Thursday, November 21, 2013

Playing with skin texture on Fairyland F60 Mirwen (boy)

Hi everyone!

I've been extremely busy so I haven't been posting much. I'm actually on a sleep deficit and my eyes are fuzzy as I write this but I really wanted to talk a little about my latest faceup so forgive me if I ramble incoherently.

F60 Mirwen is a huge favorite of favorites from Fairyland and really needs no introduction. The only thing I can say is that I bought her on the normal bust body completely expecting to be smitten but in person the Jury 2012 that came with her stole the body and named herself Anemone. Not too long after Mirwen arrived, my order from the first F60 body event arrived. I had ordered two bodies. A NS Muscular one for a hybrid with my Granado Boyd and a BW Normal body for my only BW Jury 2012 head. (I had fully intended to keep the BW Jury but I can't really justify so many large dolls and Anemone pretty much latched onto my Iplehouse YID Mars so there was no need for another 60cm male doll.) However as doll plans go, the tight stringing in FL bodies deterred me from the hybrid since I would have had to take the neckpiece off and instead I put Mirwen on the muscular body and painted him up.

Here he is:

If you take a closer look at the images you will be able to see the detailing in the skin texture. There are small blue veins painted in but the color doesn't show up very well. I think the texturing works very well on slightly more realistic sculpts. Even on less realistic sculpts I think that the dept it creates is very attractive. I would like to try it on more idealized or anime looking sculpts to see how it works out.

Here is his time chart. I have no idea why it took so much longer to edit the photos than usual but that's how the timing came out. I would also like to point out that my timing isn't perfect and there are moments I forget to turn the timer on so this isn't the most accurate measurement but it gives you an idea of the median time range.
A few more shots so you can drool lol....I love the sculpt in photos but in person I don't feel attached at all.

Oh, and the new owner requested an eye opening and a similar faceup on the sleep head so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Commissions closed until 2014~

Hi Everyone!

I'm sorry to have to say that I will be too busy to take commissions for a little while. I am in the middle of helping my mom move, trying to clean out my own place and various other projects. I will still be doing faceups but mostly on 1/6 scale dolls I need to return to clients and dolls that need to be rehomed since I usually purchase them blank and most ppl prefer theirs with a faceup.

When the shop reopens I will be offering a lottery slot for more affordable dolls every two months. If anyone is interested in my work but cannot afford it for whatever reason this will allow you to customize your doll more affordably.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Commission Review - Circus Kane - Nexeven

Circus Kane releases very unique dolls. I know that there are those in the BJD hobby who dislike her aesthetic but I find it very refreshing and charismatic. I am usually attracted to awkward/ugly cute (but I hated troll dolls) so I was excited to have my usual customer Jo send me her Nexeven.

My initial reaction upon receiving her was that she's very tiny and delicate. She is on the small side for MSDs at 38cm but even then she has such thin limbs that she seems even smaller. Her resin appears to be French Resin since it has a translucent quality. The finish is smooth but not shiny. Sculpt wise she has subtle musculature and very detailed ears. Her face is tiny but her eyes are HUGE so she looks like a little fae creature.

The request was for a sweet young faceup with gold on her eyelids and a tattoo of the Chinese character for the word 'love' on her face with part of it extending to become her eyebrows. The main color scheme would be gold with the aqua of Nexeven's shoes. Jo suggested that perhaps there might be gold dots, yin yangs and etc on her hands and feet or perhaps some other Chinese characters for 'strength' or 'peace'. The other specification she made was that the eyelashes on her upper lid be dark and that they be pointing downwards instead of up. I think this last request was because Nexeven's eyes are just so large already that if her lashes pointed out her eyes would look even larger!

Well Here are the results ^___^

More under Cut!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Commission Review - Dollstown Alina & Dollstown Bandi & Estella

Dollstown is one of those companies that grabbed my attention when I first started looking at BJDs. They are a smaller company with two sculptors. The sculpting is incredibly detailed and it is obvious that the sculptors are familiar with the human body and bone structure. Their style is stylized but because of their familiarity with anatomy there is a distinct realism in the musculature and bones of the faces. Since their craft is so detailed and they only produce a small number of dolls cast by Dollshe, their prices are on the higher end though in my mind justifiably so. As a result I was always tempted by their dolls but do not feel like I could spend the money. Luckily, I have been commissioned several times to paint Dollstown sculpts :)

The sculpts I've been commissioned to paint are two SD sculpts (Estella and Bandi) and one MSD sculpt. (Alina) The quality of the sculpting and casting is very smooth as to be expected from Dollshe. You can see on the Dollstown website that they spend a lot of time smoothing out the sculpt before casting. There are no unexpected rough spots where paint, brushes or pastels can catch so painting these are a wonderful experience. The first thing to notice about the sculpts is that the two SD sculpts show a bit more bone structure and detail than the MSD sculpt. I think that might be due to the difference in sculpting styles of the two sculptors than the size because I've seen MSD sculpts from Dollstown that look very similar to Estella and Bandi. I would be interested to see other Dollstown sculpts to do more comparisons.

