The third double exhibition of my blog! (Told you there’d be a lot more coming…)
For Christmas last year (or rather last month), I got a Pop Vinyl doll of Joy from Inside Out, as it’s now my new favourite film after Toy Story and I love to use the emotions to explain my thinking at a certain time, and Joy is my absolute favourite out of all the emotions. In case you don’t know, Pop Vinyl dolls are like mini-figures of famous characters from TV, films and sometimes even video games, like Game of Thrones, Frozen, Fallout or Breaking Bad (Walter White doll, anyone?)
If you’ve seen a few of my blog posts in the last month or so, you’ll have noticed that I often talk about a Canadian web-show called the IAmMatthewian Project (or Project Canada, as it is known now), based on Canada from Hetalia: Axis Powers and fan-characters representing his provinces and territories. (You can find more background on the IAmMatthewian Project on the Canadian Boys fifth anniversary post.) Though largely unknown around the rest of the world due to obviously being based in Canada, the web-show has quite a large following amongst Hetalia fans in Canada and even the United States to some extent, as some of the contributors to the series are American (weirdly enough for a Canadian production, but using American actors in Canadian productions is pretty common in the entertainment industry).
After getting my Joy Pop doll for Christmas, I became inspired to make some characters who didn’t have them already, like my own, into Pop dolls. My starting point would not be with my own characters from Canadian Boys (though I might make some in the future), but with the IAmMatthewian Project provinces and territories, as I tend to focus on them more nowadays. Since they are based on another existing series, namely Hetalia, it would make sense to create a line of Pop dolls based on a spin-off of Hetalia. (I’ve seen Dragon Ball Z Pop dolls, but I’m not sure if there are any based on other Japanese animated cartoons.)
So here are my imaginings of a Pop vinyl doll range based on the IAmMatthewian Project!
While making these designs, I used a photo of my Joy Pop doll as a reference to emulate the sculpture style of the Pop dolls themselves, like the trademark black iris-less eyes, thin limbs and mouths and small noses. Some Pop dolls do not have visible mouths (as in the Alice and Walter White dolls above, though in Walter’s case that may be due to his moustache), but I decided to add mouths onto my IAmMatthewian Project Pop dolls to convey their emotions more easily, as they would otherwise look soulless (rather like those creepy porcelain dolls you sometimes see in horror movies). Manitoba and Yukon Territory, for example, nearly always look grumpy or sullen (though I’ve seen fan-artworks of them where they were smiling), so I needed to show these looks on their vinyl doll selves to get their personalities across to my audience. All the other provinces, however, look pretty much happy, like the always-cheerful Nova Scotia and Nunavut. (Although Nova Scotia looks a little drunk in the picture below…)
In order to closely match the original designs of the characters for, I’ve changed the way I draw or colour some of the provinces and their clothes. For British Columbia, instead of the traditional slashed skirt I’ve been drawing her with for so long, I’ve changed it to more of a “skort” as in her original design – flaps over her shorts with a slash at both sides. For Yukon Territory, instead of colouring her jean shorts light beige as I have been doing in the past, I’ve now coloured them in navy blue so they match her original design and look more like denim.
These aren’t the only Pop Vinyl dolls I’m going to imagine and design; I have so many other ideas for Pop dolls, such as the aforementioned Canadian Boys and even my Canadian Hetalia fan-series A Mare Usqua Mare, which is also based on Canadian provinces (though obviously my own imaginings of the provinces). The inspirations from these cute little dolls will just keep coming to me!