Our journey towards the new range is proceeding nicely and I confess that I didn't expect to find such a creative enthusiasm, approaching for the first time big-scale figures!
Initially, I thought I would make the same characters, just at a higher level of details, but indeed it's more like having found a new creative medium, and I'm getting the hang of it. I'm getting the hang of it so much that I decided not to settle for a single small range, and make of it a kind of recurring side-project to accompany the main 32mm range of DPF line.
What I found interesting, about this first try with big scales, is the chance to explore a new narrative dimension of Inneath, giving you an alternative look at this fantasy universe: if our 32mm scale minis, designed for a tabletop game, are mainly about warfare, with a classic selection of characters and, above all, sculpts, with this new range I'm able to indulge more with raw storytelling and diorama-like scenes.
This is so refreshing, from a creative point of view!
Of course, I'll keep designing classic subjects (as you've seen with the massive new 1/24 scale Iron Crow Captain!), but I think that I will take advantage of this range to focus more on slices-of-life scenes and unconventional characters: I think it will help to set even better the art direction and lore of Inneath.
"Lunchtime", the latest addition to this range, is a perfect sample of what I'm trying to explain with my potato English.
I have had this scene in mind for a very long time, and being able to put it on the pipeline has been so rewarding!
The idea behind this scene is pretty simple: a young adventurer and her mechanical familiar are resting between a quest and another, enjoying their meals!
I wanted to narrate an open story and let you complete it with your personal view: who is this girl? What is her background? What does she do for a living? Where are they resting?
I spread crumbles of narrative guidelines here and there, little details that are thought to give make you explore Inneath little by little, but since the beginning, I wanted to design a blank canvas and look at what you will be able to add with your personal tastes and view.
Despite the Iron Crow Captain, where the raw detail steals the show, here I focused more on the interaction between the two characters and the general vibe of the scene: I wanted something...interpretable.
Depending on how I approach this sculpt ( by the way, Valerio really overreached himself with this work!), I can see both relaxing and peaceful vibes, both melancholic and bittersweet ones.
I think that, with different chromatic approaches, this scene might dramatically variate its nature.
Concerning the character design itself, I had in mind this colorful duo for years: a young girl and a little robot, alone against the whole world, who try to write their own legacy. I wanted to suggest that, despite the young age of the main character, she is somehow used to the adventurer life and knows her business. To express this idea with the sculpt, at first I tried to add a "past" to her main detail: the uniform she wears on her shoulders.
First of all, it's pretty obvious that this cloth didn't belong to her originally: not only it's too large for her, but it's also clearly part of a Second Government soldier uniform (a Bluecoat? A Redcoat? a Whitecoat? It's up to you to decide!), and she's too young to join the army!
I wanted not to give a clear explanation about that, I think it's more interesting that you decide which backstory fits better your view: maybe that's the old uniform of her father/mother/old brother/sister/whatever parent you want, maybe she just found it somewhere and decided to keep it for herself, or maybe she stole it!
We can see, however, that the uniform is somehow ratty and heavily customized, a signal that she cares about it, as a kind of fetish.
The pug-shaped shoulder pad, for example, is not something that you can easily find in the Second Government army (what a shame!), and the many pins and medals pinned to the coat are probably memories of her past adventures: in many islands among the Open Sea (basically, the Mediterranean Sea of Inneath), travelers must pay the local customs to dock at the seaport, receiving often in exchange a badge/pass that testifies their permission to land.
Looking at the many badges that the young girl pinned on her coat and backpack, she has traveled a lot!
The mechanical familiar is the perfect partner for her, it's kinda cute but sharp. I'm obsessed with Matt Dixon's robots, and this is another little tribute that I humbly offer to him.
This design is so simple yet so expressive that I can see this little guy move, act, and "feel", despite it having just a slot as a mouth and two balls as eyes!
I wanted to suggest a familiarity between these two characters, as they are old friends that spent so much time together: a real team!
As an Italian human being, when I think about the concept of "familiarity", I can't help but think about...food!
Of course, it's not something related only to Italians: eating together and sharing a meal are probably the "humanest" things in this world, no matter the country or culture to which we belong!
For this reason, it was pretty obvious to me to set this scene in a kind of "lunchtime" frame.
I say lunchtime, but you can obviously set this scene in whatever meal fits better to you: breakfast, second breakfast, dinner!
The two companions are sharing a meal that, concerning a mechanical familiar, means a can of restorative engine oil!
You can tell that this little girl really cares about her familiar by looking at this little detail: the logo on the front of the can is that of "Giotto inc.", the top-brand of Zorn Uzul for everything concerning engineering and mechanical familiars!
Giotto inc. products are really expensive, so it seems like this adventurer wants (and can afford!) only the best for her companion!
On a side note: raise your hand if you would like to see, in the future, a full range of Giotto inc.'s creations, like tons of new mechanical familiars, weird inventions (I would like to design a fantasy city-car FOR AGES!) and mecha-stuff!
This scene has been also a nice chance to design a new fancy backpack to add to our collection of funny bags! I have a kind addition for this kind of stuff, I confess, and I think that this owl-backpack really fits the character: cute and mysterious!
What is your favorite backpack designed by DPF?!
I'm a painter, principally, so when I design my minis I use to think about what I would love to paint (the fact that I haven't time to paint my minis is another -sad- story...): from a painter point of view, I think that this is probably the subject of ours that I want to paint most!
The sculpt itself is not overloaded by details, it's pretty simple and "clean", but above all, there are plenty of ways to interpret it! If you love to go for a realistic rendition, I think you will love to paint all the textures of this sculpt: from the Familiar (which is basically a blank canvas!) to the many different materials of the Adventurer's clothes, I'm sure you will enjoy so much these guys!
On the other hand, this kind of subject is perfect for a vibrant and experimental painting, you can really push to the limit the study of lights (what about setting the scene at night, as a meal around a campfire?) or go for a very fairy approach full of pastel hues.
I confess I can't wait to paint mine, and moreover I'm so curious to see your interpretations, you always manage to impress me, painting my characters in ways that are so interesting and (for me) unconventional!