February 1st, 2016, my Celtic Goddess Figurine series was FINALLY released. I say finally because it was a long and arduous process to bring these figurines to you. I thought I'd share a little of that process with you now, because I find it interesting and I thought you might too.
The path I've chosen as a working artist involves licensing. In my case this means that more than half of the images I paint are painted with manufacturing in mind. I won't simply sell prints of the images to customers, I'll license that image to a manufacturer who will then put the art on a T-Shirt, coffee mug, journal, backpack etc. In some cases they'll create a 3d replica of the image, a figurine.
Now, over the years I've learned to work smarter, not harder. This means that whenever I'm painting, whatever I'm painting, I try to keep my manufacturers in mind. Certain subject matters, color combinations, and compositions are more suited to successful licensing than others. In my case I have a template I've designed that gives me my "Sweet Spots". At this point nearly every image I paint was designed with several potential "crops" in mind. That means the image could be reproduced as a rectangle, square, oval or circle on any product with those shapes and still look beautiful. This is a lot of work in the planning and painting stages but it's well worth it in the long run.
When creating a piece of art that is intended to be a figurine, you have to go even further. When sketching I must keep in mind the limitations that exist for resin figurines. For instance I cannot design to many fine and delicate parts, anything that might break off during shipping is a bad idea. You can see those choices being made in my sketch process in the images below. For instance at one point the Brigid figurine had tendrils of hair that floated up, as if defying gravity. This was a terrible idea on my part, those tendrils would be sure to break in shipping!
The manufacturing process is also one that involves a lot of waiting. In this case, more waiting than usual. I first designed these pieces in 2011 for a manufacturer that has since gone out of business. Unfortunately they sat on the designs for several years, telling us (my agent and myself) that they would be getting to them soon. They never did, and instead broke faith with us via a rather strange email that suggested that the Goddess subject matter was somehow offensive. (I know, weird. What can you do? Better to move on). As I said, they've since gone out of business, so really, perhaps all was for the best.
Once the designs were free, we moved them to another manufacturer - Pacific Trading, a company I've worked with for years and whose attention to detail, and my input as an artist I've always valued tremendously. They did an incredible job, keeping me involved in the entire process, sending me photos of the sculptures as they were being created so that I could make changes, etc.
The images show the initial very rough sketch, through the sculpting process, to the finished product. The last image is the painting work in progress that I'm still completing. I hope to have the painting versions of these Goddess available sometime this year. ;)