Realistic yet ever-evolving, is how Sally defines her work as Rainfable Dolls. Going on her fourth year of customizing and over 100 dolls, she developed a very distinctive style, that accentuates the doll’s eyes and baby mouth.
Be creative and look around for inspiration. Children, pets, colors, your personal interests, everything!Sally / Rainfable Dolls
DollyCustom posed 12 questions to Sally about her history as a customizer, her process, and techniques. Here are those questions:
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Sally, I’m in my 20s, and I live by the beach in Sydney, Australia. I’ve always been into drawing and painting, with a specific focus on portraiture which I draw a lot of my inspiration from. When I’m not customizing, I can usually be found traveling the world.
When and how did you discover Blythe dolls?
I first discovered Blythe in 2009 when my Japanese friend received a Cousin Olivia as a gift from her relatives, and she showed it to me excitedly. She showed me the eye-changing mechanism, revealed that there were many many more styles available and that there was a massive community in Japan and around the world who collect and customize.
How long did it take for your style to emerge?
I don’t want to sound cliche but, it’s true: my style is ever-emerging. How can one have a defined style when everything – fashion, culture, makeup trends – are always changing. I think I like to stay within the realm of realism, however. With my background in fine arts and portraiture, I love incorporating the themes and techniques of painting people in my dolls.
Do you do this as a hobby or professionally?
It began as a hobby. I would go over to my friend’s place, and we would figure out the kinks of customizing together, self-teaching and teaching each other as we went, with the handful of dolls that we owned. Then I wanted to work on more dolls, so I started putting my little creations online to fund my interest. It has grown to be my job now, and I am always grateful to the people who enjoy my work enough to buy from me, all my fans and supporters, and my friend who got the ball rolling!
What is your creative process like? Do you plan your custom dolls from start to finish or just go with the flow?
It varies. I have a very concrete idea of some girls when I start, and they come out exactly as I imagined while I let go and ride the wave of creativity with others. Some of the outcomes have really surprised me!
What is your favorite part of this process and your least favorite?
Definitely the makeup! I love makeup in real life so doing it on Blythe is an extension of that. Sanding is a little bit tedious but you gotta do what you gotta do to get the base prepped and primed.
How long does it take you to customize one doll? Do you do one at a time or multiple?
Anywhere from a week to a month usually. Sometimes I do one at a time and other times a few at once.
Where do you work on your dolls? Do you have a dedicated workplace?
The study in my house has turned into my workroom! It has one table with two foldable wings, so there’s enough space for all my tools and brushes and pigments.
How would you characterize your style?
What are your favorite tools? What is your favorite Blythe mold to customize?
My trusty wood and plastic carving knives. My favorite for sure is the FBL mold maybe because my very first doll was a Very Vicky who was an FBL. Then it would have to be the RBL because there’s so much plastic to work it!
How did you develop the pricing model for your dolls?
It all depends on the base doll and the time spent. As with most things, when skills advance and techniques get more complex, and demand gets higher, the cost increases as well.
For the beginner customizer, what advice would you give them?
Be creative and look around for inspiration. Children, pets, colors, your personal interests, everything! Remember to wear your respirator mask when spraying MSC.
Sally’s background in arts and human portraiture helped with defining a strong visual expression in her dolls. Large eyes with full eyelashes and matching eyebrows make the center of our attention while a softer but very present baby mouth completes the look.
With 4 years of work and more than 100 dolls, Rainfable Dolls is now a way of living for Sally, and she’s another great example that if we follow our dreams and work hard, we can get there.
Check Rainfable Dolls’ profile page to bookmark and follow all her social media links and keep up with her work.
- Dolls: 100+
- Started: 2014
- How to Purchase: Etsy / Instagram / Facebook
- Favorite Customizers: “Too many! There is so much talent, and artistic nuance in every customizer I like and the styles vary greatly, so it is difficult to choose.”