been working on some pieces from concepts, but more that it has become less locked off and more interpretive than when i work for other people.

Heavy Support Troll Hunter, based on original Mech armor concept sculpt.

Heavy Support Troll Hunter, based on original Mech armor concept sculpt.

With the campaign almost upon us i am once again having to turn my hand to creating accurate representations or at the least artistic interpretations of a set piece that is quite locked off. It’s not a complaint or a criticism of the expected creative process, but i feel like there is something lost in the ‘design process’ as it is. It has spurred me on to think about how i create my work and how i want to keep some of that spontaneity. I may well start a range that is advertised as being such… that has no designed application other than being straight out of the corners of my imagination whether it sinister or benign in design. A range that has one perquisite of being able to be used in a 28mm (1:56) scale tabletop environment.

There are a series of as yet unreleased miniatures that i could already include in this category of miniatures which includes my ‘Puppet Master’ sculpt i had originally made for use in an ‘In Her Majesties Name’ campaign i wanted to run years ago. There were a couple of puppet figures i had in mind too which i may well still create just to go with this model.

First concept sketches of power armoured Dwarf from 2011.

First concept sketches of power armoured Dwarf from 2011.

Getting back on topic; The creative process isn’t something i’m snubbing my nose up at or saying that i don’t think it has it’s place, far from it. I think that when you are creating work for another person or trying to convey an idea to an audience prior to you creating the object then it becomes a necessity. However, if a piece has been created from the free-form process like with the Troll Hunter Support miniature then being unable to demonstrate the design process from start to finish shouldn’t be frowned upon. Sometimes it is through being able to let yourself go free and playing around a bit that things seem to just fit together and an idea or problem becomes a piece to be proud of.

Concept sketch being created digitally.

Concept sketch being created digitally.

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