Sunday, December 11, 2011

Impldoll Aaron as Promised

Took ten minutes this morning to do some quick shots of Aaron before I get started in on commissions again as well as laundry. Pls excuse the tiny bits of lint on his face. it's from the magic eraser. (He has very minor modding which was basically to soften the super harsh angles in his brow bone, nose bridge and lower lip.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Impldoll Erica and Ziv

I always try to take photos in the middle of the night after I finish the work only to find that the photos are terrible the next day. These were taken outside in the shade. First up is Erica. I ordered her + some shoes to get the Ziv and Aaron heads as part of an event from Impldoll.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Impl Girls

I finished all the Impl heads this week so I'll do a few quick shots of them. It's only the girls for now but I fixed Erica's eyes up a bit so she looks better and yes I like her more but not as much as I love how Ziv turned out. I modded Ziv's nose and I'm really wondering why Impldoll decided not to refine the nose in the sculpt because a lot of ppl seemed to be turned off by it. I'm glad I got her though because the rest of the sculpt is amazing. I'll show you why in the next post. Need sleeeeeep.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Unoa update for L.K.

Yes, I am trying to work through the commissions! I applied the silver, gold and copper leaf to the Unoa heads this weekend. It took a looong time. There is still some clean up needed  but this gives you a good idea of what they will end up looking like. I think I need to draw them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Eye See

A look at a little nano Haruka I was commissioned to do. This is mainly an eye comparison and I'm not sure if the owner wants more shadowing around the eyes. On the left is the eye that I was sent which is a pair of 8mm high domed lavender glass eyes and the right is a pink 6mm volks acrylic (probably from glib). I like the size of the 8mm iris in the photo but irl there is major gappage due to the shape of the eye and it's not pretty. I would recommend 8mm acrylics instead of glass just so they would fit better. I actually quite like the 6mm size but then again my preference is usually for smaller iris size for a slightly more realistic look.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Commission updates for MayWong

MayWong was one of my first customers but it has taken me a while to getting around to her heads. The main reason is because I am behind on all my commissions but also because I was trying to read up on the manga Inuyasha so I can do the characters justice. These are the only two heads from her that are not based on Inuyasha characters as far as I can tell but I have gotten to a point in the manga where I feel I know the characters fairly well and will be starting in on them soon. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

CH Stella + wigs & Custom House The Ai Girl Body

I'm getting ready to post my girl up on evilbay so I took a bunch of photos of her. If anyone is interested, CH SD girl bodies are also quite nice. As with most SD bodies, it's a bit trickier to pose them due to the weight but once again, CH shows their years in this industry with a very nice natural look. Out of all the dolls I've had the chance to play with CH hands and feet have the most mobility without any compromise to stability. I'll do side by side comparisons of various SD bodies soon.

EDIT: Her starting bid will be $325 + shipping. If anyone is interested here feel free to leave a comment or contact me since I don't love using ebay.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Light of Day

Hah! I took awful awful pictures last night thinking I could function at four in the morning. I took some new shots outside for better lighting to show the faceups better.

Birthday Weekend

My birthday is a Palindrome this year! It's on 11-22-11 but I celebrated with some friends this Saturday to avoid Thanksgiving weekend. I was still fairly productive though. I finished two commissions and worked on my own Custom House Prayer Choa. Here are some pics. The commissions turned out fairly well but I only took pictures of one so far. This is Eden redone. You will remember her from before.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CH Stella is Done!

And I don't know if I liked her better before or not. One think I know is that I will try out softer looks without line-work or perhaps just very little line-work. I think the lashes and the brows and lip liner distracts from the beauty of the sculpt. If I were to redo her, I would do the same pastel work but keep the eyebrow lines softer and the lower lashes very short in a very light brown. I wouldn't add lashes and I would not use a dark color to line the upper lid.

You can see in the first photo that her eyebrows are not perfectly level. I'm ok with that and I like how it gives her a slightly snarky look. I would have more photos but my camera batteries pooped out. Pls enjoy and let me know what you think!

