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An Interview with Hot Toys’ Yulli

Posted by: vader at 12:13 pm on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I have recently been granted a rare opportunity to do a Q&A session with Yulli – in the hopes of getting to know a little more about the talent behind several of Hot Toys‘ great sculptures.

For the small number of action figure collectors who haven’t yet heard of her name, Yulli is the chief sculptor behind Hot Toys’ very successful series of 1/6 scale figures based on several hit movies including The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Aliens vs. Predator.

Her work on the upcoming Bank Robbery Joker (unanimously voted by collectors as the best TDK Joker head sculpt) and Harvey Dent Two-Face are highly anticipated. Just take a close look at some of her sculpting and one will understand why she and Hot Toys are such household names among the 1/6 community.

And now, on to the questions…

Where are you based?

Seoul, South Korea

What’s your education background (which university did you go to? what’s your degree? are you an art major? etc.)

I graduated from HONG IK University.

How long have you been sculpting?

About 10 years. I started to sculpt 1:1 scale statue from the beginning, but in past 3 years, I’ve been focusing on 1:6 instead.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?

sculptor, artist, designer

When did you join the Hot Toys team?

Jan of 2007.

What is your current title/position?

Chief sculptor.

What were you doing prior to joining the Hot Toys team?

Sculpture teacher in high school.

Where is your current base of operations?

My own workshop based in Seoul.

How did you get into the field of sculpting?

I used to teach high school students sculpting. I was looking for a freelance job related to figure headsculpt when I was in vacation from university. And then I met some kind people who producing 1/6th figure. I realized more about 1/6th figurine products and the relative works from that time.

To date, how many figures have you designed/created?

About 30 pieces, as I’ve started sculpting figure head before I join Hot Toys.

Of those figures, which one is your personal favorite?

Joker. I usually use my latest job as my answer for this question. Because every time when I look at my previous work, I realized that they are not perfect enough.

Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

He is JC Hong who is recently working with me in Hot Toys. He has great passion and demand on his work, and these gave me challenges. Also, he has very good sense on sculpture, and gives me advices and opinions.

What would you say is the hardest part about your line of work?

Combine the face sculpture and expression.

With the many different renditions available, how do you decide on the most appropriate look when designing a character?

I’ll leave this question to Hot Toys, because this is not my personal decision.

If you can to choose to re-do/re-make any toy/figure from your early years, which one would that be and why?

I’ll pick the Prison Break brothers. They are my first job in Hot Toys. Their sculptures were too simple and less details compared with my recent works (like JOKER etc) As they are popular items, so I wish I can re-do both of them.

What is your favorite toy from your childhood?

I used to play with “paper doll” when I was a child. I drew people/figure, clothes and accessories on cardboard, then cut them out and play with them.

What did you think of the movie The Dark Knight?

A tense atmosphere could be felt in The Dark Knight movie. All characters are charming and unique.

How long did it take you to work on The Joker’s head sculpt?

I have worked 3 heads and 1 mask for Joker. As I was working on other projects in the same period, so I don’t know the real timing. But I usually take 2-3 weeks for each head.

Without revealing any trade secrets, how was the look of the TDK Joker achieved?

Before the movie released, I look up the movie poster and still photograph from Hot Toys to study his make up. Also I watched some Health Ledger’s movies for face sculpture references.

What was the hardest part about that particular project (TDK)?

I have to pay more effort on the first Joker figure as references were so limited. The most difficult part is to make a character who has too much make-up.

The Bank Robber version of joker was created after I’ve watched the movie, it is much better than the normal version because I’ve input the characteristic of Joker, especially his mad performance.

Please tell us how Machiko (She Predator) was conceptualized.

The concept was created by Howard (Chan) and designed by Joseph (Tsang).

Which character would like to be given the chance to sculpt professionally?

Wonder Woman.

What advice can you give beginners who might want to follow in your footsteps?

I’d advise beginners to study in anthroponomy (Frame and muscle), and develop sense of 3D proportion. They can describe the sculpture very well if they have such basic knowledge.

###

My sincere thanks to Yulli for taking time out of her very busy schedule to indulge us.

Special thanks to Germaine of Hot Toys for helping make this interview possible.

 

 

 

23 Comments »

  • shaun says:

    great post Pete!

    This part got me exceptionally excited.

    Which character would like to be given the chance to sculpt professionally?

    Wonder Woman.

  • Jack P. says:

    Wow! Great interview. Nice to know a bit about the person behind such wonderful toys.

    Looking forward to Two-Face.