First up I have Alina. She's cast in what I think is pale skin since it is quite a bit paler than the fresh skin I've seen. The color is a beautiful warm white, not a paper white but not ivory. The sculpt is clearly hand sculpted since overall it is asymmetrical. It doesn't bother me since ppl are assymmetrical (myself included) but I know this is something that does bother some collectors. The style falls between anime and realistic since the eyes are large but the nose and facial structure is quite realistic. Experience wise, this commission was challenging because the buyer paid for the commission but disappeared for six months ignoring multiple attempts to contact her via etsy and private e-mails. Thus far I have still not confirmed that I should send her back and she has not paid for the lashes I attached. Still, I think the doll is beautiful and it's nice to look at her until the owner contacts me.

The next Dollstown sculpt is SD sized Bandi. She is cast in Oriental skin and at first glance she is very similar to the Dollstown Estella I painted a month before. The immediate difference is that Estella is an open mouthed doll with teeth parts. On closer inspection there are clear differences in the sculpts with a little more definition in Bandi's chin, a wider nose bridge and heavier eyelids. Overall the subtle differences has me preferring Bandi more although I think Estella's teeth parts are incredible. Here are photos of both so you can compare.

Estella in yellowed Oriental Skin

Bandi in Oriental Skin

The request for Estella was for a Victorian boy. I wasn't sure about the age since this is an SD doll but the description seemed to be for a fairly young adolescent boy. I kept the look very natural but with a bit of sickly blue shadowing under the eye to give him a touch of fragility. The colors are quite warm for this head since the base was already a warm tone. I really love how he turned out and the teeth parts were exceptionally easy to paint since the warm ivory resin was already very realistic.

For Bandi the request was simply for freckles. Considering that this is an SD sized doll, I usually associate this size with adult dolls. Since the request was for freckles I kept her looking natural as well but added a bit of brown/grey eyeshadow with a touch of pink pearl. I left the lips looking bare but naturally flushed. Overall I really like the effect of freckles and in the future will consider adding a slight skin texture as an option for realistic faceups.

Here are the time charts for Alina and Bandi. I painted Estella before I started timing my faceups so I don't have a chart for him.

Here are a few more shots so you can see Estella's teeth parts a little more clearly as well as some close ups of Bandi.

I hope everyone still enjoys these reviews. I find that my interest in BJDs tends toward the more technical and analytical side which isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea. If anyone has suggestions for a way to make my posts more interesting to them please let me know! I will work on more basic how to posts so that I can help those who are just starting out.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Recast issues in my own home! :(

EDIT: I have removed information that may allow anyone to make a search for the client mentioned in this post. I realize I'm not used to writing posts about other ppl so I made a few mistakes by thinking that as long as I did not mention my client's name and contact info I was protecting their identity. As such I apologize if my writing is a bit awkward in censoring any relevant information.

So if any of you follow my tumblr or twitter you will know that I was recently sent a recast to paint. Please note that I clearly state I do not accept or paint recasts and I am very much anti-recast. However the girl who sent the recast PukiFee Ante plate to me did not know what recasts were and as a recast commission showed up on my doorstep. At first I did not want to post any photos of this plate anywhere but then I realized it would be a good way to show ppl some signs to look out for in recasts.

Here's my experience with the recast plate and how I discovered it was a recast.
More under Cut

The first thought that crossed my mind upon opening the package was that the plate seemed oddly dark for Fairyland Normal. However since resin can change color with age I just soaked the plate in soapy water and gave it a scrub.

While airbrushing on the base layer I noticed that one of the ears was a funny shape. Upon closer inspection I saw that there was a bit missing from the tip due to bubbles but it isn't super visible with a wig on. I contacted the owner to let her know. At this point I didn't think it was a recast but I was a little suspicious because I own a lot (yes a lot) of FL dolls and I had yet to see a bubble in any of their casts.

I continued the faceup since I didn't have any proof that the doll was a recast. As I was painting her lips I realized that they were very poorly casted. They were the worse casting job I had ever seen. It was obvious that the mold was overused resulting in a loss of detail and overly wavy edges. Fine detail in lip lines require a thin fragile piece of silicone in the mold to give it that shape. Thin silicone can warp and stretch more quickly and as a result you end up with oddly wavy lip lines that no longer look like liplines.

I tried to go on with the faceup because I didn't want to accuse anyone of sending me a recast but the issue with the lips bothered me so much that I looked at the back of the plate and compared it to all my PukiFee faceplates. Needless to say I only saw more evidence that the plate was a recast at which point I contacted the owner to let her know the casting issues and to inform her that if she purchased the doll from FL recently she should inform them of the poor job they did and if she got it second hand, it might very well be a recast.

