Interview: Maria Dubrovskaya – Articulated Paper Doll Artist

Today, I’d like to introduce you one of my all time favorite illustrators, Maria Dubrovskaya. Her articulated creations, culture as well as in color and detail, just leave me in awe.

Tell us about yourself: who are you, where are you from, and what do you make?
Hi, friends! I’m Maria from Siberia. I used to be a web-designer and photographer in Russia. For the last 7 years I traveled through South East Asia and lived in many different countries. Now I live on the island Boracay in the Philippines and I make articulated paper dolls.

How did you get started making paper dolls?
I’ve been surrounded by handmade things and have been experimenting with different materials for as long as I can remember. Paper is my favorite material. I love to create characters more than anything else. The characters made from paper can be played with, making them the perfect combination. I made two or three of them and the followers on my blog liked them a lot and wanted to buy them. So I decided to create more dolls and open a shop.

Paper Dolls

What’s your inspiration?
I’m inspired by other creative people and their works. When I see their passion for creating beautiful things with their own hands, I can’t help but do the same. The highest concentration of this kind of people I’ve seen was while living in Ubud, Bali. Every block of the town, including the house walls, is full of handmade beauty, so even a small walk can inspire weeks of creativity.

What does your typical day look like?
I wake up without any alarm at any time I want, check my e-mail and then plan my day. If I have some orders I make dolls, and in the afternoon I go to the post office to send the parcels. If the wind is strong enough, and if I have time, I go to Bulabog beach for kitesurfing, or to other beaches for swimming. Then I watch the sunset at White Beach with my friends. Sometimes we go out for dinner, sometimes I just eat at the nearest local eatery. Then I have a few hours to work. I update my blog, make some orders, create new dolls or just surf the web. I read a book or play games before I go to bed or I spend a couple of hours with friends in our favorite bar.

Paper Dolls


How have others responded to your work?
I’m happy to admit that all my customers really like my dolls. Many of them come and buy again and again because they love to give them away as presents to loved ones. Some people just play with the dolls, it cheers them up every day. Regarding reviews, my dolls help people to build their relationships and even help them to fight cancer. I’m happy to get many nice reviews through my Etsy shop. Here is one of the latest:

“Your card, intended for my husband, arrived on the exact perfect day! We had been bickering for a few days and made up that morning. As soon as your heart card arrived, I wrote a little love letter to him and left it on his dresser. He opened it when he came home. Not only did he appreciate me doing this, but because your card is so unique and he knew I searched for a card so special, my make-up letter was even more meaningful. He said that he loved the articulated limbs and I believe that this card will stay on his dresser for a very long time! Thank you for helping me to look like such a wonderful wife!!!”

Paper Dolls
How do you keep motivated?
Those reviews from my customers and friends keep me motivated. It’s more than enough to create nonstop if you know that people appreciate your work.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Do what you love and love what you do. If you find something you can do 24/7 without getting bored – you are on the right path.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I live in the present day and I barely think of the future. Ten years ago, I was a shy economics student without dreams or desires. Back then, I would never believe the happy place I am living at now. And in ten years I’d love to find myself in a place I can’t imagine now even in my boldest dreams.

What’s your dream project?
A family.

Paper Dolls
What art supplies do you use?
Kraft paper, gel pens, beads and threads.

How could the art industry become better in your opinion?
It could become better with the global projects that bring people from all over the world together and in which anyone can participate in. Something like Inside Out Project.

Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
I love Elly MacKay’s creations. It’s a magical world made from paper, light, and fantasy.

Check out Maria’s wonderful work available for sale in her Etsy shop and give her a like on Facebook while you’re at it. Also, feel free to share and comment below!

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