Marine Serre is a French artist. Her dolls are offered at her website La Compagnie des Radis. She has just released her third doll Suzette and has several more BJDs in-progress.
Q: The name of your company is very interesting. Why “La Compagnie des Radis”?
A: That’s a good question! Actually it’s a little strange, but it comes from my sister. The day she was born, she was wearing an outfit printed with small radishes, and for years people in my family (including me) loved to remind her of this fact. One day I wanted to draw something for her, so I made an illustration of a small girl dressed like a radish!
Finally, this illustration inspired me to create one of my first dolls, and even if I didn’t release this little radish faceplate (yet!) I decided to keep the radish as the symbol of my company.
Plus, radishes are pink and I love pink!
Q: How did you become a doll designer?
A: Actually I always loved to craft things. When I was a child I used to create many small objects in clay. At first I wanted to become an architect and a physicist but when I was about 9 or 10, my dream was to create and sell small “figures kits” including many accessories… they came out ugly, but it was fun!
I discovered ball jointed dolls in 2005 when I was 18, and I did buy my first one the same year with my small savings. (It was a Twin-Key from Dream of Doll, what an old memory!!)
Four years and a few dolls later, I became a 2D artist for video games. During these 4 years, I tried to sculpt my first prototypes, but they were really “basic” and really creepy! I was learning. I tried a lot of technics and kinds of clay during these years. I tried to cast my first doll in resin in 2011. The doll was kind of awful, but I learn of lot from my experimentations!
I started working on my first “real” doll, Paupiette, in 2012. Well, of course I didn’t know when I started that she would become a “real” doll. I did quit my job in order to work on my doll full time, and it took me about a year to finish the prototype! We moved to Canada at the end of 2013 (we were living in France), and I sent my prototype to the factory for the first time in March 2014. My first pre-order opened in August 2014, so we can say I’m an official doll maker as of that date!
Like all jobs in the world it’s not always easy: I love the creation part, but I had to learn all the commercial parts, and this is not easy for me.
But either way, I really hope I’ll be able to keep the job as long as possible because I love to create things, and dolls are for me a perfect mix of different crafts (sculpting, painting…) and technical challenge.
Q: Tell me a little about each of the dolls you have designed.
A: Well, Paupiette was born first! I wanted to make a small doll with big, solid joints. She’s not really my first doll, I made a lot of tests before that but what came out really was ugly. She’s 16cm tall with a big head (she wears 6-7 inch wigs!)
And one day – because I’m absolutely unable to work on only one project at time – I decided to start making a little bear… Well, as you can see my little bear turned into a small mouse! (I was happy to fail that time, but a little bear still is on my to-do list!) So, Raclette was born!
About one year ago, I wanted to try to make a bigger doll. That’s why Suzette was born! She’s a 22cm girl with small legs and a big bottom.
My last “finished” doll (still in the factory right now) is a small fox! His name is Mr. Quenotte and he’s smaller than Paupiette and Raclette (about 12cm). He hasn’t as many joints as my other dolls, but he was really fun to create! He has a faceplate system too.
About their names, they all are related to food! Paupiette is a small piece of meat, Raclette is a cheese fondue (her little sister Tartiflette is coming soon), Ciboulette mean “chives”, Rillette is a kind of “pâté”, Chouquette is a French viennoiserie and Suzette is a special recipe for crêpes. Finding funny names really is a part of my job that I love.
A: Actually Paupiette and Raclette share the same body, so the faceplates can be interchanged. Suzette is a different size, but she has a faceplate system too, and I plan to make different faces for her in the future.
But one thing is sure, I always try to work with a faceplate system; I find it easier for many reasons: to do a face-up, to protect your doll-face when you want to change her clothes and because you can have several dolls on one single body!
Q: Are small size dolls your favorite?
A: Yes, I really love small size!! First of all because I’m a huge fan of miniatures since I was a child. (I sold my soul to Re-Ment years ago!) Small dolls are so perfect to fit into a diorama!
Also, small dolls are easy to keep in your handbag and easy to take with you everywhere.
The only inconvenience I can see for me is that it’s more difficult to make detailed clothes for this scale. But I’m actually working with Edhelwen from Affreusement Mignon and she really is a magician to create the cutest small outfits you have ever seen! Here’s her Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/ca-fr/shop/edhelwen.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I can’t say exactly, but I did grow with Disney, Warner Brothers and a lot of other animated cartoons. I actually always loved 2D animation, even now although I’m almost 30.
I also love colorful universes, small kawaii animals (red pandas rule! I have to create a red panda doll!), all kind of toys, food… inspiration is everywhere.
Q: Are you planning out or working on anything new at this time?
I’m working on several faceplates to put on the Paupiette and Raclette body, Rillette, Ciboulettee and Chouquette! I actually started to work on them months ago, and I’m now making final changes before I send them to the factory.
I’m also working on Tartiflette, another little mouse! She’s Raclette’s sister, and I’m making a new body for her, but I’ll try to adapt the faceplate on the two bodies.
And at least, I’m also trying to make a (small) MSD doll! She’s named Melba and I work on her when I’ve got a little time.
Photos above from the top: Illustration of Radish Girl, Paupiette, Raclette prototype, Mr. Quenotte prototype, various face-plate and doll prototype parts.
Prototypes of upcoming dolls: