Behind the Scenes: MARCELINE STATUE

Brock Otterbacher, Creative Director of Toys & Collectibles

I was more than excited when I found out we were able to do a few statues for Adventure Time because 1) it has never been done before, and more importantly, 2) because I just plain love the show!

Adventure Time spoke to me on almost a spiritual level the first time I saw the unaired pilot...almost 10 years. The goofy animation, goofy jokes, and goofy voice acting were exactly what was needed in my world at that time, and when the series hit a few years after, it was exactly what I needed then, too. And continues to be. It seems that it's exactly what a lot of other people need, as well!

And it's a good thing because Marceline the Vampire Queen Statue is now up for pre-order, and I couldn't be more proud of it.

Marceline was an obvious choice for the first character; she is a fan favorite, but is also so Glob-danged cool! When thinking about her pose, having her jamming on her Axe bass while floating in the air (supported by her awesomely long hair, of course) was the first thing to come to mind. But in order to further refine the pose, I turned to conceptual artist Eric Siebenaler, who sent over a few different options:

A lot of fun stuff to choose from, but it's important to consider a few things at this stage in a product's development: Viewability (how it looks from multiple angles?), Sculpting and Production Issues (will the piece actually work in the physical world?), and Shipping (will it get to you in one piece?). Will all those in mind, the choice was narrowed down to one of her leaning back more casually, as the hair would help support the overall weight of her body...and I just liked the idea of her jamming mellow tunes while she floated around. The pose also brought her limbs in together, and towards her body, so there would hopefully be less chances of breakage, or getting caught on things will on display (something I was very conscience of with this piece, since the limbs were so thin).

We also looked at two slightly different expressions. I liked the wink face, but decided to go with a more straight forward expression as I felt it would read better in 3D.

With that settled, it was time to add spice to the piece. Strawberries - drained of their color - were added to the floor. We decided to add the Heat Signature video tape (from the episode of the same name) as a piece that you can place anywhere you want. Marceline's favorite childhood doll was chosen as the Mondo Exclusive piece - another item that could be placed anywhere. And finally, two more thematic bits were added: french fries, and her father as the bas relief element around the surface of the base. But being who he is, Marceline's father couldn't resist her fries, and we made him breaking out of his bas relief confines, and into the actual composition of the statue.

Once approved by Cartoon Network, it was time to bring on a sculptor. We needed someone who had not only the talent, but a weird enough sense of humor to get what we were trying to do with this statue. That sculptor was Matthew Black, whose previous work for Mondo was The First Turtle, The First Hellboy, and Baby Hellboy. Matthew's proficient in both traditional and digital sculpting, and for theis piece we went with digital; it would be more efficient to be able to work with such smooth surfaces and thin limbs. 

After about a week or two, we had our first images to submit for approval. The studio had a few changes they wanted to see, one of which was to address the pose of Marceline's hair, which ultimately yielded a better flow, and as a bonus, gave more support to her body.

Matthew also did a slight change to Hambo, making him look more slumped over. This change was a practical one, as well, as it tucked the limbs in more to avoid breakage.

After those few changes, we had our sculpt, and Matthew knocked it out of the park:

With the sculpt now approved, the project moved over to Jason Wires to print the digital sculpt, which is no small feat. This is always an interesting part of the process for me, as it's the first time you get to see if the piece works in the real world! 

After that, it's off to be molded and cast in resin, and then the final stage of prototyping - paint! Mara Ancheta and Andrea Coleman (who previously painted our Ramona Flowers) brought this piece together, and gave it a fantastic animated look. From the floorboards that look straight from an animated cell to the animation highlight on the top of her hair, they brought their A-Game to a deceptively not-so-simple piece:

And here's the final piece! Click here to pre-order now.