Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: GBaby
I met the lovely Gina (a.k.a. GBaby) at BlytheCon this year in Portland, OR. Before that I was a quiet admirer of her gorgeous customs, all the way back near the beginning when she was working on a little CanCanCat named Billie. Since then, Gina’s work has become sought after and people just know it’s going to be something good when there’s a new GBaby custom being created. Besides the pouty lips that a lot of Blythe collectors know and love, Gina also handpaints eyechips, sews doll clothes and does the most beautiful reroots. I had the pleasure of interviewing Gina and I’d like to share it with you.
Hi Gina! What can you tell us about yourself and how you came to discover Blythe?
I discovered Blythe in Oct 2008 while searching the web for photos of Roisin Murphy. I was browsing the yahoo images section when I found a photo of a Blythe dressed and posed just like one of Roisin’s photos. I was very curious about this doll so I looked into it more. Then I discovered the whole world of Blythe on Flickr and never looked back! Now Blythe has become much more than a hobby for me. It’s my job, but I say this in a very good way. I love that I have been able to make a mini business out of this thing that I love so much and I’m having a lot of fun doing it!
What made you start customizing?
When I first discovered Blythes I fell in love with the customs. I would browse Flickr for hours and hours everyday just admiring all the custom dolls. So, from the beginning customizing was always something that I wanted to do.
Who was the first Blythe doll that you had customized? What did you learn from the experience?
My first Blythe was a CanCanCat named Billie. My original plan was to buy one doll and customize her to be my mini me, but that didn’t really work out. I learned so much from that first attempt. I learned that I was completely inexperienced no matter how many times I read and went over the Puchi Collective tutorials. I learned that black RIT will stain your dolls head, arms, body, and everything else if not washed out all the way. I learned that you will carve a hole right through your dolls mouth if you go too deep. I learned that flat ironing your dolls dry bare stock hair will burn it. and I learned all this the hard way. So you can imagine what Billie turned out to look like at first with RIT stains, over carved lips, and burned bangs! but it was a good experience for me. Since I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, I really had to experiment and try different methods, use different materials, and find my way of doing things. I redid Billie at least 3-4 times after that but never was able to get her right. I actually still have her but now she exists as just a head that I use as a tester for piercings, paints, msc, etc.. the tragedy!
What has been some of the inspirations behind some of your custom dolls?
I get inspired by colors. Sometimes I have no plan for what I want to do or what kind of theme I want for a doll, but I will know what colors I want to use and from there I get ideas on how to use them together. To me it’s the most important part of my creations. I always think of color combinations first and everything else follows. But sometimes I also get inspired by themes. I love making slightly goth looking dolls, I think I have a million ideas for that style. Or I can get inspiration from things. I thought of the idea for Magnolia after seeing a pic on Flickr of a Magnolia tree.
How did you get started in handpainting eye chips?
When I first started customizing I was trying all kinds of crazy things. I wanted to be able to customize every aspect of the doll but I had no experience or knowledge so I would just experiment. I was using glitter ball point pens to scribble all over the back of chips and then put a foil over it to try and keep it in tact. It wasn’t quite the look I was going for so that didn’t go very far. I realized that glitter pens were probably not the right type of thing that I should be using so I tried metallic paints instead and it worked a lot better. At first I was only painting solid colors because I loved the look of the glitter. But there were a handful of people who were doing some really amazing things with painted and custom resin chips. Some people were even using Photoshop to make custom foils, so I wanted to do more than just paint solid colors. I didn’t have a clue how to use Photoshop and the thought of resin scared the crap out of me so I thought I’d give painting chips a go. There are no tutorials out there on how to paint chips so it was all a trial and error type of learning process for me. It took a ton of practice, but now I finally think I have found my own techniques and personal style of painting them.
What would you say is a ‘signature’ aspect of your customs that make them yours?
Going back to the colors again.. Color coordination is really important to me and I think it’s a significant aspect of most my dolls. I try to give each new doll a different color combo that I have not used before and it kind of helps make them unique from each other that way. But other people might say that my signature type of doll is a mohair custom girl with two or three toned hair, pouty plump lips and a bad attitude. Hehe.
