Posted by: dollpaparazzi | March 25, 2013

Customizer Spotlite: Lachlana Part II


Describe your perfect client. Do you like to get a lot of direction, or just be given a general mood, or do you like to see visual examples?
Some of the best commissions I’ve done have either been where the client gives me total freedom or gives me really in-depth descriptions with a lot of reference. The in-betweens where the client is not terribly sure what they’re going for and doesn’t give me a lot to go on or the sense of freedom to really go for it, make me question the look of the doll and the faceup much more during the painting process. As a result I tend to pull back on what I’m doing and I don’t quite achieve the level of faceup I’m happy with.

Also, I’m not a big fan of progress pictures—it really interrupts the artistic flow when you have to stop, take photos of a WIP (which usually looks terrible no matter what because it’s so unfinished) and then wait for a client to give you feedback on an unfinished product before continuing, so I only do progress pictures if I have a question or am unsure about a specific detail the client is adamant I achieve. But I’m upfront about that because some clients really like the progress pictures, in which case they need to know that’s not how I usually roll.

Of all the face-ups/customizations you’ve done, do any stand out to you in particular? Howso?
At present, my Carina, Virgil is really blowing me away. I don’t do much goth anymore, but she just sort of nailed everything I was hoping to achieve with her and has gone from a head that spent 6 months in a box to one of my more stunning mod/faceups. In my opinion at least. I think Gerard is pretty phenomenal because he isn’t a minimee or anything of the sort, just a mold who suddenly leant himself tremendously to the likeness of a rockstar I shamelessly fangirl over. He’s like my greatest work of fanart. I’m also really pleased with my JID I, Heart—who was the guinea pig to a really ambitiously-realistic bout of blushing and my Soom Dia, London & R. Heliot, Zillah—they have two of the more high-drama faceups in the house, and it took me at least 3-4 repaints each over the course of several years to finally get them to a point where I just love staring at them. I almost sold Zillah because I truly hated the first faceup I did on him. Good thing I didn’t. Sometimes it really is the faceup that just makes all the difference.

Do you paint/alter other types of dolls, and if so, how does that compare with working on BJDs? If you do other types of art (drawing, painting, etc) does that influence your faceup style?
Not at present. But I’ve been flirting with customizing Monster High dolls. I’ve been seeing them all over the place and they have me curious—if only just to try.

Have you ever refused a commission? Why? Or if not, can you think of a circumstance where you might?
I did once. It was a very elaborate modding job to turn a whole doll into Abe Sapien from Hellboy and I just didn’t feel like I had the skill set for it. There was dying required (which I’ve never done) and a lot of carving a sculpting and airbrushing. So while it was a fascinating and ambitious project, it just wasn’t something I felt like I had the time or the technique to do.

I would refuse any commission on a recast doll, or a doll I am suspicious of being a recast. I won’t go into the drama absorbed by the subject, except to say I am adamantly against recasts and would never agree to work on one for moral as well as safety reasons.

Is there something that is still difficult for you to do? What is the most difficult?
I continue to maintain that eyelashes are the bane of my existence. They’re often one of my main focuses for improvement, but it’s a work in progress. I think I psyche myself out about them—I think ‘Oh crap, I’m up to eyelashes, this is when I screw up.’ And I just set myself up for trouble that way. I used to work in watercolor pencils so I had the option of erasing and reworking without having to wipe and start over, but as of the last year or so I’ve forced myself to work with paint for all faceup details and it’s a challenge. I have good days and bad and I’m always in awe when I see another artist who wields paint with absolute perfection. It bothers me because I actually have a really long history in paint, but transferring to the doll medium requires an all new learning experience for me apparently.

Tattoos are another thing. I’ve done several really elaborate tattoo mods, and while I like different things about each of them, I’m still questing to discover just what technique it takes to make doll tats look more like real tats. It’s an ongoing mission, and I have several of my own dolls and my partner’s dolls lined up for the cause. In fact I’ve been sitting on my Yakuza-inspired baddie because he needs full body work and I just don’t feel my skill set is up to par to get him there. (That and other dolls keep stealing his body…)

How important is customer feedback to your creative process?
I definitely want them to be honest if they’ve commissioned me. It’s important that I know whether I hit the mark or not and I always angst when I show my clients their finished dolls just out of my own personal sense of rampant paranoia. If they have a legitimate problem with something I’ve done, I’d like them to tell me and I’d do my best to remedy it. I think at this point over half of my clients are repeat customers however, so I must be doing something right. I’ve had people come back to me 3 and 4 times over the course of several years, which is really neat and makes me happy to know that they were pleased enough with my work to want more.

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Is there a mold, doll, or company that you prefer to work on?
I’m thrilled when people send me Iplehouse or Switch. I’d love to paint some Spiritdolls and some more Alice in Labyrinths and Leekeworld molds. (Leeke Mihael is a personal weakness.) Definitely dolls who have prominent features tickle my inspiration. I’m working on a minimee commission soon that happens to be Gerard Way again (the client saw my modded Glen and is a fan of the band.) They approached me with their head and I was like ‘Yes! Gimme!’ I love the potential for realism in a mold. On the flipside, I’d love to work on some more concept dolls. They’re always such a challenge. And I’d be stoked to have some Doll Chateau sent my way.

Do you prefer working on male or female dolls?  Why?
Definitely male dolls. I just think I understand the aesthetics of masculine beauty better than I do with females. I have very particular ideals when it comes to female beauty and they’re not always the preferred aesthetic, so I don’t enjoy painting girls quite as much.

