“Sketching a scene as you see it gives you a sense of being there, that’s totally different from painting a copy of a photograph.”
We are four weeks into 2019 and with this figure photo, I’m already doubled my creative output compared to 2018. Wow, I’m so productive these days. When doing compositions like this one with Eriri, I’m always amazed how a bunch of well-placed props can deliver a huge impact.
About the figure:
This 1/7 scale figure of Sawamura Spencer Eriri that was released in December 2017 by manufacturer Max Factory. It was sculpted by Abira based on the jacket illustraton of the first seasons Blu-ray box artwork by Misaki Kurehito and shows the Dōjin mangaka in a highly dynamic pose, surrounded by work material of hers. Although there are quite a few high quality scale figures of Saekano characters out there, this one is a very tame one. Where other figures of the main cast definitely have a strong echi vibe to them (what is kinda surprising, considering how unagitated the source material is), this one depicts Eriri in her casual school uniform, that might give you plenty of freedom to set up an interesting environment for a photoshoot.
The only detail that might hint to her naughty hobby are the script pages, that come with her. Those are surprisingly detailed, even for a 1/7 scale and can be detached from the figure. Although the quality and paintjob of the figure was topnotch, I wasn’t able to attach the one separate script page to the bottom of her sweatshirt. I guess there was some issues with the mold and I don’t know if it’s a general problem or just my figure.
Her base is dull white with some flat colored stationaries on it. It’s a nice, clean looking base that doesn’t distract from the figure itself. She is mounted on her right feet with a solid metal bar, that reaches deep into her foot. So deep in fact, that it is no easy task to pull it out, once mounted completely.
About the series:
Based on the light novel series by Fumiaki Maruto the anime adaptation of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) by A-1 Pictures aired back in 2015 on Japanese television. The plot revolves around high school teenager, who is dreaming of creating a visual novel based on a real life encounter with a beautiful but dull girl. With the help of a Dōjinshi artist (Eriri) and a novel author (Utaha) he forms the development team “Blessing Software” so he might someday, somehow achieve his goal of creating a highly emotional visual novel that will be loved by the otaku community.
There is also a second season (2017), a couple of manga and a game. You can also check out the official website about the series with tons of merchandise and information about the show. A movie adaptation (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Fine) by Studio CloverWorks is scheduled to be released in late 2019.
Thoughts about the picture:
Compared to my last photo project with Cyan this setup was quit easy to craft. For starters I already possessed the buildable office desk and chair. It was a Gunpla like assembly kit I originally ordered for a second shooting with my Sagiri figure. Since my first shooting with her felt too “quick and dirty”, I planned to create a little room dollhouse, complete with desk, bed and everything. That obviously never happened and if you know me I’m not the guy wo does several reshoots with the same figure. Most of the time I try to come up with an idea, execute it and if it looks great I’m pleased. If it doesn’t work out so well I shrug it off and move on to the next project/figure. Therefore I build the desk and chair but never used it. Furthermore I was quite naive to think that the scale of those furniture’s would even come close to a 1/7 figure. After all, those sets are more suitable for Nendoroids or small ball jointed dolls like your average Figma. The difference in scale is the reason why in the final composition the desk is that much in the foreground. In combination with a wide-angle lens I was able to trick the vison of the viewer.
The bookshelf on the other hand was modeled after the iconic BILLY shelf from Ikea and has the same scale as Eriri. I took some plywood and cardboard to form the shelf and used wood stain on it to give it that darker, more yellowish color. After that I created a couple of magazines and manga books to fill it. For the magazines I used pictures of our own issues and for the manga I found an image board with hundreds of original Japanese manga covers. Lucky some of them were scanned completely including the backside and the spine.
Some of the books even have printed pages as well, since they where also meant to be used in another project. Because making those miniature books is quite time-consuming, I also placed a couple miniature figures and a picture frame on the shelf. Sadly most of the details might be overlooked, since it’s its reduced to a blurry backdrop in the final shot. Also, and this is a problem, I experienced before with another bookshelf construction I did, no one will ever see all those actual manga covers and printed pages.
One of the major hurdles of this picture was to cover up Eriris base. The downside with dynamic poses is, that often the figure doesn’t stand flat on the base but rather use a little plastic wedge to offset her tilted ankle. Of course you always can try to use postproduction but a simple hole in the ground or wooden peg like most of the time wouldn’t work in this case.
Furthermore with figures becoming bigger and more unbalanced, the plastic peg is often switched out for a metal bar and it’s hard to find an object that is similar in shape and strength. So in the case of Eriri I simply covered up her base with a real notebook and tilted both sides in a slight angle. So it looked almost like a pop-up book falling on the ground. For the final touch I also added a couple of pages from the original Saekano manga, two more of Eriris sketch books and a few of the office supply parts from my Senjougahara figure. All those elements are held in place with glue pads and some wire.
Canon EOS 80D, 16-35mm lense / ISO 200 /Exposure time 1/10 sec. /aperture: F/10
Time and effort: The most time-consuming parts for this project were crafting the books and painting the desk/chair. The books because it’s lot of cutting and gluing, and the desk because the base color was dark grey and I had to paint brighter colors in several layers.
Costs of the props: Yet again a pretty cheap build. The materials for the shelf and books was just lying around and the office desk model kit wasn’t very expensive either. In total I didn’t spend more than EUR 30,- on this set.