Drawing and writing have been a hobby of mine for quite some time. Some doodles and ramblings may have gone nowhere, but some have escaped (or rather unleashed) from my head in the past few years. One such doodle was Maddie Mckenzsie, a goofy looking 5-year old girl that came out of such a doodle back in late 2010. 5 years later, I made her the star in two picture books I released myself…with more on the way in the future, time willing. You could say Maddie is pretty much the poster child of my drawing renaissance that I started a few year ago. I’m always drawing her when not working on my other projects. Plus, when I’m showing off my books at events, I have an excuse to have her silly and goofy smiling face to display for all the world to see.
This is where Budsies comes to play; a company that’s able to create a huggable plush out of your very own drawing. The service is targeted to young kids who send in their own drawings, but anyone regardless of age or drawing ability can have one done. 6-7 weeks later in the mail (Creation times can vary. It can be as little a 3 weeks or as much as 7 weeks during the holiday season.), a plush resembling the likeness of your own drawing is created after a lot of hard work and magic. Budsies can create a plush out of your own drawing, your own pet and even yourself! The company has been featured on shows such as TODAY and Shark Tank. (the founder walked away from his offers, by the way.) The plush toys are designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. in South Florida.
I ordered a plush of my very own Maddie in the largest size possible. Budsies offers two sizes, 16 inches and 30 inches. Budsies start at $89 in 16 inches and “Selfises” start at $79. “Petsies” at the time of this writing are not yet available to the general public, but you can sign up for an “early access” raffle that costs $149. Looking at their social media, most kids or adults leave them with a single drawing to work with. I gave them a bit more detail with a character sheet. Front, back, side and 3/4 profiles and pantone colors. The whole 9 yards. Because the process is not automated, it took me approximately 7 weeks to get my plush created. They need to look at your design to make sure it works in a 3-D plush environment. They offered me feedback on the design when necessary. I requested them to make her sit, but they told me they would need to redesign the plush in a sitting form without floppy legs. I opted for the stand option because I wanted the plush to match my vision as much as possible.
I initially had my plush shipped in January. Unfortunately, the design of the plush did not meet my standards. Fortunately, I was able to get a remake of the plush. Unfortunately, they do charge for this, but the cost of the re-do is $59.99 for 30-inch plush and $39.99 for 16-inch.
So, how did Maddie turn out?
Compared to the first design, her face is a lot more closer to her likeness. I wasn’t expecting a 1:1 replica, so if you’re very picky about that, you may want to look into a private commission with a skilled plush maker. Perhaps they may have emphasized her tummy a…bit too much, but I can live with it. I’m still able to have her sit despite the fact that the plush is designed in a standing pose. If you have kids and are looking to create a human-like plush, this may not be a such a big deal.
I have worked on a private commission before and the back and forth of communication went very well. Budsies on the other hand, may need to be a bit more personalized with their updates. Apart from the standard updates they sent me by e-mail and the responses to my specific requests from the re-do, it wouldn’t hurt to get an update with a picture or two to see how my plush is coming along. Perhaps I’m asking too much for the price that I’m paying for. The cost of Budsies is in most cases far cheaper than getting a customized plush commission from say DeviantArt, but once again don’t expect a 100% perfectly crafted plush made to your exact specifications. Its an interpretation. I’m not knocking them off or anything, but please be prepared if you (or your child) are very picky about what your plush should look like. That said, the very existence of Budsies in this time and age is just an incredible experience for kids. I wish I had the ability to make a plush out of my drawings when I was a kid. What a time to be alive.
Disclaimer: I purchased the following item on my own. I was not offered a sample from the company for promotional purposes. There is a referral link where I receive a small portion of any purchased item.
UPDATE: Alex Furmansky, founder of Budsies personally e-mailed me about my review. He says Advanced Budsies are coming!
"I draw stuff."
The official website of Artist/Author Ronald Hennessy. Creator of Maddie Mckenszie, Merry Chrissy and much more.