Bear Necessities

We can BEARly believe how good this autumnal build is

I’ve tried living in the forest and it was unbearable. I don’t know how bears do it. Bear in mind it’s nearly always cold, and everything is very spiky, and they are bare bear beyond their fur. I can barely bear thinking about it!

Anyway, now I've got that out of my system, today's builder is Arho “Sir_Arzie” Mikkonen. He recently built this beautiful forestscape, complete with a grizzly brown bear, a birch tree and a nymph. While I’ve been trying desperately to warm myself up next to various stray jack-o-lanterns, Arho has really gotten into the autumn spirit and blown us away with this KoivunHenki build. Blown us and the jack-o-lanterns away :(

“I like building because I love creating,” explains Arho. “Ever since [I was] little, I’ve been creating things.” Now, he says, he’s determined to get better at creating, and this ambition inspires all of his Minecraft builds.

“First I come up with an idea,” he says, “and I usually choose three words or elements that somehow fit together. In this build’s case, it was ‘nymph’, ‘birch’ and ‘bear’. Then I set up a plot and build the main elements first. [After that,] I make the secondary elements, such as the flowers and plants.”

This build is especially powerful in the way that it conveys a sense of movement and blends the autumnal colour palette. It captures both the vibrant, fiery colours of autumn while conveying the seasonal shift toward the winter wind and cold. When I ask how he achieves this, Arho says, “I set up a palette of colours based on autumn, then I pick colours near or opposite to each other in the colour wheel. Green and red are polar opposites, while red and orange are [neighbours]. White and blue spice it up.” He continues, “the movement is created with the poses’ line of action and the falling leaves. You would expect them to start falling so that creates the illusion.”

Arho is someone who likes to plan ahead and pay attention to the details. “I photographed nature for reference pictures,” he says. “I used colours found in nature, such as brown, green and grey [and] the obvious autumn colours, orange and yellow. The movement is important, created with the falling leaves [but also] the poses of the characters. The eye follows the branches and the flowers [which] point at the characters.” His girlfriend helped, insisting that he sketch out the build before he started building.

“I wanted a bear because they’re the kings of the forests and protectors of it in old stories,” he continues. I’m really impressed by the bear in particular - it’s realistic and adorable at the same time - so I ask how he made the furry fellow; “I used reference images, and I took note of how his bone structure was formed. Basically, I built his skeleton first, then coloured him with all the browns and greys. He’s protecting the nymph from harm.”

The nymph is a part of the birch tree at the centre of the build, a direct portrayal of Arho’s symbolism of nature. “KoivunHenki means spirit of the birch tree.” explains Arho, who hails from Finland.

When Arho isn’t the builder but the viewer, however, he finds himself most often enticed by the unexpected. He says, “I’m a big fan of asymmetry and diagonal lines or curves. I also think originality is the most interesting thing you can add to your work. For example, houses are not original; big scaly gnomes with laser eyes are.”

So, how does he suggest other builders can achieve high quality builds that may or may not be scaly gnomes with laser eyes? “Research other art forms and apply it to your own work. For example, you can learn to be a better builder by drawing and learning proportions.”

So what are you waiting for? Go draw some gnomes already!

Renders by addictedtomc, terrorQ, imhotep, and lukaz

Written by
Emily Richardson

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