  • Sean says:

    Great interview and some very fascinating answers to some of the questions. I can’t believe the estimated time for a headsulpt Yulli has, I’d love to see an answer to a follow up question of how long it took her to be able to turn out headsculpts so quickly and of such high caliber. Probably a trade secret they won’t share, but it’d be awesome to know how they add skin texture to their potraits. Hope HT does more behind the scenes interviews like this, very insightful.

  • ThunderBreak says:

    Thank you very much for sharing the interview, Peter. It’s really great to know more about the people involved in the toys we collect.

    Hope you get a regular Q&A session with Hot Toys :)

  • Cameron says:

    Breathtaking sculptures, just amazing work. The texture and flow of the hair on the new Joker is just mind bending to me… I can’t recall ever seeing such realism from a static sculpt before. Of course, Yulli’s expertise coupled with Hong’s masterful painting is what sends it over the edge.

    Here’s to hoping you BOTH have an enduring tenure with Hot Toys, and in the 1:6 community in general!

  • Caleb says:

    Freakin cool. The robber Joker has a splendid awesome sculpt. Cant wait to see the actual product soon~

  • moncikoma says:

    yulii!!!! i love u!!!!

  • Vincent Shiu says:

    Yulii,

    Hi, you are so great. I’m your fans.
    I bought hottoy action figures of the joker , Batman , Wong Ka kui and so on.

    Who’s movie star you best like??
    I would like you made the action figure “the Lesile (A Hong Kong greatest singer )”.

    Will you made him?? I’m waiting now.

    Good Luck !

    Vincent Shiu

    Hong Kong

  • Romeo says:

    Awesome!!!I always appreciate detail , quality and talent and shez got talent!!!

  • […] shaun wong on Sep.30, 2008, under 12 inch one sixth sixth scale, hot toys Check out AFHub’s exclusive interview with the artist who’s been enchanting us with her incredible head […]

  • […] Hot Toys’ Yulli interviewed. It’s great to see Hot Toys’ talent sculptors are getting the recognition they deserve. […]

  • […] Hot Toys’ Yulli interviewed. It’s great to see Hot Toys’ talented sculptors are getting the recognition they deserve. […]

  • Hulkfan says:

    Cool interview.

    Does anyone know the extent of Hot toys Marvel license?

    Are there any Q&A’s coming up that can shed some light on that?

    Specificly if they going to do a Hulk figure from the new film?

  • […] Vader over at our sister site AFHub has put together a great interview with Hot Toys’ chief sculptor Yulli. Yulli was responsivle for what may end up being the best figure of 2008- Hot Toy’s Bank Robber Joker from The Dark Knight.   Check out this great Q&A with an amazing sculptor here! […]

  • Waverider says:

    Beautiful woman sculpt wonderful figures.

    I’m so proud you are Korean.

  • Jasper Diego says:

    Hi Yulli,

    Since you like Wonder Woman, I hope you create Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman season 1, 2 & 3 based on the television series.

    Thanx,

    Jasper

  • jose says:

    La verdad que es una autentica artista,yo tambien he estudiado algo de arte pero en escultura estoy un poco dejado.Desde luego la escultura del joker vale su precio en oro es la mejor figura con realismo y expresavidad que he visto nunca parece tener vida propia.Esta chica ademas de ser wapa y es una autentica artista

  • jose says:

    This chica es Una Verdadera artista.Ha Sabido cactar Toda La Esencia y El realismo de Este Personaje Tanta Con Personalidad Que es joker.La El expresividad de la figura pare ESTAR viva es increible.Yo que ESTUDIADO Arte y Muy Poca Gente Conozco Capaz de HACER Lo Que hace this chica.Ademas de wapa es Una Artista Que Vale Su peso en oro .

  • rus pett says:

    yulli, your are hot….shall we hang out when i’m in korea?

  • RAIDEN says:

    WHY DON T TRY Big trouble in Little China.

    IT has many good Charactor.

    and EVIL DEAD

    I wait for u.

  • […] out AFHub’s exclusive interview with the artist who’s been enchanting us with her incredible head […]

  • SEDAT BALICOK says:

    Hi Yulii and JC Hong i would love to meet you guys because it is amazing work that you guys do im a big fan on superhero’s figuers.I live in Australia in the state of NSW. Do you think you guys will ever come to Australia one day. I will hope you do.

  • Martin Wolters says:

    Wow, Yulli is ♥
    I’m a collector of Hot Toys and a movie fan.
    I have Blade, Abigail Whistler, Batman (1989 version), Classic Predator, T-1000, T-1000 in Sarah Connor disguise, Iron Man Mark IV, T-600 Terminator and I’m waiting for several more Hot Toys to arrive.

    The details of all the Hot Toys are incredible.
    Keep up the good work!

    Greetings from Holland!


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