Hey, everyone, Slack Jaw Punks didn’t do just the Michael Rooker Press Conference, we also interviewed a few of the guest artists that were at the convention! One such guest that I myself was excited to sit down with, was Paul Harding from Paul Harding Studios, he does sculptors for Marvel, DC and many other companies, so if you enjoy collecting figures, it is possible you have some of his work!
I even got some sweet stuff from him!
Tell us a little about yourself and exactly what you do.
Well, for about the past 15 years I have been an action figure and statue sculptor and I started as an illustrator and I went to school for illustration, but I quickly learned that sculpting might be for me.
I always had an interest in sculpting, but I had a greater interest in action figures. In college, I didn’t learn sculptor at illustration school. But I moved to New York City and became a design director at an interactive agency and when all those companies went down I was unemployed and I met some great people and I taught myself how to sculpt and learned some shortcuts from some of those peoples.
What made you want to do comic book figures?
Well, I think it’s because Super Heroes are prevalent in the action figure world, I’m more of a Sci-Fi fan, so I would probably be doing that instead.
What was your first figure you ever sculpted?
I started sculpting and designing Hip-Hop based Urban Vinyl stuff, I designed Biggie action figure, the Notorious B.I.G, someone else sculpted it because it was early on in my career. Then I designed and sculpted Public Enemy and characters like that. I was a big Hip-Hop, not some much anymore because I’m kind of old school.
How do you sculpt now?
Well, I used a program called Z-brush, that’s pretty much all I use and it’s a little hard to explain how it works but it’s a pretty friendly program for someone who started as a traditional artist. I was using clay and wax to sculpting.
What is the challenge in sculpting digital?
I would say the challenges are less and the ups are greater, you can do things faster, shortcuts are incredible. You can take more work and do faster work and in the business, that’s the most important thing, is speed, because of deadlines.
How big are the deadlines?
You only have a couple weeks to finish something!
So, let’s say they want you to make a Swamp Thing figure, you have to sculpt that in a week?
Sometimes a week, sometimes two or three!
Are you just use to that now?
Oh yeah, that was the rule when I came in and if you’re a traditional sculptor, the deadlines were similar to that too, the rules were always about two weeks. So, that’s what I learned when I first started working with Marvel before DC, but when I first met DC that was the rule.
Well, I started doing some Marvel Legends, that was at the beginning of my career and then I started to transition towards DC. I’ve done almost 100 pieces for DC.
If you could give anybody some tips for people who want to get into the sculpting business?
My advice to sculptors is different from my advice to people who want to be professional sculptors, so if we are talking about getting into the business: You have to compare your work to professional work. I mean how are you going to get work if it is not as good or better than what you see in the store?
Thank you so much for Paul Harding to sit down and chat with me, I really hope this gives people some insight on how a sculptor goes about their daily lives.