Les Enfants Terribles is a new doll company from Germany. The sculptor of the character heads is “Choco”. “Ara” helps her run the company and is also a talented face-up artist. Both will be attending the Ldoll Festival BJD Convention in France this coming October.
Q: Why did you name the company “Les Enfants Terribles”?”
A – Choco: Les Enfants Terribles literally means “the terrible children”.
For an artist his creations are like children to him, but I knew I wouldn’t create your usual pretty doll faces. My main idea behind making heads was to make faces far from perfection.
I do believe there aren’t enough heads of elderly people too.
Faces tell stories. I wanted to make heads on which you can see they have lived a life full of work and with a rich history. That’s also how I came to the name.
No models, no perfection; just life with all its bumps and edges.
The heads are of course still created with utmost care!
Q: Choco, can you give me some background on yourself and your interest in dolls?
A – Choco: I’ve been working as an illustrator for a very long time. When I met Ara 8 years ago she introduced me to BJDs, I got hooked and started collecting too.
I knew though that just collecting them wouldn’t be enough for me.
At first I started with making miniature food props, and soon I was creating all kinds of props for me and others.
I had made human masks before and used wax for lots of masters, so one fine day I grabbed a bunch and started sculpting a head.
Our local group gave a lot of helpful critique and also Namonaki Studios and Noyadolls gave me helpful advice.
Q: How do you two know each other?
A – Choco: I met Ara on a convention. She walked in front of me, with a BJD on her arm. A gust of wind blew away his wig; I picked it up to give it to her, and we started talking. We quickly became friends, she introduced me to the hobby and later we became a couple too.
We often work as a team and help each other out. Ara is not only my moral support but also paints my creations. In exchange, I sculpt and create props for her characters.
We also combine our talents for our customers; I sculpt something on a commission, and Ara airbrushes and paints if afterwards.
A – Ara: After we met, we kept in touch because she told me she had started working on food miniatures. I was still new with BJDs myself and was of course interested in seeing her works.
She started collecting shortly afterwards, and we became close friends. Nowadays we live together as a couple, and our collections are connected by a story based on chess (our “Chess World”).
Q: Ara, do you help Choco with the company?
A: Ara: I hope so 😉
While Choco does all the main work, I try my best to support her.
I can’t sculpt at all, even if my life would depend on it, but I paint face-ups and also take pictures for LET. I usually do commission work, but for LET I take some time off to get a few heads ready for LDoll 2016.
I want people to see how much potential these heads have and how different they can look like.
Q: Choco, can you tell me a bit about your first two doll heads? Did you have certain ideas behind the characters you created?
A – Choco: When I started with Don I had two main inspirations.
Stories of a personal friend of mine, who’s lived quite a life, and Ara’s love for slick mafia characters.
With Ryan it was a tad different, this time I wanted to make a head for rougher characters.
I of course want to play with my own creations, which is why I needed some kind of story.
Since it started with something close to an Italian mafia story, I needed a character for the tough jobs. I already have some more characters in mind though.
Q: Are both heads currently available?”
A: Don is in-stock in limited numbers, Ryan is currently pre-order only and on his way to the casting company.
Q: What size bodies do they fit?
A: Heads are intended to be used on 65-70cm male bodies. They were tested for fit on April Story Senior, Spiritdoll Proud, Granado 68, Supia, old Soom Super Gem and the like.
Fit is best on 10.5cm necks. Don has a head circumference of 19.5cm (7.6inch), Ryan 20cm (7.8inch).
Q: Where are the heads cast? What resin colors? What do they match?
A: Heads are casted by Haru Casting. Available colors are Haru’s “Yellow White”, “Volks Normal” and “Soft Tan”.
White is a light, ivory tone. Fits well Doll Legend white and Dollshe Fresh Skin with some light blushing. Normal fits Volks Normal and everything similar. Tan matches some batches of Soom Brown Tan, but since tan is often unstable and changed often it’s probably best to get a color matched body.
Q: Ara, do you get commission work through LET or do you also have a separate site?
A – Ara: Mine and LETs work is completely separated.
I started accepting face-up commissions in 2009, first only for local customers and since 2011 for EU ones too. My shop is called “In Tentationem” on Den of Angels, next to that I opened a portfolio Tumblr a year ago (http://in-tentationem.tumblr.com/) to show some more pictures and WIPs.
I liked the thought of my shop and creations being a “temptation” to the viewer, hence the name.
Currently it is sadly not possible to order a face-up from me through LET when buying a head, but it’s something I’d like to offer in future…at least in limited numbers.
Q: Choco, Will you be creating any girl doll heads as well?
A – Choco: I am working on a female head currently, but I’m not pleased with her yet.
I wanted to finish her before Ryan, but even after a dozen changes I can’t “see” her yet. Her Name is Delia, and she’s supposed to be an elderly lady.
Q: Are you working on any more boys?
A – Choco: I’m currently working on a new male head called “John”; he will also be quite aged. Delia is currently my top priority though.
Q: Do you plan to release heads only or do you hope to produce a body in the future?
A – Choco: I would love to try my hand at making large bodies, if I had the time and space to take on such a huge project. That’s a lot of molds after all. I’ve also been thinking about making a pet doll for some time now, but I have no actual concepts yet.
Q: Are you two planning anything special for Ldoll?
A – Choco: I hope I can bring some props to Ldoll, I’m also working on some busts to present the heads on.
I’m already very excited. LDoll is a great event, and I love meeting artists and collectors in real life.
Ara: I plan to paint a few Dons and, if he’s already back from Haru by then, Ryan heads for LDoll. I want to try very different concepts on each head to show others a wide range of possible looks.
These painted heads will be for sale at LDoll too.
Else I am mostly supporting Choco at her booth. Like her, I also look forward to meeting other artists, have a look at their creations, finally get to know the faces behind familiar nicknames or see friends from far away countries again.
If people are interested in ordering/buying a head they can also contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org OR message “Ara” on Den of Angels.