My doll friends on Figurvore are posting their top ten lists of doll-related acquisitions and/or accomplishments for last year, which naturally gets me thinking about my own achievements. Selecting just ten projects and then rating them comparatively seems like too much effort, though, so I’m just going to highlight some of my significant developments in the doll arena during 2014.
I got back into digital art after a long hiatus. I mostly treat my CG art as a source of digital dolls, meaning that I enjoy creating characters, dressing them up, scripting stories, shooting them [called “rendering” in the digital realm] and otherwise exercising my creativity. Digital appeals to me because I can easily generate a wide variety of body shapes with a few spins of the morph dials. Basic prop creation also becomes much easier with the use of primitives such as planes, cubes, cylinders, etc. As much as I find digital appealing, my first love remains actual physical dolls because I can touch them. They feel realer to me.
I mention digital art because it has definitely affected how I play with my dolls. My photostory setup has changed because of my digital efforts. I used to cram lots of text and story into a small number of frames, but now I have larger, simpler frames that permit the focus on more set detail. Less dialog per frame also slows down the story and allows it to develop more expansively. Of course, the narrative moves a lot slower, but I’ll live…
A quintessential project was probably my makeover of a 1:6 scale Angel of Grief paperweight. It started off looking like the crappy kitsch that it was, but, after I spent six hours on it with white and beige acrylic paint, charcoal wash, dried bits of moss and blue, it transformed into a convincing 1:6 scale cemetery centerpiece. A quarter of a day’s work on a small-scale gravestone: yup, that’s me all over!
Doctor Z, a key character in Zombieville, reached her third and final iteration. First she was too purple; then she was too dark brown and healthy looking. Finally I took a Triad Alpha head and Dremelled the heck out of it, then repainted it, to create the haggard look I was going for.
I customized Polly, my 1:6 scale mermaid BJD. I used Aves Apoxie Sculpt to create a headback for the faceplate that I wanted her to have, as I didn’t like the head she came with]. I also gave her a faceup and made her a wig.
I wrapped up Me and My Muses, my serial melodrama about Ellery and the characters in her head, in the winter. Then, in the spring, Zombieville debuted. I’ve currently published a prologue and four chapters. The next installment is slated for later this month [as soon as I get around to scripting it]. The influence of my digital art on my narrative style appears clearly in Zville.
I redid one of my 1:6 scale fairy BJDs, Flower. He began life with a default faceup, which was technically well-done but pretty generic. When I was through with him, he had magenta eyeshadow and a profusion of green freckles. ^_^
I finally put together one of my 1:3 scale BJDs, Yamarrah, who had languished in pieces for months. She has body parts from about five different dollmakers, so she required Aves Apoxie Sculpt, hot glue and application of the Dremel to make her pieces fit together functionally.
I acquired two inexpensive studio umbrella lights on Robing’s recommendation, and the clarity, evenness and general quality of my photos drastically improved. Now I am even closer to achieving the kinds of photos I envision in my head….
For a Figurvore prop challenge, I made a fridge to fill in a shocking gap in my collection of 1:6 set pieces.
At long last, I finished the walker. This project dragged on far too long and caused me no end of frustration, but I finally assembled a 3D printed 1:6 scale model that a friend had sculpted to my specs. After much spray painting, taping, hot gluing, drilling and swearing, I made for Peter a passable simulacrum of his signature mobility aid.
Muggins the cat, everyone’s favorite character, appeared in Zombieville. Readers suggested a Mugginsville spinoff. :p
The doll club that I run, Chittenden County Doll Club, continued to grow, drawing doll lovers from across the region and all kinds of dolls along with them. I eventually changed the name to Vermont Doll Lovers to better reflect the participants.
I got a Mattel Coca Cola Soda Fountain with most of its accessories in good condition for a steal! My fairies had fun with it.
I attended the largest BJD convention ever on the East Coast, Dollism Plus, in September! I’m never making such a drive again, but I did enjoy hanging out with fellow doll nerds and taking plenty of pictures of pretty dolls. Surprisingly, I won a bunch of wigs and a whole doll!
I acquired some Rement Pose Skeletons, which sparked an idea for Zombieville’s photostory within a photostory: Beth and Death, about a woman and a Grim Reaper, a series of comics by Isabel. [I’m still working on Beth.]