The list of issues are:
1. Bubbles in the cast.
2. Odd resin color that is darker but not yellowed.
3. Terrible casting in the lips.
4. Loss of detail/odd bumps in the ears.
5. Thinner faceplate walls.
6. Very messy texture on the inside of plate.

The owner got back to me and told me finally that it was a recast and she hadn't known about them when she bought her doll. She just thought she got a good deal and she felt very bad about it. I reassured her that since I was quite far along in the painting proccess that I would finish it and it was a mistake but she should enjoy the doll anyway.

Here are some photos I took to show the difference between a recast and a legit. Pls note that the texture on the recast is because I was in the middle of painting it and so there is paint on it.

You can see here that there are odd bits in the crevices from the bad casting. and the lip no longer looks like a lip much.

Here is the final result.

From photos it is indeed difficult to tell it is a recast. The details are very small so a lot of pro-recast ppl like to gloat that their dolls look just like the real thing. It's true that in photos it is hard to tell but in real life if you are familiar with the company there are issues that pop up. Keep in mind this is only a faceplate. I'm not sure how the body is or if its posing abilities are affected.

Since the commission ended, the owner has let me know she purchased a Pukisha straight from Fairyland and will be sending it to me to paint. I accepted this new commission a month or more ago but have since finally taken a look at my Facebook. I pretty much ignore Facebook but as a fluke I checked and saw the owner had friended me. Randomly I get a friend suggestion for a  with person with the same name as a well known recaster. The icon photo was of some blonde man so I check his page to be sure it's him. It is indeed and it really sickened me to see that he had already appropriated new sculpts from companies and was recasting them with a colorist he hired to achieve resin colors closer to legitimate resin.

Now why does this pertain at all to this recast commission? Because right there I saw that my customer had left a note on the page asking the recaster to get back to her on her new order. It left a sick feeling in my stomach so I went to check her page and noticed she had photos of various recasts including a Kinoko Juice and an oddly colored Pukisha. Not only did I notice she only had photos of recasts that belonged to her but I notice she recently took a trip to Disney if you have money to go on a trip to Disney Japan, why don't you pay the rightful artists for their work? I would love to go to Disney Japan but I cannot afford it. Needless to say I'm quite suspicious of the incoming Pukisha and I am very very unhappy about the situation.

BJD Dolls for Adoption! First batch is all WS

So two years after my father passed away my family has finally signed for the house sale and my mother will be moving out. We've been having a massive cleanup in preparation and as a result I am also having a massive cleanup / cleanout.

When I first got into BJDs I formed the bad habit of buying dolls to learn how to paint different sculpts. Of course the result is that I have a lot of dolls still in their boxes and not enough time to paint them or pay attention to the dolls I have named and painted and partially dressed. I figure it's time to outgrow this habit so I will be posting up information on the dolls I am letting go.

While I have had some of these dolls for a year or more they have all stayed in their boxes so I am selling them as if they are new. There is little to no yellowing since they have been kept in a very cool dark environment. If there is no interest in them blank I will start painting them before I put them up for auction. Of course I have to figure out how much time I have so this might not happen for another month.

Here is the first batch. They are all WS. All the Fairyland dolls come with their boxes and manuals. Spiritdoll Blanc comes with her carrying case. Please request proof photos only if you're serious.

Prices do not include shipping. I ship from New York, USA. I will calculate shipping for your location and choice of shipping method. I prefer to ship Priority with Tracking, Signature Confirmation and Insurance. I know this sounds overdone but I prefer not to lose a doll. Of course the shipping method in the end is up to the new owner.

Note: The LTFs will not come with modded painted sleep plates if they are bought blank. They will come with unmodded blank sleep plates.

I accept Paypal and Personal checks. However I will not mail out your doll until after the check is cashed so if you want a quick arrival, PP is best.

Yes, I can take commissions to paint the dolls on offer if purchased blank.

Where are They Now ~ Ashbet's Bimong Narae 402

I always love seeing dolls I've worked on all finished up and polished. A lot of times the owners take much better photos than I do so I thought I would share ^___^

Here are two girls I had as guests not too long ago.

Ashbet's Bimong Narae 402, Amande.
All photos by Ashbet.
See more of her beautiful dolls and photos on her flickr!

Talking and laughing! She's so cute.
More Under Cut!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Commission Review - Doll Chateau - Hugh, Hilary & Jodie

I've been itching to do a write up about these guys! I wanted to wait until the group was done so I could present them all at once. Here are the little tattooed monsters for Kathy!

