Thursday, September 30, 2010

Susanna Oroyan Books




I just got Designing the Doll by Susanna Oroyan.



It has many nice illustrations of Art Dolls and discusses many different ways to make dolls.




It even mentions Martha Armstrong-Hand, and shows one of her stringing designs for a BJD.



Otherwise, there is not much information about BJDs in the book. I am glad to have it on my doll making reference bookshelf.

Designing The Doll: From Concept To Construction.
Susanna Oroyan.
Lafayette, CA: C&T Publishing, 1999.
ISBN: 978-1571200600




I already had a copy of Anatomy of a Doll by Susanna Oroyan. Designing the Doll expands on concepts presented in Anatomy of a Doll.



Anatomy Of A Doll.
Susanna Oroyan.
Lafayette, CA: C&T Publishing, 1997.
ISBN: 157120024X




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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Modified Working Drawing.




I finished the new working drawing today. Click on the image to see a larger version.






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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Slip Thinner




I mentioned in an earlier post that the CompoBell CS-1000 doll composition slip is too thick. The remedy for that is to add a small amount of deflocculant, or slip thinner. Today I picked-up some slip thinner. I will be adding a small amount to one of the gallons of slip that I have, to see if it makes a difference.

Today I went to an Asian Ball-Jointed Doll (ABJD) Party at The Doll Market. It was a lot of fun to see all the different dolls that people brought in for the Best Dressed ABJD competition. I have never seen so many different ABJDs all together. They were amazing. It is inspirational to see so many beautiful dolls. Two dolls that stood out from the crowd were one by Kaye Wiggs and another by Kimberly Lasher. Maybe it was because they aren't Asian BJDs, strictly speaking? I also met some new people, and saw some people from my first BJD Meet-Up. It seems a good time was had by all.

This coming weekend, the Doll & Teddy Bear Expo is happening. I'm looking forward to going. Kimberly Lasher will be there, as well as Patricia Cabrera.




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Monday, September 27, 2010

New Drawing




This is a photo of my reworked drawing beside the old drawing. The neck is shorter, the torso longer, the legs shorter, yet overall the new drawing is taller. This new drawing feels better to me. Next I'm going to update my full-sized drawing, then I'll start modifying my wax parts. This is it. No matter what, I'm going to stick with this drawing for my first 60cm BJD.






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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reworking The Drawing




Today I've been working on a major revision to my drawing. There was something that was bothering me about the drawing I have, and I finally figured out that it was the overall proportions. This will be the last change to the drawing. From this drawing I'll make the final doll. I don't have any photos today, but I'll post some when I finish reworking the drawing. I have a feeling that I'll finally be able to comfortably move forward with Aalish after this. Her head length will remain the same, but she is going to be 7 heads tall.




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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Studying Joints




The other day I cut off about an eighth of an inch from each shoulder on the upper torso of my dolly. The shoulder sockets are therefore shallower. The arms have more rotation now, but less of the surface of the ball joint contacts the socket in the shoulder.



Today I bought some more Baby Powder Talc at the local Dollar Tree store. I like the carving wax so much, I'm going to make another batch of it, the same amount as the first batch.




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Friday, September 24, 2010

Work on Face and Head




I worked on my doll's face and head a little bit today. I carved off some of her lips, and worked on hollowing out her head some more. Her head is much lighter in weight now. I try to do a little work on my doll every day. If I don't, how will she ever get finished?




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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Carving Wax 03




Long curling shavings can be cut with this carving wax, as well as very thin, almost transparent chips. There is no discernible grain to the carving wax, so it can be cut in any direction with ease.





I scored the slab of excess carving wax with a knife before it got hard. It just snapped apart easily along the scored lines. These small pieces are much easier to handle and melt, the next time I want to use it.





Uh-oh! Small wax BJD is standing on her new feet. The knee joint on the upper leg was flared a little bit, to give the ball more surface area to grab. She continues to teach me stuff about joints.





Here she is, back on her perch, showing off her new feet, and keeping an eye on things.






