We’re so happy to feature Connie Bees as our third Artist of the Month! She is a relatively new Pullip customizer, even though she’s been a Pullip enthusiast since 2008. Her customs are widely popular and we’re excited to get to know her a little better! Her custom dolls stand out because of their lovely vibrant colors. Connie Bees always makes her customs full sets; her dolls come with their own outfit and personality. You can find even more photos of her amazing work on her Yummy Sweets Dolls Facebook page, or on her website!
How did you discover Pullip, and who was your first doll? Why did you choose her?
I discovered pullips from BJDs…that was about 9 years ago. I was looking for some doll clothes on eBay for my BJD when I saw some pullip clothes for sale and a pullip modeling them. I fell in love immediately!
My first doll was Blanche. Dreamy, wishful, happy – she was perfect for me. Her face-up, her hair, her stock, and especially her eyes, are all perfect. I ended up selling her a few years later after an eye customization gone wrong…she wasn’t the same. I just recently snagged her in the sample sale though and I’m glad to be having her back! This time she stays perfectly stock.
What do you like most about Pullip? What sets her apart from other dolls?
Her personality, her story, and the community that comes with her. Every Pullip has a special story that only she can embody. As collectors, we fall in love with the stories that hit closest to home, and we’re are able to augment those stories with that little finishing touch that makes each Pullip that much more special to us. We adopt a certain Pullip knowing she comes from a special place set in a special story, and we customize her – showing others how our girl has grown with us – uniquely. Everyone has their own story and Pullips help us write it. In many cases, they also help us tell our own stories.
What made you decide you wanted to make your own doll customs?
I absolutely love everything crafty…I’ve always wanted to do doll customizations, but I worried that people wouldn’t like my girls and that they wouldn’t get the love I’d want them to have for themselves. I was always weary of taking a beautiful stock doll, sanding her face-up off, and trying to give her a new look…after all, she already had a beautiful face, what if I give her a ghastly one?! Then I saw the MIO kits and everything was golden. They’re so affordable, no one’s getting erased, and the girls can become someone all their own!
We absolutely love that all your girls have their own personality and story. Where do you get the inspiration for a new doll?
I started making customs around the same time Angela started her Marigold giveaway contest on the Omocha Crush Facebook group. Entrants were encouraged to share their personal stories of what dolls meant to them. People wrote many stories about how dolls helped them overcome some hardship in their lives, finding positivity during difficult times. More than a pretty plaything you dress up, dolls aren’t one-dimensional. I strive to encapsulate what we see in ourselves, hardships, and aspirations in the dolls that I make. We make Pullips more than they are; I strive to capture that.
Your dolls really stand out thanks to their lovely colors and the way they match in both their faceups and outfits. What is your process for picking these colors?
I think about a Pullip’s story and personality first, and everything else I do is informed by what helps her best tell her story. If I don’t have the right color for her eyes, I’ll hunt down the right colors online or in stores…if the first outfit I make for her doesn’t match her personality as well as I think it could, then I remake it. 🙂
Unlike many other customizers, you make full doll sets, complete with an outfit. What made you decide to do this?
When she goes to her new home, I want her to feel complete. My dolls come gift-wrapped within a sturdy, pretty box, with their eyes closed lying on a cloud, ready to be woken up by their new best friend. Ready to love and to be loved. The idea of selling her nude just didn’t feel right to me; I don’t think any of my dolls would love to travel nude! It just wouldn’t fit anyone’s personality. Plus, as an artist, it just wouldn’t feel “complete” to me…”completing” them makes the whole process much more fun to me.
What is your process for making a new doll?
I think about her story. Then I pick a color palette that reflects her personality and immediately get to work. I try to work fast so her story and personality are fresh to me. After her face has been painted, I give her the perfect wig, and then start designing her clothes. From there, little miss pullip gets to try on a lot of incomplete pieces of clothing to make sure all the pieces and colors go together well.
As you just started as a Pullip customizer, we’re very excited about your future plans! Is there anything you’d like to share? For example, are you also planning to do other groove dolls like Dal or Taeyang?
I just painted a Dal recently! I used her painting process as a tutorial posted on my Facebook page. I also love the Yeolume sculpt. I wish they made kits for her. I’m not particularly a fan of Byul’s sculpt, but I imagine that I’ll be working on one sometime in the future to practice carving!
I’m not too sure about the boys, since for some reason I have always found making boys just not as fun (see how all my paintings feature ladies…). I wouldn’t rule it out though!
What tips would you give to beginning customizers?
Train your eyeballs. The most important thing in customization (and anything creative or artistic, really) is to understand what makes something look nice, and how to fix something when it doesn’t look right.
Sketch, paint, scrapbook, look at other art…level up on that composition! It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive materials or the perfect technique if you don’t know what to do with them. Practice art in any form, and it will help you capture the girl you want in your own MIO customizations.