• Exclusive Interview with Chocobo Artist Jenna Antonelli!

    A week ago I had covered Artist Jenna Antonelli's Chocobo Sculpture. As I follow up I contacted her and we sat down (over email) and discussed her fantastic piece of work. Check out the EoFF exclusive interview with Jenna below!

    GB: First's first! Have you played any Final Fantasies in the past or was the chocobo done purely because of commission?
    Jenna: I've always been an avid gamer. I started out playing a lot of platformers and fighting games as a kid. Then one day my best friend convinced me to try out Final Fantasy VIII. Needless to say I was completely hooked. I've played VII, VIII, IX, X, even X-2. I also spent a good year of my life playing FFXI. Everyone and their mother will rave about VII being the best but Final Fantasy VIII will always be my all time favorite. It holds a special place in my heart. (I still have all my GF and character toys..even if they are pieces. They had tendency to break.)

    The commission was actually for a friend that I had met through online gaming. He kept seeing the work I posted to twitter, facebook, etc. He approached me about possibly creating a chocobo for him. I was excited about the project as a fan and an artist. I'd never tackled something with so many feathers before!

    GB: Ah great stuff! So did your friend give you any parameters for the chocobo design or would you say that this sculpture's interpretation came from your own experiences with the games? Did anything from playing the games make you inspired to make those feathers so detailed?
    Jenna: The only thing the client mentioned was wanting it closer to any of the chocobos before FFX. I would say that's what I based it's proportions off of. I looked at a ridiculous number of game screen shots, concept art, and fan art. At first the feather style was based more off of the FFX concept art. The wispy, fluffy look. The more I played with feather styles, the more I realized that I just didn't like the simplified, stylized look that you see in the game models. I started looking at real birds, real feather patterns and textures.

    I guess im really glad my friend and client was letting me run with it because it ended up being exactly my style. I tend to recreate real things but just put a slightly exaggerated twist on it. It's subtle. It's something I've recognized in my work the last few years. I can achieve whatever look the client wants, but if given artistic freedom it tends to come out in my 'style'. I'm currently wrapping up another job for a comic company and it's so simplified, stylized. I love the challenge of it though.

    GB: Sounds like a lot of research! How long did it take? Which games did you look at screenshots and concept art from? Did you ever consider a different "type" of chocobo (Black, Gold etc.)?
    Jenna: Can't say how long per say because the poor bird was put on hold while I moved myself back to the northeast.

    I looked at each games iteration. I really wanted to see how they changed, how they differed from one to another. Even though my friends and I joked about him being the legendary gold, I always knew he would be classic chocobo yellow. When I was sculpting him, I was always conscious of making sure he had the defining features that made him really look like a chocobo. Once I started laying in the yellow on the feathers and orange for the beak, that's when he really looked the part. It's just so iconic.

    GB: Is there any one part of the process of actually creating the piece that was the most difficult? I couldn't image the time it took to put each feather in!
    Jenna: The feathers. Hands down.

    The anatomy was pretty quick to flesh out. It's always important to lay an accurate foundation, even if it will be covered up. The other 75% of the work was just feathers. Lots and lots of feathers.

    -End of Interview-

    Jenna mentioned to me that she might sign up and answer questions left in this article, so leave any questions you want here! If she doesn't get a chance to sign up I'll pass a few a long to her via email! For more information about Jenna Antonelli and her work, check out her website.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Exclusive Interview with Chocobo Artist Jenna Antonelli! started by Goldenboko View original post
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. Formalhaut's Avatar
      Formalhaut -
      A very talented sculptor signing up to our humble site? I'm honoured.

      So, how long did it take to complete overall? How long was the "planning" phase, compared to the "making" phase. I imagine the feathers took ALOT of your time.

      If you didn't make a chocobo, what other iconic FF character would you create? Maybe a Moogle, or a Tonberry?

      What tools do you use when sculpting? I'm not an expert, obviously. Is it just like a chisel or something? XD Sorry, I'm terrible!

      Finally, are you looking forward to the latest FF game, Lightning Returns? Are you annoyed by Versus taking forever? What would be good actually is if someone sculpted or made Noctis. Might get SE's attention.

      And thank you! I love the sculpture. I wouldn't want it staring at me at night to be fair, but it's a gorgeous, almost semi-realistic approach to designing a chocobo.
    1. Faris's Avatar
      Faris -
      Have you made any other Final Fantasy related sculptures? If no, do you have plans to make another?

      Which Final Fantasy is your favourite?

      Also, your attention to detail is stunning
    1. Aulayna's Avatar
      Aulayna -
      He (or wait... is it a he?) looks so happy! How long did getting that smile right take?

      Any advice for any aspiring crafts people?

      If you could live inside one Final Fantasy world - which would it be?
    1. Del Murder's Avatar
      Del Murder -
      What's the chocobo's name?
    1. Freya's Avatar
      Freya -
      If you've been a fan for so long, and you're an artist whom has been doing this for a bit, why have you never taken on the task of FF before?

