Like celebrity waxworks, the dolls created in a star’s image are rarely that similar to the real thing. In fact some dolls/waxworks are so terrible you can’t even tell who the celebrity is supposed to be (the Spice Girls dolls were a huge childhood disappointment for us).
Step forward doll repainting artist Noel Cruz, who has raised the bar with his uncanny celebrity creations. Acquiring original celebrity dolls that aren’t quite like their muse, he then painstakingly repaints them, creating dolls that are eerily realistic. His work has become a huge hit, so much so that super fans of certain celebrities bid huge sums for his dolls on ebay, and one doll manufacturer asked Noel to explain his tips and techniques for life-like painting so they could pick up some pointers.
Growing up in the Philippines, Noel’s passion for drawing started when he was just 12 years old, watching TV shows like Miss World and The Bionic Woman and trying to recreate what was on screen. At 16, recognised as a talented sketcher by friends and family, he started taking orders for personal portraits. Fast forward to 2012 (via a brief period in accountancy school) and he’s one of the most sought-after doll repaint artists in the world, and has created an incredible 500 dolls in just 10 years, all sold to private owners.
Ranging from characters in films (Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Judy Garland as Dorothy) to real life celebrity repaints (Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Lady Gaga and Cher are just some of his muses), the attention to detail in Noel’s body of work is absolutely fascinating. Scroll down for our favourite doll designs.
ABOVE: Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's
BELOW: Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada
ABOVE: Judy Garland as Dorothy
BELOW: Grace Kelly in Rear Window
ABOVE: Kate Winslet in Titanic
BELOW: Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean
ABOVE: Marilyn Monroe
BELOW: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Bella and Jacob in the Twilight series
All images from Noel Cruz at ncruz.com