EDIT: I need to fix her lashes...but she's basically done. I have some wigs I wanted to photo her in but next time...and yes I am still working on commissions. It'll take some time since I can only do it on the weekends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why you don't always need line-work

Custom House Stella W.I.P.

I'm sure you all know I'm a big fan of Custom House. This is their Stella sculpt. I am debating between keeping her or my CH Prayer Choa. I think I will know more after I finish my Choa faceup.

I'm tempted to leave her faceup as is but I think I will add lashes and brows. Hopefully she will only get better.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Commission updates

So Audry is completed and approved but I don't have a return address to send her off to since the owner had ordered the head from Volks and had her sent directly to me!!! I have sent an e-mail to the owner but have not had a reply yet. Hopefully she will be claimed. This is a photo of her glossed. Her banks keep falling into her face so I didn't put her on a body for a photo.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Commission #5 - BJD style 1/6 head

I didn't post this head in the W.I.P. because I just went ahead and finished it in one sitting. I wasn't told the name for the character but I was given and idea of her personality. She is kind and motherly. The challenge was that she has down turned eyes but she should not look sad. I was given reference to follow, and while I think I managed follow the reference fairly closely I think perhaps I followed it too closely? I would say this style ended up being more of a manga style than a BJD style. I will ask the owner whether they want anything changed.

The base is a normal skin Volks Dollfie head Type A head with rooted brown hair . For the coloring, she specified purple eyes, versatile but not too plain makeup with a sweet smile and rosy lips.

Here is a photo without gloss. I will take a better photo after she is glossed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art: Jenny Saville thrashes Bob Dylan

I am waiting for some paint to dry on a commission, so in the mean time let's talk art. Jenny Saville is an amazing painter. I went to see her work with some friends at the Gagosian Gallery this weekend and was in awe. I first heard about her about 7 years ago when her work exploded on the art scene. She works big and her brush strokes are broad and meaty while capturing emotional nuance. They also displayed some gorgeous charcoal studies. I'm very curious to know if they were done from life since they are so large and one of the subjects is a baby, it's highly unlikely that she would have been drawing that quickly on a stepladder.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Waiting for Boyd from Granado Dolls

I don't post a lot about the dolls I acquire, mostly because I generally get ones I am interested in modding or painting before I sell them again. I haven't sold many yet mainly because I don't have the time so I have several projects waiting for me after I finish my outstanding commissions. Don't worry. I have not forgotten you guys. I've been working a lot and it's raining so although I have a lot on my plate in terms of commissions, I can't do anything tonight so I want to tell you about one of the dolls I am patiently waiting for.

Granado is a very new company. They first released Boyd about a year ago at a very low price. I'm kicking myself for not getting him then but they have released a half closed eye version before the sculpt is retired for good. The sculpt runs toward a more realistic style than I am used to painting so I'm very excited to get my hands on him. I ordered Boyd (Normal + Nightmare heads) in Normal Skin with the new 68cm body as well as an extra head in White Skin.

The reason why I chose to write about Granado when I rarely write about purchasing dolls is because the company is so very thoughtful. I ordered from my parent's computer which is riddled with random protective programs which blocked some of the features of Granado's site when I was ordering. As such I was unable to use layaway and just paid upfront. I mentioned this issue on DOA without realizing the error was on my end and two days later, a representative from Granado PMed me asking me to detail the issue so they can fix it! That's incredible customer service.

Another sign of their great service is that today I just received an e-mail from Ikaru asking if I would like free seam sanding done by Crocus himself! (Crocus is the sculptor for Granado) I was so stunned. Of course I said yes because if I do it myself (which I do as you guys know) it would take me at least two hours to get it where I want it to be. I thanked Ikaru and another e-mail came to say they offered it because I ordered two sets of Boyd heads and that they just want to give me the best. I hope to be as good with customer service as Granado is. Here is a picture of Nightmare Boyd that I stole from Granado. I hope they don't mind me posting it here.

Granado currently has two sculpts up for sale including Sidonia and Boyd. It seems most of their sculpts are limited so if you like what you see you should pick them up when they are available. Be assured that they take care of their customers well!

