Writers have a blank page. I have this:
A couple characters and prop.
Just . . . looking at me.
Writers have a blank page. I have this:
A couple characters and prop.
Just . . . looking at me.
One of the hardest parts of creating a story built around actual figures that I can see and touch, is that I feel an enormous weight when I set them onto some awful path. Yes, I understand that Camellia is a doll, but I pass her every day in the bookcase, still lying in her boat, and feel a responsibility for getting her out of the situation I’ve gotten her into.
Maybe it’s no easier when a character is drawn or written, but I know that it’s hard when they can look back at me at the end of the episode.
Since this is the second go-round for this story, we all know that it turns out OK in the end. Somehow, that hasn’t made it any easier.
In the visual space, I’m still playing with filters for Camellia’s scenes. She’s moved out of black and white, but still not into full color.
In terms of the story line, I’ve moved this piece of the story (where she tosses things off the boat) from the end to the beginning of the story. That choice really has to do with wanting to get it over with in one place. Once she finally gets out of this boat, I won’t be sending her back in flashbacks. But she still has a few more episodes to go before she reaches land. Right now, she can’t imagine that she’ll ever get off the sea.
I’ve spent more time than I like to admit searching for a new “young Daisy” doll for the second draft of that story. While I love the face of the Rapunzel 5″ toddler doll, she’s very hard to pose, and her scale is totally off (especially when she’s wearing her enormous curly wig.
Here she is with Cado, to give a sense of just how wrong the scale is:
I have a few small BJDs, so I tried them out to see if I could use them in two stories.
Here’s Cosette, from Underfoot (Buu from Mudoll).
Her body is the right size, but, really, her head is just enormous (a problem many small BJDs suffer from).
Ester (my Maskcat doll, soon to be appearing in Betwixt) has a more in-proportion head, but she’s almost as big as the adult fashion dolls.
Plus, I can’t imagine Daisy with a less than sunny disposition.
I’d just about given up when I remembered a doll I’d fallen in love with awhile ago – a very small, very baby-ish doll from Supia dolls named Sena. When I looked at the head measurements, I thought she might be just about right-sized, and it turns out she’s completely perfect.
With her long blond wig, she looks just like a mini Daisy. She’s a little bit younger than I imagined Daisy to be in these episodes, but that’s fine. The only effect is that it makes her age a bit closer to Rosie’s, but that shouldn’t have any real effect on the plot.
The new Wildflower doll is Trudy – she’s going to be taking over the role of the mysterious stranger, and she’ll play a much larger role in the flashback scenes.
With that, I’m just about ready to finish up Daisy’s first episode, with young Daisy appearing in a flashback scene.
I’ve spent the last few weeks redesigning my doll room (what used to be the dining room in my house), and the living room next to it (which is still, at the moment, just a living room.)
I had a very clear picture in my head what I wanted for the doll room and, once I’d gotten the pieces in place, I sent a picture of the new room to my sister.
To which my sister responded. “Oh, you’re moving into Daisy’s room”
So, apparently, I am now joining my dolls in their adventures. Which, mostly, seems pretty nice.
I’ve had the worst time this last month or so finding all of the pieces I need to do an episode. First, I was totally stuck on re-doing Daisy’s room. Then, once I decided I’d start her outdoors, I decided she needed a much better camera.
While I was waiting for that to make its way from China, I decided to start on the Betwixt episode. However, I’ve been totally stymied on that by the immense immense-ness of the big guys’ thighs. I mean, they’re just totally huge – much, much thicker than the legs of any doll clothes I can find. At the moment, I have him in a onesie and a pair of 6 mos sweatpants, and I guess I’m just going to have to shoot him in that until I find something better.
Here’s the big guy in his baby clothes.
and his freakishly big thigh.
Fortunately, I distracted myself so long with finding pants for my Vindoll that the camera from China finally arrived. So, it’s almost time for Daisy’s first (redone) episode.
Here’s a few sneak peak shots
In addition to the totally cool 1/6 scale DSLR camera (which has interchangeable lenses and a tiny (non-working) flash), Daisy has gotten herself a new dog. He’s Barbie’s Prince dog who, unlike every other dog I’ve found for her, looks pretty realistic and his legs/head can be repositioned. I’m hoping this is the final dog, and that I won’t have to shoot everything again.
For comparison, here is the orginal version of the Daisy-sprawled-on-the-grass with her previous dog, Annie, along with her tiny, unsubstantial Barbie camera.
At the end of this episode, Daisy has a little shock, so I put the Liquify face feature in Photoshop to work.
It’s impossible for Daisy to frown – the most she can do is just not smile. I made her eyes a little bigger, though, and I think the combo of that with the unsmiling face looks pretty convincing.
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.
In my next Underfoot episode, I’m going to be playing around with the distinction between dolls that seem fully alive and dolls that seem less so.
I talked about this a long time ago when I mused on dolls that appeared to have souls. It’s nothing I can really put my finger on, but some dolls just seem more alive than others. All of my Wildflower dolls fall into the fully alive category, as do most (but not all) of my ball joint dolls. I think it has to do with looking at a doll and having a sense of what they must be thinking about.
In any case, in this next episode, my fully alive dolls (Jinjur, Buu, and the bulldog) are going to encounter “dead” dolls. Not undead, just plain old dead.
The episode grew out of something else altogether – my desire to get the girls fully outfitted. They stumbled on a few accessories in their last episode, but it just didn’t make sense for that shop to have every item they needed. So, I thought maybe they just found a box of discarded doll items. And that led to the idea that, among those discarded items, there were probably some discarded dolls. Hence, the living dolls meeting the not living dolls.
I had two possibilities for their initial discover of the dolls. The first was that the dolls were covered up by other items and, in removing those items, they discovered the dolls underneath. Sort of like this:
The other is that the accessories are scattered across a doll graveyard of sorts, like this:
I liked the CSI-vibe of the first one, where the bodies are uncovered, but I just couldn’t figure out a good way to show both the alive and dead dolls in a single shot in that version. In the second version, it’s much easier to do the contrast. I suspect I’ll go with the second version, but we’ll see how it plays out.
Speaking of alive and dead dolls, I decided to cast the Michael Caine action figure as Rosie’s guardian in the next version of the Mia Fiorello story. I’m completely pleased with this doll, who seems so real that I can easily merge him into shots with real people and not have him look out of place. For example, here he is with my husband on the beach at sunset.
Happy labor day to everyone.