Don Figueroa Interview

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by Super_Megatron, Dec 5, 2007.

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  1. Super_Megatron

    Super_Megatron Twitter: @Super_Megatron Administrator

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    TFW2005 content contributor Ktulu recently had a change to sit down with fan favorite Transformers comic book artist and designer Don Figueroa. Check out what they had to say below.



    TFW2005: Are you involved in the design process of any upcoming Transformers lines like Classics 2.0? What were the last toys you were involved in that have been produced?

    Don Figueroa: I recently did concept art for two deluxes and two smaller bots for Classics 2.0. The last toy that I helped on that was produced was WW Grimlock, and I think I'm the only one to have received a copy that got past the prototype stage, but I'm sure there's more at Hasbro.


    TFW2005: How much input do you have in the overall process of a toy you are involved in? Does Hasbro only use the design sketches they request of you or do you have any input over what characters you want to submit and how you think the transformations/engineering would work?

    Don Figueroa: Not much input. Hasbro will give me a list of characters to do and I'll draw it and after I send them, it's out of my hands. Most of the time, they will follow the transformations/engineering, sometimes they'll change it and I'll just see a prototype months later. Sometimes they will ask for concept drawings that never get used.
    One time, they came up to me at a convention saying "We're doing a toy of your Primus and WW Starscream" and I'm like "pfft, yeah right" but later I'll see that it's only 'loosely based' on the actual sketch design.



    TFW2005: After the whole process is finished, have you ever been let down by the final product?

    Don Figueroa: Sometimes, mostly when I finally get to hold it.


    TFW2005: Have you hidden your name in any toy designs other than War Within Optimus Prime?

    Don Figueroa: Nope, that was just a joke I did that I figured will get noticed and removed, but it got through for some reason.


    TFW2005: When you create packaging artwork, how much control do you have over it? Does Hasbro have a specific idea of what they want, or do you have more or less free reign?

    Don Figueroa: A lot of back and forth, I have to send the pencils for approval and then later the inks, and I had to do what they say. Like with my first work, Armada Starscream, the first feedback I got was from Dreamwave. They told me to "reduce the head by 20%" or sometimes they'll ask for a different pose if the character's not "looking straight at the camera" enough.
    But they've trusted me a bit later on and I did less and less corrections. Sometimes, Hasbro will tell me to change something because the toy's design has been changed. But one time, they asked me to change something that wasn't really necessary, it was for Energon Scorponok. When I first drew that, the drawing shows those vertical guns on the side of his chest. Hasbro later told me they were taking those off from the toy, so I did it with the drawing as well. But then when the toy came out, the guns are still there.



    TFW2005: Which character that you've drawn would you like to see made into a figure the most?

    Don Figueroa: Maybe the characters of my own series in their own toy line... Hiro Prime knows what I'm talkin' about.


    TFW2005: Other than what you do for IDW Publishing, do you have any other jobs? Are you still working for Hasbro, or perhaps working with other companies?

    Don Figueroa: I'm actually off Transformers comics nowadays. I'm still doing occasional TF stuff for Hasbro, Botcon and IDW, but I really want to do other things now including a creator owned series that Harold Tietjens (AKA Hiro Prime) will be helping me on. I've pitched it to IDW and I don't think they've rejected it yet but they really haven't made a commitment to it either. I might shop it around, I dunno.
    I'm also helping out former IDW editor Dan Taylor with his own Mech-based series and I'm also hoping to work on another book soon for IDW, I'm doing character designs for it now.



    TFW2005: Think we’ll ever see Macromasters in print?

    Don Figueroa: Not a chance, nobody's going to let me do it.


    TFW2005: Do you plan on revisiting any of your Macromasters designs or plan to implement them into future lines or series?

    Don Figueroa: Probably not.


    TFW2005: Are there any plans for a Beast Wars Mega-Litho like your G1 version?

    Don Figueroa: No.


    TFW2005: How long did it take you to produce the Generation 1 Lithograph?

    Don Figueroa: 3-4 weeks, on and off. In between issues of DW's G1 ongoing, that Beast Wars Summer special as well as entries for the G1 Profile books. I'll never forget how horribly hectic that month was. It was something I promised never to do again.


    TFW2005: How long does it take you to draw a typical comic book page?

