Our regular readers know that when we select one of the gorgeous Tonner Doll pics that our fans and collectors upload to our Facebook page, we like to have them write something about themselves, their collecting or their photography. The hope is that we all get to know each other, and share just what can be done with our dolls and figures when they get in the hands of such creative and talented people. We got a wee bit behind so today we presented two of our profile pics of the last weeks, a real treat. We are happy to introduce Ayal who does such beautiful work. Be sure to visit him at his website www.ayalarmon.com – and we’ve put up a Facebook album of these photos of his and many more, you can see it clicking here, Facebook.
I was born and raised in Israel, and came to the United States 30 years ago. I studied fashion design in Israel and when I graduated I came to the US. I lived in Los Angeles, where i had my fashion business, than move to Florida, where I taught fashion design and illustration.
I moved to New York in 1989 to get my graduate work in fine art at Pratt Institute. I have been painting professionally since, and make my living as an artist.
I used to play with dolls as a kid, which was frowned upon, so when I grew up, I gave it up. I remember the fun of making outfits for my dolls, and not knowing much about making clothes, the results were rather nice to my recollections.
As an adult I studied fashion design and illustration and worked for several manufacturers, as well as my own line which I produced while living in LA.
Once i was in Florida, i went with a friend to a toy store, and saw an Elle doll. I liked the doll and bought her. it was the first doll that i saw that had a fashion proportion. I had plans on making outfits for her. But she set on a shelf for two or three years, when I finally decided to get another one, I looked on ebay and found Tyler by Tonner. I got one just to see how she looks, and from then on became a Tonner collector
The repaints came later and started with Gene. I got one to see how she looks in person, was not crazy about her. I love and always admired Mel Odom’s work, but gene face was not as great as i thought. So she too stood on a shelf, until I decided to repaint her. I contacted some repaint artists on line with some questions about how to and supplies, but few responded, so it took a while and through trial and error I figured out the how to in repaints.
I like to create a period look to my dolls. For some reason I am drawn to the 50’s look and that period fashion. I love the fashion that you see in movies of Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn, the fashion in that period is flattering to the woman’s body and looks great. My repaints reflects that quality.
Every doll is different, and i follow the dolls ‘character’ as it unfolds while I repaint her. Sometimes I get a look on the doll that I don’t like, or she gets an expression that is not to my likings, which means erasing the face and redo, until it looks right. There are dolls that have been repainted 4 or 5 times before they look right to me.
When Tonner came out with the American Models, I was in heaven. My new favorite doll is the Antoinette. I love her body. If Tonner will come with the Antoinette body for the American Model, it will be just heaven. Making clothes for them is great. They are big enough to sew for and there is more room to work.
In my professional life i worked as a fashion designer and illustrator, and I use these skills in my dolls fashion and repaints. I apply the dolls makeup as you would a fashion model, enhancing the face and the facial features, and creating a look and atmosphere. I also am a painter and paint peoples portraits, so i use my skills to give the dolls eyes life.
I prefer the rooted hair on a doll, it allows me to play with the hair and redo the hair style based on the outfits they are wearing. I got one wigged doll, but quickly sold her. It was weird to me and just did not do it for me, so I prefer to stick with the rooted hair.
Needless to say that I have learned a lot since I started. I have perfected the hair curling methods that I use, plus came up with some tricks and techniques that help me get the look that I want from the doll.
I usually do not re-sculpt the faces, to be honest I was kind of scared to cut the face too much or ruin it. But with some of Tonner dolls, such as Eva and Antoinette, the eyes were too small to accommodate eyelashes, so i took a chance and re sculpt the eyes, and it worked out perfectly. So now all my Antoinette get a little ‘surgery’ or an eye job, before i repaint them. As for other facial reconstructions, so far i have not ventured into that.
I use liquid acrylics for the facial repaints, and some real make up as well. All my dolls have forward glancing eyes, i like them looking at me. I started applying eyelashes as a personal preference, and it got into my trade mark. They all get eyelashes, the male dolls as well.
I just got some Deannas and Ellowyns as well and working on some new patterns for them.. It takes me couple of days and few types of muslin, to perfect a pattern. I am a stickler for fitting, so the dress or whatever i sew for the doll, has to fit nicely. No sort of or kind of fitting will work. Fit is very important to me that the fabric hangs right, the garment is beautifully finished, and the fit is sleek. The finish of the garment is very important to me. Most outfits are lined, all seams are finished and no hanging threads. I do tailoring.
The photo of the Tonner Facebook profile came to be as a preparation for a silver point drawing that I plan on doing of the Ellowyns dolls.
I find that each doll has a certain look that I find in them, and I dress them and paint them accordingly.
The Ellowyns are romantic looking to me and lend themselves to be dressed in laces and kind of Victorian look. So as a preparation for a series of drawings I photographed them and this is how this picture came about.
Picture Credit: All by Ayal
The rest of this posts pictures can be found in our Facebook album here.