Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, Dolls, graphic novel, In the picture, miniature adventure, miniature photography, miniatures, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, toy adventure, toy photography, toys

Underfoot 05: Underfoot and Under Bed

In our last episode, Cosette befriended a rat, and the whole team spent the night in the sewers under Paris. We continue our story on the next morning.


For all of my fussing about Mathilde this week, clearly my (surprisingly) calm dog, Sydney, was the star of the episode.


What I learned this week is that it’s (not surprisingly) very difficult to photograph dolls under a bed. First, in its normal state, under the bed is a fearfully dusty place – full of lost items which are better to remain lost. Second, it is very dark down there. Third, photographing small objects under the bed necessitates lying on the floor with aforementioned star dog Sydney sniffling around ones’ head.

That said, I think they look pretty darn cute down there. The only (slight) misadventure is that, after my first day of photographing them, I was unable to locate Jinjur and her dog, until I realized that I’d left them under our bed all night. My husband, normally calm and supportive about all of this doll foolishness, seemed a little creeped out that he’d spent the night with dolls under the bed. So, note to self, collect the dolls before going to bed.


Next week, I return to the In The Pictures story. As a clear-eyed look into my “process,” know that I have not the slightest idea at this point what the story is going to be about. The only little snippet I wanted to weave in is having Bodger retrieve a Rin Tin Tin video and attempt to jump into it. Beyond that, who knows. Hopefully the dolls have some good ideas.

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

Betwixt 02: The rescue


I was worried all week that the pieces of this episode wouldn’t come together – right up until the last few days, I didn’t actually have a plot – but, in the end, I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out. My one remaining concern is that this is an awfully truncated version of a story. If I’d had this plot in my original doll adventure, it would have dragged on across many episodes. And, there’s a cost to this truncation – the whole thing plays out before you really have a chance to get involved.

OTOH, I didn’t feel like I had anything to add beyond the plot. I *could* have played up the rescue scene, so that it wasn’t clear until the end whether they’d get away. But, really, I know things turn out well – why put everyone through all that trouble 🙂


This is the episode where I painted (using photoshop) the background photos. For the characters, I just put them through a simple Photoshop filter to make them look more like drawings, so they’d fit in with the background. I like the painted effect, and will probably use it in other stories when characters leave the real world (as they so often seem to do, in my stories.)


I really love how different the three main characters’ faces are in this series. The big guy is all angles, the pixie is all eyes, and the kid just looks like a kid. The dolls in my other series all share some kind of family resemblance. These three look like they come from different worlds.

Next up is the Underfoot episode, where I’m thinking of moving them under my bed. We’ll see whether that photographs well 🙂

Posted in Camellia, doll adventure, doll photography, Dolls, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, miniatures, photo novel, toy adventure, toy photography, toys, Wildflower dolls

Among the Flowers 03: Adrift on the Endless Sea


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.

Posted in doll photography, general discussion, miniature photography, Photoshop, toy photography

Learning new things: Painting over stock photos

Once it starts raining in Oregon, all of my photography moves indoors. That means that, for my larger dolls who are too big for set-building, I use a lot of stock photos as backdrops. You can see some of them in the first Betwixt episode.



All of which is a nice, easy way to create a shot, but it’s an odd mix of my creative process and someone else’s work.

So, for my second Betwixt episode, I’ve been trying something different – using stock photos, but altering them in Photoshop with a mixture of brushes, filters, and textures. That gives me a background that’s really mine, and not just something I grabbed off the web.

Here’s a sample of the transformations:

Here’s an original stock photo:

and here’s its altered form:

In this case, I left the leaf alone, used a textured brush to alter the water, and then applied a filter over the texture.

Here’s another:

and the altered form:

In this case, I just used the photo like a coloring book and painted over everything.

I think this works particularly well for the dreamy segments, like this second Betwixt episode where they find themselves miniaturized and sent on a quest in the world where Ester has sent them.

I haven’t figured out how I’m going to deal with the dolls in these pictures. I might leave them in photographic form, or I might alter them as well.

In any case, that’s my project for this week but, before I publish the Betwixt episode we’ll catch up with Camellia on her ocean journey.

Posted in doll photography, miniature photography, toy photography

Works in the public domain

I’ve been spoiled by the easy access to great paintings, which formed the backdrop of Rosie’s adventures. Almost any great artist you can think of has the bulk of their work in the public domain.

Not so for other works of art. Movies, in addition to being more recent, also have more stringent laws about what goes into the public domain. That means that only a tiny sliver of movies are accessible to work into your storylines. Same thing with music. Even if the score is in the public domain, the performance is not.

For a storyline that relies on sending its characters into works of art, then, there’s a fair amount of research you have to do to locate a work they can legally end up in. I lucked out in the first episode that Roger Corman’s works are all public domain. But, choosing Night of the Living Dead was an accident for the sisters. Now that they know how the wardrobe works, they’re not going to stick another horror movie in there.

I really wanted Bodger to pick a film – he had his heart set on Rin Tin Tin and Lassie. But, I wasn’t familiar with any of the movies that were availalbe, and I suspect no one else is either. He’ll probably get a dog picture eventually. He’d really really like The Incredible Journey (since Bodger the bull terrier comes from that movie), but it’s not public domain.

So, I moved away from movies and went rummaging through books. In particular, illustrated children’s books. And that’s where I found this week’s adventure – in Arthur Rackham’s illustrations of Alice in Wonderland.