Saturday, April 30, 2011

My First Custom Blythe

I have been dinking around with Blythe dolls for over a year now and have become quite addicted as it turns out. They have pretty much taken the place of my cloth art dolls, in that I seem to have lost interest in making those, at least for the time being. Cloth dolls was my thing for 10 years, so honestly, even if I quit today, I certainly feel like I put my time in. There is something so amusing to me about the big-head, big-eyed plastic dolls that I just can't resist keeping them around. Blythe is just, hands down, my all-time favorite doll. Close second is the Korean plastic BJD, Hujoo.

All of my Blythe dolls have had some customization done by me. I happily pop out eyeballs and put in new ones, change the gaze a bit, do the makeup up a little more to my liking and add eyelashes that I like better. But until recently, I hadn't actually done too much in the way of seriously customizing a doll start to finish. I have been admiring those artists who have been brave enough to do dark skinned or black Blythes. I wanted one. They don't seem to be for sale and I probably couldn't afford one anyway, even if they were. So, I decided to do my own.

I searched around the internet and found out that I needed to get SEM vinyl spray, which is a pretty heavy duty auto industry spray paint that is supposed to be for car seats, and so remains flexible while still being sturdy. I picked a color I wanted, which was a kind of cafe latte color. I also decided I wanted an entirely different body. I have always wanted to put a Hujoo body (love that body) on a Blythe, but the color match is horrible. I decided since I was going to be painting the whole thing anyway, now was the perfect time to try that out. I disassembled a Hujoo body I had, strung up all the pieces and sprayed them with the SEM color I had selected. I did probably 4-5 coats on each piece and then restrung the body and got started on the head.

I decided to carve the lips and nose of the Blythe faceplates I had for this project. I did a fairly subtle mouth carving and just deepened the nostrils on the nose. Then I sprayed the faceplates with the SEM paint, again 4-5 coats and waited for that to dry. When all the parts were done, I did the makeup on the face and then waited on my Coolcat scalp to come (I didn't have the heart to tear apart a perfectly good Blythe scalp, so opted for a substitute). While I waited, I took a bunch of mohair I had and dyed that into about 5 or 6 shades of browns, auburns, burgundies and blacks. It turned out really lovely and I was very happy with the results of that. When the scalp arrived, I spent the next 2-3 days rooting that with the mohair I had dyed. It turned out really well, but I couldn't quite get the scalp to stay flush with the faceplates, no matter what I did. So, in the end, I have a tiny bit of overhang on the scalp, but luckily it doesn't show at all with all the hair, even if the hair is worn up. Since I don't plan to sell the doll, I am happy enough. The finished doll is called Anabelle. My son named her. I really like her a lot.

She is lighter skinned than I originally imagined, which is fine, because I have already started on a darker skinned doll, this time with a regular Takara Blythe body. So far, so good, except trying to deal with sticky legs at the moment, a problem not encountered with the Hujoo body. We shall see how that works. I am rooting the hair now, and hopefully the legs will work themselves out. I am usually pretty resourceful, so one way or the other, you should see my second custom here within the next few weeks.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stomp Fest

Yesterday was the first day of spring for me here in Vermont. Spring sometimes comes a little late here in these northern parts. But, we had SUN. And I mean real sun that lasted all day! I can't tell you how giddy that makes a northeasterner. I lived in the west most of my life and I really just didn't get that excited when there was sun. There was always sun it seemed to me. But here in the east, after a winter of pummelling snow, the sign that spring may be here is overwhelming. I finished up a couple doll dresses, took these photos of 2 of the girls (Lynette and Cappucine) stomping happy and then sat outside for a lot of the day. There are still 4 feet snow banks in the front, you still can't turn around easily in the driveway, and most of the yard still has a foot of snow on the ground, but ground has poked through, the blueberry bushes at the front of the house are uncovered, and the warming trend has begun. Life is good! I hope it's sunny wherever you are.