What is your background?  Have you had any special schooling (art school, sculpture, painting, etc)?
I come from a long line of artists and have spent many years working in mediums like pastel and watercolor and oil. I did a lot of portrait and character study illustration and dabbled in sculpting but I’m not professionally trained. A lot of it is self-taught. All of that definitely funneled into my work on BJDs.

When you were a child did you ever work on dolls or create with similar things?
My mom used to draw paper dolls for me of my favorite characters from movies. I used to take pictures of my Star Wars figures and I had a habit of customizing this one Barbie mold repeatedly—he was a Disney Beauty & the Beast Mattel Ken doll with long routed hair, which was so rare on the doll market that I bought like five of him and dyed his hair black (not very successfully) to make into a variety of my male characters because they were all androgynous gothy boys. So yeah, the seed was always there.

Do you have any other interests that might have helped you in your development of customizing ABJD (like customizing other dolls, action figures, etc)?  Please tell us about them.
Aside from my frumpy foray into dying Ken’s hair, I never really got into the customizing scene. What I wanted to do was sculpt dolls, but I never got that far. Instead I used sculpey to create character busts and studies of my OCs. I built the wire armature and sculpted their bodies on bases and worked long and hard on facial likenesses and creating the clothes—all in sculpey. Then I’d bake them in the oven and airbrush them as a finish as if they were my own personal garage model kits. I wanted to actually make molds and cast a few, but was too terrified to try for fear of destroying the original.

Do you have any other interests?  Collections?
I sold all of my other collections to afford my BJDs. But I am a cosplayer, more for the sake of creating good in-character images than crafting costumes because I can’t sew. For me cosplay is about pulling off a likeness, and I get very make-up intensive, especially with female-to-male makeup. It’s like painting faceups on humans.

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What factors do you consider before giving a doll its make-up so it will have the expression you want?
If I’m aware of the doll’s character, that’s the most important part going in. Who is this character? Are they sweet and innocent? Seductive? Devious? What’s their story? From there I can apply the necessary tricks and techniques to achieve that in the face.

For instance, I turned my Migidoll Ryu—usually a very smiley and gentle looking mold—into a deviously sinister bastard with a God-complex. That was a challenge and required careful consideration of where to place the brows especially and how much shading to apply in order to give him that clever, glaring gaze. (In his case, I couldn’t follow the natural contour of his face because that would have thrown the look and made him too soft.) I also turned his nice smile into a smirk. Of course camera angles really bring his personality through, but a lot of thought went into just how to create his persona in his faceup.

Are there any painting techniques that can make a face look more masculine or feminine?
Certainly. Masculinity often resides in the brows in my faceups. I love manbrows—they’re so much fun to paint and they give the mold a strong though still very attractive guise of masculinity. I used to never be a fan of a thicker brow on a BJD, but done naturally; being conscious of shape and shading and the direction the hairs flow can really make for some striking guys. Another thing I do often, but only on faceups that require more realism—are sideburns. I paint them. With Gerard especially a great part of his likeness (and this I know from cosplaying as well with female-to-male makeup) are his sideburns.  The difference it makes in capturing his likeness on the doll and in the doll’s photos is pretty staggering. I think with realistic faceups it can look odd to have the wig lift and there’s no sideburns, suddenly they look bald or like they’re wearing a wig and not in a good way, so I started doing the sideburn effect when I re-modded my Bertram and I was really pleased with how it presented.

As for girls, I try to go heavier on the lips. If they’re wearing lipstick I try to make it seem like there’s skin under there so it’s not one solid color. I enjoy blushing for that reflection of realism. It worked very well for my Iple Carina who has a very intense goth faceup to put the fleshtone blush under her makeup just made her look more alive. I also go more delicate on the eyes, I aim for fancier, elegant eyelashes and just an all around more manicured look. I think with all the androgyny in the BJD world, you can walk a fine line between a female and a male faceup, and while it’s certainly easy to make the pretty boys, I have to be careful to avoid the manly women unless it’s called for.

How long does it usually take to do a face-up (or custom alteration job)?
My turn-around time for customers usually depends on things like my schedule (I can normally only work on weeknights after work since I travel on weekends) and weather usually plays a factor as annoying as that is. The actual work is usually 5-6 hours for a normal faceup without incident. If mods are added, than another few nights worth of work to provide for sanity checks and drying time.
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Can you offer any helpful hints to the amateur face-up artists? Can you recommend a list of supplies including colors, paints & pastels etc?
Patience and thought definitely. Not so much stringent planning as sourcing inspiration. Before I begin any faceup I like to scroll through tons of my fave BJD photos from other artists and collectors whose dolls or work I admire. I sort of pinpoint what it is I love, what sorts of aesthetics speak to me, what kinds of details or styles will make doing a faceup that much more for me. I find it makes all the difference between doing a faceup (even a good one) and doing a faceup that really makes me happy with my work.

As for supplies:
Rembrandt Chalk Pastels
Liquitex Acrylic Paint
Liquitex High Gloss Varnish
Liquitrex Slo-Dri Fluid Retarder
Derwent Watercolour Pencils
Liquitex Acrylic Gesso (for scars)
Mr. Super Clear Flat (MSC)
Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue
Amazing Sculpt Modeling Compound (for additive mods)
Dawn Dish Detergent (for cleaning resin)
Windsor & Newton Brush Cleaner (for faceup removal)

Do you have a favorite medium you like to work with when not creating for BJDs in your spare time?
I’d love to get back to drawing and painting, but there is no such thing as spare time in my life anymore, so when I have a moment, I’m working on BJDs or my photography.

How long have you been doing face-ups/customizing BJDs?
Since 2007.