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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Carving Wax 02




I cut the carving wax casting into three parts with an X-Acto razor knife, then carved on them with my paring knife. One small annoyance when carving with the knife is that very fine shavings of wax had a slight static charge which caused them to stick to my hands. I also drilled a hole in the end of the large ball with a drill bit in my drill press. The hole is sharp and clean. I'm guessing that this wax can be machined.






I strung them together with some small diameter round elastic cord. This same cord cut through the small wax BJD when I tried to string her with it. This carving wax is very sturdy. I also like the color of the carving wax. I've already mentioned in the previous post that there is no discernible shrinkage when casting this carving wax.






This carving wax is much heavier than plain brown microcrystalline wax. I did several experiments with this carving wax casting. I have a rough sanding pad (I don't know what the coarseness is) and I used it to sand a surface under water. As rough as the pad is, it still smoothed the casting, leaving some scratches. Next, I dry sanded the same surface with a finer grit sandpaper (220 grit) and it took out the scratches, leaving the surface even smoother. There was no discernible dust from the dry sanding, but the sandpaper became clogged with wax.







Overall, I am very happy with this casting wax, and I am looking forward to casting my brown wax doll parts in carving wax, to make them hollow. It is my understanding that Martha Armstrong-Hand used a wax pen type of tool to make additions to her cast carving wax parts. I do not have a wax pen, but I will try to use my 25 Watt soldering iron that I use for melting small areas of my brown modelling wax.

Martha Armstrong-Hand's method of making BJDs was very detailed and process oriented.

  1. Draw ideas for the doll, and make a detailed, full-size front and side view plan of the doll.
  2. Model the doll sculpture in oil-clay over a wire armature on a modelling stand.
  3. Remove the sculpture from the modeling stand, and cut it apart at the joints.
  4. Make rough plaster molds, then cast carving wax parts.
  5. Design the ball and socket joints in carving wax.
  6. Finish the carving wax parts until they were very smooth.
  7. Make plaster production molds from the carving wax parts, for porcelain casting.
  8. Cast the porcelain doll parts.
  9. Finish the greenware porcelain doll parts.
  10. Bisque fire the porcelain doll parts in an electric kiln.
  11. Finishing the bisque-fired doll parts (removing seams).
  12. Hi-firing the porcelain doll parts.
  13. China-painting the porcelain doll parts in layers, doing a low-fire of the parts between layers (including face-up).
  14. Design of stringing system, and assembly of doll (including sueding the joints with fine leather).
  15. Wig making.
  16. Making clothing.
  17. Making shoes.
  18. Making accessories.
  19. Display of finished doll.


From the above sequence of the steps in making a BJD, I can see that the carving wax plays a very important role in obtaining a beautifully finished doll. I am very excited to add this carving wax to my BJD making materials list.




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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Carving Wax 01




Today I made a small batch of carving wax. I used a modified version of the wax recipe in this post. My recipe for carving wax is basically

1 part paraffin
1 part microcrystalline wax
2 parts talc


The talc I used was Baby Powder, purchased at The Dollar Tree, 14oz per container. So I weighed 14oz of paraffin wax, 14oz of microcrystalline wax, and added 2 containers (28oz) of talc to the melt. I also added a couple of ounces of a white scented candle.




This is a group shot of the carving wax ingredients.






This is the Baby Powder talc. The ingredients of the talc are: Talc, Fragrance.




This is the brown microcrystalline wax and the paraffin wax, with a couple of ounces of a white, scented candle.





I used a candy thermometer to keep track of how hot the melt got. When the wax was all melted, the thermometer read 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71C). At that point I added the two containers of talc and stirred the mixture thoroughly. It is much lighter in colour than the brown wax.





I had soaked the rough plaster test mold in water, while the wax was melting. When the carving wax mixture was ready, I took the plaster mold out of the water and dabbed the excess moisture from the inside, then banded it together with thick rubber bands. I poured the mold using a tin can scoop, which I dipped into the wax pot to fill. Once the mold was filled, I emptied the rest of the wax from the wax pot into another plaster mold which had been thoroughly wet with water, then dabbed dry. In this picture, you can see the wax in the mold. I used a spatula to get all of the carving wax out of the wax pot. The last thing I did was to score the wax with a knife, so it will be easier to break apart the next time I need to melt it.






