Saturday, August 14, 2010

Faces, Knee Joints, and New Skullcap

Since I visited the Doll Market the other day, I've been inspired to do a lot of work on my BJD. I'm also working towards doing some test casting of the CompoBell doll composition slip I bought, so I've been working on a knee joint to mold in plaster and cast in the slip. I'll be posting my checklist for making a multiple piece plaster mold for slip casting, so keep a peep open for that, sometime in the near future.

The other day I bought a doll at The Thrift store for $2.50 so I could take it apart and dig out the eyes. They were glued into the doll head, and I had to cut them out with a knife. Nevertheless, I now have some very cheap plastic doll eyes to play with, and to experiment with inserting them into a face, and modelling eyelids over them. You can see them in the third face from the right in the photo below. They do not have any eyelids, yet.

I've done some work on the knee joint of one leg. The photo below is a front view of both legs; the one I've worked on is at the top, and the one that hasn't been worked on is at the bottom.

This is a side view of the knee joint.

This is the back view of the knee joint.

This is another side view of the knee joint.

I am continually looking at pix of BJDs on the Internet, trying to figure out how a BJD is designed and put together. As a result of that research, I've cut a new skullcap for the head of my BJD. The photo below shows the new skullcap cut out with an X-Acto razor knife, and carved out with my paring knife. This is where having a thin cardboard armature is really a blessing. This major change was relatively easy to do.

First of all I decided how big the new skullcap was going to be. Then I measured to the midpoint from the top of the existing skullcap to where the new bottom edge was going to be. Using wax, I fastened the existing skullcap to the head, then used a compass to make a new skullcap circle. Then I cut along the line with the X-Acto razor knife, and finished the cut with my paring knife. Then I dug out some of the solid mass of wax inside the head with the paring knife.

This is a different angle of the new skullcap.

This is the new skullcap in place.

I feel like I'm making some progress with the base faces I'm working on, even though it is difficult to tell from the photos (sorry about that - I'm doing the best I can do with the tools I have). Working on several base faces is the way to go! Sculpting a face is not something that happens by accident (although happy accidents can happen, I don't rely on them). When I get a face that I'm happy with, I should be able to sculpt it over and over again.

As I work on the knee joint, the shape of the leg is changing. I figured this would happen when I made my drawing. When I made my drawing, I didn't know anything about ball-jointed dolls, so all I was able to do was indicate approximately where the joints where going to go.

Likewise with the head. The first skullcap was much too big, and I knew it, but I didn't quite know how I wanted to change it. I finally made a decision, and started cutting. I don't know, but it may change again, before the final doll is ready to be molded. That is how it is with this first 60cm BJD. I'm figuring it out as I go along.

One other thing I'm finding out is that I seem to get more work done when I have a plan. For example, when I started the doll, I had decided to make the parts from the ground up. I started at the feet, and worked to the head. After all those parts were roughed-out, I didn't have much of a plan, and work has slowed down on the doll as I tinkered with whatever doll part I picked up. I think I will decide on another plan and see if that will help me get some work done. A plan is a good thing with a project as complex as a ball-jointed doll.

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