Yuck Studio is a new artisan keycap brand that is about to have its debut sale at the start of the Halloween weekend. The team chatted with Artisan Collector to share their origin story. Yuck Studio is based in Portland, and comprised of Yuck (Kristina), Yuppie (Scott), and Novice (Daniel from Bludgeoned Kaps). Yuck is the primary artist doing the design and sculpting, and all team members take turns at casting. There are also plans for Yuck and Novice to eventually collaborate on new sculpts.
Yuck: I was first exposed to artisans on Yuppie’s Instagram. When I finally saw them in person, I was enthralled. Both my mother and I have always been obsessed with miniature art, and I love creating miniature versions of things. Although I haven't been in the hobby, I was fascinated when I first saw Yuppie and Novices’ keycaps in person, which appealed to my artistic side. Some of my earlier sculpting work was D&D figurines that I would make for our group to use during gaming sessions.
Yuppie: Novice and I brought Yuck into the hobby after learning she was already a seasoned sculptor. She's done some amazing work for personal use. She showed me a mason jar that she had added clay onto and sculpted a really cool face on it, and then painted it. Coraline is one of her favorite movies, so she’s inspired by that type of style. She also made an amazing miniature “mushroom house”. Once I saw what she's capable of, I urged her to try sculpting keycaps.
Yuck: I had been sculpting miniatures for years - mostly random creepy decor for my apartment. Seeing Yuppie’s artisan keycap collection was really inspiring. As I explored the community, I became more inspired by the amazing creators out there.
Yuppie: Ever since getting into the collector side of the hobby, I’ve had ideas of what I thought would make a good cap. I’m not the best sculptor but I have a lot of ideas for colors and characters.
Yuck: I started sculpting keycaps in July of 2021. Prior to that, I had been sculpting miniatures with polymer clay for years. But Monster clay (medium/hard) is an entirely different medium, so I had to spend a couple of months practicing different techniques and experimenting with it. Some of my initial ideas for keycap sculpts were Nosferatu (see photo below) , a zombie frog, and a flower skull. Yuppie asked me to try making a keycap-sized face, which led to a couple prototype face sculpts.
I also wanted to make a horror themed cap, so I started sculpting a head with zippered skin coming off the face. It was pretty elaborate, and probably a bit much for a first cast, so Yuppie suggested starting with something simpler, and the idea for Chonk was born. The idea behind Chonk was to mix an animal with an insect, and find a blend of cute and creepy. Chonk was initially supposed to be a spider bat! But that original Chonk sculpt was eaten by my dog. :( I think the revised Chonk II turned out better, anyway.
Yuck: I've seen some neat caps in the collections of Yuppie and Novice, but haven't dived into collecting yet. I really like the Booper sculpts.
Yuppie: Some of our absolute favorites are BroCaps, Booper, Nightcaps, KWK, HungerWork Studio and GAF. There are many newer makers coming out that are doing really innovative sculpts, I hope that trend continues.
Novice: Al Bumen are too good… howtheydothat?!
Yuck: Yes! We would not be where we are today without Novice (Bludgeoned Kaps). He has taught us everything we know about keycap making, and he generously allows us to use his tools and lab. Yuppie and Novice have converted their entire garage into a keycap workshop! (Editor's note: I want to go to there.)
Yuppie: Binge’s synth system has been a huge help. Talking to makers at meetups over the years has yielded some good info as well.
Yuck: My favorite part of making caps is sculpting. I just love making miniature things with cute little features. Of course peeling caps out of their molds is also very satisfying! I’m not a huge fan of waiting so long for the resin to cure… I’m very impatient :|
Yuppie: Yeah, the time sink is real. The whole process is very time consuming and it ramps up as you add colors or complexity. Resin writing is insanely hard and the failure rate can be high. Mixing colors and pouring the resin is probably my favorite part of the process. Completing a run and peeling apart the mold to see your creation is a huge sense of accomplishment.
Yuck: I would like to have a couple more sculpts and to become better at other artistic endeavors, such as at stop motion. I hope that people will associate Yuck Studio with creepy-cute characters and weird experiments across different mediums. Ultimately I want the Yuck “brand” to reflect the fun we have while building it!
Yuppie: I would like for us to build some consistency in the space and keep producing quality work.