When the wax I had poured into the test mold was thick enough, I emptied the excess into the wax pot (this was before I emptied the wax pot). Then I put the mold back into the sink of water, to cool. After I had cleaned the wax pot, I took the test mold out of the sink and opened it. This is the same mold that I had scribed two marks on the inside, one inch apart. Once again, I highlighted the raised marks with a Sharpie permanent marker. As you can see from the following photo, there is no discernible shrinkage for the carving wax!


The next time I get to work on my doll, I will cut this wax apart and string it with some elastic, as well do some other tests on it. More later.




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Monday, September 20, 2010

Feet and Faces




I try to do a little bit of work on my doll every day. Today I worked on the feet in the morning, and on faces later in the day. You can compare the photo of the feet here with the photo of the feet in this post.











I tinkered some with one of the oil-clay faces (the one on your left). Those oil-clay faces have really changed since this post.






I carved the eye sockets on the inside of the head today. I have not put any eyelids on the eyes yet. Compare this photo of the face with the photo of the face in this post.






I'm going to have to play around with these eyes until I figure out where they are supposed to go. The eyes have to be just right, not too far forward, nor too far back.






They are looking much better since I carved away some wax from the inside of the head.



I also think that the whole mouth protrudes too far. One of the things I did with the oil-clay head today was play with the mouth. The practice heads are very good for trying out ideas.




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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shrinkage Test




Yesterday, I cast some doll composition slip into a plaster mold that I had scratched two marks inside, one inch apart. This morning I baked the casting in the toaster oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, for two hours, per the instructions on the jar of slip. After removing the casting from the oven, and letting it cool, I measured the marks again, and got 15/16ths of an inch. I highlighted the raised marks with a Sharpie permanent marker, so they would be easier to photograph.

I can expect about 1/16th of an inch shrinkage per inch. My 24 inch wax doll will be about 22.5 inches tall after being cast in doll composition slip. I can live with that. If not, I can always add 1.5 inches to my wax parts, distributing that over the legs and torso, in order to end up with a 24 inch doll.

The baked composition slip casting is a light pink color.












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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Doll Composition Slip




Today I cast some CompoBell CS-1000 doll composition slip into the Plaster Mold I made back in mid July. This casting is a shrinkage test, so the first thing I did was scribe a couple of marks into the inside of the mold, one inch apart, using a needle tool.

The slip needs to be stirred before use. I used a paint stirrer attached to my electric drill. This slip is too thick! There are two properties that can be adjusted with slip: specific gravity, and viscosity. Specific gravity is adjusted by adding water. Viscosity is adjusted by adding Slip Thinner, or a deflocculant, such as sodium silicate, in very small amounts.

Specific gravity means, how much more than water does the slip weigh? If water weighs 8.3 pounds at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and a gallon of slip weighs 14 pounds, then the specific gravity is the ratio of slip divided by water, (14/8.3), which is 1.69. This is a ratio, it is generally accepted that 1.75 is good for slip casting. So the slip would be a little light at 14 pounds per gallon. Water weighs less than clay so there is too much water in the slip. I can’t take it out so I would have to add more dry materials, if I had them. (if the slip was too heavy I could add water.) Okay, now I weigh the slip again and it is 14.5 pounds plus a little. Doing the arithmetic, I can tell that the slip is right at 1.75.

The Viscosity refers to how thick a liquid is. With slip I can change how thick it is by adding more defloculant (Sodium Silicate) NOT by adding water. How thin do I want the slip to be? It depends on what I'm making. Hollow beads or tiny miniatures require thin slip, large items require thicker slip. The slip must be thin enough so I can pour off the excess slip through the thinnest part of my doll, which is the wrist.

I measure viscosity by how long the slip takes (in seconds) to drain out of a container with a small exit hole. What I need to do is time the slip using a homemade viscosity meter.