      How much does a commission like this cost if one was to want one?
    1. Loony BoB's Avatar
      Loony BoB -
      Oh man, I saw that on DA the other day and loved it. Are you by any chance the same person who did a chocobo sculpture that was featured in a thread on Square-Enix's FFXIV forums? =o
    1. Psychotic's Avatar
      Psychotic -
      What material did you make the sculpture from? Impressive talent, Jenna!
    1. JennaRambles's Avatar
      JennaRambles -

      Planning phase was pretty minute in comparison to the total work time. Yes the feathers were quite a bit of work.

      If I didn't make a chocobo..I would honestly sculpt Shiva, from VIII I think. I don't get to work with females often and she was always my favorite.

      I use so many types of tools I can't really name them all. Wooden, stainless steel, metal loop tools, heat guns, wax pens, various types of solvents. It all really depends on what material im using.

      This sculpt in particular was made from Super Sculpey. I don't use it too often anymore but it's very responsive and easy to use. Great for anyone who wants to try their hand at sculpting. It requires baking in an oven to harden. Then you can sand it and paint it.

      I guess im kind of excited about the new FF. I wasn't the biggest fan of the last one but I'll always give it a try. Im forever a fan of FF universe so I always want the new games to be amazing. Fingers crossed.

      This is the only FF sculpt ive done so far. I enjoy sculpting anything really.

      The Chocobo doesn't really have a name. I'll let his 'owner' have the honor. I've been calling him Little Bastard through most of the process though

      The smile didn't take too long to get right or what felt right at least. I did add the little tilt of the head early on..just made it more cute and interesting.

      I honestly can't decide what FF world I would live in. They all have their positives and negatives...maybe IX because it would be fun to be all chibi sized. I really enjoyed the character design in that game. Maybe VIII because its my favorite and Id like to study at Balamb Garden for a semester or two (this being before the events of the game heh). FFX has some really pretty scenery. I would just travel to all my favorite spots.

      I have no clue if I was featured on Square Enix's forums but I highly doubt it :P

      I've never taken on sculpting FF characters before because..well I have lots of things I enjoy and want to create. FF is just one of them. As it is, im quite divided all over the map with my current work and upcoming projects. If I had all the time in the world..Id squeeze a few more fan projects in.
    1. Shorty's Avatar
      Shorty -
      Quote Originally Posted by Faris View Post
      Have you made any other Final Fantasy related sculptures? If no, do you have plans to make another?
      This was going to be my question! I'd love to see more FF creatures.

      Welcome to our forums, Jenna!
    1. Aulayna's Avatar
      Aulayna -
      Thank you for replying
    1. Raistlin's Avatar
      Raistlin -
      Hi, Jenna! Glad to have you here. I don't really have any other questions, but I just wanted to say good job and welcome to EoFF. I hope you'll do more FF creatures someday!

      Actually, I do have one light-hearted question. You said that you looked at chocobo images from throughout the series. Now that you're an expert, which game has the best chocobos?
    1. Loony BoB's Avatar
      Loony BoB -
      Welcome to EoFF.

      One more question, if you have time... what would you consider to be the most difficult Final Fantasy sculpture someone could ask you to come up with? Are there any certain things which make sculpture work impossible or just far, far too difficult to be worth your time?
    1. Formalhaut's Avatar
      Formalhaut -
      I imagine Barthandalus would be quite a chore to craft.

      Thanks Jenna, and I hope you stay of the forum for quite awhile! If your interested in food as well as sculpting, your right at home.
    1. espritduo's Avatar
      espritduo -
      Like I said in the other thread, I would gladly be willing to pay several hundred dollars for something like this. I have no idea how much a sculpture of this quality goes for so that might be a ridiculous overexaggeration or a downright insult. Seeing as you like FFVIII, I would probably pick something from that game, but there's just so much iconic stuff from the series it'd hard to choose just one. Hah, I imagine PuPu would be pretty easy.
    1. Shiny's Avatar
      Shiny -
      Are there any other things from the Final Fantasy series that you plan on or would like to sculpt in the near future?
    1. Mirage's Avatar
      Mirage -
      Which FFXI server did you play on, Jenna?
    1. JennaRambles's Avatar
      JennaRambles -
      Best chocobos? Man..that's all personal preference I think. For me I'd say FFX. Just the right level of fantasy and realism. I like their coloring and the style of the feathers. To each his own though. All chocobos are best

      The most difficult? Hard so say but I did have a friend of mine jokingly ask for a Bahamut from FFX. That would be..tedious to say the least. Each sculpture has its difficulties though. I tend to always make things more difficult than I need to :P

      If you are interested in commissioning a sculpt just send me an email ( Creative@jennaantonelli.com ) and we can discuss it

      I'm currently working on another chocobo commission as we speak. It's a little different than the last one. Should be fun!

      Ugh..it's been so long since I played..I want to say Odin server?
    1. Mirage's Avatar
      Mirage -
      I used to know someone who played there, but that's a long time ago. Hey, do you wanna sculpt Absolute Virtue?

      It looks like it would be less work to do so than the chocobo, in either case. Lots of smooth surfaces. You can actually get a model viewer for that game, so you could freely view the monster from any angle you want.
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