We have so much talent in the Supernatural fandom! Fans draw works of art, edit photos and videos, write fanfics, create costumes or props, make jewelry, and much more. It’s time to showcase some of the #SPNFamily’s talent and ask the people behind the creations some questions!
I think you all know the cute Funko Pop! figures of Dean, Sam, and all the other Supernatural characters. I can call a Charlie, a small Dean, and a small Castiel my own. Today, I’d like to introduce to you Lisa—the woman who makes incredible custom Pop! figures.
Like always, my first questions are about Supernatural. How and when did you become a fan of Supernatural?
I remembering seeing the pilot episode and a handful of episodes after that when they first aired back in 2005. I liked them but never kept up with it for some reason (probably because I got interested in watching the new series of Doctor Who). Then, somewhere between season six and seven, my daughter got hooked on Supernatural and suggested I watch it too. The rest is history!
What does the Supernatural fandom mean to you?
The fandom is a way to connect with the actors and a way to experience the conventions through the eyes of other fans. It’s a way of sharing stories, artwork, and ideas. It’s a way of forming friendships and bonds with fellow fans that you may never meet. It’s a sense of community and family.
Custom Funko Pop! figures
How did you get into making custom Funko Pop! figures?
I was given Sam and Dean Winchester Funko Pop! figures for my birthday several years ago; I decided that I didn’t like the paint job—it was so bland and uninspired. So, I bought some acrylic paint and repainted them. After I posted them on my DeviantArt page, a friend suggested that I do more and sell them on Etsy. I started out by selling some repainted Pop! figures and branched out to make custom ones.
What was your first custom Funko Pop! and why?
My first custom kitbash (made from two different Funko Pop! figures) was Chuck Shurley from season 4 of Supernatural—“The Monster at the End of This Book.”
Funko originally only had three official Supernatural Pop! Figures—Sam, Dean, and then Castiel. There were so many characters in Supernatural that were just begging to be made, and there was only a handful of customizers out there filling that void. I looked at their work and was inspired to try my hand at it.
What I really want to know is, what is your process? How do you decide what custom Funko Pop! is next?
Sometimes, after watching an episode, I get inspired to make a character. Sometimes I come across a Funko Pop! that has a body pose or a hairstyle that reminds me of a certain character that I’ve been longing to make. Sometimes I get commissioned to make a certain custom [figures].
Where do you buy all the material—like the paints, the Funko Pop! Figures, and whatever else you need?
I buy a good majority of my Funko Pop! Figures, as well as the Apoxie Sculpt and modeling tools I use, online at Amazon or Ebay. Other things like paints and brushes I get at one of my local craft stores, like A. C. Moore.
What colors and brushes do you use?
I don’t exclusively use only one brand of brushes or paint, but rather what’s on sale at the time when I need them. However, I do prefer Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paint, and I buy a lot of tiny and fine-line brushes.
What else do you need to customize a Funko Pop!?
I use a rotary tool, X-ACTO knives, Apoxie sculpt air-dry clay, modeling tools, an airbrush, cotton swabs, acetone, sandpaper, a matte sealant, clear gloss, and metal files.
How much time do you need to finish a custom Pop!?
Completion times can vary a lot. If I am doing a simple repaint, I can finish it in about two hours. If I am making a custom kitbash that needs a lot of modification and fabrication, it can take about two to three weeks.
Example of repaint:
Examples custom Pop! figures:
How many steps does it take to finish one?
Again, these will vary with the complexity of the custom.
A repaint will have the least number of steps—paint and seal with a matte fixative.
A kitbash will start by separating the heads and bodies of the Funko Pop! figures to be used, customizing them (modifying, fabricating, painting), putting them back together, and sealing them.
Can you explain a sample process with an example custom Funko Pop! including pictures?
I can explain the process but I may not have pictures available to illustrate each step.
I’m contacted with a commission request.
The client tells me what they are looking for and shows me example pictures.
I search through the available Funko Pop! collection for figures that best represent the client’s vision.
I make suggestions and let them know what I’m capable of altering, modifying, and fabricating.
Then, we settle on the figure (or figures) and I make a private custom listing for them with the details, price, and shipping cost. Once the order is paid, I purchase the figure(s).
If I’m making a kitbash (a custom made from more than one Pop!), I place the figures in boiling water to loosen the glue on the head disk. Then I remove the head and any arms, legs or accessories, etc. that I will be modifying.
