Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, Dolls, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, miniatures, On Our Own, photo novel, Photography, toy adventure, toy photography, toys

(Re)Begin the Beguine

Well, that didn’t last long. I appear to have redone my redo one day after posting it.

Here’s the thing – there’s a rhythm to a graphic novel panel that just isn’t there where you post all of the photos in a blog. So, take the first panel from On Our Own (which I didn’t change)

I very deliberately set it up so it was 3 good things to one bad, all of which could have happened on a single day. That calculation wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had the idea of a “page” encompassing those four photos.

The second page keeps the pace, but changes the focus

Now the pace has sped up a little – the first three events could have happened in a few hours, as could the fourth (depending on how far she was travelling.) BTW, is any of this clear from the photos? So, on the first page, there’s a sick person in the fourth panel and some idea of happy play in the other three. In the second page, I tried to include enough of the clothing to make sure what was happening (sick person is running a fever, two other people make a phone call, then a new person packs her bags, and she arrives in the fourth panel.)

Now we get to first problem panel.

What the hell has happened to our pacing? Three of the photos *could* have happened in one day, but the fourth? Clearly the person who has died in the second photo could not have been buried already. So, that seems all wrong.

And the fourth panel?

Now we’ve somehow spread it out over at least a month (based on the eviction notice). And, wow, those girls sure have bounced back fast.

So, anyway, I think I was really rushing to get them placed in their trailer, but it really goes outside the bounds of the pacing in the first two pages.

So, I backed off and slowed the pace down. They’ll get to the trailer when they get there, and there’s no time for them to get someone buried in the first episode. I also won’t be able to spell out exactly who died, but that can wait as well.

Here, then, is the (hopefully) final version of the last two pages.

Same two pages are the same, here’s the new page 3.

and the new page 4

Now all reasonably within the bounds of a day or two, and I’ve gotten the characters to the point where they are on their own.

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Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, Dolls, miniature adventure, miniature photography, miniatures, On Our Own, Photography, toy adventure, toy photography, toys

On Our Own: Episode 1 (redo)

In lieu of a premise song (“here’s a story, of three girls named after plants . . .”), I’ve created a premise episode for On Our Own (used to be called Overhead). Done, naturally, in just hands. Well, actually, in hands plus some clothes, because I realized you couldn’t tell them apart with just their hands.

I promise no other episode will be so grim – I just needed to get all of this behind them so that they could move forward. By their next episode, they’ll have started to absorb it all, and they may even feel like dancing again.

So, anyway, here it is.

Posted in BJD, doll photography

From an adventure tale to a story of kinship

My Overhead/Up-Above/who-knows-what-else-I’ve-called-it has gone through its (hopefully) final change. Because I recognize that the treehouse/adventure angle just isn’t where the heat is, I’m going to redo it from the beginning (which I had to do anyway, due to all of the wig changes) to focus on what matters. That is, to focus on the sweet relationship between the sisters.

So, I’m going to go back to the start and try it again, and really place the sisters in a story line so I can look at their relationship. In this case, as one might suspect when three young girls find themselves living by themselves in a trailer, it can’t be an entirely happy story line. But, I’m worn out on drama since all of trauma in My Doll Adventure, so I’m just going to pass lightly over the back story.

What I’m working on now is the premise episode, which involves the death of a parent, the finding themselves destitute, and finally locating the lowest of low cost habitats (in this case, a very small trailer). And, just for the fun of it, I’m telling the whole story with just hands.

For example

or (spoiler alert)

So, we’ll see how that goes. It won’t be all grim, I’ll start off with some normal days before the illness begins (or, as many normal days as I can express with hands alone).

And that will mean that I’ll have at least one episode up from my existing stories. Then it’s just a matter of deciding whether I start Daisy’s story again, or whether I get pants for the big guy in Betwixt and begin that.

Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, graphic novel, In the picture, miniature adventure, miniature photography, movies, toy adventure, toy photography

In the Pictures: Start of Summer (Redo)

These last two weeks I’ve been working on finishing up the first episode of In the Pictures – where the two sisters discover that one does not simply put a movie away, because it has a way of coming back. I’ve left the first part of the story the same, and added a bit on the end to make it a less abrupt stop. I’ve also moved the action from the front door to a wardrobe (in part, because I loved the Narnia series and the wardrobe-into-another-world idea. I’ve also (naturally) given the sisters a dog – a bull terrier named after the bull terrier in The Incredible Journey.

So here, then, is the new Start of Summer.

Maybe a movie? [dang – doesn’t look like the videos work on this site. You can see the post with videos at my main site

or just see the video

Link to just the video

[dang – doesn’t look like the videos work on this site. You can see the post with videos at my main site

or just to the video

Link to video

Posted in doll photography, miniature photography, Photography, toy photography

Do overs

As I move all of my episodes onto the web, I’m finding that shots that seemed perfectly acceptable in a blog post just don’t look right when I format them into an episode.

I suspect a lot of that came from my one-episode-a-week schedule. I’d usually take a few shots that I loved, but, to finish the episode, I had to make do with a few shots that were just so-so.

Which is all to say that I’m doing a lot of do-overs. Not much for Underfoot, I find. Other than cleaning up a few of the masks in Photoshop, all of those photographs went straight to comic format.

For my Overhead comic, it’s not the shots themselves that are the problems – most of them are good enough for me. The problem is that I appear to have changed their wigs every episode (and, sometimes, within the same episode). So, now that I’ve finally settled on their look, I have to go back and reshoot a bunch of scenes with their final look. Which is too bad, because I really liked some of those shots.

For my Mia Fiorello story, I have to reshoot all but the first episode (which I just cleaned up) because I’ve made major changes to the plot and cast. I may be able to save a few shots, but I suspect it will be an almost complete redo.

