Posted in Fashion dolls

Living and non-living dolls

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.

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

Episode 35: The End

Last time we checked in, all of the characters were converging on the airport in an attempt to find Camellia.

Did they make it?

Let’s see.

Well, hmmm, not sure. Let’s see if we can get another angle

Oh, yes, I think I can make it out. Let’s try one last angle

Ah, good, looks like they all made it there. Oh, where are the rest of the dogs?

Ah, there they are. And then, they turn and . . .

. . . it looks like it’s time for us to go.

*****

Thanks to everyone for following along for this last year. August 22 was the official anniversary of *my* adventure, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

I’m going to make some changes going forward.

First, I’m going to split my behind the scenes mirror sites (mydolladventure.com and mydolladventure.wordpress.com) from the production site (coming soon – to be named Small Life Stories). That gives people the choice to watch what it looks like constructing the adventure, or just to follow along with the adventures themselves, or both.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to play around with constructing more substantial sets, and I’ll probably slip in an Underfoot episode while I’m doing that. Then I’ll cycle between the various adventures.

On the topic of Underfoot and my other adventures, I got one of my 1/3 scale dolls this week, and he’s totally bonded with little Ester (who was supposed to appear in the Underfoot adventures.)

So she’ll be joining the Betwixt adventure as a kind of fairy/sprite, leaving Buu and Jinjur to continue their journey alone. That actually works out a little better, I think, because it leaves a space for Buu to grow into.

Buu is also (I’m almost sure) going to also take a supporting role in the second draft of the Mia Fiorello story as young Daisy. She’s pretty much the right size, she looks a bit like Daisy, and she has all of those great joints that my toddler Disney doll is missing. There are going to be a few more recasts in that story, but the main Wildflower dolls will go on in their current roles.

So, thanks again for joining me on the first phase of my adventures, and happy doll adventures to all of you.

Posted in Amy, BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, Dollsbe, graphic novel, Iplehouse, miniature adventure, miniature photography, Olive, overhead, photo novel, Photography, Strawberry, Supia, toy adventure, toy photography

Overhead: First night in the treehouse

After building a rough platform in their last episode, Fern and Olive are finishing off the floor of the treehouse.

Well, maybe Fern is doing most of the work.

When it’s all done, they relax and admire their work.

Then Willow puts on a record . . .

. . . and everybody dances.

All three sisters decide to spend the night in the treehouse.

The sisters sit up in the treehouse
The sisters sleep for their first night in the treehouse

******

I loved every part of working on this episode, from the sweet vibe between the siblings, to being able to totally forget about developing a plot and really focus on the moments.

I tried to get real moonlight for the two nighttime shots, but it’s been extra especially hazy up here in Portland and the quality of the light just wasn’t all that great. So I relied on the toy lantern and a long exposure for the first shot (with the sisters awake), and I rigged up a small flashlight on a microphone stand for the second one (with only the dog still awake).

We’ve got one more week in the trees, where I’ll try to complete the treehouse structure. Then I have to catch back up with the Mia Fiorello story. Surely they’ve made it to the island by now . . .

Posted in BJD, doll photography, Dollsbe, Iplehouse, miniature photography, Olive, overhead, Photography, Photoshop, Supia, toy photography

Dancing dolls

I take back everything I said about Olive’s (my Iplehouse Amy doll’s) posing ability in my previous post. Apparently, although she’s not always able to resist the forces of gravity, she can totally dance.

I think her dancing ability comes from the way her chest joint pivots. Unlike most of my ball-joint dolls, she can move on all axes at once in that joint, giving her very lifelike bends.

So, this week, in celebration of finishing the floor of the tree house, the sisters dance in the meadow. I tried to give them dance movements that were respectful of their natures.

The littlest one, Fern, is all straightforward enthusiasm:

while Willow, true to her nature, is graceful and reserved.

But it’s the middle sister, Olive, who really shines and just gets carried away in the movements.

Like all of my exuberant doll movements, I photographed these with the dolls lying flat on a surface, and my camera on a tripod pointing straight down on them, like this:

It lets me pose them without having to worry about which one of their joints is going to crumble first 🙂

That’s the floor of the treehouse below Olive – I think it turned out pretty well, for a first effort. In the future, I need to find a tool that will cut straight through Vinyl, but for now, the slightly jagged edges are fine.

Also, you might have noticed that I’ve re-wigged all of the dolls. The cute short wig that Fern is wearing just came in, so I switched her with Olive, and I stole a wig from another doll for Willow. I think these wigs work better on them. To me, it makes them look more related.

Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, Dollsbe, graphic novel, Iplehouse, miniature adventure, miniature photography, Olive, overhead, photo novel, Photography, Supia, toy adventure, toy photography

Building the treehouse

Early morning, and Olive and Fern are busily discussing the treehouse.

