LeGrand Doll features the work of Aida, an artist originally from Russia but now living in the USA. Her work is created on her computer. Many of her dolls have been released in printed versions and some in resin casts. Aida’s newest doll is a full-figured girl named Lidia. She is one of the first pro-cast dolls to be offered at LeGrand.
Q: To start, could you please tell me a little about yourself and how you became interested in creating dolls?
A: I’m actually not even close to being a pro artist. I had a pretty successful career in Russia, then I quit to be an entrepreneur. My business got huge publicity, it was one of the most famous startups in Russia. Even Russian Forbes wrote about us! So, one of the startup accelerators invited us to Silicon Valley, but our attempt to go global wasn’t that successful, and our business stayed in Russia.
Anyway, I fell in love with this country, and my family moved here almost three years ago. Honestly, I never learned English before, and it’s the hardest part of my life now!
My doll road started with 3D printing. When I sculpted and printed out my first doll (her name is Elli, I made her for my daughter Elli), I didn’t even know what a BJD was. I got lucky to meet BJD lovers here in Austin; it was one and a half years ago. So, that was my start.
Q: What dolls have you created so far?
A: Oh, I have an inexcusable amount of sculpts… First of all, it’s my first Elli, which I’m ashamed to show. Then was Chelsea, I made her for a MacGyver TV show. Chelsea stars in Episode 106 of MacGyver in the final scene of the show.
Then I made sexy curvy Naomi: she has different expressions: smiling, open mouth, closed mouth, I even gave her elf ears. Then I designed Rachel and Tanya. They share Naomi’s curvy body but have different personalities. Olivia is a completely new sculpt. She is the only girl I scaled to SD size so far. Olivia has a boyfriend Oliver, but unfortunately, just half of him: I didn’t finish his down torso yet.
Oh, I forgot about my two collaborative girls! One is Almond. She was sculpted by the talented Kayla Knadle. I engineered the jointing. Another one was created in collaboration with Andrew Yang (AY Collective). You will hear about her very soon!
Lidia is my latest creation, and honestly, to me, she is a perfection! She has a beautiful full figured body, but her curves don’t prevent her from being a good poser.
Q: Are all of your dolls designed in 3D software?
A: Yes, I use ZBrush for sculpting and jointing.
Q: Do you print your own dolls?
A: I have a BCN3D Sigma printer at home. I use it for printing my own dolls.
Q: Have most been released in resin as well?
A: Unfortunately, only Naomi, Rachel and Tanya got lucky to be cast in resin by me. I’m waiting for my first bunch of professionally cast Tanyas from China. Resin Lidia preorders are open right now, I’m going to send her to a casting company in China too. I also have plans to do a limited numbers of artist-casts of her for artist full sets.
Q: Are you making dolls exclusively now?
A: Do you mean is the doll making my only job? I have a 6 year old daughter. She is very energetic, talented and smart, and she takes 50% of my time. But if I’m not with my family, I’m with my dolls. So, yes, I make dolls exclusively.
Q: How did your experience with resin casting go?
A: Oh, I understand where is this question is from. Casting is a pain for most of the doll artists. It’s very hard to get the perfect piece, but it’s possible. I learned a lot about the casting process, and I’m pretty happy with what I’m able to produce now.
Q: Are all the dolls (except Olivia) 1/4 scale?
A: Oh! I forgot about my little Dory! She is a 16cm tall girl and has 3D printed outfit (including 3D printed wig) and 3D printed wings. All other dolls are 1/4 scale, including Olivia and Oliver. Olivia also has 1/3 version of her.
Q: Is there anything I didn’t ask about that you want to include?
A: I would like to talk about the difference between resin and 3D printed dolls because it’s a common question I get.
I print my dolls out of PLA; it’s a strong and lightweight plastic. After printing, I sand the faces for a smooth surface ready for a faceup, I don’t smooth the body, and it is a little shiny and has stripes from printing.
Talking about pros and cons, 3D printed dolls are very lightweight, they keep poses perfectly and don’t yellow. I love both types, both have pros and cons. Resin dolls are smooth but heavy. 3D printed dolls are easy to play with, but not smooth.
Resin dolls are a little more easy to paint, just because of the smoother surface, but materials, tools, and techniques are the same.
Thank you for this awesome opportunity to talk about my creations! I love to design dolls as much as I love any kind of crafting for them: sewing, hair making, knitting, shoe and accessory making.
3D Printed vs. Resin: