Today the BioniBlog presents an exciting new exclusive feature, namely, "winnerviews" with the winners of the BBCC Contests over on BZPower. The most recent contest's winner is ToM Dracone on BZP, AKA MuffinToa on Brickshelf. His MOC, The Priestess of Earth, won first place in BBCC#49, which required entrants to build a largely Bionicle vignette.
I've had this idea to interview BBCC winners in the back of my mind ever since Masoko Tanga interviewed the Arvo Bros., but only now has it become a reality. So, without further ado, the interview:
Me: Congratulations on winning your fourth BBC Contest. Anything you'd care to tell us about your winning entry? Perhaps how the building process went, or any obstacles you encountered?
ToM: Thanks! I think the biggest problem was getting started, since at first I didn't have any clear idea how to build the tree. I wound up just building from the ground up, literally, adding bits of trunk as ideas came to me and then doing the leaves once I remembered various large green pieces I could make use of. I actually got a lot of inspiration from Shan's Mata-Nui MOC for the leaves...Building the base was an interesting process, too, as I had previously only used System pieces in Bionicle MOCs, never working Bionicle pieces onto a System-dominated base.
Me: Your models often have designs that would be termed complex by most people. Before starting work on a MOC, do you plan it all out beforehand or make most of it up as you go?
ToM: I usually have a general image in my mind, so I know what pieces I might use for certain parts beforehand, but how to connect those ideas usually comes as I build. So, for instance, I might decide to use Nuva chest armor, but I usually don't know how to make the rest of the body until I try. Still, I usually have at least a few ideas about how to build certain parts.
Me: What genre, if any, of MOCs do you most enjoy building?
ToM: Not really sure how I would classify my MOCs into genres, except for the obvious genre of Black Fantasy... but I like building small things, which I guess is something.
Me: Looking at your Brickshelf, I've noticed some System MOCs, but the majority of your creations are built with Bionicle and Technic. Do you prefer Bionicle and Technic building to System, and if so, why?
ToM: I don't really like either one better; I have more Bionicle MOCs mostly because I just get more ideas for building them. Though, there was a time a couple years ago where I had a streak of building System... so it's really because I'm just more involved with Bionicle than System on the whole that makes me build with Bionicle/Technic more.
Me: Is there anything in particular that you tend to draw a lot of inspiration from? And more specifically, was the idea for your most recent winning entry inspired by the Shakespeare scene from which the quote in the entry pic originated?
ToM: Nothing in particular, I think. In most cases I dream up an idea either out of the blue or decide to build something that's been floating around in my head as a concept for some time, and when it actually is inspired by something, there's no consistent pattern.
As to the second part, actually no. I built the MOC and the Priestess and her cauldron partly out of a fascination with witches and magic and mythologies that I've had for a while (and a love for forests), then realized the Macbeth quote fit the scene nicely...
Me: In addition to MOCing, you're also quite proficient at drawing and writing. Do you often gain inspiration for a MOC from a story or drawing of yours, or vice versa?
ToM:From writing, yes; a fair amount of my MOCs (or half-finished ideas lying on my floor) come from Bionicle stories I've written. Though I can't recall ever having built anything as a result of something I've drawn.
Me: What advice would you give to your fellow MOCers? Building tips, advice on attitude, anything.
ToM: Color scheme is sacred. So is flow. To elaborate, colors must both work together, be organized into something coherent, and be distributed so that there's a balance between the constituent colors. You also should avoid having too many colors – more than three main colors can be difficult to work with. And if you do have more than that, the additional colors should really be left as accents instead of having all of them in equal amounts.
As to flow, different areas of an MOC need to work together just as well. Both in that one part of an MOC should smoothly lead to the next part, and that ideally the textures of different areas should go together – you wouldn't want one area to be really complex and cluttered and the next to be smooth and made of a single stock piece.
Me: Thanks very much for taking the time to do this. Have you any further nuggets of wisdom you'd care to share with us?
ToM: Yes, that stock pieces are not always evil the way some would have you think they are. Sometimes a stock piece in a certain place results in a far more elegant appearance than a custom build would. And sure thing; this was rather interesting to come up with answers to. ^_^
Certainly some wise words contained therein. Thanks again to ToM for agreeing to do this!