Good morning friends. Today’s guest blogger is Irene Garcia, an illustrator and toy customizer living in Los Angeles, USA. Irene works in the toy industry and her free time she loves painting and customizing toys, especially dolls. Today she’s here to share some of her custom Blythe dolls, and if you’re a fan of Blythe, or just appreciate divine design, you’re sure to adore this post as much as I have!
I got started customizing toys while studying animation in college. My first customs were Star Wars dolls by Hasbro. At the time, I was really into movie costumes and I would paint the Hasbro dolls to look more realistic and make their outfits more accurate to the films.
After college, I became more immersed in the world of dolls. While flipping through a Haute Doll magazine, I saw a Dal, this little articulated doll with an oversized head. Researching her on the Internet lead me to these other big-headed dolls called Blythe, whose eye color could change with a tug on their pull-strings. At first, I thought they were a bit strange, but after seeing more and more photos on Flickr, I became obsessed with how much attitude they seemed to project. I was hooked.
I bought my first Blythe in 2007 and immediately started customizing her. I had so much fun changing out her eye chips and giving her new makeup, that I ended up buying more to customize for myself. After I posted a few photos of my customs on Flickr, people started to ask if I took commissions and that’s how I got started.
I have had the opportunity to work on many different looks over the years. My favorites are my Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Blythes. I have always been intrigued with the way people transform their faces into skulls and that really inspired me to try and paint my Blythes like calaveras (skulls). I wanted my calaveras to look scary but pretty at the same time.
Through masking and airbrushing, I create the shape of a skull. On top of that, I add color around the eyes to give them a subtle appearance of hollowed-out eye sockets. The lips are also given a bit of color with very thin lines to represent the teeth. Then I add all the swirly designs around the face and lastly, my favorite part, is the chest tattoo with a little gem stone imbedded into the chest.
What really draws me to Blythe is their quirky cuteness. Being able to change their eyes adds so much dimension and character to them. I love photographing them. I am in constant awe that a plastic toy can have so much personality. They look so alive in pictures.
I’m very excited about 2012. I’m really looking forward to taking on new projects and commissions and getting to meet new people in the hobby. Since I met Blythe, she has been a constant inspiration for me and my art. She is my muse.
Thank so much for sharing these amazing images Irene, they’re truly inspiring.