Posted in Camellia, Daisy, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 29: The Stranger’s Story

We ended Rosie’s last episode with Frank placing a story in the local paper seeking any info on the girls’ (Rosie and Daisy)’s mother, Camellia.

This week’s episode starts with someone reading that article.

Over coffee, someone reads the day’s paper and spots an article

which recalls a day 12 years ago

She makes a call

Half a world away, Lily and Daisy are looking through old papers and letters

When Lily receives a call

The stranger tells her story.

“12 years ago, I received a note . . .

The note: “Please take my girls somewhere safe! I can no longer protect them, and if I keep them with me, they will perish. When Daisy turns 18, give her this half of a photo. She’ll know what to do with it. God bless, Camellia.”

. . . I followed the instructions, gathered the girls, and fled, while their mother escaped by boat,

. . . dropped them somewhere where no one would ever find out who they were or where they came from

. . . and waited and watched until I was sure they were safe

. . . I kept watch on Daisy and, when she turned 18, I gave her half of the photo.

while the sranger drops a torn photo

Lily drops the phone, and takes Daisy’s hands

and then paints a picture of . . .

an island.

Posted in Daisy, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 26 – Uncovering the Past

In Lily’s last episode, she held a picture of Daisy and painted her standing outside the Secret Garden shop. We continue her story later that same day.

Outside the Secret Garden flower shop
Inside the flower shop
Through the flower shop curtain
Lily and Daisy look at old photos
Lily calls James
Young daisy encounter
Toddler Daisy and baby Rosie rescued by hero librarian

*****

I had a lot of fun with the transitions this week – panning through the shop, doing the split screen call, and following James’ story of finding Daisy for the first time (with an intentional throwback to the picture of Daisy, terrified, in the Cado/Camellia fight scene). The one thing I’m really struggling with is that it feels more like a technical exercise than an artistic one – interesting, but none of the wow feeling I get when something seems a little magical. I’m assuming that I’ll learn how to blend the technical with the artistic and get back to wow.

I also used the puppet warp trick to get James to hold a phone. James, like most male Barbie-type dolls, is barely bendable. I can line up his arm with his ear, but it’s a good inch or so away from it. So, I selected the arm and choose Edit – Puppet Warp. Then I put in a few pins to define the areas I wanted *not* to warp, and then put one pin in his hand to grab for the warping. Then I dragged that pin into position to move his arm. Not nearly as realistic as Lily’s Made-to-move Barbie arm placement, but better than what I started with.

And I used the Overlay blending mode one more time to overlay the Hero Librarian story on the picture of Daisy and James.

Next week, I follow one of my other stories. If the weather holds out, I’ll let the two sisters in the Up Above treehouse adventure go and plan out where they’re going to start building. Fortunately for me, we had a real bang up wind storm here a few weeks back, so I’ve got lots and lots of branches to choose from to find the right tree 🙂

Posted in Daisy, doll photography, Fashion dolls, general discussion, graphic novel, Lily, miniature photography, Photography, Photoshop, toy photography

The sequential art of dolls – Scott McCloud’s Making Comics

I read Scott McCloud’s “Understanding comics” years ago, when I was thinking of making an adventure game. It’s a high-level look at the art of comics – well worth a read if you’re doing anything in the realm of sequential art. I’d missed his more practical guide – “Making Comics” – which is totally fantastic for what I’m working on now.

I’m only through the first chapter, and I’m already overwhelmed (in a good way) with great ideas.

Here’s just one really useful way of looking at sequential art – what are the transitions between the panels? He lists six different types, and what they’re useful for.

* Moment to moment: A single action portrayed in a series of moments. Creates a movie-like effect, and is useful for slowing the action down. I notice I use this a lot for Camellia’s episodes, like the slow approach of the panther in Episode 13: Danger afoot or dolls in danger
* Action to action: A single subject in a series of actions. Efficient, and moves the plot along at a brisk pace. I tend to use this in my “plot-ty” episodes, where I’m trying to drive the plot forward, for example in Lily’s second episode where I have to communicate both that she has some special ability to paint lost objects, and that something has happened to her daughter.
* Subject to subject: A series of changing subjects within a single scene. Also drive the plot forward, but are used more for dialog. Since I don’t have dialog in my doll adventure, I don’t tend to use this much, although I did do it when I wanted to pick out what each one of Daisy’s friends was working on in Episode 15: Putting the pieces together
* Scene to scene: Transitions across significant distances of time and space: Help to compress a story by leaping across time and space. The most obvious examples of this in my doll adventure is the movement between Rosie’s real and dream states, like the distance between Episode 6: Rosie’s Doll Adventure, Part 1 and Episode 10: Rosie’s doll adventure, part 2
* Aspect to aspect: Transitions from one aspect of a place, idea, or mood to another. These create a sense of mood by making time stand still and allowing the eye to wander. Interesting idea, and I don’t think I’ve ever used it.
and finally
* Non-sequitur: A series of unrelated images and words.Because . . . why not. It may seem like I’ve done this, but I haven’t 🙂

And that’s just three pages worth of ideas.

