Romantic with a perfect color scheme, Katalin’s dolls are a treat to the eye. She started in 2014 and her style is becoming more definite and recognizable with each doll. She has a YouTube channel where she teaches what she knows and shows a little more of herself. If you still don’t know
Don’t forget the sanding! Even if you see that everything is smooth and looking fine, wash the face and sand a little bit more!Katalin Szabo-Varga / UnnieDolls
DollyCustom posed 12 questions to Katalin Szabo-Varga 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 Kata. I’ve been making dolls since 2012 and interested in art since I can remember. When I was younger, I drew, painted and took photos. I didn’t learn much art in school, but I tried to improve my skills at home. I studied Economics at the University and finished a Master’s Degree. I had some related jobs in the past, but I had no energy to be creative in my free time. Now I’m working only with dolls and this is my dream job. I live with my boyfriend, who is also very creative. He often helps me with photo editing and doll making. Oh, and we have a cute cat with blue eyes.
When and how did you discover Blythe dolls?
I discovered Blythe dolls around 2009. Back then I didn’t know too much about them, but I kept saving photos on my computer. I thought they are cute. After I started to make clay dolls in 2012, I discovered Oso Polar’s creative creatures. She had also customized several Blythe dolls back then and liked her style. I bought my first Blythe doll in 2014, who was a Neo Blythe Bohemian Peace girl. She was my first custom doll and is now living in the Philippines.
How long did it take for your style to emerge?
I think my style is still not fully developed, so I’m always trying out new techniques. I think it started to be noticeable in 2016 through carving and painting.
Do you do this as a hobby or professionally?
Currently, it’s a hobby but I want to turn into a business soon.
What is your creative process like? Do you plan your custom dolls from start to finish or just go with the flow?
I rarely plan my dolls. I mean, I never draw them or something like that. Planning happens just in my head. I usually have an idea from a specific hair color, a movie, a piece of music, a season… or just my mood can bring some ideas. Then I try to plan in my head what I want to add and what things I need to create for this dreamed doll.
What is your favorite part of this process and your least favorite?
I think my favorite part is painting the face. I’m usually watching a movie while I’m sanding and carving, so the time flies. My least favorite part is sanding and sometimes carving, but this happens only in the winter time when I don’t have too much natural light and the days are shorter.
How long does it take you to customize one doll? Do you do one at a time or multiple?
I find it very stressful to see many unfinished dolls on my desk at the same time, and it stops me from working on them. So, since I know this, I start only one doll at a time. And I don’t start another doll until after taking the final photos of the finished doll.
I usually need one week to finish a doll, especially if I’m also making the clothes.
Where do you work on your dolls? Do you have a dedicated workplace?
I have a desk at home where is my computer, and this is where I work on my dolls. Near this desk, I have a cabinet where I keep all my tools and materials.
How would you characterize your style?
My style is changing from year to year. Last year I customized many pastel colored dolls. In this year I carved the eyelids, and I used golden paint with glitter.
What are your favorite tools? What is your favorite Blythe mold to customize?
My favorite tool is my carved Exacto knife, that is what I usually use for carving. I also really like my brushes and pastels (I’m using PanPastels). For some parts, I use a rotary tool, so this is also an essential and one of my favorite tools.
I like to work on RBL and RBL+ molds.
How did you develop the pricing model for your dolls?
For the pricing, I start with the base doll then I consider the time, tools, materials, and also what the clothes and eyechips I added.
For the beginner customizer, what advice would you give them?
Don’t forget the sanding! Even if you see that everything is smooth and looking fine, wash the face and sand a little bit more! It’s also good to try out more tools to find out what’s the best for you. As I mentioned before, I’m carving with an Exacto knife, while another artist can have different tools which they can work with well.
I have some videos on Youtube that might help you to carve and paint a faceplate.
Kata takes her hobby very seriously and you can see that in all that makes a good customizer: her dolls are perfectly done, great color scheme, photography, all coming around to create a unique brand. I’m sure in the future, she will be able to live just out of her passion of creating custom Blythe dolls. Currently, her dolls are very reasonably priced, so we all can help her getting there while getting an amazing doll in our collection.
- Dolls: 74
- Started: 2014
- How to Purchase: “I have a website where I share the photos of my finished dolls and also the adoption link. I usually post my dolls on Etsy, but I have a store on my website, too.”
- Favorite Customizers: “In the beginning, my favorite artist was Oso Polar and Sharon Avital. Now I see many talented artists, who have beautiful styles. If I had to pick I would say KeiuDolls and Erin Deir.”
Don’t forget to follow Katalin in all her social media by checking her profile page.