Here is my interview with the irrepressible Lion Jonesford, skin maker extraordinaire of LionSkins.
(CC) When did you open LionSkins?
(LJ) LionSkins first opened its doors 3 years ago now.
(CC) Why skins particularly?
(LJ) I was already doing airbrush art in my first life for films, effects, and adverts etc and it inspired me to try adding these types of art to skins for people to wear.
(CC) When you opened your first shop, how many different skin lines did you have for sale?
(LJ) When LionSkins first opened, we only had one skin line called ZEE and it came in five skin tones. I started with only one skin line to see what the response would be to something so different from what was already available in world.
(CC) Were there any particular skin designers who inspired your early work?
(LJ) Yeah, after seeing all the noob style skins in the market, I was really inspired to make better quality skins available for all, especially after seeing a very glamorous lady, I knew it was possible to do.
(CC) What kind of woman wears LionSkins? Who do you market to?
(LJ) LionSkins aims for free spirits, someone who isn't afraid to be different and stand out from the crowd. There are no rules on how to wear or when to wear, with pixel makeup you can’t mess it up when you go to sleep lol.
(CC) Which skin line are you most proud of?
(LJ) My favorite skin line from the past would have to be CANA. It had a fantastic response from customers in world. Of my more current skin lines I love SUKAI. I learnt new skills and experiences in creating this. All of these new skills I have learnt are really making the work I do today much faster and of a much higher quality and so I’m really loving the newer skin lines more.
(CC) You work so hard on your skins and marketing your business. Where does your inspiration come from?
(LJ) The main reason is because I find it’s my way to have fun and express myself. I get inspired a lot from my real life experiences and surroundings and my wild lifestyle. People have described me as a kind of female Indiana Jones on a world journey. My other inspiration comes from the pressure and unfair things that have happened to me both in world and in the real world. The more people try to bring me down the more I come out fighting and I work harder.
(CC) Apart from your fabulous main store, you have a satellite store in a great location on LeeZu Baxter's 'To The Nines' sim. Given no other outside designer's share space with LeeZu, how did that come about?
(LJ) Well LeeZu was one of the first people I met in Second Life and she encouraged me when I was starting out. LeeZu was one of my very first customers, she loved my free style and after having done a few projects together we are now used to working closely. I also have had the pleasure working with other designers too for example, last year I worked with Nardya Rousselot of Nardcotix (NOIR skins) and it was really nice and uncomplicated. Also last year I made a special edition DOLLHOUSE collection for HOUSE OF BENINGBOROUGH and they did an amazing show using my skins. In fact it’s my favorite show to date. It was a perfect project between two designers. I really wish more designers could share their own experiences and work together on projects to help make SL a nicer and more fun place for all.
(CC) You have joined creative forces with Tabata Jewell's Vanity Hair label. Can you tell us more about that?
(LJ) I approached Tabata and asked would she be interested in doing a project together and being the open minded person that she is, she happily agreed. Through working together on these last projects we have become very good friends.
(CC) For people who know nothing about skin creation, what is the hardest part of the body to perfect?
(LJ) Basically a skin is made up of lots of layering of templates and consists of three parts, the head, upper part and lower part. To try and get the three parts together with all shading and effects etc without seeing the lines that join them is something that drives many people crazy. It’s extremely complicated. Another difficult part of skin making is to do the effects from the side of body. Hands and feet can be complicated as the template is so very small to get into details especially when the template only gives one hand and one foot to work on.
(CC) Which skin tone is the hardest to work with, light or dark?
(LJ) I personally find that very light skins can be the hardest to work with. It’s harder to add shading or 3D effects on very pale skins when everything looks so white and flat.
(CC) Have you got any exciting plans for LionSkins in the near future?
(LJ) We have yes. We have a contest going on at the moment which is due to end on 15th September. We are taking part in the Modeling Convention by Premiere Modeling Agency and we also have a Fashion Rocks serious of mini events and main event coming up. We also have many more fun and exciting things coming up soon but we are keeping them a surprise for now. :-)
(CC) What makes you happy in SL?
(LJ) I like meeting fair, warm, honest, hardworking people. I really enjoy collaborating with other designers too and it’s great to see what can come from it.
(CC) Is there anything you've dreamed of doing with your skins that you haven't done yet?
(LJ) There are many things I have dreamt of doing and hopefully will get to do as I grow and learn as a designer. I won't share the details now, but watch this space. :-)
(CC) Any new releases coming out soon?
(LJ) Perfect question. We have ZORA which will be released very soon, I actually stopped working on it to come and answer your questions :-) but we also have many other projects in the works but I prefer not to talk about them and just rezz them in the store.
And believe me, ZORA is the classiest skin that just pops out at you. Perfect for models who are looking for a refined skin with that extra va va voom, ZORA will have you selling your grandma for a fat pack. COMING OUT SOON....get ready. Here is just a little teaser....