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Granblue Pins- Behind the Scenes

This project was born because of a simple sketch of Ferry who had been sitting on my iPad for a good month before I eventually colored her. I had been playing Granblue Versus for months and she is my beloved main. Not saying I’m much of a fighting game player but I really enjoy the world of Granblue. Just amazing art and characters design hmnnn…

This was around February 2020. I was visiting family in the Philippines when suddenly the corona virus started erupting all over the world. Everyone was scared and paranoid and it just so happened that I suddenly got a fever. Uh oh. I thought I was done for. Everyone was panicking about covid-19 that for sure I thought this must be it. I got a fever that reached 38.5 celsius, had a sore throat, and just felt like life is seeping out of my body for days. Luckily I was able to recover after what seemed like forever. After two weeks I had about 9 characters drawn and colored haha. What else are you going to do in quarantine right? So I wasn’t thinking of getting these made into pins at all I was just scribbling which character I felt like doodling that day. I kept drawing and listening to The Witcher audio books. These activities kept me sane. I had no concept of time and my sickness gave me insomnia.

After recovering a little more I got tested for the virus which came out negative. Thank goodness. I still had a slight sore throat but at least I know I’m cleared. Around March 10 they announced that Philippines is going to lockdown. I had to leave in 3 days if I want to leave the country at all. I felt sad about leaving my family since the Philippines isn’t the best country to be in specially during times like this. As I was about to fly out back to Japan my mom was taken to the emergency room. She had floaters in her eyes, which lead to pink eye and they gave her anti-biotics that made her feel like she was poisoned. Around 3 am in the morning they rushed her to the hospital and just before I flew to the airport at 4am I went to see her. I was so scared because I heard there were many patients admitted for covid-19 in the emergency room. I saw my mom and she seemed off and it was like she was saying goodbye. I made my way to the airport and was able to leave the country just in time. After a few days they closed the airport.

I came back to Japan and continued drawing. At this time I was running a different Kickstarter. My first ever campaign was for a Ponyta pin. Just one design with a bunch of extras. As you can see in my other blog that Ponyta Kickstarter went fairly well but came with a lot of bumps and set backs. What matters most to me is the quality of the goods that represent my art. You can read more on that in my other blog. But for now let’s focus on the Granblue pins.

Around mid-March I set up my campaign for Granblue. I drew up the drafts for the images, contacted potential manufacturers and thought of the rewards. This time around I learned that having more than one design is more effective and exciting for Kickstarter campaigns. One thing I was lacking was the audience. I was not known for drawing Granblue or much fanart so I had to get my work known somehow. I started posting samples of my designs on all social media platforms. Instagram had groups for pin collectors and sometimes they would feature artists. I’ve been trying to find one to feature me but no luck. I had a lot of good comments from reddit which was nice but it was hard to bring them back to my instagram. So finally I joined more groups on Facebook and I was so happy to find that a lot of people were active in the granblue groups. The groups posts were also very fun to read so I joined and some days I posted my work. I was very careful about flooding. I didn't want to come off as just being there to sell stuff. I genuinely like the game after all. I'm happy that a lot of people were interested in the pins and decided to follow me and my project.

By the end of March my Kickstarter was approved and ready for launch. I’m talking like one thing happened after the other but in reality there were so many days where I was just at home thinking about life and death haha. But animal crossing helped me pass the time so much.

My daily routine was wake up at noon, have “breakfast”, then sit down on my desk to do work. Then after that I’d post one drawing of a Granblue character. I was taking requests from the group and drawing them for free. It really helped me get fired up for the campaign. And the rest of the day was mostly Animal Crossing time haha.

The manufacturers I contacted gave me quotes. I asked about prices and discounts if ever they can give me a good deal if I order 12 designs (or more). There are also three new manufacturers who were super easy to talk to so I wanted to see the quality of their work. As a test for the granblue pins I got a Narmaya pin and Sandalphon pin made from separate makers. Check out the “artwork” for color proof down below. Kinda looks funny right? As you can see the Narmaya maker wanted to put a line under her eyes which made her look strange. Luckily they said they have this method called “printing” where they add it last over the filled pin. This should give her a nice white on the side of her eyes without the horrible line. Would cost me $25 more but I think it’s worth it if it looks way better. Also the colors look dark in the artwork because they only have a set of colors based on Pantone Paint. They basically have to look for the closest color to what I drew.

The thing about this whole “artwork” preview is that the Pantone paint and what it looks like on screen and in real life look different to me. I can never trust the previews. I wanted to get a Pantone paint card book but it costs $185. I don’t have that kind of money yet. Unlike some countries, Japan is not covering rent for their citizens this month and the next. Cannot afford color cards lol. If you also look closely at the preview they screwed up the ear and hair on the left side. Looks like her sword color cut the ear off. I had them fix that with no problems.

They were suppose to give me the samples in 7 days but because of the virus their factories were also slowing down. So when I asked for pictures on day 7 after my order they only had these to show me. It was ok, I understand. As long as the quality is good I don’t mind waiting. It was very interesting to see the molds and raws anyway. Looks pretty cool eh. Ah I just love metal works. Maybe that’s why I’m addicted to pin and shiny objects in general.

The manufacturer in charge of Narmaya showed me this the next day. It was the sample of the colors. She is made with rose gold plating. This has yet to be printed on. I was very particular about the white part of the eyes. I didn’t want it to have a metal line under it so I had to wait a few more days for that. Also the Sandalphon maker sent me this. This is the pin with paint but not yet plated. So interesting to see the making. The photos they send have bad quality. I hope they look so much better and brighter in real life. One can only hope at this point.

But from experience from my past manufacturers, this stage usually looks dull but when you get it in real life they look perfectly fine. These two are my trial pins that I paid out of pocket. I wanted to make sure that my complicated designs are doable and have good quality.


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