Visiting Flutterwing Designs’ Shannon Craven – Technique, Tools and Dolls

Visiting With the Magic Shannon Craven

One of the things that Robert Tonner enjoys is the spectacular things that collectors and fans do with his creations after they are purchased. It is the source of his motto “Believe in the Power of Play”. Everything from custom dressing, great photographs – which can be seen at – to repainting them, is giving them new lives. One of these re-creators is Shannon Craven of Flutterwing Designs who we’ve gotten to know as an active participant on our Facebook page, and most enjoyably on our Twitter #dollchat which we have on Tuesdays and Sundays.On #dollchat she has been sharing her works as they are in process, so in a way we all have felt close to her imaginations.

Because I was fortunate to be near Shannon Craven’s work studio, not far from my home, it seemed like a great idea to visit her workspace to get an idea of just what is being done and the whole “where” of it. It We learn something when we see where an artist creates, I think. Hope you enjoy this tour as much as I did.

The Video Tour of Shannon’s Workspace and Work

Some Details about Shannon

I also asked Shannon to give us a few things about herself that I could include here, and here is a few of them:

-I first discovered the art of doll repainting when I came across and eBay auction of a Johnny Depp Pirates of the Carribean doll by Noel Cruz. Prior to that I had never heard of Tonner dolls or of doll repainting.

-I started experimenting with doll repainting in the summer of 2009. The first repaint I ever sold was a “new” Tonner Tyler that I resculpted and repainted as Megan Fox. She was auctioned on eBay in October of 2009.

-I live in the Hudson Valley with my husband of 20+ years, my two children, and my dog Jake. We live about an hour Northwest of NYC and an hour South of the Tonner Company Store.

-I have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology

Misc Interesting facts about my work and studio:

-We finished the basement ourselves with the help of a few family members. I designed, configured and built the entire studio portion myself. Much of the desk configuration is stock DIY cabinetry and modular units purchased from Micheals.

– I bartered artistic services for the movie theater seats in the screening room. I saw that someone was selling a large number of them on ebay and they were located about an hour away. I offered to barter artistic services in lieu of payment for the chairs. They agreed to do have me do faux painting in their home of expansive molding around their very large entryway – which included a 15 foot high doorway and window molding – in exchange for the six movie theater seats. The project took about two weeks to complete.

-The studio is almost completely underground, and there are six full spectrum lightbulbs in the studio to compensate for that fact.

-The Emma Frost repaint I show in the video is the same face sculpt as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo repaint shown on the shelf (Breathless), although they resulted in such completely different that it had not even occurred to me until today.

-My studio is entirely smoke and pet free. Jake does not mind.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

As mentioned, you can find Shannon at her website Flutterwing Designs.You can always tweet her at @ipaintdolls as well. If any doll collectors, photographers or repaint artists would like to share with us on video workspaces or techniques, please do email me at

9 responses to “Visiting Flutterwing Designs’ Shannon Craven – Technique, Tools and Dolls

  1. I loved this video! I am amazed how organized is she, and I a, a big fan of Shannon’s work, it was wonderful to peek in what she is doing, thanks for all the tips!

  2. Great video!! Is awesome to see how Shannon works, she makes it look so easy!! And her repaints are wonderful!!

  3. This truly a gem of a video!! First, it is so nice to “meet” Shannon and to get a glimpse into her workspace. What a great space and so organized! I do have to say my favorite part was watching Shannon mold the hand of the doll – how cool is that! Great work Shannon and thank you so much for giving us a peek into your world.

  4. @Kevin-this is awesome! Can’t wait to see more! I say photography is next.
    @Shannon-You are so talented! I can truly tell you love what you do. I especially likes the doll bodies on a metal wine rack? Now can you come over & organize my basement?!

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