    Don Figueroa: Penciling a page takes me a few hours, mostly around 5-6 hours. But it takes longer now that I've been inking my own stuff, usually all day now. Even when I shorthanded the pencils. For me, inking takes a slow and steady approach lest you want your work covered in Whiteout.


    TFW2005: What inspired Nova Prime's look? Did you design him on your own or did IDW pitch an idea, which you developed for them?

    Don Figueroa: The design that eventually became Nova was originally an Optimus Prime concept I did for Hasbro, it's mostly inspired by a lot of other Optimii like RID Prime, PM Prime/God Ginrai. etc. When I was given the task of the Optimus Spotlight there was no full design available for him but an obscure headshot E.J. did for a sequence in Escalation. So I just dug up an old design, replaced the head and viola! Nova Prime is born.


    TFW2005: How long did it take to make your massive combiner custom? What did you use to create them? Do you have any customs that you've not shared with the community?

    Don Figueroa: I only did one combiner, took me about a month or so to build. He's called Warmonger. It's made of 1/16" sheets of plexiglass and it was one of my more complexed builds.
    Every individual robot has a number of articulation points and every piece of the gestalt pieces is built in, like hands, head and feet. The combined form is also very articulated when combined.
    I recently did a new scratch-built robot and I'm about 30% into it. It'll have a lot of mobility due to the new ball joints I got a hold off. It'll also have working pistons and gears as well as other features (perhaps shocks, if I can find some springs). I don't see it being finished anytime soon since I'm in no rush really, and I only work on it whenever I can.



    TFW2005: If you could bring back any Transformers villain, like Dark Nova or Tornedron, who would you choose and why?

    Don Figueroa: I think that's a question more suited to the powers that be, I'm just an illustrator. I never had such an authority.


    TFW2005: What’s your most memorable moment in working with the Transformers brand as a whole?

    Don Figueroa: There's just so many, both from the very good and to the very bad. From War Within, my first professional book, to attending my first convention as a pro, to seeing my work on the toy store shelves and comic-shops to the whole nightmare that was Dreamwave in it's death throws, to being overwhelmed by the numbers of different continuity brought upon by the different media and Hasbro annually pushing the reset button.


    TFW2005: What do you wish to accomplish in the future that you haven’t yet achieved?

    Don Figueroa: I had hoped to contribute something worthwhile to the Transformers mythos if only for a limited time, like a mini-series or even a one shot, but I was never able to do it, mostly because of bad timing, not fitting with the continuity or whatever. Or maybe they're just terrible, I dunno. But nobody has really said otherwise, just the usual "We don't have any plans for it right now" or "We already have a story planned, sorry" response or nothing at all.
    But with most of my ideas, hopefully I can salvage and rework it and use it for something else entirely when the opportunity presents itself.



    TFW2005: Thanks Don!

    Don Figueroa: You're most welcome and thanks.



    Don Figueroa Concept Megatron art:

    [​IMG]


    Don Figueroa Concept Decepticon Mech art:

    [​IMG]


    Don Figueroa Concept Decepticon Mech 2 art:

    [​IMG]


    Don Figueroa Generation 1 Megatron Scarface themed art:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    Shame, he was a great artist.
     
  3. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    Thanks, nice read. And WOW on that Scarface!
     
  4. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    Awesome interview crew! And thanks Don for everything you've done for the fan community with your artwork over the years. No offense to the other artists, but I think it's safe to say that your art is hands-down the face of Transformers. Keep in touch buddy :) 
     
  5. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    bittersweet to hear him move on to other things besides TF.
     
  6. Beastbot X

    Beastbot X The Toad Knows.

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    Aw, he's leaving? Poop. Well, thanks for all the great stuff you've given us, Don, both in terms of your artwork and your contributions to the vastly under-rated Titanium line!
     
  7. Sycia

    Sycia Draconian Faction

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    Don Figueroa Concept Decepticon Mech art = DO WANT! :O!
     
  8. Bryan

    Bryan ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Very cool--and especially that Scarface bit.

    And dare I say that with more interviews like these, TFW stands poised to sweep the BotCon awards this year?
     