More under Cut

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Commission Review - Cerisedolls Constantine

She is teeny tiny for an MSD! The face was not much bigger than a DC tiny but the details were more delicate and specific. All in all she's an amazing sculpt and I'm so happy to have had the chance to paint her. I tend to buy dolls I want to paint even if I can't keep them but considering the price of BJDs there are a lot I just stalk or gaze at from time to time without ever hoping to see them in real life. It's one of the reasons I like doing commissions other than the challenge of making someone else's vision real.

More under cut.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Commission Review - Kim Lasher Lottie & Dollshe Bernard

This is the fourth Bernard I've painted and all within two months! I'm a bit Bernarded out lol. I'm looking forward to other Dollshe commissions but maybe an Orijean, Pabo or Rosen next time. Yes. Curiously although I am an admirer of Cheryl Dink's work and her Saints are beautiful, the more I look at the sculpt the more I feel the mouth is too small which is why he's turned out to be my least favorite Dollshe boy.

More under cut.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wilde Imagination Parnilla Review

Since I rarely get to see a fullset doll I thought it would be good to do a short review. I've already introduced the brand in the previous post so lets get on to the meat and gristle!

The first thing I want to look at is the body because while I'm usually attracted to the head sculpt first, the body sculpt and engineering is the base for the head. Most companies sell heads and bodies separately but since WI does not, you're stuck with buying the body to get the head.

The first thing you will notice is that the body sculpt is definitely a "Fashion" doll body meaning that the shape is based on the ability to wear scaled clothing well instead of trying to reproduce a realistic body. There is no sign of musculature and the only sign of a skeleton that might be under the skin is a slight barely noticeable collarbone since that shows up with most clothing. The waist is very small to allow for fabric bunching and thicker seams in comparison to human clothing. The legs are slender but look more like twigs than legs and her arms are mostly plain cylinders. This criteria alone means that she is OT for DOA.

Doll Nudity Under Cut.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Commission Review - Wilde Imagination Parnilla

In the BJD world I don't often run across dolls from Tonner much. They are very popular in the fashion doll repaint category but their dolls are usually made of vinyl and not truly ball jointed but hinged at the elbow and knees. However, they have produced some resin versions of their Ellowyne Wilde and Evangeline Ghastly line. Personally, I've always been interested by the Ellowyne and Evangeline lines because of the beautiful clothing and the darker gothy preesentation of the lines.

For this commission, I was lucky enough to be sent the dressed resin doll straight from the company. She is the 'My Odd Life' Parnilla from the Evangeline Ghastly line and the quality of the clothing is absolutely exquisite. I will do a review of her body and her costume in a later post but for now I will concentrate on her faceup.

Her default faceup is rather heavy like all Evangeline default faceups. Usually the faceup goes rather well with the outfit but this time the choice was a bit questionable in my view. The eyeshadow is a lime green paired with heavy dark green liner and her lips are a dark magenta. To me the colors are rather tropical and seem at odds with her silvery blue outfit. It's true that there are hints of a very pale green in the lace of the outfit but in most lights it just looks silver.

Here's a look at a side by side of her default faceup and my finished work.

I chose to give her an elegant made up look using silvery blue and peachy pinks. I feel like the soft silvery gown she wears would go best with something softer. I kept the general shape of the eyebrows quite similar to the original since I liked the look but softened the arche somewhat. The lip shape on my faceup is also less severe. I think the slightly pinched look on the default looks good with the severity of the rest of the faceup but overall, the default obscures the details of the sculpt.

Here's a better look at her from different angles.

I think the new faceup brings out her bone structure and shows off her blue eyes better. It also softens her profile a bit since the sculpt has very prominent lips.

Finally here is a time chart for the faceup.

As you see, it generally takes me less time for a MSD sized head than an SD sized head. I didn't time the packing yet since I still have her in my sweaty grasp but packing time does not vary much from size to size.

Anyway, I would be happy to hear what you guys think about the new faceup. I will be taking full body shots of her to show how the new faceup looks with the outfit. I try not to be too matchy matchy with makeup and outfits because it can look tacky. For example if someon is wearing a pink outfit, I don't match the eyeshadow but it is ok to use a lighter paler pink or a different shade of pink if you want though a more complementary color scheme would look better. In this case I did sort of match the silvery blue of the outfit but I added some pinks to keep it from being too matchy matchy.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Commission Review - Fairyland Pukipuki Sugar & Ruby - NS

In July, I was commissioned for the largest range in BJD sizes I have ever painted. My commissions included 1/2 size This Alice from Spiritdoll, 1/3 sized Minimee and Iplehouse EID,  two smaller 1/4 sized MSDs and a YoSD and finally two Pukipuki faces. It was quite the experience to see the 1/2 size head next to a pukipuki. Unfortunately I was not able to get a photo of them together since I completed the 1/2 size head and had her on her way home as I was starting on the pukipukis. Next time this happens, if it ever does I'll snap a shot for you guys to compare.

