22 November 2010

Face It

A while ago, I started a different blog to talk about another of my ongoing interests/ hobbies/ obsessions/ whatever. I've been interested in dolls in some capacity or another for most of my life & it's an interest that doesn't seem to be in danger of waning anytime soon. It's one of my several hobbies that elicit responses like "Oh, my Grandma used to do that!". Let me tell you, there are few things that make a single man feel sexier than hearing that response to one of his hobbies...but I digress.

My usual thought is something like, "I promise you that my dolls and knitting are not like those of your Grandma," but that is neither here nor there. As Davitron pointed out to me one day, my dolls--for the most part--aren't 'cabinet babies' or items that are purely for collecting and display. I'm pretty selective about which dolls I buy (for several reasons), and I tend to do a good bit of research into a type or brand of doll before I decide whether to buy one of that group. Beyond that, I usually make stuff for them. I made Irena's dress in the picture above, for example, and I've knitted more than a couple of doll-sized sweaters. Since they are, in many ways, another venue for me to be creative, I decided to stop compartmentalising and post everything here. Because, seriously, keeping up with more than one "serious" blog is more than I can deal with right now.  ;o)

The dolls in this post are Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls, often called ABJD's or BJD's for short. Dolls are usually sold naked, bald, and without facepaint or a "faceup", as it's called among BJD enthusiasts. Wigs & eyes are interchangeable and are available from various sources. Most companies make clothes that fit their dolls, and there are several 'standard sizes' of dolls, so it's also common for companies that don't make dolls to make clothes designed to fit dolls of any of the standard sizes. The faceups and aesthetic work (such as Ismael's body hair) in the pics above were done by someone else, who I commissioned to do the work. Tonight, I had my first go at trying a faceup of my own.

The subject is this "Lotus" head from Doll Zone. I got the head in a trade with another doll collector, since I wanted a blank head to practice my faceup skills, and he wanted the autographed standee I won at Dolpa in NYC. Here she is without eyes (yikes!).

Here she is with eyes for the benefit of those who are skeeved out by dolls in the best of circumstances (it probably doesn't help a whole lot, since this is still a pic of a head without a body, but I'm making my best effort here. ;o) ). People use different media for faceups, from high quality acrylic paints, to chalk pastels, to airbrush paints, to colored pencils. The guy who did Irena & Ismael's aesthetic work used pencils and chalk pastels, so I thought I'd give those a try.

As is the case with most skills, those who are good at it make it look much easier than it is. I had watched the guy do at least part of the faceup for both of my kids, and left thinking, "Oh, it's just like coloring! I can totally do that!" Suffice to say, it's just quite just like coloring.

Tonight was mostly about getting experience working with this surface & media, which I've never done before on either account. The lipcolor isn't a color I'm likely to use in a faceup I actually want to keep; it was just the best option I had on hand & I wanted to see how I might go about applying color to lips on a mouth that doesn't open & is made from an unyielding material like resin.

The cheek blushing barely shows in these pics, but it's my favorite part of this faceup by far. LOL  Overall, I'm pleased with it as a first attempt, but I definitely need to do a couple more practice runs before I try to execute a 'final' faceup on Pakko (the lovely tan guy with Irena in the first pic) or Chico (modeling the tiny hoodie in my previous post).

This was definitely the first attempt of many, & ultimately I think it looks like this will head in a direction I can be pleased with.

02 November 2010

Heavy Flow Days

A lot has happened since my last blog post. A lot more than you may think if this blog were the only glimpse into my life. I've scrambled to re-enter the world of Day Jobs, moved back to the West Coast, reconnected with a million and one people, & gotten a new perspective on more than a few things.

The 16 months prior were rough, delicious, necessary & unforgettable. Is there another way to describe living in New York City?

Since I've been back in Portland, I've felt a resurgence in the flow of my creative energy (hence the vaguely irreverent title of this post). 

I've never been one to knit for people who are not me. Some would attribute this to my Astrological sign, some would say it's because I'm the oldest, some might say it's because I'm kind of a jerk. Maybe they're all right. However, here are a couple of shots of stuff I churned out for some special guys.

Pattern: Prototype for an upcoming design
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in "Plum Paisley"
Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars in size US7

This is a prototype for an upcoming pattern. This particular beanie is shorter than what the final design will be, since that is how the intended recipient likes to wear his beanies. I was inspired by the color (his favorite) and wanted to use a stitch pattern that would highlight the luscious variegation in this yarn while visually breaking up the colors enough that there wouldn't be much in the way of pooling.

Pattern: Prototype for an upcoming pattern
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock Yarn in "Cordovan"
Needles: Hiya Hiya bamboo DPN's in size US0

Pardon the crappy blackberry pic, but I haven't had the chance to finish this particular hoodie, let alone set up a proper photo shoot. This little hoodie is knit seamlessly (is there any other way to knit a pullover?) at a finer gauge than I ever thought I'd willingly use. I'm working out some of the shaping and construction finessing that I'll have to use on the final design, but it'll keep Chico warm enough, even if parts of the fit are a bit wonky for now.

Here's a progress shot of Chico modeling the hoodie when it was just a pullover and didn't have a hood yet. He's such a good sport about it!  ;o)