AN INTERVIEW WITH RAVEN HOOD page 2

Karlsweb: If you did the throne sled, did it take an incredible amount of  time to  do all the embellishments? 

Raven Hood: YES!! I usually carve accessories in order to make them more symmetrical and precise. But Rygel's chair has no sharp edges or corners. It's symmetrical with asymmetric details that are all organic. I am not sure I want to admit how much time went into it. I am very happy with it though. I broke the original into two halves so I could sculpt while looking at both sides at the same time. This allowed me to place the piece back to back or bottom to bottom, etc and match details that would have been difficult in one piece.

Several views of the magnificent throne sled accessory, sculpt and finished. Click on the images for a larger view

Karlsweb: Do you have control of what happens to the figure once the sculpt is  finished?

Raven Hood: Not always, I have friends that insist on keeping their originals but often they don't age well and collect dust if they make it through molding. If I mold them and have time they usually come out pretty well. I have all the Farscape stuff I have done and some of the other masters at the moment. I have kept most of my masters and have trouble finding space for them.  

Karlsweb: Did you design the paint scheme?

Raven Hood: No but they did ask for my input. My personal painter (Suzanne Lundquist) did the Rygel that was on display at Toy Fair and Eddie Wires did the paint masters for the final toy with guidance from Henson and a little input from me. I think Henson only ask for my input on painting since I have probably spent more time studying Rygel than anyone outside the production ever should. 

Bring me the head of Rygel XVI

Karlsweb: Is anything lost going from your sculpture to the final character?

Raven Hood: Yes! Some detail is lost in production. It's generally pretty good though. The scale reduction really makes the change noticeable. But I think working two-up makes the likenesses a little easier to approve.  

Karlsweb: Would you rather sculpt the clothing with the figure? Why or why not?

Raven Hood: That depends, usually yes cause it allow you to sculpt wrinkles and textures to scale. With Rygel we went with a textile costume in order to allow his legs and arms to be articulate. This was much better than having him glued in the chair. Though it seems few people that buy toys actually play with them anymore, you have a lot more that you can do with Rygel. But I do wish we didn't have to make some compromises.  

Karlsweb: What was the most difficult thing about creating Rygel?

Raven Hood: Probably the chair and his facial hair. His facial hair is so subtle and the toy is so small. It was very tricky to do it right and make everybody happy!  

Karlsweb: Looking back, is there anything you'd have done differently?

Raven Hood: I could have done better budgeting on this one. Seriously its just too easy to look back and think of cool things I could have done. I wish his number one collar had closed better but that was a production issue.

Karlsweb: Besides the Aeryn Mutation and the next Aeryn figure, what other Farscape figures are in the works and which ones will you be sculpting?

Raven Hood: Well there was a new Crichton planned but I am not sure now. You would have to ask Toy Vault or Henson.

Currently I am working on Muppets for another toy line . Look for Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band later this year. I just finished Animal!

Karlsweb: If given the opportunity to sculpt anything or anyone as an action  figure, who or what would it be?

On Farscape or the world? As far as Farscape goes I would still like to sculpt Crichton (Ben Browder). Chiana (Gigi Edgley) would be fun but I think the pose I like would only be produced as a cold cast figure. Would be a very cool figure though. Then there is always Pilot. But I think every sculptor that has worked on Farscape so far has asked about Pilot.

In the rest of the world there are lots of subjects I like: Meg Ryan, Yancy Butler, Sean Connery, David Bowie, Laurel & Hardy, and other classic comedians. Not many of Terry Gilliams characters have been done. And I am a big fan of many of the comic artist who became popular in 70's and 80's like Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson and Bill Stout.

I could think of many more including lots of my own ideas but there will never be enough time or money. I have been very lucky to do some of the things I have done. Working with companies like the Henson Company and Disney has been a real treat. And I have to thank companies like Toy Vault for giving me the opportunity.  

Karlsweb: Again, thank you so much for answering all of these questions.

Raven Hood: It was my pleasure!

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