Interview with Susana Gonzalo from Suedolls

Beautiful and sweet, Susana Gonzalo's custom Blythe dolls are a feast to the eyes. In this interview, you will learn more about the artist behind Suedolls, one of the most recognized Blythe customizers. Since her early years, she started painting even though she studied Tourism and Business. Her artistic vein was nurtured from an early age and we can now appreciate that in her dolls. Suedolls style is very romantic, natural and sweet.



My mother saw I loved crafts and paintings, so I attended drawing and painting classes from a very young age.

Susana Gonzalo / Suedolls

DollyCustom posed 12 questions to Susana Gonzalo about her history as a customizer, her process, and techniques. Here are those questions:

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I'm Spanish and I live in a village in the north of Madrid. I have studied "Business technician and tourist activities”. My mother saw I loved crafts and paintings, so I attended drawing and painting classes from a very young age. I have participated in several exhibitions and have sold several of my paintings. Currently, I still paint when I have some time and my favorite technique is oil painting and drawing with charcoal.

I discovered Blythe dolls 5 years ago, I bought my first customized doll and I decided to try to make it myself. I worked for 25 years in a company dedicated to the medical sector, and a month ago I decided to take some time to rest and dedicate myself totally to the artistic world. And here I am, trying to give some life to the plastic. My goal is always to improve my work, and to be proud of the dedicated effort.

When and how did you discover Blythe dolls?

I discovered Blythe dolls 5 years ago on Facebook. I saw a picture of a Blythe doll with a Mini cabrio car (one of my other passions is my Mini) so I started investigating that. I bought my first customized doll and I decided to try to make it myself.

How long did it take for your style to emerge?

People can recognize my style better than me ? . I would not like to pigeonhole in a single style. I'm learning things every day.

Do you do this as a hobby or professionally?

At the beginning, it started as a hobby. Currently, I dedicate myself to professional customization, trying not to lose the charm of the hobby.

What is your creative process like? Do you plan your custom dolls from start to finish or just go with the flow?

I start with an idea, but it keeps changing as the carving progresses. Maybe I still don't have enough experience to get always what I want. It also influences the mold that is chosen. Not all the molds have the same amount of plastic, and this can affect your initial idea and limit it.

Suedolls customization in different stages (2016)
What is your favorite part of this process and your least favorite?

My favorite part is carving and makeup, The worst is sanding!? 
I make reroots for all my girls, and it also takes a long time. It seems that I will never finish!!!!

How long does it take you to customize one doll? Do you do one at a time or multiple?

If I'm lucky and I get everything, that is, carving and makeup on the first try, it takes about a week, as my girls wear mohair or alpaca hair rerooted by me, it takes me longer. 
I only make one doll at a time, I've never tried to make two dolls or more at a time … it's stressful for me ?

Where do you work on your dolls? Do you have a dedicated workplace?

Yes! Well, I have a place for carving, with a special LED lamp, and makeup, for reroots I do it sitting on the couch watching TV. And the attic is where I keep all the materials and clothing and my photographic studio.

Susana Gonzalo's workplace
How would you characterize your style? (Click to focus this heading)

My goal is to get a doll that transmits reality and some life. I like dolls that convey tenderness and elegance.

First custom doll (2014)

Last custom doll (June 2017)

What are your favorite tools? What is your favorite Blythe mold to customize?

My favourite tools for carving are scalpels. For sanding I use 3M softpads and water pads. For makeup I use soft pastels like Schmincke or Rembrandt. For sealing MSC UV cut.

About molds, my favourite for working is RBL and the new mold RBL renew because they have more plastic than the others and are softer. However the other molds have characteristics that I love and that the RBL does not have. For example EBL and SBL have smaller eye sockets but not enough plastic.

How did you develop the pricing model for your dolls?

I offer my girls preferably directly on Facebook. I upload pictures when I finish them and l tell the date when people can contact me for pricing. Other times I offer them on eBay (auction) and other times I accept private offers based on a minimum price for a certain time… a method similar to eBay but on Facebook. Referring "buy now" prices they are lower than the prices for eBay auctions.

At the moment I don't take commissions. It's not only because I don't have enough time, it's also because I like to work at my own pace, without pressure, free to choose the type of girl I want to create. A lot of people ask me about it, but in truth, it would be very stressful for me.

For the beginner customizer, what advice would you give them?

For the beginner, I recommend visiting websites, tutorial videos. All the basic information can be found there: assembly and disassembly, customization materials and tools. Also on Facebook, you can find pages like Blythe Customization. For people who speak Spanish, I recommend visiting the website Vidas de plastico.

I also recommend buying plastic faceplates to practice. 
In Spain there are good customizers that offer courses, maybe they can find the same in their countries ?


Since starting in 2014, Susana Gonzalo has developed a unique style with perfection. Her dolls have beautiful carving and colourings. Rerooting is also a part of her brand style, as all her dolls are rerooted by her. In 2017 and more than 40 dolls later, she's here to impress us with the quality of her work. Make sure to visit her profile page follow her work through social media.


Stats:

  • Dolls: 45
  • Started: 2014
  • How to Purchase: Via Facebook Page or as an auction on eBay.
  • Favorite Customizers:  "I can find something that inspires me in almost all the customizers." — Susana Gonzalo

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