As for pukipukis, I have to say I don't get a lot of practice on this scale so I'm not as good as I am on the larger heads. There was a point when I was customizing obitsus and I could only paint at this scale but that was two and a half years ago and my skills went pooof! Anyway, here are the darlings. They are super cute at this scale.

More under cut

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Commission Review - D.I.M. Minimee Adriana Lima - NS

I love D.I.M. dolls. I love the aesthetic of their sculpts, the body sculpt, the body engineering and the resin quality. In fact, my first doll was a D.I.M. happy body with a free anime styled head because she was the prettiest of the dolls I could afford at the time. However, word on the net is that the Minimee heads are terribly finished and some artists refuse to paint them. When Robyn approached me to paint her Minimee Adrian Lima, I accepted because she told me she had completely sanded the surface and resculpted one ear to the best of her ablities. I also think Adriana Lima is beautiful and wanted to paint a sculpt of her. Well, I'm glad I accepted the commission because here she is!

More info under the cut!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Lashes in Stock

I just got a large shipment of lashes in from Dollmore and updated my Lash Page here. They started carrying some realistic looking lashes with beautiful soft looking fibers in a soft brown and black. The item name starts with BDG and they come in two lengths. The fibers are very short so they're perfect for all the realistic sculpts I've been painting as well as for smaller dolls like pukipukis.

I also picked up a few of old design they had around for a while called A4 and A6. They only had the style A6 in black. I've used the white version in the Unoa Celestial Moon commission. It's nice and short with a more stylized look than the BDG styles so it works well with more stylized faceups. The fibers on these are graduated with the ends being shorter and the middle being longer. The style is exactly like the ones from ForMyDoll but I think there is more quality control with these since I don't see variation in the fiber pattern the way I do in the FMD lashes. They work well for 1/6 to 1/3 dolls as well as some smaller dolls like Pukifees.

A4 came in brown and black and is a nice graduated lash (shorter fibers at one end and longer on the opposite end). The fibers are beautifully lush but not over the top so your doll looks like they have natural mascara on but do not look as heavy or dolly as the super heavy and curly Switch lashes. Don't get me wrong. I love the Switch lashes but on a realistic faceup and sculpt they tend to look overdone. The A4 works well on 1/6 to 1/3 scale dolls.

That's it for now! I will be using some of these new lashes to finish of August commissions. I'm pretty picky about lashes so I'm glad I was able to get these. I regret getting some of the cheaper strip lashes now. At the time they were the best ones around but now I have a bunch that I probably wont use and they weren't cheap. I will probably include them in a give away. They were my favorites when I first started and I really recommend them for beginners because the lash line is a very soft thin cord so the eyelashes don't pop out when you try to apply them. The fibers are thin but they don't come to a point the way the fancier more expensive ones do so they take away from the realism of realistic faces. They still look great in more stylized dolls but considering they only cost a dollar less than the expensive pairs most ppl who commission me probably will not request them. Anyway...I guess that means a giveaway soon~

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Commission Review - Iplehouse - Doria NS

Iplehouse is one of the best known companies for realistic sculpts. Although they have a slight range in their style, it is more realistic than most companies out there. They also have one of the widest ranges of resin colors to choose from although they still stick fairly close to realism with different shades of skin tones instead of fantasy colors like Soom or ResinSoul. I think this is a fairly smart move on their part because they offer all the realistic skintones on a normal basis and the market is heavily geared toward real skin tones with a fairly strong but much smaller market for fantasy colors. When Iplehouse does produce a grey doll once in a while, the skintone is still quite popular but never as popular as one of the realistic skintones.

This July, I was commissioned to paint a Doria in NS. This was an interesting commission to me because it's not one of the run of the mill natural faceups. While I enjoy working hard to bring realism to a sculpt, I like to try new things and problem solve as well.

The owner sent me a photo of the makeup look and pretty much wanted it reproduced closely. It's a design that cannot be accomplished without an aibrush since it calls for a blue-white blended eyeshadow. No amount of layering pastels is going to produce a satisfactory result so this commission shows why I decided to invest in an airbrush.

Here's a look at the photo my client D.H. sent next to the final result.

More below the cut....

Monday, August 5, 2013

Commission Review - Spiritdoll - This Alice LE WS for Nancy S.

As you all know I'm very obsessed with faceups and commissions and I've been timing myself lately. I thought it might be interesting to some to hear about my thoughts on some of my commissions. Most likely I'll start out reviewing all of them and slowly taper off to ones I find particularly interesting as I build up my reviews since I'm sure I will paint the same sculpts again over time.

First Commission Review is This Alice from Spiritdoll. I find her particularly compelling because she's one of the huge dolls that have started appearing in the last two or three years. Dollmore and Bimong are the other doll producers that are producing made to order dolls in a 1/2 an up size. Bimong's Doll was 1/1 scale, albeit with very idealized proportions. Dollmore's Lusion Doll at 79cm is a similar size to Spiritdoll's Dolce at 75cm although the aesthetic and proportions are different.

