After working as a video games art director and concept artist, illustrating numerous comic books including Todd McFarlane's Spawn and imparting his skills to Magic: The Gathering, French artist Aleksi Briclot found it was time to do something personal.
His innovative move to sell his own artistic creation has proven so far, so good with a successful kickstarter campaign earning him the cash and devotees to start something he's really passionate about: the story of Azzar'Hi.
This bespoke character was created for the cover of his book, 'World's and Wonders'. "There she was!" Aleksi exclaims, "Herald of a cast dedicated to contain and guide the restless World eater, she does her job without any questions, following the orders. Azzar'Hi has a claw arm, with which she can summon spectral creatures. After her world collapses, her notion of good and evil is questioned."
The project has been an exercise in enjoyment for Aleksi, who says that the project has allowed him to have some fun with drawing and enabled him the freedom to transcend the fantasy genre's conventional codes.
Aleksi has spurned an entire universe telling the narrative of his beloved character, but is starting by teasing fans with a run of statues in collaboration with Tsume, funded via kickstarter.
"The Azzar'Hi statue is the first step of building this universe and this story. It maybe sounds like I and Tsume didn't start it in the right order, but this is actually the succession of all this different opportunities (the artbook, the statue...) that feeds the idea of doing something bigger," Aleksi comments.
"This is a huge and complex statue but we took care of the do-ability and production side before launching the crowd funding. There will be a leaflet inside the box with extra sketches, visuals and notes, like a making of the statue with details about the creation process as well as the universe and the character."
He plans to use this as a springboard on which to release the rest of his imagination, having a strong intention to develop some new stuff. "If it's only about a "space gal and monsters", well… then what? We'll get bored soon enough, don’t you think?” he admits.
“That's why I want to try something more real, something that moves me, linked to the real world. Talking about grieving, fatherhood, self-discovery, human feelings… this is the next phase where I want to surprise people!"
With his first campaign being such a success, Aleksi is motivated to take these steps to develop the project further and is currently writing the entire story. "This project is quite personal for me so I don't want to rush. Could be a cool to do some other statues, or a boardgame!"
Words: Alice Pattillo
This is an extended version of an article that appeared in ImagineFX (opens in new tab) issue 126.
Like this? Read these!