The Elf Knight (gosh, I suddenly realized how standard are my miniatures names!) is the latest addition to our new range, and I think that it's the perfect time to make the state of play of this project, and give you some more backstory about my personal approach to the miniatures design. I feel like I am in a crucial moment of this creative process, and I want to avoid some mistakes that I made with the past two ranges.
If you look at our Dwarf and Second Government ranges, you would probably notice that there is a kind of "main core" of characters that in a certain way define the whole collection. I realized that it is due to my creative approach and it is, indeed, both torture and delight: I always start with a clear, well-defined archetype and, initially, it is incredibly easy for me to design the first characters. Think about, for example, to the Iron Crows characters: they were my very first creations and they came out from my deepest dreams. When I designed them, I thought about them not as a group of individual miniatures, but as a kind of "diorama". The same thing happened with the Bluecoat characters, too.
When I design my miniatures, I try to imagine them as they should appear in a badass cover of a heavy metal album: I want them to be awesome not only by themselves but above all when they are put side by side. Going back to my beloved Iron Crows characters, if you grab all of them and put them all together, they surely have a solid, consistent, badassy look.
This is, in general, the first part of my creative flow, when things just come out of my mind like a waterfall and I can't stop thinking about exploring more and more of the same archetype.
Then, something changes.
It is normal, I suppose, because no matter how interesting is a concept, it's really hard to keep on creating more and more unique, but coherent, characters, especially when you have to be careful about not exaggerating with their size and complexity!
In this second part of my creative flow, I start to think about how to variate the main theme, adding more sauce to the core archetype without losing the range identity or, worse, making just boring or "déjà-vu" designs.
This is the crucial part of the success of a range, and, being at my third project, I think it's time to grow up, or at least to try to, as a creative.
In my first project, for example, things came out almost by themselves and, I confess, I have been lucky: I had to invent half of the actual Dwarf range during the fiery days of the KS campaign, imagining new characters on the spot. I had no time to properly sit down and really "think" about the design of several of them, and I think that, despite people generally liked all our Dwarf range (thank God!), I could have designed better miniatures, or at least I could have chosen more carefully and wisely the character to design: in hindsight, I still regret having designed only 3 Iron Crow Sentinels, and only a few Goiko characters!!
On the contrary, with the Second Government range, mindful of my Iron Crow regrets, I start planning and thinking and scheduling and brainstorming about how to design, since the beginning and...probably I lost somewhere the right direction, because of a brainy, too rational overthinking.
Again: I'm happy about the Second Government range, I think we did a great job, but I realized that I designed it with a too warhammerish approach (you know: "basic troops..more basic troops..and more basic troops"). Think for example to my deepest regret and guilt: the M.A.S.K range. I love them, do not misunderstand me, but why insisting so much on the basic agents, instead of unleashing all my creativity by making more Majora Arcana?! I had in mind extreme concepts, worthy of the craziest Kingdom Death designs (one day I will tell about the desperate love, envy, endless respect and appreciation that I have for everything concerning Kingdom Death), but for some reasons (and, believe me, still nowadays I struggle to figure out) I just left the best ideas on the bench, to focus on some kind of "basic troop" range. Why, Matteo -that's my name-, why?!?
One day, I hope to be able to go back to my beloved M.A.S.K and make amends of my sins.
So, what does all this outlandish stream of consciousness have to do with the Elf range?!
As I've written a few lines above, I think that this is that moment of my creative flow.
I think I've set a solid archetype with these Elves, I'm happy with the Archers design and I think that the difference between them and the Warriors is quite interesting.
Now it's time to expand this archetype and, allow me to speak with you with an open heart, I really fear of losing again the right direction.
The next character, for example, will be crucial for this range because I will try to go out of the comfort zone represented by sneaky Archers and badass Warriors (cmon, it's easy to design this kind of characters!), to design the first Elf Summoner.
Even if I will design more Archers&Warriors (to avoid the Iron Crows regret), I think that it's time to take some risk and create something extreme (to avoid the M.A.S.K regret).
Will I achieve my goal?!
I don't know, honestly, but this time I try to make something different without losing the right path: I want to amaze you not only by creating a cool version of a classic archetype but I also want to amaze you with something that is 150% DPF.
If I manage to create a range that you like for its uniqueness, I would consider it a real success, no matter how much funds we'll collect during the KS campaign.
With the Iron Crows range, I noticed that you really liked our "archetype reinterpretation" (all the Iron Crows characters, the Hunter of Erdraz, the Goiko characters), but you didn't like at the same way the less mainstream characters. With the Second Government range, I focused too much on the "archetype reinterpretation", but I fear that I lost on the way a lot of ideas that would have made that range unique in its genre.
Now, I want to raise the bar higher, because I think that, even if it's surely easier to make money with classic designs (I could simply make alternative versions of Warhammer stuff), I would like to give you something different.
As the title says, with these first Elves characters we were just warming up: please, keep on supporting us with your feedback, comments and enthusiasm. You really can't imagine how important is for me your response, and how helpful is this little community that we managed to create, that is growing day by day!
PS: guys, I can't believe I finally managed to design a pachycephalosaurus!!