I worked a lot on transitions this week. One that I’ve never really done is using framing shots to place an event. This is a kind of aspect-to-aspect that you see all the time in movies (start with a shot of a city, jump to a shop, focus in a single character), and it works to place the subject within a context. I used it this week to explain something that I’d have to explain in words otherwise (and, again, spoiler alert) – what’s the relation between the Secret Garden photo that Daisy has and the places where we see Lily?

So, spoiler, Lily owns the shop. Her apartment is behind it and out back from her apartment is the garden I often picture her in. Easy to tell if I were making a movie, but not so easy in a doll adventure. I was originally going to build a flower shop for her, but it just seemed like a ton of effort for a tiny piece of information. Instead, I’m using the aspect to aspect to tie the places together.

The curtain in the back of the shop is actually a separate image that I placed over what used to be the front door of the flower shop in the original image, and then I use it as a layer in the final shot and set the layer blending mode to “overlay” to make it so that you could see the picture of Lily and Daisy behind the curtain.

Anyway, Friday’s episode is going to be full of transitions – I even use a split frame in one to create a kind of dialog between two characters who are separated in space.

Posted in Aimeraidoll, BJD, Buu, Camellia, Daisy, Ester, Fashion dolls, Jinjur, Lily, Maskcat doll, Mudoll, Rosie

Moving day

Without moving to a new home, I seem to have set off a cascade of smaller changes which resulted in every single object in my home being moved to another location within my home.

Add to that that this morning my husband and I awoke to the sound of small crunching sounds coming from the wall that separates our bedroom from my garage workshop. Meaning, we suspect, that at least one mouse has come in from the cold and is seeking shelter among my doll items out in the garage.

As you’ll see soon, this is somewhat ironic (at least, I think irony is the right word). But, more immediately, it’s very unsettling and we’ll now also have to move everything in the garage to figure out where the little critters are getting in.

This is all to say that there may not be a ton of plot advancement in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s the whole crew (and then some) in their new bookcase location.

Here’s the first bookcase.

From left to right, top to bottom, the occupants are:

Camellia and Rodanthe, along with a teddy bear I made for Rosie (which turned out to be laughably too big for her). Rodanthe was a cheap ($35) first foray into ball joint dolls, just to see if I liked them (I did). Camellia, along with Colette (who’s down one shelf) was supposed to star in the Underfoot story, but they ended up having the wrong vibe. They may show up in a third (hopefully, final!) project about a group of girls in a treehouse.

Daisy and Annie you already know.

And here’s the Underfoot cast (minus the last cast member still to arrive. I think the three of them look great together – I’m really happy with the way that cast is starting to gel.

Here’s a mix of dolls, deep in discussion. Lily you already know. The large doll, on the right, is Amy (from Iplehouse). She’s the first cast member in the treehouse story. I’ve never agonized about buying a doll they way I agonized about her. I loved her, I didn’t like her at all, and on and on back and forth. When she arrived, I was still in deep throes of doubt, which continued right up until the moment I started photographing her.

In photographs, more than in person, she has exactly the affect I was hoping she’d have – curious, being pulled forward to investigate, but still a little cautious. Plus, she kind of grabs the camera’s attention, which is a good thing, because the rest of the (potential) cast mates for that story are camera hogs.

Colette, here with Amy and above in the bookcase shot, has the reverse effect. In person, she’s full of character and quite sassy, but the camera picks up something else altogether. She seems kind of dazed and sort of melts into the background. She looks great with Amy, though, so it’s possible she’ll still make it into a story. If not, she’s absolutely fine as a doll without having to star in a graphic novel.

Rosie and Fetch, you know. Here she is with her playmate Madeline. For a doll with barely any features, Madeline is fantastically expressive, and she and Rosie are a good mix. She was sleeping over the night that Rosie got kidnapped by the fairies, but all of the best shots were angled too high to show her in her sleeping bag on the floor.

The last doll in this bookcase is the lovely and thoughtful Rosemary doll – Rosie’s doll self. She’s underused in the story – I just can’t think of a graceful way to insert her.

Next bookcase:

Camellia, along with my Moana doll, who you may see soon in story.

My two male dolls, commiserating about having to work with a female photographer who refuses to write full roles for them.

Two of my bigger girls – BBgirl and China doll – along with a small Pullip doll. The stuffed bunny was yet another attempt to make a toy for Rosie, and again it was laughably large.

My poseable anime doll, posed in front of the full size version of the painting in Rosie’s room.

Blythe, hanging out with a fantatic Goodwill find. I’ve thought about continuing an adventure just around Rosie and her dream spaces. If so, this monkey is going to make it into it.

And finally a set of dolls from Conchy Gem Dolls on Etsy. Like Colette, this doll looks amazing but doesn’t photograph well. Which is just fine by her.

And there they all are, waiting for their next adventure.

Posted in Camellia, Daisy, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, photo novel, Rosie

No dolls were injured in the making of these adventures

It’s been a traumatic few weeks here in doll adventure land: Rosie in tears, Camellia and young Daisy being assaulted, and Lily collapsed in horror.

Fortunately, it’s just a story, and right now the dolls are relaxing happily between takes.

Lily gives young Daisy a piggyback ride.
Daisy brushes out Rosie’s hair.
Camellia and the doll who plays her husband have a quiet talk.