A plastic bottle or jar, with a lid can be used. I drill a hole in the bottom of the jar, and another hole in the lid of the jar. Then I put one cup of slip into the jar, while holding my finger over the hole in the bottom. I place the cap on the jar and hold my finger on the finger hole in the lid, then let go of the bottom and the slip will not come out until I let air in the top. I time how long it takes until the flow changes from constant to drips..

I should try to do this viscosity test exactly the same way each time I do the test.

If the slip is too thick and the specific gravity is right, then I can add some defloculant, or some special slip thinner. These are very powerful in their action only 2-3 drops per gallon need to be added.

Since the specific gravity is good for this slip, I need to buy some slip thinner, and add a couple of drops to my gallon of slip.

I have not baked the casting yet. I will do that tomorrow. However, so far it has shrunk 1/32nd of an inch. That 1/32nd of an inch will translate to 3/4ths of an inch for the whole doll because 24 X 1/32 is 24/32nds, or 3/4ths of an inch.. So my 24 inch wax doll will be 23.25 inches tall when cast in slip, if there is no more shrinkage. I'll measure my marks again after I've baked the casting.

Shrinkage is complicated to control, but it is useful to know so that I know how to size the molds. More water in the slip gives increased shrinkage and increases cracking in the mold.

If I put too much slip thinner in the slip, it casts slow and the inside of the cast appears sharp and greenware is hard, brittle.

Not enough deflocculant and the slip casts fast, seems soft and flabby, the molds get wet sooner. and the inside of casts look smooth.

More tomorrow.




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Friday, September 17, 2010

Martha's Method: Modeling




Today I posted Chapter 4 Modeling over in the Martha Armstrong Hand's Method topic at Woodland Earth Studio.




The whole idea behind making this series of posts is that Martha's Method, as outlined in her book, Learning To Be A Doll Artist, is available from many sources, both online and in books. The genius of Martha's book is that she put all the information in one place. Since Martha has passed away, and her publisher is not going to reprint her book, and the DVD project has no timetable for completion, I thought it would be nice to collect all the information I could find, and post it at WES.

You can read the posts at WES without being registered. Registration is free. If you register, you can post to the Forums. The real value of a project like this is in the contributions that many people can make. Even asking questions is a way to participate, and make it better. Sharing your own experiences, photos, projects, links, and so forth, will help the project. Hopefully, by the time Chapter 19 has been posted, Martha's Method will be an even better reference for making BJDs than LTBADA.




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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oil Clay Recipe




While searching for information about different kinds of modeling clays, I came across these recipes for home made oil clay. I have not tried any of these, but they look very similar to the recipes that are in some sculpture books I have.

Here is the recipe, Imperial Measure.

Making your own oil-based clay

10 lbs Micro-crystalline Wax
1/2 gal Purified Mineral Oil
4 lbs Vaseline
25 lbs Clay Powder

Melt wax, oil and Vaseline together in an electric frying pan; stir clay powder in slowly once melted. Mix thoroughly and pour into shallow microwave-safe plastic containers. You can also use a portion of beeswax for part of the wax component for an even smoother clay. Don't use too much though, as it can become too sticky.

OR

this is a recipe that does not use clay, it works well.

480 g bee wax or Micro-crystalline Wax is less sticky
200 ml purified mineral oil
192 g vaseline
1200 g talc (white)
In an electric fry pan ( 60 C don't get it too hot to let wax smoke) mix beeswax + mineral oil + vaseline. Before they become entirely liquid, mix in the talc) you can play around a little with the amounts, mix the types of wax.