EDIT: Personal doll projects in the works includes two little Custom House vampire mods, a Volks Megii restoration as well as som AOD head mods. So yes, lots to expect in the future along with commission updates.

EDIT 2: Of course I have no intention of selling my NS Granado lol. I have to see though. I might fall in love with the WS instead and keep him for another body...decisions. I will decide after they are faced.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

W.I.P. RS Mei (Eden) for Samantha T.

Yes I'm alive. Here is a W.I.P. shot of Eden for those who don't check the W.I.P. page. ^__^

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CH Rena - ebay sighting

I often search ebay for good deals on books and BJDs. Yesterday I came across the CH Rena I had finished, faced and sold! I really loved how she came out and she is still one of my favorite sculpts even though I have Allen (CH Ren).

I actually considered repurchasing her but then realized I was being too sentimental. She does come as a fullset and she looks awesome in her little beach outfit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Smelly Fart Daddy

Sorry everyone for not being around. My dad passed away this past Saturday. I will keep everyone posted about when I will be back. (Oh I have always called my dad Chow Pay Lo Dow in Chinese which translates to Smelly Fart Daddy hence the title.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you?

I'm fairly certain most ppl remember what they were doing when the towers were hit if they were old enough. I was dropping off one of my cats to get his teeth cleaned at the vet early in the morning before classes. It was all really surreal. I had just finished reading Samuel Delaney's Dhalgren (highly recommended. About the choices a man makes and how he grows as a person sans memories and therefore little to no predjudices in a post apocalyptic San Francisco.) I didn't freak out because it was all just so weird it was kind of dream-like. I was living in Chinatown with my parents but we were far enough that the only real sign near us of the event was a lost long haired cat (Persian?) covered with a hardened helmet of ash and matted fur. We took him in, cleaned him and kept him for a few days before taking him to the ASPCA to get his check up and adopted him out to a coworker of my sister's when no one came to claim him.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it and usually when the anniversary rolls around, I don't do anything special. There was a homeless guy who would be upset because 9/11 ruined his birthday. He used to hang out near my school and make awesome drawings.

This year though I didn't pay much attention, it was a pretty awful day. My dad has been sick as some might know and some problems came up. I got a call from my sister last night right after the hour long trek back to my place from my parents saying that there was something wrong. My mom and my sister took him to the hospital and called me back saying that he was ok and that I should go to sleep. This morning we all went to the hospital around 9:30AM and even though he was sedated soon after I saw him, we didn't feel like we could leave in case anything happened. At the moment he's not super stable yet but he is sedated and being monitored at the hospital.

I started this post first thing after I got back to my place. I had planned to work on some commissions and some posts for you guys today since I spent the last two weekends cleaning and organizing my apartment/work area. Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been updating the W.I.P. page more though, so pls continue to check back!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Moah Heads to Play With

Look what i got in the mail! Three Aod Zi Yuan heads. I got them off ebay with the intention of re-doing the faceups. She's a really pretty sculpt but her eyes are bigger than i usually like them. They came with ok pencil faceups but I'll make her stunning. I might mod one to have dreaming eyes. Two are in normal skin and one is white skin.

In other news, the hurricane is preventing any faceups work but I will be reorganizing my work space. I just received some golden fluid acrylic today even with the hurricane and I'mexcited to try them out. Currently I'm blogging from my phone since I live in the basement and had to move my computer and my camera upstairs to my neighbors in case there is a flood.

Going to use all this down time to catch up with you guys. Thanks so much with sticking with me. I promise some more eyecandy soon.

The three new heads with their not so great faceups. Passable but not so pretty in real life.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm still here!

Hi guys. Sorry for being MIA. I have been so busy at work. We work weekends as well to make the deadlines. I wish I could show you guys some pictures of the sculpting/painting I've been doing to make puppets for a short. There is a non-disclosure agreement though so I can only post photos after the short has been released to the public.