Olive scouts out a likely tree.

And then the sisters get to work.

Willow arrives with some refreshments

and all three sisters admire their handiwork.

*******

Next week is going to be a little discontinuous. I’d planned a little dance session for the three sisters – I’ve managed to snag both a record player and a radio in 1/4 scale – but after I took the dancing pictures, I ended up re-wigging all three of them. Now I’m not sure how to merge the dancing scene into the next scene where all three will look entire different.

In any case, the floor of the treehouse is all done, now I just have to figure out how I’m going to attach the sides. I *think* I’ve ended up with a good template that I can use for all of my dollhouses, but we’ll find out on Tuesday (I’m at the coast on Monday, so pushing back a day) how that all worked.

Posted in diorama, Iplehouse, Olive, overhead, roombox

Creating 1/4 scale flooring for $4

After going round in circles for while figuring out how to make a realistic-looking treehouse floor, I finally stumbled on something that seems to be working.

For something to work for me, it needs to be:

  • Easy
  • Cheap
  • Realistic-looking

I’d dismissed the stick-on parquet tiles, because I doubted the girls would install parquet floors in the treehouse, but once I found a grey, weathered parquet floor, I realized I could change it into weathered boards with a few snips.

Here’s part of a vinyl parquet floor tile I picked up at Home Depot for $0.89.

It doesn’t look right in scale as it is, but you can easily cut along the lines using pruning shears (my cutting tool of choice).

And then clean up along the edges using a utility blade.

And then lay out the individual pieces on a solid piece of wood.

And it looks like some old planks of weathered wood that the girls might have found.

Here’s Olive working on laying out the floor.

And here she is relaxing (in a way cool $10 chair from WalMart on top of a $1 placemat from Goodwill)

Covering the whole 21 x 21″ piece took four pieces of parquet flooring, so about $4 altogether.

For 1/6 scale dolls, I recommend the vinyl oak parquet flooring tiles. Here’s one in red oak next to the tile I used:

The wood pieces are much smaller, and the less weathered look is more appropriate for indoor flooring.

I’m really happy with my solution, and I think I’ll start using the 1/6 scale flooring to create some of my second draft rooms for the Mia Fiorello girls.

Posted in BJD, doll photography, Dollsbe, Iplehouse, Supia

From each according to their abilities

My fashion dolls all have pretty similar posing abilities. The two dolls on the Barbie Made-to-Move bodies (Lily and Daisy) are easier to pose than the two dolls on Obitsu bodies (Camellia and Rosie), but they all pose in pretty similar ways. That means that, when I sketch out a plot, I’m not figuring out who will star in a role based on posing ability.

Not so my ball-joint dolls. Working on the treehouse with the three sisters, I’m finding that I have to re-write the episode based on who can do what, instead of based on the characters themselves.

Specifically, there’s some sawing to do in order to start building the treehouse. Willow (the eldest sister) isn’t involved in the building work – she’s a bit more of a homebody, and she also has the responsibility of looking after the other two so spends less time playing and more time working. Which is a darn shame, because Willow (a Supia Aasta doll) is a terrific poser. She’ll get into just about any position and hold it like a champ.

That leaves the two younger sisters, Olive and Fern, to saw through branches. Normally, I’d expect that the older sister would saw and the younger sister would help, but Olive (an Iplehouse Amy doll) is not good at all at sitting or kneeling on the ground. First, she’s loose in the hips – a problem I haven’t worked up the nerve to address yet – so I’m constantly popping her hips back into her joints. Second, she has a very hard time holding any kind of kneeling position. Mostly, her knees just buckle. If they stay solid, then I have to spend a ton of time getting her to balance on them.

She also strikes an awkward post with her knees bent and sitting on her bottom. It works, but it doesn’t fully resemble how a real person would sit.

Compare this with the ever-graceful Willow who looks completely like-like in this position.

Olive can sit cross-legged, but that means that she’d be sawing over her lap, which seems kind of dangerous.

The little sister, Fern (a Dollsbe Strawberry doll) is terrific at kneeling – she’s probably the best poser of any of my ball joint dolls.

But is Olive really going to have a sister that young wielding a saw?

All of which has led me in a round-about way to decide to spend more time in each of the doll story worlds before rushing on. By the time I really learn how to work with one set of dolls and their settings, I’m on to the next scene. And, by the time I get back around to the first one, I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned.

Also, at the end of an episode, I’m totally in that world and I can really feel where they ought to go next. Once I’m away for a few weeks (or months, in the case of my ball joint doll stories), I’ve totally lost the flow.

So, I’m going to continue with an episode a week (except for this week), but I’m going to stay in each story for several weeks. So, we’ll have a little time over the next few weeks to get to know the treehouse girls. Then it’s back to Mia Fiorello for the final episode, and, by then, by 1/3 dolls may be here.