Plasticine Recipe

(You need two old pots for melting everything - not to be used with food ever again)

Ingredients

1 A4 sheet 100% beeswax (70g-100g)
6 teaspoons mineral oil (baby oil)
optional - 1 tablespoon liquid paraffin
4 tablespoons petroleum jelly (vaseline)
2 tablespoons 100% coconut oil / linseed oil
3/4 cup limestone powder (calcium hydroxide ie. hydrated lime)


Purpose of ingredients
According to Wikipedia, the original recipe by William Harbutt in 1897 is kept secret. But then lists the ingedients - "Plasticine is composed of calcium salts (principally calcium carbonate), petroleum jelly, and long-chain aliphatic acids (principally stearic acid)."
Beeswax is the binder and helps the dry and oily ingredients to stick together.
Coconut oil and linseed oil both contain 8% stearic acid which helps the stay smooth in a way the mineral oils and petroleum oils do not
Liquid paraffin - preservative (optional I do not personally use this in this recipe, because of the fumes, I believe beeswax to be safer)
Limestone powder gives bulk and body to clay

Melt ingredients
Ingredients

1 A4 sheet 100% beeswax (100g)
6 teaspoons mineral oil (baby oil)
3 tablespoons petroleum jelly (vaseline)
2 tablespoons coconut oil / linseed oil
1/2 cup limestone powder

Place some water in the larger pot. Bring to boil.

Place the smaller pot inside.

Break beeswax into smaller pieces. Melt at medium heat.

Add limestone powder and oils
Stir in 3/4 cup of limestone powder. Stir until all lumps are smoothed.

Add baby oil, coconut oil / linseed oil and petroleum jelly last 30 seconds of stirring well before turning off heat.

Quickly pour onto trays / plates lined with aluminum foil.

It will harden quickly - in around 10 minutes. Check the texture by rolling with your hands.

If the texture is too firm place modelling clay into double pots again, reheat on low and add more lime powder, petroleum jelly and mineral oil. Cool again.

TROUBLESHOOTING Texture Problems


Too crumbly - Increase the amount of wax and oils to increase stickiness and soften texture of overall mix. The mixture should become more malleable and thinly rolled sections will no longer fall to pieces.

Too firm - Add more oils and limestone powder. It should become more sticky. If the ratio of beeswax is larger compared to the other ingredients, the modelling clay will be quite firm. This is perfect for finer sculpting.

PS. Its possible to experiment with turpentine and linseed oil for softening or thickening your mixture - but away from the stove for safety.

Colour your plasticine
Ideas for colouring your modelling clay -
Add turmeric for bright yellow.
In the pictures above I added 1 tablespoon of dried colour pigments to my mix
You could experiment with oil paints for colouring.
Store in an air tight container.

***
It's interesting to note that oil paints contain the same ingredients in this experimental plasticine recipe with the exception of whiting or lime powder (calcium carbonate).

What you can do with plasticine?
Check out this instructable for modelling tips which will help greatly with creativity.
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-draw-anything/

Animation, casting, stop-motion, jewelry, plasticine paint-by-numbers gifts - possibilities with plasticine are endless!
********************************

Here's a quick tip on warming a cold lump of your modelling clay easily.
1. Tear clay into small sections. Wrap in plastic wrap.
2. Place boiling water inside hot water bottle. Cover with plastic bag.
3. Place small clay pieces around plastic bag. Cover again with another plastic bag and wrap tightly with towel or other material.
4. The clay lumps will soften within 5 minutes.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Oil-based-Modelling-Clay/





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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tools and Molds




Today I had a dentist appointment, and had an old filling replaced with a new filling. The Dentist said (during the process) that he was a tooth sculptor. Wow! He was working inside of My Mouth!

He was wearing the equivalent of Jeweler's Magnifying Glasses as he was working on me. His assistant passed every tool he needed, to him, at his request. He was using fine drilling machines and drill bits to work on my teeth! It was a small filling, so I declined being numbed with Novocaine. The procedure lasted less than 30 minutes, and I was out of the office without having a numbed upper lip for two hours! The bill was a little less than $200, for less than 30 minutes of work. Well, he is a Dentist, not a doll maker, right?

What do I use to make my BJD? Most of my tools are home-made, or are not from an Art Supply store.



What I do, is look at the Sculptor's Supply Catalogs, and see the various Sculptor's tools, then I make them for myself. If I break them, I get to keep both halves. If I make anything, I can either fix it, or make another one. As an artist, I usually have more time than cash. That's just how it's always been.

