Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Brian Shapiro

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We recently put out a call for custom artist designs on the new Vinylmation 95 mold and have received a great response! Keep those customs coming. Today, we feature an artist familiar to DV, Brian Shapiro.

Destination Vinylmation: What inspired you to choose Maleficent as the subject of your first Vinylmation 95 custom?
Brian Shapiro: Maleficent is my hands down favorite Disney Villain.  Whether she’s in Sleeping Beauty, Fantasmic, or even Kingdom Keepers, she never disappoints!  Also, I think she has the most striking features in both her humanoid and dragon forms!

DV: You managed to place all of Maleficent’s iconic features onto the canvas to make it instantly recognizable. Did this take much planning on paper, or were you able to instantly picture it on the mold?
Brian: When I saw the Vinylmation 95 canvas for the first time, I immediately noticed the horn shaped side windows and instantly thought of the Maleficent dragon.  From that starting point, it was easy to imagine her features on the new mold.  The hood of the car worked perfectly for the snout, and the spoiler was a perfect place for wings.  I did sketch out the design, though, before painting it.  I downloaded an image of the canvas from and inverted the colors on my iPad to make it black.  Then I used a paint program to layout the basic design features.  In the end, she came out looking exactly as I imagined her!

CPU Rendering

DV: What was the most challenging part of the this design?
Brian: The most challenging part was the placement of the wings.  While the spoiler on the back of the car was an ideal location, it wasn’t split down the midline to provide two separate wings.  As a result, I had to take some artistic license and make the wings appear pressed together in the midline.  I’m really happy with how they came out.

DV: You pulled off exactly what I hoped an artist would do. You ignored the features of the car itself (tires, windshield, etc.) and just painted a design onto the canvas… sort of like an artist ignoring the placement of eyes, feet or arms on a Mickey shape. Was this difficult to do?
Brian: Not with this particular design, which was pretty obvious to me once I saw the canvas.  As you have previously spotlighted, I created a version of the Maleficent dragon on the 3″ Mickey shaped mold, and Disney recently released a version on the 9″ Mickey shaped mold, but a lot of compromises had to be made in both of those instances.  I think the Vinylmation 95 canvas is ideal for characters with snouts and bills like Figment, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto.

DV: As an artist, what is the major difference between working on a Lightning McQueen shaped mold as opposed to Mickey?
Brian: Other than the shape, I think the biggest difference is that you can’t disassemble the figure into separate pieces like you can with the Mickey shaped mold.  As a result, you are forced to handle the figure in areas that have already been painted.  Because the Maleficent dragon is mostly black in color, it was hard for me to keep the black paint clean.  Every little piece of dust would show, and if I had the slightest trace of yellow or purple on my fingers, it would appear where it wasn’t supposed to.  In this case, once I finished painting in all the features, I placed her on top of a jar of peanut butter and painted back in all the black areas!

DV: Did you enjoy working on the Vinylmation 95 mold enough to do more?
Brian: I really enjoyed working with the canvas a lot!  Ironically, I’m not a huge fan of the Cars movies or even cars in general, but I think the Vinylmation 95 canvas has a lot of potential.  I have another blank that I would like to paint.

DV: Can you give us any hints to what we might see next?
Brian: I have a few ideas, but I’m undecided on which one I will pursue.  I will definitely keep you posted, and I appreciate your generous support of my art!

P.S. – Brian sent us a little tease of his next project just before this article went live:

About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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This is fantastic!


Thanks, Annamarie!


the next ones gennie