What is your biggest inspiration for your face-ups and customizations?
It helps when I’m in the groove, so to speak. When my fingers are sort of itching to work. I know when I’m not into it, I’m just not going to produce as well, or I’m going to make stupid mistakes. Inspiration wise, like I said, I love to scroll through my trove of favorite BJD pictures and just sort of absorb techniques and styles that speak to me depending on the doll I’m about to work on, then I apply it and see where it takes me.

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 Do you have any tips you’d like to share for people that want to learn how to do what you do or just want to improve?  Something that’s helped you a lot or something that you think is important to know when doing a successful customization/face-up?
When I first started, it was about just doing the faceup—getting the color on there, getting the eyebrows even, all symmetry and straight lines and how all the tutorials said to do it. Which is definitely an invaluable way to learn, but there comes a point where you want to break away from that (at least for me). So now it’s more about really knowing what I want to do as an artist, what sort of comfort zones I’d like to push, what techniques I want to try, what it is I need to improve on. I’m constantly looking to get better and to really be able to have a style that’s ‘me’ but at the same time, is always developing. I think that’s important—to just never be completely satisfied, to always want to improve, and not just with skill but in vision. I really admire vision; it’s a big part of what makes this whole hobby exciting for me.

Thanks Lachlana for the interview! I appreciate it!

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Posted by: dollpaparazzi | March 15, 2013

Customizer Spotlite: Lachlana


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Your name: Lachlana, Custom Shop: “Borderline Being”
Where is your stuff:  Maru-Light at Deviant Art

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How did you get involved in Super Dollfies and customizing them?
 I think I knew when I bought my first boy that painting and customizing BJD was where I wanted to go. I’d been an avid pastel portrait artist who’d done a lot of work in watercolor and oil as well and had more than dabbled with sculpting portrait busts and character statues—BJD seemed like a natural progression just shy of being the doll-crafter I’d always dreamed of being. I spent so long just staring at my first boy’s faceup (in awe), studying every stroke and line and patch of color and imagining my strategy for painting one.

It took me about a year to get started—a friend of mine thrust her Dollzone boy upon me and asked if I’d paint him. I’d never done a faceup before, but I had faith in my background and the poor boy needed some help. I had a lot of fun going through the process and was happy enough with the outcome (and so was she) to want to actively pursue it. So I went and bought a floating head. (I actually bought a mold I wanted as a doll and not just a practice head.) I really adored the way he turned out—however the very day after I painted him he had an accident and face-planted into the floor, destroying the MSC on his nose. I was absolutely devastated. I cried for three days while trying to repair him, but the more I layered on the MSC, the worse he got so I had to concede to wiping him and doing him again. (Because I was a noob) I used alcohol to remove the faceup—it took me hours worth of scrubbing but when I at last repainted him, I’d taken note of everything I hadn’t done well enough the first time (like cleaning the pastel dust away from the nose crevices, blending better, etc) and tried to improve. It’s years later, and this boy still has that same faceup even though I’ve come so far—I still like it.

 

 

What do you do best?
 Lips. I‘d say lips are my specialty. When I was a child I’d go through my coloring books and color all the lips first. With BJD I paint the whole face LOL, but lips are still my thrill. I love the pouty plump lips best. Let me paint a doll with a plump, pouty pucker and I’m a happy beast.


What Inspires You?

 Other artists inspire me. I troll forums and flckr and deviantart and just gawk at the extreme talent of other artists. I love when you can truly see the technique at work, when you can glance at a doll and just know what dollmaster produced the faceup. But I also love the rare gems, the surprises, the ones that make you sit back and say ‘Wow. WHO did that??’

 

What do you want people to think when they look at your Customizations?
 I’d like them to see something special, whether it’s the character of the doll through the entire faceup/mod or a certain paint stroke or lip-shading that calls to them. I’ve fallen in love with whole dolls just for the way someone painted their lips. That’s always wonderful especially when I’m really proud of the result. Though I’m pretty sure I’m my own worst critic. Almost every doll I paint I always have a period where I hate it and want to repaint it immediately. It’s rare that I complete a doll and sit back and feel accomplished. It usually takes a photoshoot for me to be like ‘oh, there you are. Wow. Cool.’ Or conversely, ‘Back on the slab you go.’

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What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
 I’d like to at last venture into airbrushing. It’s something I’ve stayed away from because of time and equipment investment reasons, but I’ve always wanted to learn. And I know it’s going to be a learning process, and I’m not sure it will achieve the looks and control I currently have with pastel, and I’m not sure just how sane I’ll be going through it when the airbrush decides to spit on a nearly-finished faceup LOL—but I’d still like to try it.

 

What sorts of things do you enjoy the most about your designs/customizations?
 Lately I’m enjoying the realism effect. A few years ago I would scrunch my nose at applying too much blushing to a head, there was always an element of the stylized in my work—I had rules to never paint the nose, to stay inside the lines with lips, to leave the jaw and chin alone. Lately, I broke all those rules. The last handful of dolls I’ve painted for myself have blushing all over the place, around the nose, the mouth, the chin, the jaw—on the forehead. I’ve even added veins in the temples—not morbidly, but just faintly there. I like making the ‘skin’ appear soft and plaint, I like super-tender fingers and toes in graduated pinks and stuff of that nature. And then building over a very solid style of blushing the other elements of the faceup, usually finishing with some skin texture or freckles or beauty marks—things I know a lot of collectors aren’t terribly fond of. But I really like blending the separation between ‘doll’ and ‘portrait’ in the faceup these days. That’s what I’ve been enjoying.

