Welcome back to the second day of interviews with Victor Fernandez (eclipseGRAFX). In our first session we discussed with Victor about how he became involved with minifig customization. Today we discuss his areas of inspiration and involvement with the Clone Army Builder's Guild.
A lot of your creations look to Star Wars for inspiration? What are other areas you look to for customization ideas?
"I have always been a Star Wars fan. I don't want to say big because I learned a lot more after getting into LEGO then I knew before. I read a lot of the books in the past and was always interested in the Jedi.
Other than Star Wars, other areas would have to be comics and video games though I don't play a lot of games you can easily do Google searches and find a lot of screen shots. Other areas I look at are what's currently going on with the custom community. I spend time looking at JasBrick's library (the guy has a lot of figs), Geoshift, Morgan 19 has a lot of ideas, Pedro and I also browse through the minifig pools on Flickr.
What I noticed from these guys was that some of their creations were just free form. I knew I could create just about any Star Wars character with the right reference material but to create something from scratch was alot harder and to make it look awesome, was much harder. I started seeing the Gears of War (GOW) armor and other stuff that made me start buying them to paint in different styles. If you visit my minifig set you will see that most of my figs are just random characters that I came up with as I built the figs.
I guess you can say that my main source of inspiration is the public and what they want."
"The focus on lightsaber hilts was due to no one else being able to do the same. There was a huge interest in them and we made them so well that I thought we could sell them. When I say we, I am referring to 'Clashy' on Flickr, and I. He was the person who taught me how to make the hilts. And he also mentored me and helped me grow my customizing skills.
Jarael came to life only because of her shock staff. Clashy had sent me some digital comics and for some reason when I turned to this character I knew I had to make her and the staff. I have also created the imperial knights but not many people went crazy for them as they did for Jarael.
I have to also note that I met Clashy on Flickr. I don't know what made him take me under his wing but he showed me his secret little after our first conversations."
You've said in the past that you've learned a lot about customizing from the Clone Army Builders Guild. Tell us a little about this group and how they've helped you with customization.
"If you did a Google search for how to apply decals or something of that nature you will most likely find a link to the Clone Army Builder's Guild (CABG - thecabg.net). I usually use the CABG as one of my sources for marketing feedback and ideas. Also the diversity allows for a wider spectrum of opinions.
I first met 'Clashy' on the CABG, I first heard of Hazel (Tam) on the CABG, BrickArms and BrickForge were first introduced to me there as well. I guess I would have learned about all this on Flickr but it was through the CABG that I learned about Flickr and started utilizing it for LEGO.
On the CABG you will find several aspiring decal artists and it is also endorsed by Clone Army Customs (CAC). Where I learned about how profitable customizing can be.
I think the main thing the CABG did for me was keep me searching the LEGO community long enough to catch the custom bug."
So tomorrow is a big day for Victor as many of his new creations will be going up on his BrickLink store. We'll discuss the new venture with Imagination Customs and the ups and downs of starting a customs business in our session tomorrow.