Autodidact: self-taught

Feb
23
2015

Mythic Articulations

by V. L. Craven

Mythic Articulations , 3D printed skeletons of creatures from mythology as well as cryptids, was brought to my attention by a friend who saw Cerberus in a can (he’s poseable and you build him yourself!) and immediately thought of me. My friends know me well.

Meet Snuffles, Ruffles and Bob.

Meet Snuffles, Ruffles and Bob.

After admiring the work on the etsy shop I contacted the owner/artist, Brian Richardson, who answered some questions via the electronic mail.

How long have you been interested in mythology and mythological creatures; how did you become interested?

I’ve been interested in mythology for as long as I can remember. I can’t recall what started the interest, it’s sort of just always been there.

What is your design background & how did that lead to 3D printing?

I’ve been drawing since I was about 5. I first learned of 3D printing about two years ago, and took up 3D modeling over the next few months. I didn’t really do a whole lot of sculpture prior to learning 3D modeling, due to material costs and the inherent mess of working with clay or wood or metal. Being able to make basically anything virtually, with no mess, and then have it printed into a 3D object really brought about an interest in sculpture.

Everyone has that neighbour who simply refuses to mind their own business, don't they?

Everyone has that neighbour who simply refuses to mind their own business, don’t they? (Rokurokubi skeleton)

Do you have your own printer or do you outsource your creations?

I outsource to a local 3D printing bureau. I have considered getting a desktop printer, but the quality of the prints from most printers just isn’t good enough yet. Maybe in a few years.

In terms of anatomy design–do you have formal training in medical anatomy or are you self-taught?

I took biology classes all through High-school, but that’s the extent of my training. Most of my knowledge of the skeletal system comes from looking at lots of pictures. I probably couldn’t name all the bones, but I know what they look like and how they fit together.

For the Harry Potter fans--it's a Hippogriff. There's also a centaur available.

For the Harry Potter fans–it’s a Hippogriff. There’s also a centaur available.

Walk me through the process of creating a new piece, from deciding what it will be to finished product with certificates and paperwork.

I usually just pick which ever creature I think would make a good skeleton or be popular. There’s lots of scouring Google images and Wikipedia to get good interpretations and descriptions of the various beasts. I’ve also got a few books I look through on occasion. I use the program ZBrush to sculpt each one. I start from a virtual ball of clay, and push, pull, cut, and move it around until it looks like whatever part I’m making. I use lots of reference photos of actual animal skeletons.

I’m to the point where a lot of the parts for new creatures are already made (skulls, wings, spines, etc.) and I can just mix and match them with some adjustments to have a new skeleton. After that, it’s off to the printers and a week later I’ve got the skeleton. The paperwork is as simple as swapping out text and photos.

If you're more interested in modern myths there's the Flatwoods Monster and other cryptids.

If you’re more interested in modern myths there’s the Flatwoods Monster and other cryptids.

Customers can request custom orders–what are some of the more interesting requests you’ve had?

The most interesting custom order I’ve done so far was a poseable model of a customers original creature design. It looked a bit like a “big-boned” Godzilla.

MA Cockatrice

Cockatrice. That tail looks a bit dangerous.

Would you be open to the idea of sending a piece through some place like Shapeways to have it printed in metal or glass for a customer–do you plan to offer skeletons in other materials in future?

I have actually had a skeleton printed in bronze by them. The only problem is the relativity small size that they can print in metal. I may be offering select models at a reduced size in metal at some point.

Do you have a personal favourite?
It’s a three way tie between Cthulhu , the Wolpertinger and the Cockatrice .

Elder gods never looked so cute

Elder gods never looked so cute

What pieces do you have in the works?

I’m currently testing a Bakeneko (a large, intelligent cat that walks on two legs), a Nekomata (a Bakeneko, but evil and with two tails), and a Wanyudo (a giant flaming head in an ox cart wheel). These are Japanese monsters called Yokai , and there are hundreds of them, many of which I’d like to model at some point.

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