 

 

Other than yourself, who are your favorite doll customizers?
Sdink (Cheryl) is a huge influence on me in terms of inspiration, aesthetics, molds and always striving to improve on my work. I’m a big admirer of kamarza, alientune & Blueoxyde’s work. Blueoxyde has done some truly phenomenal customs with her Zaolls—her vision and execution is so inspiring. And I’m positively amazed by everything Jubriel produces. The extent of her talents, from faceups to costuming to photography supported by the elaborate backstory and designs of her characters is nothing short of stunning. The same can be said for Candygears who always floors me with any projects that involve her Mr. Have and Clean Slate. Her diorama for Uncanny Dream 2011 especially is absolutely jaw-dropping. Citronrouge has incredible vision and ability to execute that vision, her works are so dark and such a superb example of the “beautiful-grotesque” which I adore. But there’s really just so much talent out there, it’s hard to quantify it and I know I’m leaving people out.

 

 

What’s the Best thing about customizing your own dolls?
The freedom. Both creatively to try and experiment with new looks and repaints more often and not having to hunt someone down to realize a vision for you. There was a definite turning point where I stopped buying just dolls I liked and started buying the ones I wanted to paint. To this day, the dolls I purchase and put on layaway are usually dolls where the very thought of painting them excites me. It’s rare I go into a sale without a reason that involves customization and faceup potential.

 

 

What’s the most difficult thing about doing customizations (your mods, face-ups, tats, etc) and altering them?
Altering them? I’ve run into that quite a few times. Lisander, my half-statue boy began as a full facial reconstruction, but midway through I realized that my sculpting technique just wasn’t up to par, so I ended up carving most of what I’d done off of him—which is how he ended up with stone work.

More often than not I’ll paint a face and not be satisfied with it, and immediately wipe it and paint it again. I just did that with my IOS Sezz—he was nice, but now he’s much better. But that’s personal criticism at work. Sometimes it’s a case of gloppy eyelashes, I’ve ruined whole faceups because I went too heavy-handed on the paint and had to start from scratch. So the difficult thing in altering is really the time it costs to repair what was already done and turn it into something better. I don’t have a lot of time to begin with, so when I spend hours working on something just to have it all be for naught, I get angry. Then I get over it, and do what needs to be done usually to much better results.

 

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What type of dolls do you enjoy customizing (male/female/brands)?
I’m a male-doll kind of person. 9 times out of 10 I prefer to paint men. Whether it’s the androgynous sort, the gothy types, or more currently the handsome realistic guys with the attractive manbrows—I like painting boys/men. Women are a whole different strategy for me and not usually as enjoyable. I’m very picky about my women and while I’m open to taking on any doll as a commission, my personal preference is Iple girls. Iplehouse really produces the only female molds so far that excite me. I have 3 big girls myself (a Cherie, Carina & Soo) and one little girl (I) and I’m aiming to get my paws on a Jessica to paint as a gift for my sister-in-law-to-be. I’ve also painted two Asa’s for a customer, same head, but one was a boy and one was a girl and it was the boy I enjoyed painting immensely. (Though oddly if I got an Asa for myself, it’s for a female character I’m planning… so go figure.)

 

 

What is your favorite style to create?
I’m on a realism kick these days. I enjoy a nice natural faceup with dramatic eyes and plump lips. It’s fun to paint the more stylized and elaborate types (like my recent Iple Carina) but I find it more challenging and I’m not always taken with the result.

 

 

Who would you love to collaborate with?
Someone who has a really mean talent with wig making/styling and clothes making. eclipse21 comes to mind immediately as a wig-maker. I’d love to collab to create a really wonderful full set doll. That would be truly fantabulous.

 

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Why choose doll customizing as a form of Self Expression?
I think it’s the whole element of bringing characters to life. Creating these 3D avatars, making them life-like, having this interactive artwork to hold in your hands and mod and play with and shoot. It’s not a painting on the wall you just stare at, it’s something more tangible. I’ve always been drawn to dolls and figures and statues—the 3-D medium coupled with my inexplicable need to push for realism just comes into perfect harmony in the BJD world. Back when I was sculpting my own characters in high school and pouring over doll-making magazines I don’t think I ever could have imagined something like this. It’s so fulfilling for me.

 

 

How long does it take from start to finish on a typical doll to create and complete?
A typical doll I’d consider to be slight mods (usually some face sanding), a faceup & full body blush with mani/pedi and often skin texturing. In crunches, I’ve done it in 10 hours—at least I recall clocking one on Facebook at 10 hours (I think it was Gerard). I do often find I work in crunches though, as my work and social life don’t really permit me relaxing doll-painting streaks. I work on weeknights after I come home into the wee hours of the morning and have notoriously crawled into bed at 4 and 5 am to finish a project only to get up and zombie myself to the office the next day. And then do it again.

 

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How do you like to work best with a custom order for a client? With total freedom to create your vision, or do you like some feedback/interchange with a client who might have an idea or theme they would like to see realized?
Ultimately I want to produce what will make my client happy. They’re sending their doll to me to realize a vision they have, so I ask for as much detail as possible. I’m very visual, so visual references help me tons, whether they’re pictures of real people or other dolls, I like to really get in there and see what the client is thinking aesthetically—what appeals to them and I can better translate that visually.

I had a lovely client send me a movie once to watch so I could fully gauge the look of the character who resembled the main actress and that was awesome. It helped loads because the look and attitude sort of go hand-in-hand. It’s great to paint a nice faceup, but to really have it translate that doll’s character (which I’m all about) it takes some extra consideration.

I don’t copy faceups however, but I will seek visual reference to understand a certain style the client is after. At the same time, I feel that I will produce a better faceup if a client does allow for my creative interpretation in addition to everything else. I have certain quirks in my style I always fall back on, and I will always use unless I alter them myself—so if someone is going to commission me I’m assuming they like my style and I will apply my style as I see fit.

