Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: milk-tooth.com, parasol doll, rabbitine
Amazing is one word to describe what Lisa does with art for the Blythe community. Cute and witty, her fabric designs make me smile and I can pretty much guarantee that they’ll make you smile too. If you’re interested in purchasing your own fat quarters of Lisa’s amazing work, please check out her Etsy shop, Milktooth by Milktoof.
Hi Lisa, Why don’t you tell us all a little about yourself and how you go into Blythe?
Hi! My name is Lisa, a.k.a. Rabbitine on the interwebs. I’m really just an art nerd living the “funemployment” dream in Portland, Oregon. I live with my boyfriend and our two dogs, Jack and Leela whom I love to kibbles and bits! When I’m not playing with dolls I can usually be found at the dog park, making feeble attempts to play bass, painting, reading, or hunting down vintage dolls and toys at local antique stores.
As I am a graphic designer and illustrator by trade, I occasionally get commissions for artwork. One gloomy Portland day, I was contacted by the lovely, Megan (Minklet) to do some illustrations for her band, Gingerbread Patriots. Megan and I became friends and she introduced me to the amazing world of Blythe. For a long time, I was too chicken to buy my first girl, but in the fall of 2007, I visited the Junie Moon store in Tokyo and took the plunge! I bought a Rainy Day Parade for around 11,500 yen. I named her, Ren and my life has never been the same since!
You have a great website, milk-tooth.com – how did you come up with that name?
Thank you so much! This fabric designing stuff is a completely new adventure for me. I wanted a name that would reflect that freshness. I kept telling myself that I was just cutting my baby teeth (milk teeth) like a wee baby and the moniker stuck. I think the name also speaks to the child-like nature of my work. As a bonus, little cartoon teeth are just plain cute and fun to draw!
I know you have some involvement with BlytheCon 2011 (which is taking place in Portland, Oregon), what can you tell us about that?
Well, I suppose I could be considered BlytheCon 2011’s official designer but I’m not directly involved with the planning so I’m not sure what juicy tidbits I can leak. However, I CAN tell you that it’s going to be flipping EPIC! It has an awesome nautical theme which I think will lend itself nicely to cute vintage outfits and an amazing location with lots of bright natural light for taking photos. There’s going to be a ton of vendors, some knock-your-socks-off raffle prizes, and lots of fun surprises.
The three BlytheCon inspired fabrics I designed are being printed by Spoonflower as I write this and will be available very soon via the BlytheCon 2011 official ArtFire shop to raise funds for the event.
It’s going to be so fun to meet everyone. I am counting down the days!
Your fabric designs all have this unspoken whimsical feel to them, what are some of the things that inspire you to draw the designs that you do?
Many of my drawings are inspired by the strange vivid dreams I have which usually contain a talking animal or inanimate object of some sort. For example, last night I had a dream about a brocade pattern made from typography so when I woke up, I sat with my sketch book and drew it out. I am also a total die hard cartoon junkie which is where I think a lot of the goofiness in my work comes from. Most of all, I’m inspired by all of the amazingly talented seamstresses out there making Blythe clothes. Their work is a big part of what motivated me to start designing fabric in the first place!
What can you tell us about the process that you go through to get from an idea to the physical piece of fabric sitting in front of you?
Usually, I start with a broad theme which is either given to me, like with Spoonflower contests, or that I come up with for myself. Then, I put on some rad music and start to brainstorm all of the visuals and phrases that pertain to that theme. After I brainstorm, I pick my favorite ideas and start to sketch them out on paper or on my Wacom tablet. Next, I draw and color all of the elements of the design in Illustrator and arrange and size them in Photoshop. Finally, I upload to Spoonflower and wait wait wait for my fabric to arrive in the mail!
If you had to describe your designs in 140 characters or less (much like a tweet), how would you describe them?
Milktooth fabrics are created with dolls in mind, hand-woven in a factory by elves, and specially designed to tickle your happy-maker.
You say that you create your fabrics with dolls in mind, why did you decide to design small-scale prints?
On numerous occasions I had heard my dolly-clothing-designer buddies talk about how there are very few cute micro-prints available. I also noticed that a lot of people in the Blythe community make dresses using the same handful of mass-produced Japanese fabrics. Don’t get me wrong, the kawaii Japanese prints are totally adorable, but I thought the market could use some spicing up. I had no idea that creating my own fabric was even a possibility until my dear friend, Maggie of Parasol Doll told me about Spoonflower and encouraged me to start designing for dollies. I probably never would have attempted it without her!
What do you think is the most important thing that you’ve learned, from marketing your own designs and about yourself, since you started fabric design?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to be more confident in myself and my work and to try my hardest even if I think I might fail. Before I started designing fabric I was pretty confident in my graphic design abilities but less so in my illustration skills. In the graphic design practice, you are always trying to marry your style with the clients vision but with Milktooth, it is 100% me. This is a little scary, but also very freeing! With the continued support of my friends and the greater doll and craft communities I have learned to love the weird little flaws and quirks in my work and now I’m not afraid to put myself out there.
You bring an incredibly unique gift to the Blythe community, how does it make you feel when you see that people are using your fabrics for their sewing projects?
Thank you so much! I get really excited when I see people sewing with my fabrics! Usually I make some sort of strange squealing noise! It’s so delightful to see all the creative things that people do with my prints. I love to collaborate with other artists and I feel like every piece that gets made with Milktooth fabric is a mini collaboration of sorts. I’m such a dork about it, I troll Flickr daily to see if anyone has made anything new!
A big ol’ pile of Milktooth! Photo credit: Rabbitine.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Lisa. In closing, what kind of advice would you give to someone who’s just coming into the Blythe hobby?
Thank you for having me! I would tell anyone new to Blythe not to be shy and never hesitate to ask questions. It can be really intimidating to come into a well-established hobby community when you don’t know anyone or much about dolls but just remember that we were all in that position at one point in time so don’t be afraid! I would encourage them to get involved with their local Blythe scene (if there is one.) Blythe is great at bringing people together! I have made some of my very best friends because of dolls!
Milk-Tooth.com & Parasol Doll Dress Giveaway!
You can have up to three (3) entries into the giveaway, which will be done by a random draw. You can enter until Friday August 6th, 2010 at 9:00pm PDT. One winner will be randomly selected and it will announced on Saturday August 7th.
Remember to use a valid email address when commenting. If you are chosen as the winner, your email address will be forwarded to Lisa of Milk-Tooth.com to arrange for the prize to be sent to you.
Please only use one email address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.
Entry #1: Comment on this interview!
Entry #2: (You must complete Entry #2) Follow Lisa on Twitter at @rabbitine! Please include your Twitter username in your comment if you decided to do Entry #2.
Entry #3: Bonus Entry! (You must complete Entry #1 and #2) Help Lisa and me promote the contest by retweeting the following:
@blythelifecom and @rabbitine are doing a giveaway! Read the interview! You get 3 chances to win! http://bit.ly/alFfD4