Calvin Lin or Cubiecal is the creator of Cubefold. His figures are amazing and he covers a lot of characters through his Popfolds.
I got to know about Cubefold through the Suicide Squad Popfold series. Check out our interview with the creator. Try out all of the Popfolds for yourself as well.
When did you realize you wanted to go into illustration & design?
I’ve always wanted to illustrate ever since I was a kid, but I think what sealed the deal for me was growing up on anime and comics from the late 80’s and 90’s – seeing all of the amazing stuff people come up with was just simply amazing. If I were to pinpoint one thing it’s definitely Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind manga that drove me most.
The design part of things kind of came about with my obsession with toys, I was a weird kid, whenever I get a new toy I can break apart (especially Transformers), I would instantly grab a screwdriver and started disassembling it to figure out how and where things go.
So yea I’ve always had this goal of making art as a living ever since I was a kid – starting in primary grade school drawing stuff for the other kids in exchange for snack money (laugh).
How & when did the idea of doing Cubefold (paper pop figures) come to be?
Oddly enough when I hit that low point in my life when I decided to quit working on graphic design, illustrating and failing on a lot of different projects during and after university years as well as on my time in the industry (laugh). I’ve always had this idea of making craft-able figures or toys on the back of my mind and always wanted to pursue making my own designs for a living. I have some background in illustration and design but none in making a product – so it’s just another skill I have to learn for this endeavour.
So, one day I just thought I’ll give this last idea a shot and see how it goes – and now here we are! I never thought it would resonate with people but it’s slowly growing and giving me the enthusiasm and positivity to keep improving with Cubefold.
From all the current figures you’ve created do you have a favorite one and why?
Ooo, it’s actually one character I’m working on but still unreleased that I think it’s the one I’m most proud of for now – it’s a simple figure but something about it just feels like it turned out better than what I’ve made so far personally, but I think people should be the judge of it.
However prior to this it’s easily Metal Gear Rex figure (#003 Mech Series), would be a favorite since it took me about 2 months to make over 3 prototypes before making the final cut, which almost drove me to scrapping it altogether. Definitely happy how it turned out at the end and I think the effort and learning process that I put into it was the reward at the end of the day.
Do you take commissions for figures? Is there a set price for a paper pop figure or it depends on the detail required to create the character?
(Laugh) This is a common one, but a lot of people that contacted me for commissions REALLY don’t like it when I said I don’t take exposure as a payment. I do have a standard rate for a character figure and I do put in the effort to come up with each from the prototype stage to final design and presentation as if each was for commercial purposes. I definitely can say for sure I aim to make each figure to a high level of finish and I am very serious when it comes into designing each Popfold figures.
A lot of people do message me and have this impression that I can churn out figures with no effort at all or just rely on a 3D program, but in reality it’s not. A lot of my process is crafting the pieces of the figures by hand and I have a personal design philosophy to make a highly detailed figure but at the same time simple enough for (hopefully) anyone to craft. I personally believe in quality over quantity – but I’d like to be able to get to the financial state to make more figure releases more frequently with a consistent level of quality (laugh).
What are you working on next?
Sorry to be a killjoy but it’s actually the boring stuff!
Other than working on September figures, it’s mostly working on a new website layout, materials and contents for Cubefold as well as drumming up new ideas for how I can get more support in terms of visibility and making it a sustainable. I will definitely announce in time how people can help out if they like what they see and genuinely want to support my crazy goal of making 1000 Popfold figures available freely to the world – but at this current rate the projected time to mission complete would probably take about 25 years (laugh).
But once the big stuff is out of the way I’ll be working on ways and new measurements that (should) help me make figures more efficiently. But I definitely have a lot of ideas in mind for what characters to tackle next since I always have an expanding list of characters people keep asking me to make!
Thanks for having me and please continue to patiently watch one guy’s silly quest to make 1000 free paper figures to the world!
I’m a big geek of history and philosophy outside of pop culture and especially inspired by amazing podcasters like Dan Carlin (Hardcore History & Common Sense) and Daniele Bolelli (History on Fire). So I tend to work on Cubefold while listening to their podcasts – I highly recommend it if anyone would like to learn something new while being entertained at the same time.
One thing I keep close in mind when it comes to putting in the time to practicing my craft is definitely Aristotle’s words; “We are what we do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Have you made some of his Popfolds? Let us know!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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