 
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What have been your favorite projects you’ve done thus far?
 Smile definitely ranks up there. He was a commission that gave me total freedom and was really in line with a lot of things I wanted to try but never had the right opportunity to do. He was a Miho head that was going to be sold if I couldn’t ‘save’ him for the owner—so right there the pressure was more off than on because he wasn’t a dearly beloved doll, he was already coming to me with a certain amount of freedom attached. The owner quoted me some of my favorite darker inspirations to draw from, like Heath Ledger’s Joker and Death Note’s Beyond Birthday and a general urban decay/mental asylum sort of aesthetic and let me loose. I came back to her with ideas that involved a Glasgow grin and facial pierceings and custom-created zombie eyes and she was like GO! GO! And I did, and it was just absolutely liberating and so very enjoyable. We both really adored how he came out and I really missed him once I sent him back because he was so inspiring (she even let me name him in the process. He really was a commission that spoke to me.) Incidentally, her financial state a few months later forced her to pare down her resin crew, so she contacted me about buying Smile from her. I couldn’t get to my paypal fast enough. LOL Now Smile is home with me and I’m planning to continue work on his body, and take my first steps into carving out ribcage structure, and dark things of that nature. We’ll see how it goes…

 

 

What sets your doll customizations apart from all the others?
 I try to give them character in their design and the way they photograph. That’s what I’m about, character. I want other people to look at members of my crew (or dolls I’ve worked on for other people) and see a story in their face, to imagine that there’s more than just resin there, there’s intelligence, cunning, sexuality, humanity, what have you. I want people to look at a photo of a doll I’ve worked on and be able to read the deeper character traits and personalities. I feel a lot of my dolls have that quality and I think that’s what makes them unique. At least they do to me.

 

 

 

Are there any sort of projects you’ve been hoping to work on but just haven’t gotten around to it?
 Too many. I have a long line of my crew and my partner’s crew waiting for various aesthetics, tattoos and mod work. I think in terms of full projects, the most immediate one I can never seem to get going on is Beyond’s body work. I’m designing for him to have a corset piercing and I want to mod him with epoxy to make it seem like it really is his skin being stitched into. On top of that, he has oodles of ink that needs to be done on top of a general body blushing that needs to be a bit more decrepit than the norm—but in subtle ways. So while I’ve been putting thought into him, I can just never seem to get the gears going on this guy. And he’s one of my favorite dolls and faceups too.

 

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What was the most challenging thing you have ever done thus far?
My poor Bertram, Adonais Muse. I lusted after an AiL bertam for about 4 years before finally getting one, and almost immediately I decided to mod him. It was such a sudden impulse decision that I jumped in without really considering what I was doing and spent many hours sanding facial bone structure into this boy. I wanted him to look real, and I gave him a very realistic faceup, I smattered it with skin texture and freckles and beauty marks and invested in glass eyes (which I wasn’t in the habit of doing often) and when I sat back to drink him in—I wasn’t happy. It was sort of like a Frankenstein situation, where I thought I’d made every feature lovely on its own, but together he just looked wrong. So I fielded for feedback (and had a nervous breakdown because by then I was convinced I’d ruined a lovely little boy) and after deliberating on him for 24 hours (and impulsively buying a second Bertram as a replacement) I went back to rework him. Some of my blushing, coupled with the extreme sanding made him look emaciated, and since I hadn’t modded his eyes, which on a plumper face looked proportionate, with the narrower cheeks and jaw I’d given him, they looked immense. And I’d painted his mouth wide—so he had this realistic faceup with a wide mouth and giant eyes and gaunt features.

I reworked his blush and paled him out and let him sit that way. I tried to photograph him often to find his angles and convince myself he looked good. And I think in some ways he did—there is one photo in particular I still really adore, but the hair is covering part of the mod work and it makes all the difference.

So after several months I’d determined all the problem areas and put him back on the slab to completely rework again. I wiped his faceup and added modeling compound to flesh out his gauntness. I also modded his eyes smaller, and when painting him, I was careful not to paint the full mouth, but sort of custom his own lip shape. He still has imperfections, because this boy has had a lot of work done, but ultimately I think he looks much better now. He’s taken a few really lovely photos and his character is greatly beloved by my partner and I, so even after all he went through, he’s one of the more special members of the crew.

I still think I was nuts to even do as much as I did in the first place. But I learned a lot about modding, and my Gerard Way AiL boy really reaped the benefits.

 

 

How has your style evolved over time, and where do you see it going in the future?
Definitely.  I think it went from ‘hey, I can paint this doll’ to really trying to visualize what I wanted beyond just slapping on some color and doodling an arching eyebrow. I did okay faceups at the start, but I wanted to really explore what called to me in terms of style and develop my own techniques to really achieve it. I think I did a lot of gothy stuff in the beginning because that was sort of status quo for me, but I found that I was more drawn to natural looks, realistic looks, and small details like plump lips instead of hard lip lines or that one strip of color down the bottom lip which I was doing a lot out of habit. I think I’ve learned to layer color better, how to make gothy faceups look more real and less Harlequin, how to do minimal without being minimal about doing it. I just want to keep improving. There are so many things I still want to try, but I don’t just want to try them, I really want to succeed at them—and then do better.

 photo Zillah-Heliot.jpg

Interview continues… soon!

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | November 22, 2012

Mini Manufacturer Spotlite: Kaye Wiggs


Photobucket

Who are you? Kaye Wiggs. A country born and bred girl who still loves the quiet country life even though I have lived in a number of cities around Australia, I have just purchased a home in the town I was born in so will be returning to the small town country life soon.

