Making Designer Toys: Sanding, painting and Repetitive work

Making Designer Toys: Sanding, painting and Repetitive work

I have started making designer toys, art toys, figurines, sculptures or whatever you want to call them, every artist or collector I talked to had a different name for it about four years ago.

This year (2019) I had the chance to share a table at ToyCon UK with my best mate and one of the Artists that I love Liam "2PetalRose" Scriven, it was a double dream come true for me, and it kinda snowballed into a hat trick (more about that soon)

Let's get back to making toys and what do you do when you spend 6 hours a day sanding, cleaning, prepping and painting. Most of the discussion subjects at ToyCon after all the (Your work is impressive, I can't believe I finally got to see your work in person). It was either about sanding, painting toys, what kind of paint do you use, what resin do you use, what sealer do you use, what technique did you use to make that and so on.

The most repeated subject was sanding toys and especially when you talk to amazing artists like Muffinman sculpts, (have you seen how F***ing clean his sculpts are? have you?huh?) I have been admiring his epic work for over a year now, and I heard about him from my clients. And I had to check his work for myself, and I was beyond impressed.

Well. This year I got to meet the man, the legend and while we went over lots of oh my god and so on, we reached the sanding part, and one of the questions was what do you do when you sand? Cause sanding is sculpting, but it's a super repetitive task that takes hours and hours. He told me he listens to many Podcasts and I used to do the same, but I noticed that I couldn't keep a rhythm with podcasts when I'm sanding or painting designer toys. 

Even if the host has a beautiful voice that you are used to its rhythm the guests are always different, and that change of voice throws off my rhythm, I told him that I used to listen to podcasts, but I can't focus as good as I do with Audiobooks. Don't get me started on music I cannot listen to music while I work, I used not to be able to do any work without music, but maybe I'm getting old, and my brain is not that good anymore. Reminds of this cartoon, Milt Kahl's was one of Disney's nine old men, a genius of its time.



I don't think I would be able to clean, prep, sand, paint my sculpted toys without Audiobooks, I would def go insane, each designer toy takes about 8-10 hours of clean-up sanding, prep and paint. When I release a new toy with a run of 10-20 pieces, I estimate the time in audiobooks hours.

Here is the list of books I read in the last 2-3 years and In my entire life till the moment I have started making toys, I didn't read 10% of the number of books on that list, not even when I was in Uni.

I mostly like Sci-Fi but there are a couple of Business books and a couple of Selfhelp books (yup...I'm human, F*** off).


1. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, Narrated by Jim Gaffigan


Dad is Fat one of the first Audiobooks that I read; I got this book when my wife was pregnant with our daughter Emma-Rose, and after listening to a couple of "parenting books" which I hated. This book was beautiful; I was terrified that I will be a dad, and you can't imagine how much this book helped me.


2. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi narrated by my all-time favourite audiobook narrator the one and only Will Wheaton (yup, Wesley Crusher, I know right!!) his voice is impressive.


 3. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.

It is a hard book; it's about business, tech, art, animation it goes to show that creating animated movies or anything creative that has tremendous success is not that simple. (Artist that think, that only the art is essential to sell a good story, will not like this book)


4. Lock In (Book 1) by John Scalzi narrated by the kickass Will Wheaton 

This book is so good; I will not reveal anything about the stories from the books that I share. And I will only tell you what I liked about it; I will not share meh books. 


5. Redshirts by John Scalzi narrated by Will Wheaton (I know, I know it's John Scalzi and Will Wheaton, well I read all his books because they are just amazing)

First time I listened to this book I did not like it at all. I stopped around chapter 2 or 3. But then I gave it another go after a couple of months, and I really couldn't stop. Here is the thing about Audiobooks if you are having one of those days where your inner voice is trying to figure out lots of shit in your life it's super hard to focus on them, maybe that's just me.


6. Old Man's War Book 1 to 6 by John Scalzi, narrated by William Dufris.

About this series, it's an excellent sci-fi series with epic battles, humour, great characters, love, parents, war, politics, and it's soo good. (I'm not a book reviewer, not sure if you can tell)


 7. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor 

The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work


8. Give and Take by Adam M. Grant PhD

A Revolutionary Approach to Success


9. Contagious by Jonah Berger

Why Things Catch On


10. Leap First by Seth Godin

Creating work that matters

If I would choose a couple of "Self-help/business oriented books" this would be one of them the 2nd one is next in line.


11. Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

If you like this book make sure to read The War of Art, every artist beginner or senior should read this book.


12. Anything You Want by Derek Silvers

40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur.


13. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday


14. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life


15. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future


16. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph


17. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Narrated by the fantastic voice of Duncan Steen

This book is significant to me, cause it helped me through some bad times, the book is impressive, and the voice makes it that much better, I think I read this book at least six times now.


18. Start with Why by Simon Sinek 

How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action


19. Childhood's End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke narrated by Eric Michael Summerer


20. We Are Legion (We Are Bob): Bobiverse, Book 1-3

This book is one of my favourite Sci-Fi series; it's soo good, and the level of humour in this book is just so smart.


21. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi narrated by Will Wheaton

What can I say I love John Scalzi and his books are so much better with the voice of Will Wheaton


22. Dune by Frank Herbert 

This book feels like a movie when you listen to it, the music the Audio effects makes it so immersive.


23. Artemis by Andy Weir 

And narrated by the beautiful Rosario Dawson, man I love her voice.


24. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi narrated by Will Wheaton

It's nothing like any sci-fi book that I have ever read, such a good listen.


25. Head On by John Scalzi  narrated by Will Wheaton

The 2nd book the Lock in Series.


26.Altered Carbon Series by Richard Morgan


27. The Singularity Trap by Dennis E.Taylor Narrated by Ray Porter.


28. Red Rising by Pierce Brown and narrated by the bloody amazing voice of Tim Gerard Reynolds. 

I have to say something about this series, cause it's fucking amazing. I have laughed when reading books, I have been sad while reading books, but I was never Angry, rightly pissed off while listening to a book, at what was happening in the story, it's gorgeous, I cannot wait for book 7.


29. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (the father of Sci-fi)

The only thing I can say about this book, I can't believe how good it holds up today and how modern it feels keeping in mind this was written in the 70s.


30. Armada by Ernest Cline narrated by THE Will Wheaton (Oh yeah!)

This book is soo much fun!



31. Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer 

If you call yourself a nerd or a geek you've got to listen to this. I listened to the first three books while I was working on my Hellbaby designer toy.



I'm going to end this list with one of the best books I have read ever in my entire life so far. The last couple of years have been a bit hard, I went through some difficult times emotionally, mentally and physically. I first heard about this book in an interview Tim Ferris had with the CEO of Shopify, and I had to check it out, the title was just too exciting, I'm not exaggerating when I say this book changed my life and the way I see life and people around me.


32. The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi


I hope you find this list helpful, if you read any of those books, or have read them already I would love to hear your thoughts. And for those who think I got paid by Audible to create this list, you can rest assured that it's true and I'm living in Bali writing this blog post and enjoying my ginger beer. (in case you didn't get the joke, I haven't been paid by audible, I love using Audible if anybody at Audible reads this I could use a couple of free credits).




  • Hugh O'Donnell

    Really great collection, I have already bought a few based on your recommendations. I’m halfway through Big Magic : How to Live a Creative Life and it’s also very good.

  • William Nendza

    Great list. I’ll check some of these out. I don’t read much these days. But back in the day I read a lot of Tom clancy stuff. If you’re curious about his works, I can make some recommendations. also world war z by max brooks is amazing. nothing like the movie.

  • Dwight Ligori

    Inspirational as usual!!! thnx

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published