Dmitry is the artist behind Nidum Dolls. He is self-taught. His company has been open since 2015. Currently Nidum has a pre-order open for five dolls, the two original boys, Lazarus and Ingvar, and new girls Fatima, Lailah and Irza.
Q: First can you tell me about yourself? Do you have a background in sculpting or are you self taught? Why did you start making BJDs?
A: I’m from Sakhalin, Russia. It’s far away from everywhere, but here there is fantastic landscapes and pure nature all around.
My first experience with sculpting was when I was a child in the village house of my grandma and grandpa. There was a lot of clay nearby, and I was trying to model something.
After that, in the middle school I was visiting the modeling studio for three months. We worked with clay and we were modeling animals and birds in the traditional style, then fireded and painted them.
At the high school I decided to become an architect and went to an art studio to improve my drawing skills. Here I was learning a lot about the human body – about its proportions and how beautiful it can be. Since that time I left the dream of architecture and only wanted to laud the human body.
And then I found that the doll is a more natural way to express my views about the human body. The doll to me is almost a human, and the BJD is more so than other dolls.
Q: How did you discover BJDs?
A: The first BJD I had seen was Migidoll Ryu. He was so beautiful that I could not believe he was real and made by human hands. It was in 2008, and then I was not even thinking of making dolls.
But in 2010 I was discovered Marina Bychkova’s art. Her dolls looked like treasures, I could view their photos for hours and all my drawing pads were filled with drawings of her dolls. I was so inspired that I started creating my first doll. Is it worth saying that the first experiment was unsuccessful?
Q: Was Lazarus the first doll you made? How long did it take to design him?
A: Lazarus became first finished doll. My very first doll was Grey, I was making him at the end of 2010, but he was not finished at all. I made several attempts to start a new doll before 2012, but all of them were unsuccessful.
At the end of 2012, I was drew a sketch of Lazarus and made a raw plasticine model. At the same time I had started learning ZBrush using Olga Bekreeva’s lessons. After 6 months, the first version of Lazarus was ready, but I did not have enough money to print him and I put off the work until better times.
In the autumn of 2013, I opened the file of Lazarus in ZBrush, and I was horrified – this version did not satisfy me at all. I thanked heaven for not printing out it.
In the summer of 2014, I completely reworked Lazarus and sent him to Shapeways for printing. Month later, Lazarus was at home and I was so happy to hold him in my hands. But happiness did not last long – the joints either did not work as they should or did not work at all.
The third version of Lazarus was ready by summer 2015, but it took few months for the primer coating and sanding of the prototype. The first preorder was started in November 2015.
Generally, it was a long journey that took a lot of effort, time and money, but I do not regret it.
Q: Is 1/4 scale your prefered size? What do you like about that size?
A: Yes, I love dolls at this size. They are looks so gentle and fragile – they can easily be seated on your palm. But this size still gives you the opportunity to make outfits and accessories without undue stress.
Q: Do you cast your own dolls?
A: Unfortunately, for now I do not have such an opportunity. I am cooperating with Konstantin Plekhanov. He is casting dolls for Lutsenko Dolls and other russian doll-makers. I am very satisfied with his work; the quality is always top notch. But I have a dream that one day I will be able to cast my dolls by myself.
Q: What are some of the things that inspire your dolls?
A: First of all, my dolls are inspired by works of classical art. For example the male body was made under inspiration of a Hermes statue and the female from Artemis.
Besides classical art, the modern artists and films are inspires me. The Lazarus face was created based on inspiration from Yoshitaka Amano illustrations (especially Vampire Hunter D series), «Prometeus» by Ridley Scott and «Dune» by Frank Herbert.
Q: Does each of your dolls bring up a character in your mind?
A: All of my dolls are the characters of one universe. It’s a world of the distant future where humanity has conquered its vices and has found a way to the stars. There are millions of populated planets – millions of variants of mankind.
Q: Was it easier for you when you made your girls?
A: It was little easier to work on the girls in the case of sculpting in ZBrush, but it was harder in other ways. I decided to print a female body in my own printer and it tooks a few weeks to get parts of proper quality. All this time I could not get enough sleep because the printer was very noisy and required constant monitoring. Now I can say that I will try not to use the printer at home any more, but then it seemed like a good idea.
Q: What plans do you have for future releases?
A: I have a few plans for the next year.
First of all I have new face molds to release. It includes an african man Pharruh and two mini-me sculpts for fthe emale body based on Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. I’m planning to finish them at the beginning of 2018.
Then I plan to release hound dolls. These will be Saluki dogs. They will be available in both genders and will be cast in resin. The sculpt is 75% ready, and I hope to finish work before spring 2018.
In the autumn of 2018, I’m planning to release a youthful male which I named Gvido with a few variant face molds, one of which will be asian.
Q: Are all of your dolls created by computer? Do you do any additional hand-sculpting?
A: There was a point when I decided for myself that everything that I do for customers must be tops. That’s why I chose 3D-sculpting and printing as the main manufacturing method, but this does not exclude the need to finalize the prototype manually.
There are no perfect technology. That’s why each of my dolls was additionally remolded after printing. For example Lailah’s and Irza’s lip sculpture was reworked before primering and they differ from the digital version.
Modern technologies give me the opportunity to provide my customers with the highest quality products and help in solving complex technical problems such as joint design and asymmetry correction. I don’t even think it’s the best way to make dolls, but I think that both ways (I mean modern and traditional) are equally good.
I use hand-sculpting to train my modeling skills. I work at my studio with plasticine and sculpt such things as skulls, hands and etc…
Q: Are you planning on making outfit or accessories for your dolls?
A: I am only learning how to make wigs and how to sew for dolls, and I think it will take some time, so I’m searching for artisans to cooperate with. So, if anyone among the readers of this interview is interested in cooperation, they can feel free to contact me.
Q: Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
A: Dare to live your own life. Don’t listen other people who tell you how to live. Only you know what can makes you happy. If you want to jump with a parachute – do it! If you want to have unicorn hair – do it! If you want to go to Australia to give a hug to a kangaroo – do it! We only live once and I heartily believe this life is for happiness.
First doll attempt : Grey