Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: Melly Kay
People who customize are pretty much fantastic to me, seeing as I’m not exactly customizing-inclined and I love looking at photos of customized Blythes. Customizations by Melly Kay is no exception! She has a wonderful eye for colour, combines her style with everyone’s favourite doll’s style. You can check out Melly Kay’s website and Flickr photostream to see all there is that she offers, and it’s all wonderful.
Hi Melly Kay! What can you tell us about yourself?
Well, I’m a 29 year old doggie daycare employee/artist and I’ve been customizing Blythe dolls since January of this year and I love it! I’m enjoying being a part of the Blythe community and making all kinds of awesome contacts and friends
How did you discover Blythe?
I think I first saw Blythe on someone’s blog…I don’t remember which blog, but it seems like the author had a Blythe doll and posted some pictures. I remember wondering what this big-headed doll was and being really intrigued. Then I kept seeing Blythe dolls pop up here and there on different sites and that led me to Flickr where I discovered the world of customized Blythe dolls. I was blown away by all the gorgeous girls and the beautiful photography After seeing all of this, I knew then I had to learn to customize so I started researching and learning as much as I could about it…
Who was the first Blythe that you customized and what did you learn from the experience?
The first Blythe that I customized was an ADG Pleasant Peasant who I named Gaga. I bought her on ebay and I decided to learn to customize on her. I remember being so excited but also very nervous because I’d read about how hard ADGs are to open. But I got my girl open and did all the common customizations on her one by one. I learned so much while customizing her! Obviously I learned about doll parts and customizing tools/methods, but I think the main thing I gained from it was confidence. I went into this not know how to do any of it and being very nervous about messing the doll up. After I was done and she turned out so cute, it made me realize that maybe this is something I should pursue!
There are so many different Blythe molds and not all of them open up the same way, which ones do you like working with the best and why?
I like the RBL mold (especially the translucent girls!) mainly because I’ve worked on them more than any other mold. For me, they’re easy to open and I love their stock look & expression. But I look forward to working with the other molds too. I’m dying to do my first EBL!
If you could describe your customizing style in 140 characters or less, how would you describe it?
Playful, sweet, colorful, kawaii, whimsical, intricate & just fun! My style is basically a fusion of all the things I love & am inspired by!
I get nervous just thinking about opening up a doll’s head, what is something that you find challenging about customizing and how do you overcome this challenge?
My biggest challenge with customizing is battling nerves! I am a worrier by nature anyway, so the fear of screwing up someones doll can get intense. (I usually get so nervous when the doll arrives that I leave her in the box for a day or two and avoid her at all costs, haha!) I try to overcome the fear by being confident in my ability. I know that I can do the work and I have never had any major accidents, so I remind myself of that and press on. Once I sit down and start the custom, I usually feel a lot better too! Also, I try to play music while I’m customizing too. Music is a big part of my life and it really helps me mellow out and stay focused.
For those who have never gotten a doll customized before, what are some things that you would tell them to look for in a customizer?
Hmm, I would say first and foremost, educate yourself about Blythe customs and know a little bit before diving in. It helps to know terminology and stuff like that. Then I would look at the customizer’s style and abilities. There are so many great customizers out there with different artistic styles so be sure to find one that is customizing Blythe in the way that appeals to you. Also, be sure to check out their portfolio so you can see the quality of their work. I recommend asking lots of questions and getting to know your potential customizer too. You should look for someone who explains everything to you and helps you understand the process.
I know each and every customizer works a little differently, what can you tell us about the process from initially talking to you to finally receiving a Blythe back in the mail from you?
Initially, we’ll go over services and pricing. I like to make sure the client understands what they will get and how much it will cost. Then we discuss color palettes and potential themes. I like for the client to give me as much input as possible about colors they like/don’t like and that sort of thing. I keep a notebook of every client and their requests for their doll so that when the doll arrives I know exactly what to do and I don’t get disorganized. Once the client is sure they want a custom from me, I request they send the doll and payment. When the doll arrives, she gets her own sealed bin and I keep all of her parts, screws, t-bar, clothing, etc. in this bin so that her belongings don’t get lost or sent home with the wrong doll. When I begin working on the doll, I like to try and get the face-up done first and get approval on the colors and then usually I’ll go back and do touch-ups and add little details. I take pictures and send messages throughout the entire process so the client knows exactly what’s going on with their doll. Once the doll is finished, I box her back up and she’s on her way home! I always ship via USPS with tracking & insurance. I also offer FREE touch-ups on minor damage (rubs, fine scratches, etc)…all the client pays is shipping.