I will use this coming hurricane to resume posting. Oh..and yes we did feel the earthquake. The walls shook. Everyone freaked out and we evacuated the building. Every is ok and it was a very small tremor compared to what they felt in Virginia. Still scary but not very dangerous.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Commission #4 - Selene

I was a bit surprised when I got this head since the hair was molded into the resin and the whole thing was just a deathly white. I should have asked the commissioner if it was a tinted resin or not and if the hair was molded in since it is a lot more work to paint in the skin color and the hair. The head was unprepped (ie. had dirt smudge on it's nose). However, since I had already accepted the commission I just considered it a learning experience.

The steps required included
1. Scrubbing the head with a mild detergent. (If you check the BJD commissions page, there is an additional fee but since I did not expect a 1/6 resin head this was not included on the 1/6 commission page...until now.)
2. Priming with a white primer using airbrush. The type of paint is different that what I normally use and is a lot more sturdy and will withstand more rough handling since it is a base coat.
3. Base skin tone and a little shading using airbrush. Again I used an alcohol based acrylic which will withstand more handling than liquitex would.
4. Hand painted the hair using alcohol based acrylic. Several coats required and a little bit of shading done though it doesn't show super well since the colors were very dark.
5. Finally painting the face and adding a little more depth with pastels. was a ton of work.

Something I discovered while painting her is that because of the way the hair is molded on the right side of her face, it was very difficult to paint her lashes because the hair mold was blocking my brush. This is the reason why a lot of garage kits have the hair as a separate piece so that it is easier to paint. In terms of likeness, the sculpt has fuller lips and a longer face as well as smaller eyes. I find that overall, action figure female faces tend to lean toward a more masculine look and this one is no exception.

Here are a few pictures of Selene for reference.

I had a decision to make whether to make her deathly pale or a more normal skintone. Considering that the blue images were lit and color corrected to make Kate seem paler than she really is I decided to go with a more normal skintone since it is easier to color correct a photo to make the head look pale than to color correct a pale head to make it look more lifelike.
Here are the results:
As you can see the likeness is not bad but her eye are definitely sculpted smaller. I painted her eyeliner on her lower lid a little way from the edge leaving the pink edge of the inner lid showing to help make her eyes look a bit larger.

There was not much to do about the lower face being longer but the likness is still there so it was ok. The lower lip is a fuller shape then the really are and since it was sculpted in it would look odd if I tried to paint it the shape of Kate's so I just let it be. (The philtrum, the groove above the lip is also supposed to be wider in real life but yeah I'm just being nitpicky lol.) I took a gamble with the lip color since the color is different in every reference image. Selene normally has very dry looking lips so I gave her dark lip creases as well as areas of pale dry light lip color. (note the two specks at the top of the lip are not really there.)

I think she came out nicely in the end. Would I paint more casted resin heads? Yeap. I really enjoy painting different sculpts and her eyes were sculpted beautifully so I was happy to paint them. Even though it seems like I am complaining that the likeness isn't perfect, I am not. I am simply stating a fact and I think she looks quite like Kate. Her teeth and lips were really fun to paint as well. Her lower teeth were not moulded in but her upper teeth were.

She has not been approved yet and I am wondering if he wants more distinct painted highlights in her hair. I tend to leave stuff like that to the sculpt but everyone has different preferences so we'll see what he says. I think for me the most stressful thing about faceups is that I'm not sure if the owner will be happy. It is different when I am only painting for myself but even then I'm not always happy with my own work lol.

(NOTE: lol...doing commissions has had me rewrite the commissions info several times. This is not the first time and it is not the last. I received another commission with a surprise in the box that has brought up another redraft of my commissions page. This is just part of the process. I'm still very new to this so one day I think I will have most of my bases covered except for the really obscure things that crop up.)

EDIT: So yes she has been approved! I will be sending her off soon and my fellow sculptor/painter friend looked at the head and pretty much repeated what I said about why it doesn't look like Kate. Sometimes I think I'm too nitpicky so it's good to hear that other ppl think the same thing. To be honest though, it's rare to see a 1/6 head with extreme likenesses except for those from Hot Toys. They do some amaaaaazing work and the paint job is great too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More Adelias

Augh....I hated posting from the phone. It took forever and a day just for such a short post. Anyway, I can't leave you guys without some eyecandy.

