Aaaaaaand we’re back after a several month hiatus with another Artist Spotlight! To celebrate our grand return, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Ivo from Imagine Minis. Ivo and his miniatures have had a solid presence with us for quite awhile now, and it been a constant joy for us to see his releases show up on a monthly basis. In addition to individual (and beautifully done) models, Ivo runs a very reasonably priced subscription service through MiniHoarder. If you’re interested in receiving all of his new releases automatically through MiniHoarder, it’s absolutely worth a look!

On top of that, Ivo has generously provided a coupon, valid through March 12, for 30% off of all the models on his store! You can take advantage of this with the coupon code, ImagineTheDiscount30!.

For every Artist Spotlight, we have one of the artist’s miniatures professionally painted. This months, we’ve asked our new friend Max at MadMax Miniatures. Ivo selected one of his newer Defender of the Glades models and the results were incredible. You can find more work by Imagine Minis on their store here.

MH: We have a tradition of starting with the artist’s studio name. How did you come up with Imagine Minis, and what does the name mean to you personally?

Ivo: At first, I started with IvoMG. That is my name but, it did not sound very professional and I could not use it if I started to work with others, so I started thinking about how to create a name that kept IMG in it. I started brainstorming some ideas but did not like any. My wife came and suggested Imagine since it has IMG on it. It was a good suggestion but it did not mean what I was doing. I added the Minis at the end, and it sounded just right and easy to pronounce. It can also be used here in Brazil because the word “Imagine” exists in our language.

Imagine Minis sounded perfect because I am the type of person that even when sculpting I am already imagining the other miniatures I will do. I know that some people Imagine Miniatures differently from others and to appeal to as many people as possible, I like to add some kind of variation or modularity to my models. 

MH: I’ve really loved watching your sculpts come a long and seeing your style work evolve over the past several months. What kinds of modeling experience did you have before sculpting specifically for 3D printing?

Ivo: I started around 2015. A friend and I decided to make games in Unity. He would do the programming and I would do the modeling. So I started using Blender and watched a few low-poly YouTube tutorials. Specifically, I started to learn from a YouTuber, Pigart. I finished a few characters for the game but one day my friend gave up. I kept modeling low-poly but not with the same speed or discipline as before. Two years later, I decided to make games solo using Unreal Engine. Programming and modeling at the same time is not an easy task. Doing that while learning is even harder, and after a while without much progress I gave up. But I still wanted to make games. 

Prototyping board-games was my initial plan for buying a 3d printer. I finished a 6 players ludo, with different pawns (Knight, Bishop, Archer, and Pawn) and cards. After that, I started learning how to sculpt to make gifts for friends. Since I had a printer “why not give it a shot?”, and that led me to what I am doing today.

MH: What are your current tools of the trade?

Ivo: I mainly use Blender, Pureref, and Krita. For 3d printing Chittubox and Lychee slicer along with Elegoo Mars 2 pro. Also lots and lots of Spotify (Heavy metal), music is essential to keep the flow. 

MH: Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’ll be working on next?

Ivo: Right now I’m working on the second part of the Defenders Of The Glade, a Set of Night Elf-inspired units for RPG, Wargame, or Paint. This second part will take more than one month. I am working on a group of Male Druids that can also be used as Barbarians. Each will have two versions, a Bear hat or hair, and 12 hand options.

MH: There are a lot of artists out there doing 3D sculpting work now. How do you approach each set to try and set yourself apart from the others?

Ivo: I always like to hear what people wish to see on their table and, sometimes miniatures are hard to find exactly the way you want. I want to sculpt for people, no matter how rare their request (or popular), so I created a Patreon Commission. Every month I create a request post, and the fastest Patrons to reply can describe their requests that I will place on a poll. The most voted will be sculpted. 

Besides the Patreon commission models, I work based on themes selected by my Patreon Community. If a patron has a theme suggestion I can evaluate and even put it on the poll.
I am a person that can’t hold back some intel and when I finish sculpting and test printing I release the miniature. That’s the reason I don’t release miniatures in a batch. That way, people will have something new almost every week.
My welcome pack is also flexible. Every month I will add a previously sculpted miniature to it. That way there is always a reason to come back to Imagine Minis.

MH: Do you have any advice for folks that are interested in doing any 3D mini sculpting of their own?

Ivo: A few things that helped me to start: tutorials, practice, and goals. Without knowing what you are doing you will be hitting your head on a wall. Learn from those that are teaching. YouTube is a great place to start if you are not interested in a paid mentor-ship. Be careful: only watching tutorials will take you nowhere. You will need to practice. Practicing every day will make you faster.

When I was learning I had to search for tutorials all the time. After doing it a few times, it was already on my mind and I no longer had to watch. After more practice I could do things without even thinking much about it.
When I started I had clear goals in my mind. At first, I wanted to do games and later on, I decided to make gifts for friends. I always focused on modeling/sculpture, though. Set achievable goals, because if you fail or don’t see any progress you might give up or lose your motivation.
Always analyze your 3d printed sculpture. There is so much you can learn from it. Because of the scale difference, what you see on screen is not always the same as what you print. For instance, for 32mm sculptures I can zoom really close and do some really tiny little details in the software but, in real life, some of the tiny details will not show (Unless you scale it up). You will have to find a balance to what kind of details you wish to add. If you add too much it will take you time and will not show but, your miniature can be scaled up and still look good.
Don’t waste time make things functional. They only need to look like they are. You could model a nice functional belt buckle but, for a miniature, it does not need to be a belt buckle. Having something that looks like a belt buckle can save you time and will still look good in the end. Remember that all will be scaled down (unless you are making a 75mm or bigger).

MH: What sort of future goals and dreams to you current have?

Ivo: It’s my goal to grow and develop DIY board games. Right now in my free time, I am making a sketch for a free-to-play skirmish game that people can use any miniature they have. Since I don’t have the resources or time to spend, it will be a kind of unpolished manual. Maybe in the future I will run a Crowdfunding campaign to make the manual with a professional look. Even then, it will still be free-to-play.

I love miniatures and like anime, fantasy, and sci-fi miniatures equally. Unfortunately, I cannot sculpt all of those. I am only one person, and they appeal to different groups of people. I started with sci-fi minis but could not get much support so I changed my focus to do only fantasy miniatures. It’s my goal to go back to make anime and sci-fi miniatures when I have more people working with me.
Lady Audra, printed by @thingsi3dprinted, and painted by @pear.miniatures
I know that there is a long road ahead for success and I don’t intend to be anyone’s main 3D miniatures supplier yet. The more supporters I have, I will continue to increase the number of sculptures, and will try to continue to keep the prices low.  I want to supply the gaming community with affordable awesome miniatures, grow bigger like GW but with much lower pricing. I know it’s a bold statement but it’s my dream.
I am a sculptor, RPG player and always dreamed of being able to create games so that people can have a great time. Let’s Imagine Minis Together.