10 years already…!

By making a point not long ago about my work, i realized that Creatures Dolls was going to celebrate its 10 years of existence! … I couldn’t believe it …

I did not realize that time flies that quickly…! It must be a good sign because it means that i still enjoy my job ! It looks completely incredible to me when i think about it! … And yet, it was indeed in 2011 that i decided to launch myself full time in dolls stuffs and to give up drawing and comics.

I had discovered BJDs a few years ago, but i didn’t think about it at all in terms of work at that time. It was still a hobby and something i had fun with, although modeling and manual activities were of great interest to me. The idea grew in my mind, slowly. As i tend to scatter myself in my creative activities (XD ahah), i still started to tinker with small figurines, small characters, to draw bjd plans at the same time as my comic books. In 2007, i registered on the french forum “Matériel Céleste” to learn more about BJDs and discuss with other collectors.

I bought fairly quickly a Unoa Sist head (the doll that had just made me enter the world of BJDs), even if it represented quite a budget for me at the time.

Of course, i wanted to find a body for this head, but I couldn’t find the funds to buy one. A friend suggested that I could do it by myself, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing this …! It seemed too complicated to do. But actually, i really wanted to see this face on a body… so i decided i had to do it! …

The first body i made was in plastiroc and… omg, it was really ugly! XD But it did the job while waiting to have the budget for something more professional! It served me as a test for the future, especially what to do and not to do, the time that I had put in, etc.


Flammèche, first on the list.

And then in 2009, after a lot of research, i started to create the little character of “Flammèche” (means small flame in french). This allowed me to understand well how the joints worked, how to save time on modeling and global organization, how to prepare the doll for molding (surfacer my friend ahah) and finally how does molding and resin casting work. On this point i was lucky because one of my sisters, who works in an art foundry, was very familiar with the two-parts mold system. It saved me time on the more technical part!

So we made the molds with plasticine and Lego bricks and then i discovered the joys of silicone! XD A material not easy to grasp … There were a lot of fails, but it was great to unmold the parts and see the doll come to life as it was assembled! … I loved working on this project. It was a little too much to learn / discover at the same time, but in the end i managed to cast a few dolls.

Let’s go for a 2nd one!

Once “Flammèche” was finished, i quickly moved on to my second project: XB-12, a mix of cyborg and organic character (hence her name). It was at the beginning of 2010 and i was still in artistic exploration mode, in parallel with my comics and children’s illustration works. But it was nice to give myself a new challenge because i really enjoyed the “Flammèche” experience!

Creating a character from scratch and then being able to hold it in your hands once in resin, to see it articulate and pose, it was really an incredible feeling.

As XB-12 was a larger doll and that i really wanted to improve the posability, i spent a lot more time on her! Especially since i wanted to make her head with spikes that go backwards in a little science fiction spirit, which gave me a hard time… This character was more oriented on the cyborg side at the very beginning, and then i finally let go of that aspect as i was working on her.

As often, between the idea, the drawing and the prototype, there is always a gap!

I tested several ways to make theheadback, but it was very fragile. I had to drop this idea when the question of molding arose: indeed, without the dedicated equipment (vacuum bell for the molds and casting) it was impossible for me to reproduce this kind of head afterwards. In addition to this scale it was very complicated (the head was quite small). So I opted for a classic headback, telling myself i will see how to do it later: why not make a removable headdress or something like that.

2010 is also the year of the 1st Ldoll festival!

I saw that this show was mainly dedicated to BJDs and i really hesitated to participate, but my project was not quite advanced and i didn’t think i could be ready on time, so I did not participate. My budget was very tight as well, i had already spent quite a bit of money on molding and resin products, as well as primers and Ladoll for the prototype, so i was a little broke…

It was a very difficult time financially speaking (day job, very low budget to eat per week, i did not go to the doctor when i was sick because i was afraid of being overdrawn, etc.). I will not dwell on this because it is not the point of my article, but it’s true that things was not always easy and that’s why what i do means so much to me! It’s also the reality in a lot of artistic and independent jobs, i think it’s important to know that.

Anyway, all this motivated me to finish XB-12 for the next Ldoll festival! So during 2011, I took care of finishing my prototype, making the molds and resin casting. I was able to assemble 6 full dolls for the festival.

More hard work!

I also had to find boxes and everything that goes with them (certificate, eyes, etc.). I was thinking of buying them, but finding the right size was problematic, and it was cheaper to do them all by hand, so I figured that for 6 dolls it was doable. Besides, I wanted to make some pretty steampunk inspired boxes, so this was the best solution.

Fortunately, the show was in October because i barely had time to finish what i wanted!

My only regret was that I didn’t have time to customize a doll or two with make up and clothes. It must also be said that at that time, i didn’t had a lot of BJD in my hands, and therefore little experience in terms of makeup… I tested things on my Unoa faceplate, but it was not very conclusive…! It was not easy either to find tutorials for the make up or the products to make them… At this moment, i realized that there were a lot of things to think about when you create a doll, that you had to be versatile and that it was definitely a full-time activity.

I also had to think about my logo or a way to present my work and found that it was a really tricky part! I spent a lot of time thinking about it and finally i decided to gather my work under the name “Creatures Dolls”, which sums up the spirit of my work!

This first Ldoll was a great experience and a great moment! I had to take it on myself to get there because i suffer from stress-related disorders; it was really difficult as a process. But when i came back, i was so happy i participated because i could meet a lot of people and finally see for real many creations that I had only seen on the internet until then… and it’s completely different from a screen! I was able to sell a few dolls as well, which really comforted me, as I had no confidence at all (I was sure no one would like my work), and encouraged me to go on with dolls.

One of a kind

And then to go to the end of my starting project, i decided, after the Ldoll festival, to cast a green XB-12 and make the headback that i imagined originally. I really wanted to see what it could be like once everything was customized!

It’s a creature that i really like and i wish i have time to bring it back to life in the future… but in an improved version!

I made the spikes in a more resistant material (milliput) to be sure that it would last over time and i attached them to a resin headback. Then i painted everything with an airbrush to make the connection between the color of the body and the head. Then for the clothing, i asked a seamstress to sew a dress according to my sketches; she managed to create a stunning dress in the exact way i wanted! I was very happy with the result!

To be continued… More in part 2 coming soon!