Jason Babler has a sinful hobby. When he's not busy being MAKE magazine's Creative Director or working on projects like the Book of Cain, he likes to dabble in the delightful (and often deviously difficult) trade of sculpting. His most recent creation? A two-foot wide, 17-inch-tall version of the Lord of Sin himself, complete with LED lighting and an amazingly intricate level of detail.
Q. So, why Azmodan?
First and foremost, the Diablo team did an amazing job designing him. He's vile and unique, but still fits into the designs of the past games. I almost started on the Butcher (I may still do him), but Azmodan was just SO much more epic.
Second, when I worked with Blizzard on the Book of Cain, I just couldn't get enough of that world -- even though I was designing the book with Brom's awesome illustration of Azmodan. So, I decided to take my offline hobby [of sculpting] and bring Diablo III home with me at night, in a sense.
From a sculpting point of view, there were so many technical challenges to his legs, lighting up his hands and mouth, and getting the textures right, that I just wanted to see if I could even do this level of sculpting, since my earlier stuff is very amateurish.
Q. Have you worked on any other Diablo-related sculptures before, or do you plan to?
On my sculpting site
, you'll see I've done almost nothing else BUT Diablo and Warcraft sculpting. From Diablo III, I've also made the Unburied
(which actually won first place in a Creature and Model competition), the Dune Thresher
, as well as a head study of the Fallen Shaman
. I may still go back and finish up the Shaman one day.
One of my earliest sculpts was Illidan
from Warcraft, and my Troll Archer
was a completed build where I taught myself molding. So yeah, I do love the Blizzard world of monsters :)
Q. What was the hardest or most challenging part of your Azmodan piece?
It was trying to make him as detailed and close to the Diablo team's vision as possible, in both texturing, having a dynamic pose, and not making him cartoonish in any way. I was worried that I would not be able to paint him well enough, but I think it turned out well.
Q. If someone is looking to begin sculpting, or taking on a project somewhat like this, how do you recommend they begin?
Start small. Trying to do a project like this as your first project would be really frustrating. Learn anatomy and basic sculpting skills first, and then work on something like this after you've done a few sculpts.There are also a ton of great tutorials at www.stanwinstonschool.com
. Gnomon School is great, as are their tutorials. I just read a ton, visited sculpting forums, and don't forget: practice, practice, practice!
Q. Obligatory question: what class do you play, or enjoy playing the most?
I am rewarding myself for finishing this sculpt by finally playing Diablo III as the witch doctor (which brings back fond memories of my necromancer). :)
To learn more about Jason and his sculpture, be sure to check out his article over on MAKEzine.com.