Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Cuddles and Rage

Miniatures and a New Book by Cuddles and Rage

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tacoWhat’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

Liz has a bunch of diorama board books from her childhood. Her favorite one is The Three Little Kittens, They Lost Their Mittens. The design and texture throughout the board book are so eye-catching. It really feels like you could step into this little world and live there.

How did you first get started making miniatures?

One of our coworkers sculpted miniature food, and we loved the look! It inspired us to try and sculpt one of our characters then that grew into making weekly dioramas.

Where does the name “Cuddles and Rage” come from?

We are big gamers. When we first started dating, we played Army of Two together. Jimmy’s shooting style was very methodical, while my (Liz) approach to the game was crazy in your face. We ended up nicknaming each other “Cuddles” and “Rage” based on our very different approaches and it stuck.

Tell us a bit about your process when it comes to comic art and mini set design.

Most of our ideas come from our sketchbooks. We sketch every day. Before we build out a set, we draw our dream version of the diorama and then breakdown the logistics of actually making it. Sometimes that results in simplifying an idea or getting creative with materials to make sure the texture is just right. We then build everything and shoot it with a macro lens. We’ll make some minor adjustments in Photoshop before sharing it with the world.

hot-date_smallDo you remember the very first miniature you ever made? 

Our first sculpt was of a character named Dr. Taquito. He is an evil dude who teaches legit cooking tips through torturing food. We have lots of containers full of miniature sculpts floating around the house. He’s probably resting in there somewhere with a mini knife.

What is your favorite type of miniature to create?

We love making pancakes! They are super easy and you get to use three of our favorite materials: clay, pastels, and FIMO Liquid Decorating Gel.

What is the most challenging miniature to make? 

We recently made a 1.5” sundae based on the “Ziggy Piggy” scene from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure for Gallery 1988’s Crazy 4 Cult 10 show. We melted some clear packaging with a votive candle to make the glass bowl for the sundae. We also used bathroom caulk for whipped cream. Controlling the flow of the caulk to make tiny white dollops wasn’t easy. We had to make the sundae twice to get it just right.

Lessons learned when it comes to working with clay?

Respect the rules of polymer clay. There are so many factors that go into baking polymer clay that we didn’t discover until much later. The balance between keeping your temperature consistent and baking for the right amount of time is more difficult than it sounds. Unfortunately, YouTube has so much bad advice mixed in with the good advice. Beware of whom you learn from. Polymer Clay Tutor is really the best resource we’ve found for those wanting to learn the science behind baking polymer clay.

sweet-competition_coverTell us a bit about your newly released book Sweet Competition

Sweet Competition is about Cherry Twin siblings who compete over everything. They enter a sundae competition to see who is really the best! This book is full of deliciously cute miniature food. We ate a lot of ice cream as research to make sure we got the look and texture just right.

What advice would you give to new artists and beginner miniaturists? 

Keep an open mind for materials when it comes to miniatures. Anything can be turned into a miniature something. When we first got into miniatures, we only used clay to create everything. Now, we try to recycle little things that might be considered trash and turn them into mini accessories.

Advice for illustrators or cartoonists?

Draw every day! Your scribbles might not look like much at first, but you’d be surprised how much you can improve when you do something for at least 5 minutes a day.

Favorite miniature you own?

Our miniature hand-stitched cow pillow is something we’d never sell. Sewing is not our strong point. We’ve tried to learn, but we have total sausage fingers when it comes to working with needle and thread on a small scale. Anytime we see a beautiful handmade mini pillow, we swoon!

in-a-pickleFavorite comic strip you’ve produced?

We love “In a Pickle.” That comic was a true collaboration between both of us. Jimmy came up with the concept, and I (Liz) illustrated it. It’s so random, yet, even years later, it makes us laugh every time we see it.

What inspires you?

Other artists! It’s amazing to see what people create. You sit that and wonder, “How did they do that?” It pushes you as a creator to take your work one step further and strive to achieve the level excellence you surround yourself by.

What is the most memorable miniature you’ve ever seen?

We are very fond of this miniature chainsaw we own.

What is your hope for the field of miniatures? 

We’d love to see the miniature movement grow like the Comic-Con movement. The National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts does a great job of creating events for miniaturists to attend. There is a little miniature convention that happens every year in Virginia, but not a lot of people outside this hobby know about it. When we mention the existence of “miniature” conventions, people’s eyes light up. There is a demand for it, but the marketing and social media exposure isn’t quite there yet. We’d love for there to be an official MiniCon as big as Baltimore Comic-Con or even New York City Comic Con.

sprinkle-rainHow can miniaturists and miniature collectors help keep the art alive? 

Social media is a beautiful tool! There are so many miniaturists on there who are able to connect in the digital world. We’ve met tons of hip, creative mini artists through @dailymini and are very thankful to have this site as a resource. It’d be awesome to see miniaturists step out of the digital world and into more miniature meet-ups on a local level. Creating an IRL community is so important, especially in a field where learning from each other is key to its survival and growth.

Favorite miniaturists?

We really love Ryan T. Monahan’s work. His attention to detail really makes every scene feel so real.

Favorite authors?

Liz: Roald Dahl. He was a huge part of my childhood.

Jimmy: Kurt Vonnegut.

Favorite illustrators?

Scott C. His style is beyond adorable, and his wit is always spot on.

What would you like to see replicated in miniature?

There’s so much out there! We’d really love to see a miniature diorama inspired by Phantom of the Paradise. If you haven’t seen the film yet, stop what you are doing and go watch it. It’s a cinematic treasure.

cuddlesandrageWhy miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

The miniature community is amazing. Over the years, we’ve attended miniature meet-ups and conventions and have gotten to meet a lot of fantastic people. It’s a hobby that really connects people of all ages.

You’ve just released Sweet Competition. What’s next for Cuddles and Rage?

We recently premiered our first animated short at the Food Film Festival in NYC. That experience was amazing. We’ll definitely be making more short films. For miniatures, we are working on our second picture book right now with HarperCollins. Hooray! We have a whole binder full of all the little pieces we need to make for each scene. We are going to try and custom make as much as we can for this next book.

Words you live by?

Learn from everything.

Favorite miniature quote? 

Celebrate every tiny victory.

holding-cherry-twinsOther activities you enjoy?

We love collecting soundtracks on vinyl. Soundtracks are a huge part of our creative inspiration. There’s something about horror music specifically that really gets our brains flowing into imagining cute characters doing funny things.

Would you like to share a dailymini exclusive with fans?

In every picture book we make, we hide our favorite Cuddles and Rage character into at least one scene. Nobody’s noticed yet. See if you can guess who it is!

Cuddles and Rage was creatively conceived by Liz and Jimmy Reed of Washington, D.C. To purchase their new book, Sweet Competition, click here. See more of their work on the Cuddles and Rage website, or you can follow along on FacebookTwitterPinterest, YouTube, Instagram, or TumblrShop their miniatures on Etsy and if you’re on Snapchat, make sure to follow CuddlesNRage.