Which brings us to In the Pictures – the episode I’m currently redoing.

I love the shots of the two sisters in their chair, both as they’re sitting bored (like here)

and as they’re watching Night of the Living Dead (as here)

But, when I got to the last scene, where they open the door and see the movie before them, I’d just totally run out of juice. There’s no setup, and the shot is simply my front door, at night, poorly lit. As here.

In addition to all of the aesthetic problems, how exactly is this thing going to work? Are they *ever* going to be able to go outside? How does the last thing they watched/read get communicated to the door?

Anyway, I found it all pretty unsatisfying so, this week, I’ve taken a different approach. Emily has bought a wardrobe, and she puts the DVD in the bottom drawer. Then their dog, badger, starts to get all worked up about the wardrobe, Emily opens the door to show him that nothing is wrong and BAM! – NOTLD is right there in the wardrobe.

Here’s a couple of shots, so you can see the progression.

Here’s Emily going to open the wardrobe door to show Badger he has nothing to worry about.

And here are the sisters holding the wardrobe door closed after seeing NOTLD inside.

I also have a tiny door that I might use instead. In that version, the door on top of the DVD/book/picture opens into that world. I’m going to take a few shots over the weekend to see how that works, but I might end up using that for the Betwixt cast to let them move between worlds.

So, anyway, that’s where I am. I’m going to clean up the Overhead shots, get the girls in just a single wig, and put all of them into one episode, and then I’ll either start tackling the Mio Fiorello redo or do the first Episode for Betwixt. If I get a moment, I’ll show you how the two Betwixt dolls look together. I think they’ve got great chemistry – now I just need a storyline and a pair of pants for the big guy 🙂

Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, toy adventure, toy photography

Underfoot: The Doll Graveyard

Underfoot has gone through some changes since our last adventure. The two characters have new names and a new location. Meet Cosette and Mathilde and their adventures in France.

Also, the new site is up at www.smalllifestories.com. Still in pretty preliminary form, but some pieces are ready.

That said, I’m going to post the new adventures here, as well as on the new site. And so, on to the Underfoot adventure.

Posted in Fashion dolls

A cornucopia of canines

Dogs! I simply cannot stop buying dogs. Small dogs, thankfully. And inanimate. But, still, dogs.

At first I was solving a problem: How will my dolls ever have enough dogs?!

But now, I have so many dogs that I’m no longer problem-solving with them. I’m just buying . . . dogs.

So, here’s where I am in dog land. First the dogs which I am absolutely positive that I’m going to use. Of those, the very, very best is Jinjur (now Mathilde’s) bulldog, Winston:

OK, fine. But, if Winston is “the one,” then who in the devil are all of these also-ran bulldogs, and whatever am I going to do with them?

Well, no matter. So, anyway, that wraps up the dog cast for Underfoot. One dog: Winston.

Next in line in the “certain to use” category is a new cast member for my 1/4 scale dolls. Here he/she is:

Yes, it is, in fact a BJD dog. And, he/she is utterly fantastic. I’m thinking this dog is going with the In the Picture sisters. In particular, I think Emily is going to bond with him/her. Here they are together:

So, two series down, two to go.

The Overhead (or whatever I call that series) sisters already have a dog. A West Highland White terrier who spent the night with them up in their treehouse. Here he is with Fern.

There’s one more dog that works well in this scale (kind of) who seems to have bonded with Willow, so it’s likely he’ll stay around.

Now, for the hardest one. The Mia Fiorello cast and their dogs.

Lily’s dog is set in stone (even though he’s made of wood, I think)

But there’s a second dog, a kind of border collie, who also works with her.

He doesn’t have the collie’s soulful eyes, though, so it looks like Lily will hold on to her dog.

Rosie has had a whole bunch of dogs – both the big bruiser and then the little felted Fetch.

But, much as I love him, Fetch seems a little cartoon-y. So I’m thinking of replacing him with another dog – this one.

Who has a bit more of a Rosie vibe. The only issue is that I’m not certain he’s bright enough to carry having to put the story together. I’m going to have to think about it a little more. Actually, I wonder if I did the bird adventure first, if I might be able to have the little raven gather the items. Ravens are undoubtedly smart, and I can see it being interested in little objects.

Like Rosie’s pet, I feel like Daisy dog is a little cartoon’y, so I’m thinking of switching for Camellia’s dog. Here they are together:

The problem remains that the dog with the broken ear is, well, breakable, and Daisy is pretty darn active.

I got another dog that I absolutely love, but she is totally breakable and also very precious so I can’t risk breaking her. Here she is with Daisy:

There’s just no way I’m stuffing this handmade clay dog into Rosie’s bag to go for a bike ride. I *could* try to get her out to the island, because she looks utterly fantastic with Camellia.

and even seems to work well with the panther.

So, anyway, that’s where we are. Daisy and Rosie’s dogs are in flux, and I’m not certain that Camellia is going to have a dog at all. But the rest of the dolls are all dogged up.

What about the Betwixt cast, you might ask. It turns out that finding 1/3 scale dogs is just not that easy. Plus, I’m not sure the big guy is really a dog fellow, if you know what I mean. However, as you’ll see when the other 1/3 doll arrives, it turns out they work quite well with flying things.

For my adventures, I’m still hard at work on getting my new site up, and then formatting some of the episodes in comic format and posting them on the site. I should have my Underfoot series (both the new episode and the formatted version of their old episodes) up next week.

Interestingly, my Underfoot episodes are by far the most ready for comics. I cleaned up a few shots, but they’re basically ready to go as is. Other than Camellia’s first episode (on the boat) none of my other series are anywhere ready. I’m sure that’s telling me something – I’m just not certain what it is.