This Alice was a limited 50 edition doll produced only in White Skin for the 2013 - Alice in Wonderland theme. As such she is quite rare and I've not seen any other This Alice since I believe there was also a limited ordering period. Very likely there are not 50 altogether so I was very happy to have been commissioned to paint her.

Her stats are a 11.5in (29cm) head circumference and 20mm eyes.

The request was for a pale freckled 12 year old girl with baby blue eyeshadow. I'm usually pretty leery about painting kids with makeup on unless the sculpt is stylized or the makeup is stylized so I was not certain at all about the blue eyeshadow on a realistically painted and sculpted kid. After a few trials where I felt she looked....slightly too precocious shall we say, I decided with Nancy's blessings to keep the blue eyeshadow to a light dusting instead of anything that looked too heavy.

Here's a look at the blue eyeshadow trial:

Trust me. In real life it looked a bit worse. However in the end I think she looks smashing!

Her preview before lashes:

and her final pics....

I had a great time with her. In terms of casting and resin quality, I did find a very obvious bubble on her bottom lip. I patched it with some epoxy clay, sanded it smooth and buffed it. I painted over it with an airbrush to match the resin and voila! Smooth perfect lips. Otherwise the resin was heavy and smooth and the casting held beautiful detail.

Time wise, this girl took a long time. I've decided to break down the timing to better help everyone understand exactly how long it takes me to do everything involved in the process. Here's a chart I made.

I didn't time myself heading to the post office to mail out this package as well as another head but it takes me about 8-9 minutes to walk to the post office, about 4-10 minutes to mail the packages depending on if I can use the APC or if I have to wait on line and another 8-9 minutes to walk back home. I also don't bother to time myself going to pick up the packages or opening and inspecting them but as usual it all adds up. For Nancy, there was a total of 47 e-mails back and forth between us. That's a fairly high number but not unusual although it's usually lower. A lot of times it depends on how friendly the client and I are and if we talk about things other than just the commission or if there is a tweak I am working on. In the end I'm unsure how to time out the e-mails so I don't think I will bother.

As you can see, it took me more than a normal work day to finish this commission. I'm not sure how long other artists take, but this is how long it takes me. I think there is a misconception out there that if someone is good at something, they're a lot faster at it. Here's the truth, you can't rush art. You can't rush painting. It's a physical thing. It takes a specific amount of time to lay down a stroke and if your work is finely detailed, that means you spend that much more time on it.

Anyway, I hope you guys like these charts. I will be putting up more of them. It would be nice if there are any other faceup artists reading this to communicate and talk about how long it takes you guys to do your faceups. I'm quite curious as I can't figure out if I'm super slow or not.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Decision Made! and some thoughts on Recasts

I apologize to you all if I've been going on too much about how long it takes to paint faceups or body blush. It's mainly because I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle with the widely accepted notion that artist overcharge for their services when in reality we really make very little.

This is also an issue that applies to recasts where those who own and buy recast accuse legitimate doll companies of overcharging for their dolls. Artist who produce the dolls you fall in love with deserve to live above subsistence. We deserve to be able to pay medical bills, own a pet and care for it, live in a decent sized apartment (not in the basement like me) with windows and one day have a kid. I can't do these things unless I work for commercial jobs. It's a very very sad world where you only get paid if you can sell a mass produced product.

So, I will stop talking about my pricing dilemma and just post my prices. My work speaks for itself and if I get fewer commissions, I get fewer commissions.

Thank you all for being understanding and for putting up with my whining.

Much love,


Dollshe - Pure Body for Jo with Time Chart

I don't normally get a lot of request for body blushing. Mostly because it's hard to maintain and can chip easily at the joints. However, I do love the look of a freshly completed doll.

Meet Jo's Bernard. I completed three faceplates for her including an OE and SP pair that are the same character and a modded SP Bernard who is his own character. The body I blushed belongs to the freckled OE and SP pair.

The body is freckled to match the faceplates on areas of the body that are most exposed to the sun including the chest, upper back, arms and lower legs as well as the hands and feet.

NWS after cut.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Last Week of July To Do List

I've been a bit behind on commissions due to non BJD related issues. However I am not super far behind so I should be able to finish everything by mid August I hope. I'm stuck away from my home and studio during the day (family related) so there is no way to get much work done this weekend.

This weekend
1. Start and finish This Alice's hands
2. Start and finish Doll Chateau Hilary hands
3. In the middle of Iplehouse Doria commission for Denise

Coming Week (7/22-7/28 Mon - Sat)
4. Start and finish Minimee Adriana Lima commission
5. Clean and faceup puki puki Sugar and Ruby
6. String up Dollshe Bernard and photograph
7. Photograph Wilde Imagination Parnilla

Week 2 (7/29-8/3)
8. Clean and paint Parnilla
9. Start and finish Diana's (she sent the head after several months!) Dollstown girl.
10. Start August commissions including Julie's Bernard & Kathy's DC Jodie.

