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Candie Bolton, Legendary Toy Artist! — An Invasion Toys News Exclusive [Artist Interview]

Candie Bolton takes a minute to talk to us at Invasion Toys News!

With some of the greatest works of the designer toy industry under her belt, Candie Bolton has proven time and again that cute and kaiju go hand in hand.  Taking a look at her Instagram stories, one can see just how busy she is, but lucky for you, we were able to get an inside look at the mind and talent of Candie Bolton!

From her favorite works, to her inspirations, we really get to see her passion for toys.  There’s even some news on a secret projects she is working on! Without further ado, Invasion Toys News presents Candie Bolton!

Hand painted King Pacara by Candy Bolton
Cute Kaiju right?

Q: What made you decide to customize and create your own toys?

It was about 7 years ago that I started out as a collector and at the time I didn’t know anything about customizing toys, but I fell into this whole world when I was offered to design my first sofubi toy (Kitsura, produced by Max Toy).

After that initial design I had a lot of doors open up for me with other companies and artists. Some designers were very kind to help give me tips like Paul Kaiju, for example. He sent me some blank Mock Pilots and these were actually the very first toys that I had to cut and assemble so I was asking him a lot of questions. I used a box cutter and totally butchered it.

Much, much later I learned that you shouldn’t use that type of blade, but despite that I’m still pretty terrible at cutting vinyl.

Kitsura Candie Bolton's first toy
Kitusra the first toy created by Candie bolton

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I am mostly inspired by Japanese culture, old and new.  Some of my biggest influences are probably 90’s anime, woodblock prints, and mythical creatures from Japanese folklore (primarily yokai). Combining ancient creatures like yokai with kaiju is really interesting to me and I played with this idea while creating my Bake-Kujira character.

Hand Painted Bake-Kujira by Candie Bolton
The Bake-Kujira with a rainbow colorway

Q: What is your favorite part of the toy design process?

It’s really difficult for me to come up with a new idea for a design and I’ll usually spend months, or even years agonizing over it. My favorite part about the process is when I suddenly get a spark of inspiration for the design. It can be very simple like a clever way that the joints move, or combining two design elements in a unique way, but once I have that idea all the other pieces will fall into place very easily. 

Candie Bolton adds her signature style to these kid robot hello kittys
These Hello Kittys sure do pop!

Q: Are there any artists you really want to work with?

I greatly appreciate any opportunity to work with artists who share the same passions as me. Namely sofubi, kaiju, anime, video games, all that good nerd stuff.

Q: Any favorite projects you have worked on?

Producing Aura is one of my favorite accomplishments. I had to sculpt her in between toy shows and I was also bedridden from surgery during this time. It was my first time sculpting for sofubi, so it was a big learning process for me… A whole lot of trial and error. But I managed to finish the sculpt and deliver it to the factory for production in time for Taipei Toy Festival 2019.

three colorways on Aura produced by Candie Bolton
Three Different colorways on Aura

Q: On average how long does it take you to finish a piece?  We’ve watched your Instagram videos and they seem so tedious and impressive!

I never keep track of how long I spend on my artwork, so I really have no idea. It depends on the size of the piece and how intricate the paint job is. Motivation also greatly affects the speed that I work, if I’m really excited about whatever I’m painting then it will get finished more quickly.

The worst thing for motivation is when I make a mistake and then have to take the time to fix it, when it comes to painting toys I feel like it’s a gamble if you can effectively fix a mistake or not and sometimes it’s just a lost cause.

Q: Speaking of Instagram, your Godzilla piece looked amazing!

Yes!! I finished painting some of them already and released them as a lottery. I’ll also be painting more Desu and Mire Goji for Kaijucanvas to be sold by lottery.

Candie Bolton glow in the dark Starry desugoji
Godzilla sure can pull off those stars!

Q: What can we look forward to from you in the coming months?

I created a design for the video game Blankos Block Party which should be revealed very soon. Besides that you can always count on more toy releases on my website, including an upcoming lottery for more Grape Brain toys that I’ll be painting soon.

Q: Any secret projects you can tease coming our way?

I’m currently working on creature designs for a Japanese live action movie. The creatures will all be created with practical effects like suits and puppets. I shouldn’t say anymore than that! I also have some new toy designs being sculpted right now. I hope they can be released this year!

Q: Tell us about your personal collection!

I applied to a few toy lotteries lately (something I don’t do too often) and all of them happened to be Japanese sofubi designers. My favorite pieces in my collection are my Sunguts Goji, Spectrum Lab Godesu, and Shirahama Kumon.

I am definitely not the kind of person who needs one of every colorway. I remember feeling that urge back when I was new to collecting toys, but it has since diminished greatly. 

Q: It really seems like the designer toy scene has grown recently.  What are your thoughts on that?

It’s both good and bad. I’m really happy to see more artists and designs enter the scene and this in turn also brings in new collectors. But I’m also concerned with this diluting the scene and making it even more difficult for individual artists to stand out.

Bastet dunny by candie bolton for the spiritus dea dunny series
The Bastet Dunny based on the Egyptian Goddess of cats

Q: There seem to have been a lot of new up and coming designers, any words of advice?

I don’t even know what I’m doing more than half the time, so it’s probably not good to come to me for advice.

But I guess there is some information I wish I knew when I first started, like don’t use a box cutter when you’re cutting vinyl, use an OLFA blade. Also, wash your blank vinyl before you paint it, you don’t know where it’s been.

Q: Any designers you feel we should keep an eye on?

Laura Mas


Candie Bolton holding two rinkaku sofubi
Thank you, Candie Bolton!!

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Collector. Nerd. Foodie. Pop Culture Aficionado.

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