If I am modifying the clothing on a figure or fabricating accessories, I use two-part air-dry epoxy clay and let it set overnight. While waiting for the clay to set, I will start working on the head.
Often, I will remove the original painted eyebrows with acetone, so that I can make them resemble the commissioned character more accurately. I will then start painting the eyes, eyebrows, and hair.
The following day, when the clay has set, I will sand down any rough surfaces and make them smooth enough to receive paint. Using the photographs provided, I will paint and detail the clothing.
When both pieces are finished, I reattach the head and any appendages that were removed for painting. The finished custom Funko Pop! is then sprayed with a matte fixative and the eyes are given a coat of gloss.
You take commissions, right? How does that work? Are there rules? And are things you would never do?
Yes, I take commissions! Usually I am contacted on Etsy or one of my other social media sites by someone wanting me to create a particular custom for them, be it a Personal Pop! or an actor or character that Funko Pop! has not made yet.
One of the things I will NOT do is to copy another artist’s work. I sometimes get asked to recreate another customizer’s work and I make a point of sending them to the original creator’s site. I know the planning and work that goes into designing a custom Pop!, and I do not feel right about making money off of their ideas. I have had this happen to me and it is very upsetting.
I’m not sure if you can decide, but what is your favorite custom Funko Pop! Why?
I really can’t narrow it down to one. There are several that stand out for me for different reasons. One of them is Chuck from season 4 of Supernatural because he was the first kitbash I made.
Others include Cain from Supernatural and two other Timothy Omundson characters—Carlton Lassiter from Psych and King Richard from Gallivant.
Those are special to me because I got the request for Cain directly from Timothy Omundson (who plays Cain), and it really boosted my confidence.
I’m also very proud of the first custom Death (played by Julian Richings) I made, and the more recent version of him returning Sam’s soul—that was the first time I ever wired a Pop! for light!
I also am fond of the Margo and Eliot from The Magicians that I made, and of the episode-specific Psych characters of Shawn (Soupcan Sam) and Gus (Satchel Gizmo).
All of those were challenging and tested my abilities, but were extremely fun to make.
What has been the most difficult custom Funko Pop! that you’ve created so far, and why?
My lighted Death Funko Pop! was probably my most difficult custom. This wasn’t done for a commission, but it was something that I wanted to try.
I drilled the holes in the hand, arm, and torso and ran the LED wires down through the leg into a custom base. I was so proud of the results!
How many Funko Pop! figures and custom Funko Pop! figures can you call your own? What was the first Funko Pop! you ever bought?
I’m actually not much of a collector. I just really enjoy creating them. That said, I do own Sam and Dean Winchester Pop! figures, Sam and Baby, the TARDIS, and the 4th and 10th Doctors Funko Pop! figures. As for customs, I still own my original Death and my lighted Death.
Do you have a custom Funko Pop! that you would never sell, even if someone would sell their soul to you?
As fond as I am of my custom Death Pop! figures, I may sell them eventually, but I’d rather give them to Julian Richings. I’ve had fans give several of the actors and actresses from Supernatural my custom Funko Pop! creations for me, but Julian is still on my “to do” list.
Are you creating other art besides the custom Funko Pop! figures?
I’m exclusively making custom Funko Pop! figures at the moment, but I have made other kinds of art. Before I got into customizing, I used to draw a lot. I did mostly pencil portraiture. You can see examples of my work on DeviantArt.
Now it’s time for the question I ask everyone. If you could change only one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that! That’s a tough one! I guess, because I live in the US and because of our current state of affairs, I would like to change people’s attitude toward each other. I would like people to be kinder and love more. I would like everyone to see the value in one another and to know that we are all worthy of being loved.
I´m also an The X-Files Fan. That’s why I also have to share these custom Pop! figures of Mulder & Scully from Lisa.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Lisa!
Please share your comments, questions, and reactions below! If you want to follow Lisa, you can find her here:
Lisa’s Etsy shop can also be found among the unique Supernatural gifts in the “Merchant Stores” section of The WFB Marketplace!
Thanks for reading.
-Using Words, Telling Stories, The Writer Business-
Read More Stories of Fans who have been “Inspired by Supernatural”! Sam and Dean Action Figures, Bettina’s own Supernatural photography editing, Outstanding Supernatural Sketches by Janie, and other creations can all be found in WFB’s “Lighter Side” articles!
Editing assistance provided by Chelsea. All photos were taken by Lisa.