What’s your favourite thing about customizing Blythe and why?
My favorite thing about customizing Blythe is the way it makes me feel. You know how sometimes you feel like you don’t know where you’re headed or what your purpose in life is? Well, for me, customizing is one of the few things in my life that I KNOW I’m supposed to be doing. It feels like my purpose right now. It’s kind of weird, but when I found Blythe and started customizing, it feel like everything had come full circle. I have done all kinds of art (painting, making miniature food, graphic illustration, crafting, etc) and it feels like I learned a lot of that to prepare me for Blythe. I’ve taken a lot of the tools and techniques from those art forms and applied them to Blythe and it’s helped so much! Basically, I just love Blythe dolls. They’re so fun and different…and being able to make a girl OOAK is icing on the cake! I don’t have anything against stock dolls, but when you see a Blythe “come alive” through customization, it’s amazing! You would think I’d get used to it, but sometimes I look at a finished girl and I’m utterly amazed. I’m like, “I did that…WOW I rock!” LOL! It really is a magical thing and I love being a part of it! I also LOVE the Blythe community as well. We’re just big kids letting our freak flags fly 😉 In the documentary, Beautiful Losers, artist Ed Templeton talks about (and I’m paraphrasing here) how as kids we imagine, play, color, and create a lot…but once we grow-up we’re expected to put away our toys and be adults…He says there’s something amazing and beautiful about grown-ups who don’t lose that childlike nature to play, create, and dream! That’s what customizing Blythe does for me…it keeps that side of me alive and excited
What comes to mind when you see people enjoying the customs that you have done?
Just pure happiness comes to mind! Whether it’s people leaving wonderful comments about my customs on Flickr or seeing pictures of my custom girls in their new homes, it just makes me smile really big. These girls are SO special to me and for another person to feel the same way about them is just amazing to me…I’m still in awe about it at times!
Like any artist, customizers draw their inspiration from somewhere. Where do you get your inspiration from for your customs?
I think the main thing that inspires me is Blythe herself! From the hair colors to the eye chips to the clothing, it all makes me feel creative! I get inspired by lots of things though…beautiful colors, textures, music, characters from my favorite movies/tv shows, nature, and most definitely other customizers! My favorite customizer is frankie.DARLING and I love browsing her Flickr photostream and looking at all of her beautiful girls. I think her customizing style is so unique and the way she photographs her girls really makes her work pop! When I look at her customs, I see HER if that makes sense. Who she is shines through and I really aspire for people to see ME when they see my girls!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Melly. Just one last question, what kind of advice do you have to give to someone who’s new to the Blythe hobby?
You’re so welcome and thank you for having me! As far as advice, first I would say learn as much as you can. I spent a lot of time researching the first few months and it helped me understand things so much better. I’d also say reach out and join a forum or get on Flickr and connect with all the Blythe lovers there.The Blythe community is wonderful and there are so many amazing people from around the globe that connect with. I’d also say go into i with a budget and plan of some sort. Blythe is addictive and expensive so prepare yourself for that. Don’t be impulsive like me, lol! Every single time I buy a girl I like on impulse, it never fails that a “dream girl” I really want goes up for adoption a few days after and I don’t have the funds to get her. Take your time, plan your collection out and have fun!!
Melly Kay is giving away a customized Blythe, meet Miss Bellatrix Gamma Ray!
Melly Kay customized this lovely Bohemian Peace and this is Bellatrix Gamma Ray! You can check out her Flickr set and totally fall in love with her.
You can get up to three entries for this giveaway draw and you can enter until Saturday November 13th at 11:59pm PST. The draw will be held on Sunday November 14th and the winner will be announced on BlytheLife.com. Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, your email will be forwarded to Melly Kay for arranging shipment of the prize.
Please only use one email address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.
Entry #1: It’s short and simply this week: what’s your favourite thing about Blythe?
Entry #2: Tweet about the contest! Please include the url to your tweet or your Twitter username.
Win a Melly Kay Custom! Find the details at http://bit.ly/c7Giog
Entry #3: Blog about the contest! Please include the link to this page.