When I was asked to work on The Hobbit again with Smaug as the first doll, I panicked slightly. That had been a hard one to do but then I thought about how I wasn’t exactly thrilled about how the spines turned out the first time, I buckled down one weekend and allowed myself to get carried away. In order to be able to paint the dragon, one must first be the dragon. That’s my new motto, but only because dragons are known for sitting on piles of gold and I wanted to sit on a pile of cookies while I crank this set out.

This set featured three characters from The Hobbit that I hadn’t done before so I was more than pleased to have worked on it.

Since the set I was using had yielded an extra doll, I thought it might be a riot to remove it and stick The One Ring in as an Easter Egg surprise for the buyer. The Precioussss, of course, was most definitely not made of Elfin gold so I was half expecting it to disintegrate as soon as take it out of the packaging. It didn’t, of course, but it would most likely tarnish if it’s worn.

The buyer sent me the loveliest email after receiving it. He said the set had made him cry, and his words had made ME cry, a hardened and jaded former New Yawker who only cries in darkness after watching animal movies. I started painting these dolls during a very emotional time in my life when I had to adjust to living in a new country without any physical support from friends and family. Painting the dolls had been therapeutic and amusing, something I sorely needed then. It made me happy to learn that the photos I shared of these dolls also made other people happy, although the tears people shed after seeing them were always unexpected. I hope that’s a good thing.