Whew...I hope I will be able to stick to this schedule. The last week I've been to the vet for three full days. Dealt with a drain back up, plumbers and cleaning during which time I didn't shower and hosed myself down in the backyard with a hose (yah.....water was not draining fast enough.) And this weekend I'm taking care of things at my mom's and sister's place so a full week of not being able to work.

I already have two ppl in August but I will take four more to fill out the rest of the month.

EDIT: I almost forgot the pandas. They are so close to being done as well. I will also be finishing up some 1/6th commissions as soon as possible. I will have to point out that at the moment I'm not making much money at all so I have to consider putting commissions on hiatus and working on an animation reel to actually be able to pay bills.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Minor plumbing issues

I live in the basement of a fairly old house. Sure to some plumbing issues, (nothing got wet) I've been a bit busy.
My 20 year old car also developed
Gastronomic lymphoma so I've been to the vet almost all day for three days this past week. As such while I'm not behind, most of my clients won't have their dolls finished until end of July.

I well email everyone separately.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Where are they now? February - May 2013

Hi Everyone! At long last, I'm back though I still only have limited access to the internet. I of the things I like most about faceup commissions is seeing photos of the dolls are dressed up and wigged. As you all are probably aware, my own poor dolls are sorely lacking in clothing so they are always thrown into fits of envy when they see their friends all dressed up.

So let's start with commissions from February:

I met Jo on DOA in the Granado thread and since February I've been happily collaborating with her. The first doll I painted for her was her beautiful French Tan Narae. Her name is Twiggy and she's been pampered with 60's styled outfits including white leather gogo boots!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Short blogging hiatus

Hi everyone, I have a few posts I want to make but I am currently without internet.

I will be doing another how to prep soon to show everyone the products I use. I will also at some point be testing out new varnishes to see how they stand up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pricing Dilemma

Anyone who starts a business out of something they love will run into this problem. How much should I charge?

I come across a lot of ppl who say

1. They wish they had the skills to make a living as a faceup artist.
2. They wish to become a good faceup artist and never charge more than $100 for their work.

I would like to think that most of the ppl who say something similar are probably teenagers because it is very hard to do faceups full time and if you are good, charging less than $100 is not going to be enough  because here are things I am considering when I think about how much I should charge.

  1. I spend more than 5-6 hours on a head during the entire process including communication and packing.
  2. Materials are expensive.
  3. I want to eventually report this income on taxes when it is high enough to report it because, guess what. At some point I will retire and the SS benefits and etc is important. As a freelancer the taxes are about 1/3 of your gross income. So if I charge $99, that means I really make $66.
  4. I want to keep my prices as low as possible.
So addressing these things I also want to point out that I spend a lot of time on each faceup. My style fluctuates depending on what the owner wants and I have a great respect for the sculpt. As such I don't have a template that I follow for every single head I paint and as a result I spend more time on each head. I know a lot of faceup artists like to say they have a particular style and they won't stray from it. That's not how I work. I like to approach each project separately and create something that fits the character so that when someone looks at a head I've painted, they see the character, they see the sculpt, they don't see that the work has been painted by so and so because it looks exactly like all the other heads that so and so has painted.

Some ppl think that because someone else is good at something that it takes them less time. The truth is that the opposite is true. While someone who is experienced can make quicker decisions about something, painting is a manual, physical work. You can't rush that. It means that someone who is good at doing faceups sees more mistakes or more details that make a good faceup and they take a longer time to add these details in or to fix mistakes. I like to spend time during my work to really look at a head to see if everything is harmonious. My entire effort is put into making the head look 'natural'. This means I spend hours staring at a head again and again at each stage of the faceup to figure out how I can make it look good and when I say hours, I mean I spend 10-15 minutes staring at the head after it's blushed, another 10-15 minutes after I've adding another layer and etc. This adds up to a lot especially if something about a faceup is bothering me or doesn't feel good enough to me. Of course some heads can be painted a lot more quickly because everything falls into the right place but I usually do spend about an hour if I add up all the time I spend just staring at a head to make sure it's going in the right direction.

While it would be easy for me to think of a price that would be fair to me, it's a completely different matter when I take into account what ppl are willing to pay. I'm also not very well known so starting out I have much lower prices than is reasonable for me. 

I will be raising my prices in the future to over $100 so I am writing this to let ppl know why. I shouldn't feel guilty because it's not unreasonable given the time I spend, material costs and the quality of my work. But I do feel guilty because in our culture, ppl don't feel like they have to pay for art and because there is a lot of complaint in the community about high prices for faceups. I also don't want to cut out the ppl who really can't pay for a high quality faceup, which is why I have my lottery.

