ALRIGHT. I'm psyched! Our first interview! This is the first in a series of interviews with our collaborators at Planet 3 Toys. We're so lucky to be able to talk and work with some of the amazingly talented people in the indie toy community and want to hopefully give you a peak into them and their process. Hope you enjoy.
Our first interview is the actually the first painter we ever worked with. The wonderful Michael Devera.
1. Let's start at the start. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Bolingbrook, Illinois but I was raised in Newark, California
2. What got you into toys?
My dad's love of Star Wars action figures got me into toys. From a young age I saw my dad bringing home figures and letting me play with some. When it came to designer vinyl toys, I was drawn in by my favorite artist collaborating with kid robot.
3. What kind of collector are you? A completist? Certain color? Certain artist?
I would say I'm a completist, my collection is very dedicated to certain sculpts. My favorite sculpt is the Max Toy Co. Eyezon 2.0 and I'm currently complete with all factory painted runs, Mark Nagata micro runs, and every released unpainted blank, and I also have some amazing one-offs.
4. Do you remember what the first toy you ever painted was?
The first toy I ever painted was the Super7 Power Mister.
5. What or who were your early inspirations?
My earliest inspiration to push me to paint was Mark Nagata, owner of Max Toy Co. After seeing his one-off customs in person at the eyezon anniversary show, I was instantly blown away and wanted to paint.
6. What's your thought process when you're about to paint a new toy? Do you go in with a distinct plan or feel it out as you go?
When I paint a new toy, I like to study the sculpt and look at how the details flow. Sometimes the colors just come to me and sometime I have a plan that I had already thought off. I like to play around in photoshop and mess with colors and patterns.
7. What is your go-to tool for painting?
My go to tool for painting is my trusty Iwata Hp-c airbrush. It's a real workhorse for small and large projects.
8. You sometimes use Vcolor, Monstor Kolor... Are there advantages to the different types?
Yes, I use both paints. Vcolor is amazing paint if you want a semi gloss finish and a paint that adheres to the vinyl and is almost scratch resistant. The only negative thing about Vcolor are their color options and you have to mix them to airbrush working standards. For Monster Kolor you get a huge range of different color paints and different types of metallics and they are airbrush ready. The one small bad thing about mk is that you have to clear coat it once you're done with the project. If you don't clear coat it, the piece is very prone to scratches.
9. Although you've done other stuff, you primarily do soft vinyl. What attracts you to sofubi/soft vinyl?
The thing that attracts me to soft vinyl is the rich history that comes with it. The amount of hours spent by skilled artists to come up with a super detailed or smooth sculpt is mind boggling.
10. Any final words or advice for people wanting to do what you do?
I say pick up an airbrush or paintbrush and go at it. I started this as a fun way to blow off time and it just stuck with me.
11. If anyone would like to contact you, what's the best way?
The best way to contact me is by email at michaeldev789(at)yahoo.com
12. Lastly, I know you're into movies. What's your desert island top 3? Plus a snack.
Wow haha thats a hard one. For snack, I would bring a big bag of cheez-itz.
3. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
You can find more of Michael's incredible work over at http://opcustoms.bigcartel.com