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"Sculpting: A Q&A with Irek Zieliński"

An Interview by Craig Andrews

irek interview
Dwarf from Hysterical Games' Panzerfäuste
3D Sculpt by Irek Zieliński
Digitally Coloured by Craig Andrews 

Irek Zieliński, one of the sculptors for Prodos, answers some questions about himself and his work.

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Q. Before we start with the sculpting questions, tell us a little about yourself; where you're from, what you do for a living?
A. Currently living in Gdynia - beautiful city in north of Poland, near the sea side, I'm 28 and my everyday job is sculpting and designing models.

Q. When did you first start sculpting and what led you to start?
A. My first adventure with sculpting (some people rather to use word "modeling" when we talk about digital sculpting) was around 4 years ago. I was working as miniature painter in Micro Art Studio and for the very first time I saw miniature model printed on 3d printer - I was really excited and felt like 5 years old boy seeing real Batman on the street! After that I start looking for info about 3D modeling and tutorials how people do that.

Q. Where do you do your sculpting?
A. Currently I work at home. For digital sculpting you need just tablet and computer so you can do it practically everywhere, but own workshop would help a lot - you can keep all your models, tutorial and art books, and whats most important give you those work atmosphere. In job like this you need to focus on what you are doing now and to enter into your small world of models, characters and fantasy/SF. Hope one day I will have place like that.

Q. What materials and tools do you find you use most often?
A. Though I do use the fantastic 'green stuff' I am actually more of a milliput fan. I use the normal range of blades, accessories and such that all designers do, no secret weapons in my arsenal. Actually sometimes just a toothpick and a hobby knife.

Q. A lot of wargamers modify their miniatures; swapping heads, arms, weapons etc. But a lot of people find the idea of even basic modifications a bit daunting do you have any hints or tips to help them ?
A. Honestly I havent done so much conversions in my life, but it was always a great fun so I think you need to treat it this way,especially on the very begin when you dont have much skill and experience.

Q. What would you say to them if they are considering a full sculpt?
A. Make small steps - dont start your adventure form sculpting ful models. I begin form making simple stuff ( cola can, boxes, next simple terrains like walls and doors. Then I moved into weapons, single heads and so... This way you wont get discouraged on the very begin. Learning sculpting is really long and hard path - you need hundreds of hours spent on sculpting and modeling before you will get results that will satisfied you! there is no shourtcuts and noone born with that.

Q. What inspires you and have you a sculptor or a sculpting style that you try to follow?
A. I am following work and art of many artists every day. Its hard to pick my favorites - I have seen so much great models made by so many guys all over the world, so the list of them would be really long. Personaly I prefere sharp and clean sculpts with dynamic / epic pose. I was a painter and I know that too much (same as too less) details is bad to paint and final results on table wont look as good as it should.

Q. Who is your favourite sculptor, past and present?
A. As said in previous question there is a lot of artist I admire, but I think that my sculpting style was mainly inspired by Łukasz Krysa and Fausto Gutierrez Lopez. They are really good in simplified details and shapes, also theirs models are very clean and painting them would be a real joy!

Q: Is there a particular range of figures that you would like to work on?
A. I'm a huge fan of Infinity models from Corvus Belli. Ive seen a lot of them during the painting process while I was painter, and I always treat them as the highest level of war game miniatures.

Q. What is your favourite race found in miniatures?
A. I've heard some time ago that I'm good in dwarves - need to say that I like to sculpt those small, fat and hairy guys with cool weapons etc. Also Goblins have a lot of potential because most of them have some humoristic accents.

Q. Can you tell us anything about any sculpting work you may be doing at the moment?
A. Currently I am full-time sculptor in Prodos Games LTD. I also work as freelancer for Kabuki Models, Norsgard and many others. Each of the company requires discretion about WIPs and sculpting new models soI cant tell any details. I am also working on my own miniatures range with a friend - hope first models will be released on the begin of next year!

Q. Is there a website where people can see all the sculpts you've worked on?
A. Yes, I have portfolio on Facebook - www.facebook.com/irek3d, you can find there most of my models made recently as commissions.

Q. Some people listen to the radio whilst sculpting. Do you listen to the radio or have music in the background? If so what is your favourite music to listen to when sculpting?
A. Hell yeah ! I love to work with some heavy music playnig loud on my headphones - Slipknot, Behemoth, Machine Head and much more... guys give me a lot of energy and motivation to work, especially at late night when coffee doesnt work anymore.

Q. Which do you enjoy the most sculpting, painting or gaming?
A. I miss painting - I dont have time and enought space for painting station at home so I had to stop it, but painting via airbrush, designign and making diorams etc was really joyful to me so I hope to have oportunity to back painting one day my private models that are now laying all over the house.

Q. When did you first start wargaming and what attracted you to in in the first place?
A. I started from Lord of the Rings, my friend buy newspaper with 10 plastic goblins and doesnt have anyone who can play wth him, so he convince me to buy next one with elves and gondor I think, and thats how it started, I think it was in 2002. Then I start playing WFB (orcs and Goblins). I really love startegy games, also when was I was a kid and my father assembling plastic historical models (mainly 1/35 scale - tanks etc), and wargaming have both of this hobbies in one.

Q. What is your favourite book and why?
A. I think the Witcher by Sapkowski. Not sure if it's my favorite, but for sure most well known for people from abroad. I also read a lot of other polish fantasy, really love the plots, main characters which are a real mostly a bad-ass but with the principles and great black humor.

Q. Have you ever been inspired to create something only described in written form?
A. Sometimes after I read some book I am making fast sketch in Zbrush of one of the character I like the most. I need to do it more often because its really good practise.

Q. Have you any 'other' interests that take up your time and if so what are they?
A. Yep... I mean I'm trying to do sports like riding bicycle, playing basketball from time to time, going to gym etc but it's pretty difficult so far - I'm lazy

Q. Thanks for taking the time out for these questions, do you have any final words for readers of OITW?
A. If you really like and enjoy your hobby and dream about living from that one day (it doesnt really matter if its painting, sculpting or baking donuts) you need to remember that everyone who are your inspirations and masters in what they are doing now,  started from point where you are, and only hard work and experience bring them on the top. Each of us has doubts, worst time and fails, but everyone can achieve really high level, just need to believe itself and put all of his heart in learning process.

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Webmaster's Notes

The above interview is an Orcs in the Webbe exclusive and was first published on December 5th 2015 as part of it's 2015 Advent Calendar.

I'd like to thank Tony Harwood for first suggesting this series of sculpting interviews and coming up with most of the questions.