What’s your background? I have had no formal education in the arts but I have dogged determination so when I want to do something I keep at it until I figure it out. I have always loved making things and always loved dolls so I think the natural progression from this was to make dolls!! Before discovering I could make dolls I used to do oil painting and ink drawings as well as a number of other crafty things. I initially started my doll making “career” about 25 years ago by making needle sculpted cloth dolls, then I progressed to porcelain dolls and then to the resin BJD’s. I had actually retired from doll making and then I discovered resin BJDs. When I saw them I was hooked and had to try to make my own. They are so much fun because you can actually play with them and customize them and photograph them, it’s like returning to my childhood!!

I make various sizes from 11″ tinies, 18″ MSD to 22″ SD size dolls. The dolls are cast in resin and are articulated so they can be posed in natural looking poses. The only difference I can think of is that most of my dolls are more childlike looking as opposed to the more anime look that majority of resin ball jointed dolls have.

My dolls are sold through my US distributor www.jpopdolls.net. I also have my own website where anyone can see my past dolls… www.kazekidz.com for resin dolls and www.kayewiggs.com for my porcelain dolls (it’s kind of like an archives of my past dolls). We also have a forum where we chat about dolls of all sorts but mostly BJD’s. Everyone is welcome to join us: http://theresincafe.proboards.com

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | June 18, 2012

Fashion Designer Spotlite: Marishka Part II


How long does it take from start to finish on a typical outfit to create and complete?
If I’ve got everything I need ready (fabrics, measurements, etc) it usually takes up to a week.

How do you like to work best with a custom order for a client? With total freedom to create your vision, or do you like some feedback/interchange with a client who might have an idea or theme they would like to see realized?
I don’t mind both. But people who order commissions always have to keep in mind that if they for example do not send me the fabric and want something very specified, I won’t be able to find an identical one. But that’s one of the obvious things, I guess. : )

Are there fashions or styles you would like to make, but haven’t? Why haven’t you?
Armors for dolls (I tried only leather ones). But I’ll try, surely.

How important are fashion trends to you (i.e. what is going on in real life/human wear) and to your doll clothing? Do other doll seamstresses or fashion trends on the board (or even on other boards, etc) influence you at all?

I’m keeping my own pace. I’m not really that type of a person who spends long hours on the forums etc, looking for stuff. I prefer to peek at game designs for example than on doll – related sites (also because I don’t want to copy anything without thinking later). Sometimes I do, of course, but not very often.

Do you take on commissions? If so have you ever turned down any? Are there certain commissions you like or dislike?
I do, and sometimes I have to turn down commissions with impossible elements – a real life-like tiger head on the belt, a fabric so peculiar that I don’t stand a chance of finding it in any shop, etc.

Tell us about your family. What do they think about your dolls and your business?

They are not only fine with it, but they’re helping a LOT! I’ve got great parents, that’s why. I encouraged my mother to support Beyond Wonderland as a leading brand by her company Studio Tami, and since she’s great in sewing also, it’s a priceless help.

How important is customer feedback? Have you had a lot of customer feedback in the past? Do you want more? If so, how would someone contact you?

I’m getting a lot of feedback on Den of Angels forum, and of course I love it when people flatter my work :3

What are your newest projects (example new sizes, styles or lines) that you are working on?
Four outfits for my humorously saying ‘family of goats and unicorns’ – two sets for Super Gem Soom male bodies (Heliot, Amber) , one for Soom Tennie Gem (Shale) and one for Tiny Gem (Ai).

Are you working on anything that isn’t doll related that you want to share that you think would interest the readers (off topic, however, you think they would be interested in it, like human clothing line, an art show of your work, etc)?
My cosplay outfits and photos, maybe?

Over the years you’ve seen a lot of changes, both good and bad. What do you think have been the best and worst changes in the doll community?
Oh. I’m not really a person who participate in the community in that manner, or at least, not very intensively, so I guess I am in no position to comment on that.

Are there projects that you wish you had more time to work on?
Generally I wish I had more time :<

Closing Comments (anything you’d like to tell us about you or about your business in general)?
Dolls are meant to please an eye and I hope that my work helps them do just that. If you’d like to order anything, do not hesitate to contact me ! : )


Thanks for the interview, Marishka!

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | June 11, 2012

Fashion Designer Spotlite: Marishka


Your legal full name: Marta Grzywnowicz
Your “artist name”: Divane (or Marishka on Den of Angels forum)
Your Website: http://www.beyond-wonderland-bjd.com


How did you get involved in Asian Ball Jointed Doll clothing Designs?

I’ve always been inspired by fashion and its means of artistic expression. At the beginning there were cosplay outfits (human size), and then, when I fell in love with BJD dolls – clothes for them. That is how Beyond Wonderland company started, in short words 🙂

Describe your line and what styles (items) you create?
Elegance inspires me greatly, and I believe that nothing can mirror the beauty that only dolls have. I enjoy creating outfits in fantasy style, Medieval gothic, Victorian, Baroque, cosplay. I’m also a fan of Alice in Wonderland – fairy tale motives are one of my absolute favorites.

What do you think people know you best for (like a certain style or size or certain look)?
People who order my outfits tend to say that I’m kind of a mysterious romantic, haha. But speaking more down to earth, I guess I’m known best for various pieces of clothing designed for boys. I’m sewing also for girls, but since I don’t own any so far it’s a bit harder. And to be frank I like boys a lot more.

What Inspires You?

Art and fashion from different ages, fantasy books and games. Daily clothing as well!

What do you want people to think when they look at your Designs?
That there’s just a tiny bit of magic in everything Beyond Wonderland creates.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I try not to think about future so far ahead, it is best to concentrate on what I can achieve in this very moment. I just hope that the company will blossom and every client will be glad that he/she ordered in Beyond Wonderland!

What sorts of things do you enjoy the most about your designs?

