Donny Harijanto of Dream High Studio created and then released Aldou, the first of his series of House Elves, in 2017. This year two younger elves, the twins Oli and Wren, will soon arrive. I asked the artist about the origin of the dolls, their painting, their costumes, and possible future directions the series might take.
Q: When and how did you come up with the idea for Aldou your first house elf? How long did he take to sculpt?
A: I have always loved fantasy art-dolls: the elf, dwarves, goblins, etc. Usually people make them as OOAK mixed material art dolls. So I decide to incorporate the styles into BJDs to set me apart from the others in the market. So I came up with Aldou’s sculpt. The original sculpt was done in a day. I made it in 2016 and kept it in my studio because I was a little hesitant to release it because it was so different from the other BJDs.
Q: Once you released Aldou, how was he received?
A: Yes, people loved him. It was beyond my expectations. The following series of elves has done quite well. Limited edition elf Willie was sold out in less than 30 minutes. Ben also sold quickly; the limited edition was 75 dolls.
Q: The house elves are painted very differently from your earlier dolls. Can you tell me a little more about that?
A: Yes, I use different methods to paint the elves. I needed to make them as lifelike as possible. I use watercolor pen and blend it a lot with cotton buds. A little bit tricky, but very satisfying results!
Q: I like that the dolls have fuzzy eyebrows! Why did you decide to attach eyebrows rather than sculpt them and paint them?
A: I wanted them to look lifelike, as if they were a real little peoples, so the eyebrows and facial hair should be like real hair.
Q: Tell me a little more about the twins, Wren and Oli, that are about to arrive.
A: The twins are my 4th release of the elf series, they are identical, but have a different shape to the head. The girl one has a new body, a little bit shorter body than the other elves.
Q: Do you think you will make any more of the current size elves, especially since you have a new smaller version body?
A: The twins have the same size as Aldou and any other elves. The girl one is slightly shorter by 0.5 cm.
Yes. I will use the shorter body if the sculpt is suitable.
Q: You have not sold separate outfits in the past. A lot of work and ingenuity has gone into the clothing for the elves. Who is responsible for the designs and for making them?
A: My wife Linda was responsible for the outfits, she has amazing skills in making miniatures clothing. in every release I will design only 1 clothing style to incorporate a back-story for the elves. In my imagination, each elf has their individual jobs in the past before they settle down as a house elves, and Linda will develop her own version of the outfits and many varieties of them.
Q: Would you consider creating some elf children? (Although you have created smaller elves in the past that are perfect little child size!)
A: I have them in plan, but a cute children sculpts are quite common in the BJD market, so I have to think about how to make something unique and different.
Q: Finally, why do your elves have 8 fingers and 8 toes?
A: It makes them look magical!
Oli and Wren will be available FEBRUARY 15th 2017 00:00 (GMT +7)
Along with 10 new elf outfits listings
very limited edition – only 25 of each doll
Wren and Oli: