In Focus: Local Bemidji Artist Creates Life-Sized Dolls
Tom Halverson was one of 20 winners who received an honorable mention in an international illustration contest. The theme of the contest was “Dream Job,” and participants had to use an art program called Clip Studio Paint to illustrate and submit their work.
Halverson is a local artist in Bemidji and has been creating life-sized dolls for several years. The title for his illustration is “Making Life-Size Anime Art Model Dolls.”
“I have so much fun doing this, I decided to turn it into a business where I can make it for other people, or actually teach other people how to make it themselves, and so when I thought ‘dream job,’ I thought this is what I want to be doing, so I’ll just make this my entry piece,” Halverson said.
According to the Clip Studio Paint website, the contest received more than 1,300 submissions from 88 countries all over the world. Halverson’s submitted art piece depicted a stage photo of himself working on one of his life-sized dolls with some dolls helping him. It took him three days and over 30 hours to complete the drawing.
“See the little tiara to go on, and this doll over here is holding that doll’s hand and looking across to this doll who’s holding some fingernail polish, and they’re planning the next step of putting on fingernail polish on this doll,” Halverson said while explaining his illustration.
Before he got into sculpting faces and making life-sized dolls, he would draw portraits of people. He says sketching so many portraits over the years has given him the skills to sculpt the clay templates used to make faces.
“20 to 25 years of sketching portraits, it got to be that I could just create these doll faces,” Halverson said.
These dolls are created for story ideas and there are over 60 character heads.
“I never know what kind of a character it’s going to be when I’m done, until I see it completely finished. In fact, even one creation can be a completely different one by the size I cut out of the eyes, the eyebrows I give them, the lip color and shape and even different eye colors and different eyelashes. It all effects how they look,” Halverson said.
Halverson says each doll head tells a different narrative. Currently, the artist is working on a book on how to create life-sized dolls.