Everything : )

What are your other favorite clothing brands/designers for dolls?
To be frank I don’t know many of them. I used to look at Dollheart site from time to time though, and I have to say that some of their designs are really amazing.


What’s the Best thing about designing and selling doll fashions?

That you can share your own work with other people. A piece of your imagination is in their homes, with their dolls – that mere thought gives you the motivation to keep going. I’m also extremely proud every time I receive a positive feedback saying that what I did was amazing and that they’ll surely order again – to become acknowledged is the most enjoyable and rewarding thing for an artist.

What’s the most difficult thing about designing and selling fashions?
To get the right idea of what others have in mind when they order a commission (most of the times it is not a problem, but sometimes it’s just hard to grasp the vision of someone else at first). Also, the lack of proper fabrics in shops is my usual pain and I spent hours looking for right ones, sometimes in few different towns (I’m a perfectionist, which is hard sometimes ;).

What type of dolls do you enjoy designing for the most (male/female/brands)?

Males.

What is your favorite style to create?
Fantasy, Medieval gothic, Victorian, Baroque, cosplays, fairy tale-like clothes, Alice in Wonderland inspired, etc. But I like daily clothing as well, so I don’t know if I’ve got any favorites.

Is there a color palate or patterns that you tend to stick with? Stay away from?
No, not really.


Who would you love to collaborate with? Is there a mold, doll, or company that you prefer to work on?
Just with boys in general, especially SD and MSD : ) I think I’ll love working with girls as soon as I buy one, too.

What is your background? Have you had any special schooling (art school, fashion design, sculpture, painting, fashion, etc)?
I’m self-taught : )

Who are some of your favorite human designers?
I don’t have any.

Are there types of fabric that you hate or try to avoid? If so which ones?

There’re some I dislike, but I have no idea how they’re called in English!

What fabrics do you love to use? Accessories?
Thin but durable fabrics.

What outfit do you think was your best and worst? Why?
Probably everything I created at the very beginning was my worst because of the lack of training. At the moment I try not to make anything ‘worse’ or ‘better’, just equally good – and if it is not equally good, I start from the beginning and make it again and again, until it’s perfect. People who order my outfits deserve no less.

When you were a child did you ever work on dolls or create with similar things? If so, what were they?
No, I wasn’t too interested in fashion and clothing then – I preferred to draw and paint. However… I loved dolls since I was a kid, that is true.



Do you have any other interests that might have helped you in your development of customizing ABJD (like customizing other dolls, action figures, etc)? Please tell us about them.

Creating and customizing cosplay outfits, accessories, props and wigs. I also draw and design various things. When it comes to BJD dollfie, I also proceed with my own aesthetics, hopefully I’ll start a small make-up studio too, some day.

Do you have any other interests? Collections?

Many, many more. I’m a type of a person who has to try everything. I’m a Japanese philology student and I’m collecting various Japanese or Asian toys, comics, books, etc.

Tell us about your own dolls. Do you have any? If so how many and which ones? Has your collection impacted your fashion business and if so in what way?
It is not possible for a private collection to not impact a fashion business, if you start any, so the answer is – of course! : )

At the moment my dolls are: Soom Amber boy, Soom Winnie Dee Ai, Soom Shale, Migidoll Jina boy, Migidoll Miho. I also ordered Mia from Luts (my first girl !).

Why choose clothing design as a form of Self Expression?
It is just a matter of interest , I think.

Marishka’s interview continues, later!

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | May 20, 2012

Owner Spotlite: Stella Di Carta Part II


Describe your perfect client. Do you like to get a lot of direction, or just be given a general mood, or do you like to see visual examples?
Usually I like to have about the doll, the name, the background and the style. Then I listen to the owner’s ideas and together we can create the Make Up. I like people that know what they want 😀 ! If they have at least an idea about the complete doll, it will be very easy to realize it! Otherwise, if they want 100000 different things, it will be very difficult to satisfy them, because they don’t even know what they want XD !!!

Of all the face-ups/customizations you’ve done, do any stand out to you in particular? Howso?
My Choa Twins, I am working on them. They are a creation for my Tattoo Studio!

Do you paint/alter other types of dolls, and if so, how does that compare with working on BJDs? If you do other types of art (drawing, painting, etc) does that influence your faceup style?
I aint every type of dolls, I also like to draw and paint… and tattoos 🙂 ! I have a Tattoo Studio in Genova (Italy) with my husband.

Have you ever refused a commission? Why? Or if not, can you think of a circumstance where you might?
I might refuse a commission if the feedback of the client is really bad.

Is there something that is still difficult for you to do? What is the most difficult?
Findind MSC in Italy!!!

How important is customer feedback to your creative process?
A lot! It helps people to know more about my work! And, of course it helps me feeling great 😀 !

Is there a mold, doll, or company that you prefer to work on?
Notdoll, Fairyland, Alchemic laboratory Unoa, CocoTribe are some of my favorite!

Do you prefer working on male or female dolls? Why?
I like female dolls because I like sweet faces long eyelashes.

What is your background? Have you had any special schooling (art school, sculpture, painting, etc)?
Nope, I’ve always loved to draw, but I’ve learned about all by myself.

When you were a child did you ever work on dolls or create with similar things?
Yes, on my Barbie Dolls!

Do you have any other interests that might have helped you in your development of customizing ABJD (like customizing other dolls, action figures, etc)? Please tell us about them.
I try to customize everything I can get my hands on XD !

Do you have any other interests? Collections?
I like reading, movies, shoes XD ! I was into Manga and Anime, but know I don’t have time for them, I have my little collection of “classics” and I am happy with it (JoJo, VideoGirl Ai, Bakuretsu Hunter…) ! And body art of course 🙂 !