Speaking of tools, to me, a mold is just another tool. I've been reading about doll makers dropping their work, on various forums, lately. If you have a mold of your work, at various stages of development, if you drop your work, you only need to cast the work from your latest mold. It is similar to having a backup of your work on the computer. You have made a recent backup of your personal data that is on your computer lately, haven't you?

Have you made a backup of your BJD recently? Why not? Don't you value all the hours you've put into it, so far?

Speaking of backing-up your hours/days/weeks/months of BJD work with molds... handle your molds with care! Keep them out-of-reach of children/pets/people-who-don't care-about-your-work. Value your work! Treasure it. Time is the only possession you have. As you get older, you'll know what I mean.




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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Foot Work




I know it doesn't look like much, but I did do some foot work today.






It's a start.



As I work, I'm thinking about how I will mold the foot, so I'm leaving a slight web between the toes, to make it easier to mold.




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Monday, September 13, 2010

Feets




Today was more of a research day than anything else. I did some reading in twigling's Zen & The Art Of Articulating Dolls By Using Ball Joints[1]. I was looking for ways to string the feet and hands of a BJD, both of which have terminating S-hooks. I was also looking for references about being able to shape the soles of the feet of Aalish. Flat feet pose better, but shaped soles look so much better. Can I have the best of both worlds? Shapely feets and stable posability? Well, maybe I can. I found out that as long as there are several points on a shapely sole that contact the surface, then both are possible. I'm going to try it. Needless to say, I've looked at a lot of feet today, during my research. The nice thing is, none of them were smelly! I thank the gods that web browsers don't have scent features (yet).

[1] Copyright (cc) 2007 Therese Olsen




While I was reading twigling's Zen book, I checked out the links she has at the end of her booklet, and actually found a BJD tutorial that I somehow missed. Also, some of the links were dead, as can well be expected after several years. I marked the errors with an [X]. Here is my list of the links from her Zen booklet:

LINKS
Make [X]=Error
Google Translate ~ http://translate.google.com/translate_t
Noah's Doll ~ http://www2d.biglobe.ne.jp/~dhnoah/make_00.htm
Haru's Doll ~ http://www.ne.jp/asahi/haru/doll/make/makeindex.htm
Torame's Doll ~ http://torame.fc2web.com/home/esthe/ogre01/ogre01-1.htm **New to me!**
Futoyama's Doll ~ http://www012.upp.so-net.ne.jp/futoyama/Htm/Howto/workroom.htm
Oshizaka/Aimi's Doll ~ http://www.aimi-doll.com/howto/index.html
[X] Shuen's head tutorial ~ http://noxiv.cool.ne.jp/dreamscreator/BJD/Otino01record/eng.html
Lewis Goldstein ~ http://www.lewisgoldsteinartanddesign.com/SculptingTutorialFS.htm
Marika Spijkers, sculpting hands and feet ~ http://members.home.nl/m.spijkers/faerie-en.htm
Vivien Hoffpauir ~ http://www.vivcore.com/dolly_daydream.html

Be Inspired [X]=Error
[X] http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/hizukidoll/
http://www2.saganet.ne.jp/shi-ki/ (Shi-Ki's Doll +)
http://www.tokachi.com/kai/
http://www.geocities.jp/madsarry/doll/gallery/gallery.html#gallery
[X] http://www.ki.rim.or.jp/~miho/
[X] http://art-tong.com/
http://shadows.4oni.com/ (Pat Lillich)
http://www.enchanteddoll.com (Marina Bychkova)
http://pygmalion.mda.or.jp/sizuku/
http://www1.odn.ne.jp/~aaa68230/DOLL/68/DOLL68.HTML (Look at the elbows, not the gazoongas)




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Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Small Wax BJD




I've had so much fun playing with this small wax BJD, that I'm going to post some more photos of her sitting up on a shelf in the studio, keeping an eye on everything, and me. Even though she is very roughly modeled in microcrystalline wax, and is really just tubes and balls strung together loosely with rubber bands, she is already teaching some ball-jointed things to me.





















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