Customizer Spotlite: Iza

Your name: Iza
Your Legal Name: Elisabeth Suelli
Your Website:

How did you get involved in Super Dollfies and customizing them?
A friend of mine who was my downstairs neighbor at my college dorms was a BJD collector and face up artist. She was the one who got me into the hobby and then showed me how to do face ups as well. After almost 2 years, my first face up is still in tact and one of my favorites.

What do you do best?
It’s hard to say what I do best, but I love doing eyebrows and it shows. I’m by no means perfect at them, and I’m still figuring out better ways of doing them, but I’m really satisfied with how I do them currently.

What Inspires You?
Colors inspire me. I’ve accumulated 104 different colors and shades of pastels and I look for any excuse I can to use them! I love looking at other face ups to see how I should improve and it makes me work harder on them.

What do you want people to think when they look at your Customizations?
With my face ups I want people to think that they are high quality. I pour my soul into each one and I hope it shows.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I want to get to 200 completed face ups (I always keep track of the sculpts and number of face ups I’ve worked on) and I want to get on par in skill with the amazing face up artists in this hobby.

What sorts of things do you enjoy the most about your designs/customizations?
As I mentioned before, I definitely enjoy doing eyebrows. I put down the base for them first before I do anything else on a face up. I also love doing fantasy face ups. It’s very fun for me to go nuts with designs on a face.

Other than yourself, who are your favorite doll customizers?
I don’t have specific people I follow their work of, but some great customizers are Star Sniper, Kiki.Chan78 (my teacher), and another friend named Allison Strom who currently does not offer commissions but is an amazing face up artist and illustrator.

What’s the Best thing about customizing your own dolls?
The best thing to me about customizing my own dolls is that they look exactly how I envision them. It also helps me bond better with them. Most of my dolls are character based so they have a specific look I want for them.

What’s the most difficult thing about doing customizations (your mods, face-ups, tats, etc) and altering them?
The most difficult thing to me is when I’ve fully finished a face up (with gloss and eyelashes) and then I’m asked to change something. To prevent that I usually show in progress shots of the work to catch any mistakes early on. I just don’t like removing and replacing eyelashes. Some dolls are okay to put eyelashes on, others seem to fight me tooth and nail on it.

What type of dolls do you enjoy customizing (male/female/brands)?
I really enjoy working on female dolls, but I don’t mind working on male ones though. I don’t have a favorite brand to work on, but I love working on Fairyland and Dollzone.

What is your favorite style to create?
Swirls! I love doing fantasy scrollwork on face ups. I used to do swirls on my own make up coming from my eyes. That’s probably why I love doing them on doll faces too.

Who would you love to collaborate with?
One day I’d love to collaborate with my friend Allison because her work is amazing. She pours a lot of love and effort into each one of her face ups. Frequently we will do face ups together and share materials. I’m always blown away by her use of color.

Why choose doll customizing as a form of Self Expression?
I’m an artist by trade, so when I got into the hobby in May 2011 it felt only natural to start painting them. That’s the beauty of dolls in my opinion, they are like little blank canvases that I can bring to life with my art.

How long does it take from start to finish on a typical doll to create and complete?
It really depends on the type of face up. On average a natural face up takes roughly an hour to do, while a more complex fantastical one can take anywhere between two and five hours. I’ve gotten very efficient at painting dolls, because I love it so much.

How do you like to work best with a custom order for a client? With total freedom to create your vision, or do you like some feedback/interchange with a client who might have an idea or theme they would like to see realized?
Personally I prefer it when I’m given some sort of guidance so that I can get an idea what the client wants. Customer satisfaction is very important to me. With my own dolls I do whatever I want, but with someone else’s doll it’s very important to me to bring their vision to life. That’s why I encourage feedback during my process so that the client knows they are important to the process and have a big say in it.

What have been your favorite projects you’ve done thus far?
My favorite? That’s a tough one! Well, one of my favorites actually isn’t face up related much, but I designed, sculpted, molded, and cast my own resin demon wings. They are about YoSD to MSD sized, and I painted a pair of them as well. They’re on my Fairyland LTF Chiwoo Elf girl, who I painted myself as well. I loved working on her. She gave me trouble with the first face up I did on her and had to wipe it. That’s okay though, I love her current look!

What sets your doll customizations apart from all the others?
The thing that sets my work apart from other face up artists is the variety that I can do. I don’t just do natural, or just fantasy. I do them all, and I’m always up for a new challenge. For example I’d never done facial hair before, and once I did I got two more clients that commissioned me because I was able to do facial hair well.

Are there any sort of projects you’ve been hoping to work on but just haven’t gotten around to it?
Yes, one of my dolls, my Dragondoll Cheng, needs a lot of body work. He’s meant to be a scarred dragon warrior so I need to finish his body blush and scar work. With how many commissions I’ve had and other distractions such as college and work, he’s been on the backburner. At least he got his face up and I can keep his body covered with clothes.

What was the most challenging thing you have ever done thus far?
This is again a tough one. The most challenging thing I’ve had to do was paint body hair onto a dolls chest, navel, groin, and arms. I’d never done a body hair blush before so it took me a long time to get it done, but I think it turned out really nice.

Part II of Iza’s interview will be posted up soon. <3

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