The doll face-ups and body blushing by Clémentine of Koala Krash are vibrantly drawn and painted. Her unique style has attracted many collectors, now allowing her to work full-time on commissions.
Q: Hi! Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
A: I’m located in France but I accept worldwide commissions. People can contact me directly through the form on my website, but they can also come and discuss their projects via my Facebook page or on forums like Den of Angels.
My specialties are face-ups, tattoos and heavy body blushes, but I also do Anime themed face-ups quite often, and work on both resin and vinyl dolls.
Q: Can you give me some background on yourself?
A: Well, I stepped into the world of BJD about 10 years ago, when I quickly started to paint mine, and eventually friends’ dolls, and it became a real passion.
In parallel with this hobby, I studied arts (Applied Arts, costume and theater arts, then Fine Arts at the Beaux Arts in Paris), which had quite an influence on my doll-work.
I’m now starting to work on dolls full-time, which is like a dream come true.
Q: Was the first doll you painted resin or vinyl?
A: The first doll I painted was a Pullip, so hard vinyl for me! Like a lot of people in the luxurious doll hobby, it was my first collectible doll.
I loved her a lot, but wanted to make her more unique, soooo… I took a deep breath and made her new face-up myself. Spoiler alert: it was really ugly. But still, the magic was there, and I knew I was going to love painting dolls!
Q: So can you tell me more about your art background?
A: I was lucky to study art for 10 years. So, I had a long time to learn a lot, experiment and then create in a very productive environment. I’m mainly into photography, but also watercolors and drawing. I participated in some minor exhibitions in Paris, which was a really motivating experience. I hope I’ll one day be able to fully combine my doll work and my main photographic work.
Q: What materials do you use to paint dolls?
A: Well, the classics I guess. A large variety of inks, pastels, watercolors, color pencils… sometimes I also love to experiment with other stuff to create patina effects, like metal flakes, varnishes and glitter.
I think the only big reveal would be that I do not work with an airbrush at all. Many people assume that I do, and I often receive messages asking me which brands are the best, or if I have any advice to offer to help with learning how to paint with an airbrush… I wish I did! Maybe one day I’ll try and learn, but I fear I’d lose some details and variations by not having all the blush effects hand painted.
Q: Will you paint any size doll? Do you have a favorite size?
A: I can’t remember refusing to paint a doll because of its size… the tiniest I painted were artist dolls around 5-6cm tall (like Fëadoll creatures), or dolls with really tiny heads like Cerisedoll’s Colline or Atelier Momoni’s Momonita. The biggest were tall girls from Twigling, big SD guys like Dollshe, Iple House…
When it comes to face-ups only, I maybe have a soft spot for big heads. I love to add a lot of details everywhere, and you know… more surface, more details I guess?
Q: Do you do face or body modifications?
A: I do not take orders for modifications, because I’m not at ease with doing something definitive to someone else’s doll, but I love mods in my own collection.
I started the “Seer Serie” this year, a collection of multi-eyed Dollfie Dreams heads. I love the mix between the cute manga aesthetic and the surrealist aspect of all the eyes, a lot more are scheduled for 2018; I have so many ideas for them!
I also often sculpt Pullips which I offer out as OOAKs. I love to sculpt animal mouths on them.
Q: Do you own many dolls yourself? What are some of the dolls you have collected?
A: Ah ha! It depends of your definition of many. I guess I don’t own that many, especially compared to some big collectors that I follow…
I really admire the work of maintaining a beautiful collection, and there are a lot of people who are not crafters at all but create an amazing aesthetic universe; it’s total eye candy for me to follow these big doll families.
I have been in the hobby for ten years or more now, and I always kept my number of dolls at home at 10-15 tops. There are so many amazing models out there that I so badly want to paint that at some point I just can’t keep them all, and a lot of dolls leave quickly after I gave them the look I imagined. Of course, I love to take photos of them before they leave. Though what I love even more is to then see what they become in their new families, with someone else’s eye for their styling, character and all. It is just so heartwarming to see other people love these dolls as much as I did.
This probably makes me more of a customizer than a good collector, but things are slowly changing. These two last years, I’ve started to acquire some dream dolls, those models you often wish on for years, and some of them are so rare or so old that I know I probably wouldn’t be able to buy them again if I ever sold them.
Currently at my home, you would see:
– Some Volks girls (Belldandy, the limited version of the F-07, Nana Sweet Dreams, and the Rozen Maiden Souseiseki)
– Artist’s dolls (Creature Dolls Bactro, Dust of Dolls Zouh Spün, L’Heure du Thé Darjeeling, Woodolls Pandore, Mister Minou Skully)
– And some vinyl girls (two Smart Dolls, a Dollfie Dream, an Angel Philia, and a tiny Pure Neemo)
Q: Is there any new challenge you would like to try in the future? (for example- wigs, eye making, furniture, clothes, magnetic attachments, props, etc…)
A: I love eye-making and wig-making, I hope one day I’ll have time to learn the techniques, creating each element of a customization would be amazing and it’s totally on my long-term to-do-list!
Concerning other props, I’m not sure yet. Years ago, I made lots of articulated wings for dolls. I had to stop because it was really too time-consuming… but I would love to make some more, with more original styles.
I started to sculpt my own BJD in 2014, Tantra, and she was left unfinished for years. Now that I’m settled in with a true workshop, it’s time for me to pull up my sleeves and get back to working on her!
Q: Do you have any photos of her?
A: I’m sorry, I just have pictures from years ago, but I promise some updates will be coming in 2018. I’m not yet sure that she will be for sale once finished, she’s more of a personal project, but still I can’t wait to see her casted. I hope you will like her!
Q: Is there anything you would like to add? (Is there anything I forgot to ask?)
A: I can’t think of anything else! Thank you for this interview, and thank you for being such an amazing display for artists’ work.
I wish you all have a wonderful year, full of projects, surprises, and beautiful dolls.
Spread the love!
Some photos of Clémentine’s work are posted below. More photos may be found HERE.
Main website: Koala Krash