Hyony mentioned that the eyes in Adelias look dead. It's my fault for not having a proper photo setup. I don't have good lights and I didn't have the time to take outdoor photos this weekend. On the other hand I did take photos of Adelias with his wig on. It doesn't help the dead look of the eyes since the lighting is still blegh but we can see his character more.

Smarty phone

Just got my first smartphone so this is my first phone post from my Samsung Captivate. Im not sure how this will affect my blogging, but I should really be doing some faceups...

Oh! I wanted to start a new weekly post about something that made me smile.during the week. I figure it would be something that might as others stay positive. So let's start with last week.

Although this may seem obvious if this were you, it still made me smile to see someone with an extra toe having painted all her toenails hot pink. Of course she would but it's still cute.

The other thing I saw last week was a wee surprise in a brown box kept in the window pf a wholesale Chinese food supply store. A little baby sparrow was hopping around inside a cardboard box labeled 'BIRDEY INSIDE, PLEASE GENTLE '. It was well provided with a little straw nest and someone had cleverly fashioned a little room for it to hide in. Seems like they probably found it fallen out of it's nest. Now if I had this phone when I saw it, you guys would be treated to a photo. Maybe next time then.

After writing this out I realize this is way too slow so I probably won't be doing much phone blogging.

Stay tuned for a series of posts about materials I use.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Commission #3 - Adelias (Peachy)

Adelias (Peachy)

I have in my hands a beautiful CP El. This is such a beautiful sculpt and I'm glad to be able to give him a faceup. As you can see there is a bit of paint left in the corners of the eyes so I need to clean him up a bit too before I start. The mouth has been modded a bit and the sanding is still apparent so I might use a very high grit sandpaper to wet sand it smoother once I get permission from the owner.

The request is for a grey/black shadowed look with very thin black upper eye line just for definition. The rest of the face is kept rather natural but the expression should be pleasantly pleased. He is normally shy and quite intellectual. He came along with a black wig and dark grey eyes.

8/4/2011- Adelias is a previously modded head and after cleaning. (I cleaned him 3x O_o. Seems like he wasnt sealed completely before painting.), I noticed some discoloration and scratches. I would have sanded down some of the scratches but decided against it in the end since it would have changed his expression and we would have lost some nice sculpt detail. Working on this head as well as some others have made me realize some points I need to make in my commissions page.

Here are the pics of the discoloration and the scratches. These will affect the end result and as such, a lot of faceup artists prefer not to work on heads they haven't modded themselves. The reason is because a bad result reflects badly on the faceup artist.

The request was for peachy toned blush with neutral shading and eyes reminiscent of Tim Burton's Vincent who is pale with very dark circles around his eyes. I went for a dark eye look but I did not shade all the way up to the eybrows as Vincent's eyes are. I tried to emphasize Adelias' smirk and give him a softer look since Peachy did not want him to look too pensive/worried as he did with his previous faceup. Here is the result. As you can see, the mod discoloration still shows up a little but not too badly and the scratches are only visible up close.

He has a black wig, but she requested dark brown eyebrows as well as dark brown lashes. The lashes are a very cool brown so they look a bit more on the grey side than brown. In the end I think that works better with the dark eye look. He is pending approval. I will take some photos with the wig after approval to show what the character looks like. These photos may be a bit dark. I can't tell on my monitor but I will check it tomorrow and correct it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Commission #2 - Tankini & Bloody Rose (onesixthwarrior)

Meet Tankini and Bloody Rose, two lovely (soon to be lovelier) belonging to Gdamron (onesixthwarrior). Tankini appears to be a normal skin side part factory painted Obitsu 27HD-F01 head. Yes, I know which sculpt it is by looking lol. It's pretty easy esp since i've worked with so many Obitsu heads. The request is to keep the basic features but make her look more realistic and get rid of the neon pink lipstick. She can have some light makeup as she is a bikini model!

