Creating the Karakuri

March 24, 2011 by lloyd

Karakuri ningyō are mechanized puppets or automata from Japan from the 18th century to 19th century. The word ‘karakuri’ means a “mechanical device to tease, trick, or take a person by surprise”.

This is the first drawing we made to design this new troop.

-“It can not be the typical robotic Geisha” was the first directive received by Gutier, the background and stats creator.

Karakuri

The first sketches made in a notebook showed a robotic girl, but she’s still too human and perhaps too feminine.

Karakuri

After those first sketches, all suggestions pointed towards a more dehumanized model, closer to a doll, a mannequin, devoid of life. The idea is it must be more disturbing and fearsome.

Karakuri

Idea for the “Forward Observer” device.

Karakuri

Now, there is not hair and less expressiveness in the face, the Karakuri is not attractive. However, those are risky decisions, from a marketing point of view.

Karakuri

Still too human.

Karakuri

We started to design an unusual body, compared with other Infinity miniatures. We want the miniature to suggest a robot and not an armoured human, so we chose to provide it with inhuman proportions and body voids.

Karakuri

A human figure with unnatural holes. This was the most recurrent and characteristic theme of the Karakuri.

Karakuri

The dehumanization process is very difficult, especially for an artist used to drawing people.

Karakuri

We enhanced the “doll without life” look by removing the mouth from the mask.

Karakuri

The design process advances in “proof and error” steps, using the frustrating process of rejected drawings and resubmitting, time and time again until the image is accepted.

Karakuri

This design was accepted as quasi-definitive, except some details. From here, we develop a backview that fits with the frontview.

Karakuri

Once the design is approved, we proceed to detail everything that is not shown in the general drawings: Inner pieces, articulations, concave shapes…

Karakuri

These tiny details are very difficult to see in a miniature and sometimes, some of them are lost due to the small scale.

Karakuri

“This head is going to break the mould.” This phrase is actually true. Our production moulds expert, Begoña Liste, has warned us that these shapes are troublesome to reproduce on a large scale.

Karakuri

The next step is to made a quick sketch as guide to the sculptor on the pose of the miniature. However, this is stll just a guide, we like the sculptor to have some freedom to choose the pose, but must always keep in mind the miniatures profile.

Karakuri

The last step of the design process is to choose the colour scheme. With the Karakuri, we stayed close to Yu Jing’s Nipponese Sectorial Army colour scheme.

Karakuri

And this is the concept dossier, which our sculptors and artists receive in order to begin their work.

Karakuri

This is the final result of all the process: the miniature.

Karakuri

Thanks to you all.  I hope you enjoyed this step by step insight into the design process.

Carlos “Bostria” Llauger

Carlos frequents the Beasts of War website as @bostria