Dolls from Drawings: Lynn Miller

In my last year of teaching, I tried an idea that had been bubbling on the back burner for years.  I took children’s art and made it 3D.  My first piece was a drawing of a dinosaur given to me by a boy in my first grade class.  He was a dinosaur genius and encyclopedia.  Using the colors he’d used but in printed fabric, I re-created his dinosaur.  Oh, I had some more tricks to learn for sure.  He wouldn’t stand on his 4 legs and his teeth didn’t seem terrifying enough being made of felt!  I tried my hand at other drawings such as the Chipmunks drawn by another young artist.
chipmunks as illustrated by a young artist

My next project was a doll made from a drawing by the daughter of a family friend, followed closely by dolls for her sisters.  Making each doll to look like the child’s picture was exciting as I created something new each time.  The dresses, the hair, the size of the body, and the expressions were challenging and fun at the same time.

doll from a girl’s drawing

Things really started to take shape after I left my teaching job.  This was a time for reflection and re-direction for me and I naturally returned to dolls.  After a couple of months of making primitive dolls, I wanted to make dolls that looked like people I knew.  I started with a book by Terese Cato.  Her book was very helpful in guiding me to take the next step.  Thank you, Terese!  These dolls were soft sculpted with real character faces that got my imagination going.  I started by making several, like 10, trying different sculpting techniques, making clothing, and up-cycling fabric as well as jewelry and bits of crochet or lace.


My friend, Judy and I scoured antique stores and second hand shops where I found many treasures such as the cameo pin on Lizzie or the locket pin on Clarissa.  With time to pursue each new creative idea, I knitted, crocheted, embroidered and painted until I was satisfied with the outcome.  I’m still working on shoes….and lips…and body sizes….

Clarissa and her friend

Next week, I’ll bring you up to the present.  I look forward to your comments!

Lynn’s dolls and other creations can be found in her Etsy shop, Lynn’s Simply By Hand.

Here are 3 of Terese Cato’s books for you to browse.

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