Introduced first at Toy Fair 2015 and shown off again at San Diego Comic Con (with a few new additions added for good measure), DC Collectibles new Icons line of action figures is set to make their debut this fall. Paul Harding, one of the sculptors of the line (and designer of the base bodies for Icons), took a few moments out of his schedule to answers some questions about the new line and the process behind them.
Your friendly neighborhood jman: Paul, you created the base male and female bodies for the new DC Collectibles Icons line. What software program did you sculpt them in?
Paul Harding: I use Pixologic Z-brush almost exclusively.
jman: Did you have a reference point for them?
PH: I worked with anatomy sketches done by DC artist Ivan Reis.
jman: How long did it take you to sculpt the base bodies?
PH: All in all, it took about a month each (male and female) to achieve a satisfying compromise between Ivan’s wonderful drawings and how an action figure needs to function in the real world.
jman: When creating base bodies for a line of new figures, do you have to account for all the different characters that figure will be used for, especially when it comes to articulation? Or is that something the sculptor of the final figure has to deal with?
PH: When designing a body that will be used for many different characters we always want to keep in mind that it has to be something that can really work across the board. Now, if a character has a very special need then we don’t usually hesitate to create new pieces to give that character the proper attention to detail.
Each character is a separate challenge that gets addressed as the need arises. For instance, Blue Beetle is a slender character that required the entire sculpt to reflect that specific anatomical need. So he got practically a brand new sculpt while still maintaining the articulation that DC Collectibles and I set forth in the beginning.
jman: Beyond the base bodies, you sculpted the complete versions of Batman, Blue Beetle, Harley Quinn, Firestorm and John Stewart for the Icons line. How did you come to sculpt those particular figures in the line?
I wish I could answer that question! I defer to the veteran decision-making abilities of my talented friends at DC. Usually, if I have an opening in my schedule coming up and they can fill that time than they give me what they feel is suitable to my skills. Also, I believe they wanted me to do at least one or two characters for each series so the line would maintain a consistency.
jman: I think I’ve read that the Batman figure is based on Jim Lee’s Batman.
PH: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet! This Batman is based on a drawing by Ivan Reis.
jman: (laughing) Good point. Good point, indeed. Ok, even still….there have been so many different variations of him over the years. Is there a challenge in sculpting a Batman figure?