What factors do you consider before giving a doll its make-up so it will have the expression you want?
Nothing, it may sounds strange but I just start working, sometime without a particular idea, and the Make Up just “arrive” to me ^___^ !

Are there any painting techniques that can make a face look more masculine or feminine?
I think it is all about the style. Like longer lashes for female dolls, lighter blush for males etc.some info

How long does it usually take to do a face-up (or custom alteration job)?
Sometimes months, sometimes just days 🙂 !

Can you offer any helpful hints to the amateur face-up artists? Can you recommend a list of supplies including colors, paints & pastels etc?
You have to try. Materials, styles, colours… you have to find YOUR materials, feel the connection with them!

Do you have a favorite medium you like to work with when not creating for BJDs in your spare time?
I like to draw, with a pencil, that’s all ^__^ !

How long have you been doing face-ups/customizing BJDs?
Since 2003.

What is your biggest inspiration for your face-ups and customizations?
Real Make Up ❤ ! I am a Make Up Artist too!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share for people that want to learn how to do what you do or just want to improve? Something that’s helped you a lot or something that you think is important to know when doing a successful customization/face-up?
Buy only resin-friendly materials!!! And if you are not sure about something, DO NOT USE IT! PS. Do not try nail polish or pens!!!

Thanks Stella Di Carta for the interview! I appreciate it.

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | May 14, 2012

Owner Spotlite: Stella Di Carta


Your name: Stella Di Carta
Your Legal Name: Cristina Martinelli
Your Website:
http://ipocrisia.altervista.org/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stelladicarta/

How did you get involved in Super Dollfies and customizing them?
I was a great “J-Rock” fan, one day I saw a Mana OOAK and I loved it sooo much XD I did some researches and I found the amazing BJD world!

What do you do best?
I like Smokey eyes and natural lips!

What Inspires You?
Everything ❤ ! I am always having so many ideas for my Make Up ^__^ I just don’t have enough dolls to realize them all… for now 😀 !

What do you want people to think when they look at your Customizations?
That they are not just “painted resin dolls”, but they are made with love. I put a little of me inside every doll ❤ !

What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
Get better! An artist always has something to learn!

What sorts of things do you enjoy the most about your designs/customizations?
I like to help my customers with the creation of their “dream doll” ! I am always so happy too see the pictures of the complete doll!!!


Other than yourself, who are your favorite doll customizers?
Illness Illusion, Morbidollz, Sdink, Rabiruna and Esthy!

What’s the Best thing about customizing your own dolls?
I really can give them a “soul” ❤ !

What’s the most difficult thing about doing customizations (your mods, face-ups, tats, etc) and altering them?
Having too much ideas XD ! I would like to have tons of heads to realize all of them!

What type of dolls do you enjoy customizing (male/female/brands)?

I like dolls with pouty lips, and I am a huge fan on Fairyland and Notdoll!

What is your favorite style to create?
Dark/Goth with smokey eyes! And I really like face-tattoos!

Who would you love to collaborate with?
There are a lot of people I would like to collaborate with, but I think I would choose someone with a complete different style, to see what we can do together 😀 !

Why choose doll customizing as a form of Self Expression?
Because you can really create anything you want ❤ !

How long does it take from start to finish on a typical doll to create and complete?
At least a month 🙂 !

How do you like to work best with a custom order for a client? With total freedom to create your vision, or do you like some feedback/interchange with a client who might have an idea or theme they would like to see realized?
I like to “work” with my clients! I help them with the realization of the Make Up, with pics, advices, drawings and every info they need! But I always ask “for a little space” for my art, I have my own style and I need to put it in every Make Up I do.

What have been your favorite projects you’ve done thus far?
My doll Athena (MNF LUKA) is one of my favorite, I’ve done her Make Up for a DOA Contest! I like a lot my CocoTribe Ricci! I am actually working on my Choa Twins, and I really love them ❤ !!! Also, a Lusion doll from a friend XD she is sooo big ❤ !!!

What sets your doll customizations apart from all the others?
I am a perfectionist, everything must be clean and without imperfections XD and, as I said before, I always put “my soul” in my works!

Are there any sort of projects you’ve been hoping to work on but just haven’t gotten around to it?
A lot. I would love to paint an “artist self made” doll!

What was the most challenging thing you have ever done thus far?
Soom parts Blush XD they are HUGE!!!!!!!!!!

How has your style evolved over time, and where do you see it going in the future?
A lot, everyday I have the possibility to learn something new!
In the future? I will continue to learn a lot ❤ !

Interview continues next time…

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | May 11, 2012

SOOM Tremo – Fire Bird Surprise Event


Information on SOOM’s Tremo – Fire Bird Surprise Event

Soom Tremo Sales Page

Dear SOOM fans,

We have prepared a big surprise for you !!
You have now the possibility to order the human version as a basic item, then select each fantasy part according to your preference.

Ordering period: May the 10th ~ May the 23rd.
Please check it out here :
* Normal skin => http://dollsoom.com/eng/shop/item.php?it_id=1336619036
* Brown Tan skin => http://dollsoom.com/eng/shop/item.php?it_id=1336619078

Thank you for your kind attention~~ ^^
SoOm team

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | May 11, 2012

New doll release by Dollzone: Mika, Tengyuan, Hiro and Nyu


DZ has released 4 new 27cm young dolls. They’re Mika, Tengyuan, Hiro and Nyu.

Here are the photos.

Posted by: dollpaparazzi | May 11, 2012

New Release: Crobidoll Limited M-line Sinbi & Soi


No real photos up yet folks, but links up on the site where you will be able to get more info eventually.

Sinbi Limited

Soi Limited

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