Bloody Rose is a Takara CG head. I'm not sure which version she is as there are several but neither Gdamron nor I are very fond of the factory faceup. I have nothing against dramatic makeup but there is no nuance to it. Her character is supposed to be a sophisticated assassin with a masters degree in forensic science (very useful degree for an assassin). As you can see, blue eye shadow and gothy lips do not spell sophistication. From what I can tell she does have a very nice sculpt. The sculpt itself looks a bit East Asian to me but I think her character is Caucasian.

Since these are factory faceups, I will need to clean them carefully with acetone before I can take a good look at the sculpts. I'll update again tomorrow...probably with sketches. Tankini needs to be done first to participate in a contest.

7/17/2011- So I have cleaned both heads twice with a little bit of acetone using q-tips and a small brush for hard to reach places. When using acetone, make sure to quickly wash off the acetone thoroughly after you get the paint off. Leaving vinyl in acetone can damage the head.

The Obitsu head is indeed the 27HD-F01 and cleaned off very easily. I like her side parted hair and I wish Parabox would sell those as well. Bloody Rose is an amazing sculpt and as you can see she definitely has an Asian look to her. (she actually looks a lot like me but with a bigger nose lol.) Because of the fine detail in the sculpt it was harder to get all the paint out. There is some residue left after her water and soap wash but I will get it off in a bit. (the streaks of white are not scratches. I don't use anything hard to clean the faces. Only q-tips, brushes and cotton pads.)

One thing I noticed about Bloody Rose other than the red tone of her vinyl is that there are some defects to the sculpt or casting under the paint. I will point these out later but they are small enough that they will not affect the faceup at all. Her skin is really pink which I noticed when I first saw her. I think this may be from age? Looking at the underside of her head I notice that there is a slight un-eveness to her color as if parts have bee faded. I'm not sure why this is or why the head would be pink since red pigments are usually a lot more unstable than yellow pigments so things usually turn yellow with age, not pink.

Anyhow, I will paint Tankini first since her design is more straight forward. BR will need to be rewashed and sketched out before I start on her.

7/19/2011- Heads are now completely cleaned with one last wash using Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner. I have made up some sketches of the direction I want to go in and am awaiting approval.

In a previous conversation, the owner had said it would be nice to keep Tankini's big eyed cute look, so here she is with softer more realistic look. In general the direction is toward a natural minimal makeup look for both. I decided to give Tankini darker lashes to make her eyes look even bigger and to fit her role as a bikini model.

Bloody Rose is a sophisticated and (in my mind) cold assassin. I've toned down her makeup a lot. If the owner wants a softer look from her, I will change the eyes a bit.

7/23/2011- I have finished painting Tankini. I want to send her out as soon as possible because I've taken so long on this commission. I think she ended up fairly close to the sketch. Her eyes are bigger than my usual style but I like trying new things. I prefer slightly smaller eyes though lol. More realistic in my opinion.

I have tweaked the sketches a bit to give BR a softer look since the customer would like ppl to feel empathy for her.

7/24/2011- BR is now finished as well but I have yet to take finished photos. During cleaning, I noticed her neck hole had a tear in it and dicoloration. GDamron has confirmed that she is an older head that is showing signs of age. Her vinyl has stiffened and dried a bit. Because of this there are slight imperfections in her sculpt which I can point out later. They aren't very noticeable unless you're the painter. For now here are a few shots of her after her paint but before glossing.

EDIT: of my friends saw the picture of the factory face upped BR and said "wow the doll on the right really looks like you! Is that a self-portrait."...


I did say the sculpt looks a lot like me...but srsly....I remind her of a blue eyeshadowed tranny!!!

EDIT 2: I tried to take some better photos, but I lost the day as I was busy cat sitting and working on take home work. As such I wasn't home all day and I only ended up taking these bad photos of BR before packing her up to be sent out tomorrow. I was too tired to set up lights and such so I just turned up the ISO....baaaaaad idea. Well lesson learned and I won't do it again.