For now I will be raising my prices to $45-80 in June but please don't be surprised when it goes up even higher. I am still keeping my prices low right now because I am not very well known but I think my work speaks for itself and as with anything in life, it is worth saving up for.

I will be raising my prices again in August to $55-100 for faceups. My body blushing prices will also go up. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How To Prep.....Buff

Hey everyone!

So I find that I like to write informative posts more than just posting pretty photos. I think ppl find that more interesting as well. I've been wanting to do a few how to posts so I will start the first one. I know everyone likes to see a how to paint tutorial but I think it's best to start at the ground and do some How To Prep tutorials first because before you can paint, you need a good surface!

In a perfect world we can skip the chores and get right to the fun part but perfection isn't interesting so we have to do chores. The finish of the resin does not indicate poor resin quality. It's just a matter of the type of resin used and the type of mold release and additives. Even reputable companies produce shiny resin that is not ideal for paint. Shiny surfaces tend to be very smooth while the velvety textured resins have a bit of tooth to them that allow paints to grip on more securely. Companies I have come across with very smooth resin surfaces are, 5stardoll, ResinSoul, ImplDoll and surprisingly, Elfdoll and Alchemic Labo Unoa.

So what does shiny resin look like?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Varnish Test #1

Since I started offering body blushing, I've been worried about varnish strengths because I know that body blushing often rubs off. I don't think it's fair for me to offer a service if I cannot provide customers with something that is as durable as possible. I still don't recommend full body blushing because torso joints are especially prone to rubbing and flaking but I think that chest blushing, manicures and pedicures will last reasonably well.


  1. MSC (Mr.Super Clear) UV Cut Matte
  2. ZM (Zoukei-Mura) Powder Spray UV Cut
  3. Future floor wax. This is high gloss, plain acrylic gloss. Don't freak out.
  4. Golden Matte Varnish with UVLS
  5. Golden Matte Varnish with UVLS layered on Future
  6. Liquitex Matte Varnish
  7. Liquitex Matte Varnish layered on Future
  8. Liquitex Ultra Gloss Varnish

Airbrushing vs. Pastels from my POV

I got my first airbrush about a year ago because I was tired of limitations set by pastels. I didn't like how the colors of the pastels would wash out when it was fixed or not being able to get bright opaque colors or white to show up. I was also interested in trying alternatives to toxic sprays since I have a little cat that likes to follow me around wherever I go. Before I bought my airbrush and when I was very low on income, I tried mixing an acrylic solution and spraying it with a spray bottle with a fine mist. It didn't work very well because the amount of solution it sprayed out was very heavy and would cause things to run. Trying a small misting bottle also didn't work well because it would clog and there was no good way to clean it.

I purchased Golden brand matte acrylic varnish with UVLS along with my first airbrush supplies so I started using that as I began airbrushing. My experience with airbrushing acrylics and matt varnish has been very good.

The pros of airbrushing:
- Smooth color gradations.
- Ease of applying dark/intense colors compared to blushing with pastels.
- Ability to apply colors lighter than resin color. (impossible with pastels)
- Resin matching mods.
- Ability to mask and airbrush areas of color for tattoo work.
- Switching to less toxic materials.

The cons of airbrushing:
- Lint is more likely due to longer dry time of mediums and varnish.
- Cleaning time required during and after work.
- Switching colors is not as quick and easy as switching colors with pastels.
- Materials are more expensive.
- For some ppl during the learning phase, there might be issues with applying something and not being able to erase it.

Example of pastel vs airbrushed faceup shows that results are comparable although it is a lot easier to get nice large areas of soft blushing with airbrush than with pastels.


Pastel + MSC/ZM spray:

Although is more time consuming (as Xhanthi can attest) to airbrush a faceup than to use pastels, I like the overall results and the lower toxicity of using airbrushed colors and fixatives. I can wear safety gear and spray outside but this is difficult when it is cold out or when it is windy. I don't have to worry as much about pigments losing intensity when the pastels are sprayed and I can mix my own colors much more easily than with pastels. On the other hand, picking lint out is a very annoying procedure. I currently wear cotton gloves that can leave lint so I am considering switching to nitrile gloves.

In regards to acrylic brands, I know the famous Andreja was also trying out alternatives to MSC around the same time. She uses Liquitex which I have also tried after I finished using my bottle of Golden because it turned out to be slightly cheaper. In the end, I actually prefer Golden Matte Medium. The reason is that it does not shine up as much as Liquitex can if I accidentally spray too thick a layer. However, this shininess shouldn't really be an issue if you remember to spray light coats 4-6 inches away from the resin surface with the Liquitex.

While I like Golden mediums better, the Liquitex varnish performs better than the Golden varnish. I will do another post on varnishes in a few hours.