Renowned doll designer Sabrina Cho has designed three custom plush toys for TOON Books: two brand-new Benny and Penny dolls and a soft, lovable, ten-inch-tall Little Mouse available for purchase on our site. We find her handcrafted plush characters so authentically adorable and so expertly designed that we had to ask Sabrina for the details of their creation:
What’s your interest in doll-making?
Dolls fascinate me with their controversial state. What I mean by this is that dolls are realistic in an artificial way or artificial in a realistic way. A doll captures a moment and lives forever in that state. [Dolls] live in a world of unlimited imagination that humans are not able to participate in as a whole.
How did you make these dolls?
First, I would read the character’s book couple of times and without looking at the book I would come up with a quick sketch…After the first sketch was finished, I would go back to add details and correct proportions. Then I tried to imagine the 3D form of the doll and deconstruct it in my head to flat pattern form. During the process, I researched different fabric shops to find the best representation of the doll. After all the patterns are made and fabrics are found, it’s just simple cut and sew.
How closely did you work with the TOON Books when creating these dolls?
I would always have the book around me and I tried to read every time I had a moment. I read the books quickly because this way I could capture the first impression of the doll and characteristics that stand out the most. I believe in doll-making, capturing personality is very important. Like I said, a doll captures a moment.
I would love to continue working with TOON Books until they are tired of me! I grew up reading comics, which has helped me learn how to read and write (and of course, I still love reading them!). Furthermore, I believe that reading cartoons helps build up creativity/imaginations…I like to be a part of creating a imaginary world and to allow [other] people to be part of it.
You can see more pictures of Sabrina’s Little Mouse doll on our site. One of these handmade plush dolls is the perfect collectible; in addition to fully functioning clothes, Little Mouse comes with a certificate of authenticity and a copy of the Little Mouse Gets Ready hardcover signed by Jeff Smith.
We love to pick up the characters’ toys and books together, because when you hold them in your hands, the motivation for their creation becomes clear. In a world of modern objects that are so often disposable — of other books’ thin paper and flimsy covers, or other dolls’ slick faces, hanging threads or loose buttons — the Little Mouse doll and book stand out. They are both created to last, and to be loved.