  9. ambushbug74

    ambushbug74 Stroke me, Stroke me! TFW2005 Supporter

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    It's probably good for hims to leave TFs now. I would hate to hear him just get so burned out he hated them, atleast this way he leaves but does thins here and there. I'm sure he is happy for the break.
     
  10. Switch625

    Switch625 "Up, up, and away!"

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    Don's easily the best TF artist EVER and he's more than earned a break by this point. I'm definitely curious as to what he's got up his sleeve and I'm sure when the time comes for his return to TF comics, it will be a very big deal! Thanks Don!
     
  11. ORIO

    ORIO Plant-Based Bot Super Mod News Staff

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    That is truly sad news. Everything Don has contributed to Transformers has been amazing. WWI, The G1 series, his run on Armada, the MTMTE profiles, Beast Wars, Macromasters and more, more, more, have all been amazing. We've been very lucky to have such an amazing talent and fan working on some of our favorite characters.

    You'll be missed Don and I wish you the best on future projects!
     
  12. Brodimus Prime

    Brodimus Prime Matrix Templar

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    Thanks so much for everything, Don. Your work has been awe-inspiring ever since Macromasters. We'll miss seeing you in the comics. But godspeed. It was such a thrill and pleasure meeting you, and thanks again for revealing the secrets behind the remainder of the Macromasters saga to me and my buddy at BotCon in Lexington!
     
  13. Black Oracle

    Black Oracle Black Convoy's Dark Angel

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    Don's not going to be doing much more on TFs comics?! This worries me, coz his TFs artwork is the only one that has ever made melt with admiration! He's the best TFs comic artist of recent years hands down! I think TFs art will suffer a significant losss without his work and creativity in bot designs. *Is sad.*
     
  14. Ezilla82

    Ezilla82 Expect the Unexpected.

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    Awesome artist. He will be missed, and I hope whatever projects he's involved in, makes him happy. Best wishes to him. His artwork will inspire more artist no doubt about it and will continue for years on.
     
  15. Shin-Gouki

    Shin-Gouki Rebuilding Veteran

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    Sucks he's not doing TF. While I'm glad my question was used, I'm bummed by the response.
     
  16. WhiteRabbit

    WhiteRabbit Uncounted Outlier

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    Nonsense.

    Don's earned a break. And he's far from the only good TF artist. Far.

    Take 'er easy Don! You don't owe anybody anything.
     
  17. Incepticon

    Incepticon Double Agent

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    I always say that it was because of Dreamwave's G1 comics that got me back into Transformers after a 15 year hiatus, but it was specifically Don's artwork that made me pay attention to Dreamwave in the first place. He is an absolutely unparalleled artist as well as a true conceptual genius as far as I'm concerned. Refining pre-established G1 characters by making them look more realistic and a little more adult savvy is one thing, but to redesign virtually ALL of them through series like War Within & Stormbringer is something else entirely... not to mention the toy designs he's done for Hasbro.

    I could not even begin to properly articulate the admiration & respect I have for Don as an artist & designer, but will forever be grateful for him breathing some MUCH needed new life into the franchise and helping it 'grow up' more than I ever thought was possible. He made Transformers look & feel the way I always wanted them to, and definitely helped bring their image to a new level of respectable acceptance.

    When I bought Don's "Best Of" book that IDW released last year, I had the highest hopes that it would contain the majorty of his sketches & concept art as found in the back of TPB's he's worked on. Unfortunately that was not the case at all, and while it's a decent overview of his work with Dreamwave & IDW, I think his contribution to this franchise undeniably warrants proper recognition in that form one of these days considering the sheer amount of stuff that we still haven't even seen yet.

    I'm glad he's getting out and/or taking a break on a high note, but will eagerly await more TF material from him in the future.

    Nothing but respect for Mr. Figueroa!
     
  18. Darkprime

    Darkprime Antigrav Singular Destron

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    I believe Don has a hidden message for us in Devastation #5...
     
  19. Deefuzz

    Deefuzz Beard On! Beardmaster! Veteran

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    That was a damned fine read, with awesome art visuals at the end there.

    Good job!
     
  20. Peaugh

    Peaugh Hi.

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    Best of luck on your future projects, Don, and thanks so much for everything you've given to the rest of us fans over the years! I look forward to your upcoming projects, and eagerly await any future TF work you may do!
     
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