Soda Pop Spotlight — Marie-Claude
Over the years, Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division Publishing have had the opportunity to work with the talented Marie-Claude Bourbonnais. Her stunning costume work and attention to detail bring the worlds of Soda Pop Miniatures to vivid life. We recently had the opportunity to have a Question and Answer session with Marie-Claude about her work for Soda Pop Miniatures.
Soda Pop: Working with Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division Publishing has clearly not been your first work in costume design, modelling and promotion. How would you describe your career and experience, and how did you get your start?
Marie-Claude: After finishing my fashion design studies, I gained experience in clothing and costume making for the following 15 years. I got ‘discovered’ by sheer luck and became a model, got published, got noticed by companies and moved further. I did a little acting and got involved in bigger and bigger projects. Everything combined together naturally and brought me in front of the media, so I could do some TV work, where I got recognition for my technical expertise from various newspapers and event organizers. I also started my own company 5 years ago.
I would not say that I got involved in a lot of promoting, though. I mainly collaborate on projects I believe are interesting and can help me grow. Basically, if you see me at a booth or joining forces with a company, it’s because I honestly believe in what that company is doing. I’m not a mercenary that you can hire, but rather a team player, so I tag along with the people I collaborate with and make their goal mine.
Soda Pop: Soda Pop Miniatures first approached you in 2010 with some pretty aggressive costume designs. What were some of the design and photography challenges with your first costume project: our mascot Candy?
Marie-Claude: First things first, Soda Pop didn’t ask me for as much as I asked myself. The design was truly amazing and still is. I’ve done my best and tackled it with materials and techniques I had never experimented with before. It was really difficult and even when I delivered something, I always kept thinking that this Candy costume deserved to be revisited. That was my first contact with Soda Pop, with their designs and with the creative team and I can say it left a big impression on me. I love what they’re doing and the way they are doing it, so as long as Soda Pop want to keep me around, I’ll be creating costumes from their work.
Soda Pop: How is working along side a games publisher different than some of your normal projects?
Marie-Claude: Most of the time I have to be the judge and the executioner, meaning that I have to make decision and move along every step of the process even if I sometimes know that the final result will not be what I want. Working around a team of creative people gives me more confidence and I know that I can count on their support and help. It’s also really different to share ideas with a whole team and to communicate what you envision. It taught me how to be a little more efficient at dealing with abstract notions. Overall, I’m having a blast and feeling really lucky that I can do what I’m doing with Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division. I’m proud of doing my little part in this really cool story.
Soda Pop: You are featured pretty prominently in Soda Pop Miniatures products like Tentacle Bento, and Karate Fight – as well as more than a few miniatures. Which is your favorite product you have guest starred in, and why?
Marie-Claude: Really, I have to choose one? I think every universe Soda Pop builds has its own charm and I can’t really tell… The background stories for my characters are funny and suit my own personality well.
I would say that a lot of people came to me to get their Tentacle Bento cards signed and they were really excited about it, so that game brings me a lot of energy and direct feedback. I love that! I’m also an anime fan, so being an anime character of my own is AWESOME! Hear me, AWESOME!
On the other hand, Relic Knights, with the various faction designs and extended stories, could provide an endless input for my cosplay bucket list. I’m a more badass character in the CERCI team and some days, I feel more like kicking life’s a**, so I can also relate to what they have created for that character.
Karate Fight brought me in another dimension and I can’t wait to get my hands on my own deck!
Soda Pop: What do you like best about costume design and promotion on this side of the traditional games market that you have experienced so far?
Marie-Claude: Costume design is my passion and life whatever ‘market’ I’m working in. The fact that cosplay is just starting to lift up in the traditional games segment leaves a lot of opportunities for never seen before things. Less people tend to cosplay from miniatures games and card games, so each time you choose something, you can work without the influence of what was already done. The designs propositions are also different.
The other thing would be that you often have an easier access to the game designers themselves and that you can share their thoughts about it. It’s an invaluable input when it comes to adapt a design in real life and a lot of fun.
Soda Pop: You attend a number of trade shows and exhibitions each year, your schedule seems very demanding, how does your presence on shows like Gencon differ with some of the other events you attend?
Marie-Claude: Some conventions are the opportunity for me to meet fans and people that I can’t see along the year, so I’m going there as myself. Gencon, on the other hand, is becoming more and more a friends meeting for me and one of the big events I’m looking forward to attending every year. I feel like a member of a team. It feels like a big party.
Convention wise, the exhibition is great and the conversations with a lot of passionate people give me energy to create for the following months. Soda Pop’s booth is crazy busy all 4 days and even if I’m tired by the end of the days, I enjoy it a lot.
Soda Pop: At this year’s Gencon, you surprised us with a full costume of your Tavern Girl characters outfit from the upcoming Forgotten King expansion featuring the Stilt-town Zombies. How long did it take you to assemble the full costume, and what is that zombie-bashing frying pan made of?
Marie-Claude: Clothing in general is way easier to make for me than armored stuff and props, it’s what I’m really good at doing. And among costumes and clothings, ordinary types of fabrics are even easier to work with than leather. It’s also why I don’t do it as much—pushing myself forward, you know. That time though I decided to give myself a little break and doing this costume was a mind rest. It was fun, it took me only a few days to put the corset, the blouse and cute skirt together, only two days to build the big rolling pin and the fiberglass frying pan. Overall, it was done in less than a week, chocolate pauses included. Not bad as I can sometimes plan and work on costumes for weeks or months.
Soda Pop: Finally, what kind of surprises do we have in store for this coming year’s events with Ninja Division?
Marie-Claude: Are you asking me to announce it? Ok, ok, I’ve heard that everybody in the team and people around Soda Pop Miniatures/Ninja Division were really excited that my small ‘team’ and I decided to go overboard and build a life size character from Relic Knights’ arsenal. All the enthusiastic people at the con last year let us convince ourselves that we could tackle a 10 foot monster robot. This tall order should be my sidekick for this year’s convention, so expect to see development in the next few months. If I survive…