INTERVIEW: TOUKA VS TSUKIYAMA CONCEPT ARTIST, DANIEL KAMARUDIN
July 23, 20194 min read
At Figurama Collectors, every finished masterpiece begins with concept art. Because this stage of the design process is so critical to the finished product, we collaborate with the most talented 2D artists from around the world to bring our imaginations to life with industry-recognized experience.
Daniel Kamarudin specializes in fantasy-based concept art and illustration. He previously illustrated the original concept art for Kaneki VS Yamori, and—because we believe that continuity in a statue series is important—he is also returning as concept artist for Touka VS Tsukiyama, as well as two top-secret Figurama Collectors projects in the works!
Please enjoy this exclusive interview with Daniel Kamarudin to get insight into the designer’s mindset of our upcoming Touka VS Tsukiyama Tokyo Ghoul statue.
As a special bonus to our collectors, every Touka VS Tsukiyama statue will include a certificate signed by Daniel Kamarudin and Shanab, CEO of Figurama Collectors.
Interview text reproduced below (plus some bonus questions!):
You specialize in fantasy concept art/illustration and have designed the concept art for multiple Figurama Collectors statues in the past. How is Touka VS Tsukiyama unique from all your previous designs?
In Touka VS Tsukiyama, it’s the loud action and controlled chaos that makes this unique from the other statues I’ve designed with Figurama. We do like to have our designs “capture the moment,” but I feel like this one in particular has a certain elegance to it. Touka is lunging towards a grinning Tsukiyama, like a bird coming in for the kill, and Tsukiyama is enjoying the fight as if it were a dance to the death, where he very much sees himself as the victor.
What or who were some of your earliest artistic influences or inspirations? Who or what are your modern artistic influences or inspirations?
Back when I was studying, I was really inspired by the works of Kekai Kotaki and Frank Frazetta. I still am. I mainly draw inspiration from fantasy like Tolkien, games like FFXIV and Dark Souls, as well as general mythology. Every culture is so rich with myths and legends, from ancient Greek tales of gods, to something a bit more recent like the Pontianak or the Aswang (both being very close to me culturally).
What are your favorite anime series or characters? Are there any anime series you especially enjoy because of their artistry?
My favourite series would definitely be the UC Gundam series, Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill, to name a few. Artistically, I really enjoyed Tokyo Ghoul (made me really happy to have finally worked on this), Fate for its character designs, Kill la Kill for its animation, and Ghost in the Shell for its timeless cyberpunk design.
What do you think makes the Tokyo Ghoul series and characters unique from an artist’s perspective?
I became a fan of the series way back in college. The thing that drew me to the series initially was the whole concept of these “monsters” who look like us but feed on humans and have these gory-looking organic extensions coming out of their backs. It was almost like an interesting twist on a vampire story. The manga and cover art really drew me in. There was this raw and sinister feeling I got from reading the pages where there were fights or general horror elements at play.
As the concept artist for both Figurama Collectors Kaneki VS Yamori and Touka VS Tsukiyama, what makes these pieces similar? What makes them different? How do they complement each other?
In Kaneki’s diorama, it's about the aggression and brutality of the fight between the predator and prey, and how their roles will be reversed. In Touka’s diorama, it’s about showing the elegance of the action within all the chaos—Touka’s determination to save her friends and take down a very overconfident Tsukiyama. In both statues, we show how the underdog of the fights rises up and shows their power. Putting these two together would definitely be like having moments in time frozen on your shelf.
What do you want collectors to “take away” from or feel about Touka VS Tsukiyama?
I would like the collectors to feel the intensity of the fight and the elegance of the characters’ movements in all the chaos—the overconfidence of Tsukiyama to contrast with the aggressive determination of Touka. As with every statue, we want to “capture the moment,” and I hope whoever spends time with the statue will feel, even for a moment, that they’re part of the action
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten (or given) as an artist?
I was told very early on to keep my passion going. To do, and draw what I love, to the point that you can make a living out of it. That stuck with me ever since. Once you feel like you’re really not enjoying what you’re doing, or seeing it as a chore, maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities or remind yourself that you’re drawing ghouls and monsters for a living and not many people can say that.
If you could work with Figurama Collectors to design a statue for any character or series in the future, who or what would you choose? Why?
I would definitely love to do Persona, Sailor Moon, Fate, Kill la Kill, Gundam or Gurren Lagann! Persona is very much a personal favourite of mine.
What is your favorite thing about working for Figurama Collectors? What makes the experience unique?
It’s a very hands-on experience. My role sees the statue go from conception, to sculpt, to production, and I will generally have a hand in all those stages of production. Seeing the statue go from the initial sketches roughed out over a few nights, to a tangible product in collectors’ hands a few months later, is a very satisfying feeling. Working with Figurama Collectors is very collaborative, and we very much focus on what will make the fans proud to have our piece sitting on their shelves.