Your customs have become pretty sought after in the Blythe community, how do you feel about that?
I feel like I’ve come a looong long way because it was not always so easy for me to sell my dolls. It is such a blessing to me that people enjoy my dolls and appreciate all the work and love that I put into making them. I am very thankful for that
If you could go back to when you were first starting to customize and tell yourself one thing that you’ve learned since then, what would you say?
I would tell myself to reroot mohair DRY. It saves soooooo much time!!
What’s a typical day like for you when you’re working on your custom dolls or eyechips?
The way I work is, I absolutely have to have my coffee no matter what time of day it is. My coffee is my fuel. I also have to have some kind of chocolate nearby, that is also fuel. I have to be listening to my iPod while I’m doing the faceup, painting eye chips, or sewing. But if I’m working on a mohair reroot I have to be watching a DVD like The Office, or Southpark because rerooting is totally boring and does not require thinking, so I need more entertainment than just music. that’s just the way I roll and I cannot work in any other way!! lol. As long as I have those things I can get my work done
What would you say has been the best thing that Blythe has brought into your life?
This might sound like a broken record, as I’m sure I’ve said this a bunch of times before as well as heard other people say the same, but Blythe has brought so many awesome things into my life!! For one, it IS my life!! But other than that, I’ve met so many amazing and wonderful people both near and far, some in person but some only via the forums and Flickr. I love the people in this community and I never would have thought that I’d have friends in different countries around the world. The fact that a little plastic doll has made that happen seems really fantastic and funny to me. Most of all, this hobby has given me something to be passionate about and something to focus all my creative energy on
I have 2 questions for you from Erica (ericaduh): Do you plan on opening up your commissions list? And how did you learned to sew doll clothes?
Unfortunately I am not 100% if I will ever open my commission list in the future. I have been moving ridiculously slow with the list for the past year because I’ve begun to do monthly auctions for my OOAK dolls and this takes up a lot of my time. In the future I am hoping to organize some sort of a lottery for the purchase of my dolls. It may happen very soon as my 3 year Blythe anniversary is coming up in Sept/Oct so stay tuned!!
As far as the sewing goes, about 2 years ago I had this urge to learn how to sew so that I could make things for my own dolls. My mom then taught me the basics of sewing and from there I just learned things by trial and error. Even now when I sew the outfits for my OOAK dolls I am still experimenting. I have no idea how to do things the proper way so I just do it any ol’ way that it will work. Sometimes it’s not the neatest or even the easiest way, but I’m still learning as I go along
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Gina! Just one last question: what kind of advice do you have for someone who’s just getting their feet wet into the world of customizing Blythe?
Thank YOU for giving me this opportunity to share a little about myself with you all!!! I appreciate it so much …..My advice for new customizers is, don’t be afraid!!!! Don’t think, just DO….
Handpainted Chips Giveaway!
Gina has generously offered up one pair of handpainted chips for one very lucky BlytheLife.com reader! There’s no photo yet because she was just finishing them up recently and haven’t had the chance to photograph them (but I will update with a photo as soon as I get one!).
You can get up to thirteen (13) entries for this giveaway draw and you can enter until Sunday August 14th 2011 at 11:59pm PDT. The draw will be held on Monday August 15th 2011 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 Gina for arranging shipment of the prize.
Please only use one email address and one IP address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.
Mandatory Entry: Comment below about the interview with Gina! Do you have any questions for her? This is worth 1 entry into the giveaway.
Bonus Entry #1: Tweet about the contest! Please retweet the following once per day from your public Twitter account! (If you look below, there is a box for you to include your Twitter username, if you do, I can easily verify your bonus entry!) Each tweet is 1 entry into the giveaway for a maximum of 7 entries into the giveaway. Please comment below to tell me that you’ve been tweeting (1 comment per tweet!)
Check out the @blythelifecom interview with GBaby for an awesome interview and giveaway! http://bit.ly/pTYhpx
Bonus Entry #2: Blog about the contest! Be sure to include some details about the contest and include links to BlytheLife.com and this interview/giveaway page. Do not copy and paste information from this page for your blog post. For 1 blog entry, this is worth 5 entries into the giveaway! You must comment below with the URL to your blog post.