Rise from the Ashes - Behind the scenes of our latest Iron Widow collection with Mengmeng Liu

Rise from the Ashes - Behind the scenes of our latest Iron Widow collection with Mengmeng Liu

Welcome to your nightmare. ⚔️ Our latest Iron Widow collection has arrived, based on the New York Times Best Seller novel by Xiran Jay Zhao. We chatted with Mengmeng Liu, our lead artist on this collection and their experience.

The Shimin 3D mousepad, Phoenix Over Dragon print, Vermillion Bird pin and Iron Trio postcard set on a bamboo mat with an elaborate red table runner surrounded with decorations.

For the pin, did you work with Xiran on the design of the Vermillion Bird mecha itself, or was that pulled from somewhere else?

The Vermillion Bird was designed by the talented Misael Gio Manning! There were a few things I had to readjust for pin design, but other than that Misael was responsible for how good the Vermillion Bird looks, I was just the translator.

Check out their work here!

While the Vermillion Bird pin is a Big Boi™️, it still has a lot of intricate details put into it. Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to designing highly detailed enamel pins? 

Making sure all the details leave enough room for the fill is very important if you don’t want your pin to be a big mess. Also balancing the amount of details you put in a pin is crucial, you can only put so much detail into a hard enamel pin. Soft enamel can have way more detail, but we weren’t interested in making soft enamels at the moment. It’s a push and pull of how much detail you can put in and how much you need to take out.

How did you determine the specific colors for the pin?

The original Vermillion Bird had predetermined colors already, so it was only a matter of starting there and then readjusting the colors to something I like. Personally I like giving them a redder tone so that they match together.

Any development sketches of the pin to share?

Development sketches of the Vermillion Bird enamel pin.

How about the backing card for the pin, were there any different iterations of that before landing on a final design? 

Originally we were going to do something different, but then ultimately decided to use the old backing card to maintain consistency.

Was there any research put into making the mousepad….you know….anatomically correct? ¬‿¬

Fortunately during my free time I like to draw anatomically correct muscular men, so no major research was necessary. ¬‿¬

Was this your first time designing a 3D mouse pad, or have you made them before? 

It was the first time I’ve designed a 3D mouse pad!  It was a very fun experience, and I’m hoping that I get to make more mouse pads in the future.

Any difficulties you ran into when designing for 3D in this way, or any tips you’d recommend keeping in mind? Any limitations?

Being serious here, if you plan on drawing the nipples, make sure they’re aligned correctly on the template and consider how the 3D aspect will affect their placement.  Not a logistical nightmare, but I was encountering some problems.  If I were to recommend a solution, it would be just don’t draw the nipples to save the heartache.

Any development sketches of the mousepad to share?

Development sketch of the Shimin 3D mousepad.

Here’s the one I’m least embarrassed to show ahaha. (Editor’s note: we respect our artists sharing only what they’re comfortable with).

Where can people follow you and your work online?

I’m over on Twitter @adulture!  Fair warning I like to talk about my favorite video games and Gundam a lot. And here's my current art blog.

And that’s a wrap! Thank you for joining us on this bountiful (¬‿¬) journey. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. Choose vengeance. 🔪
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