I don’t know if anyone’s going to be reading this blog, I’ll link it in my youtube channel next time I make a video in case anyone out there is interested, but I think it’s about time to seriously document my journey into opening a BJD company of my own. And if you came here because I shared this automatically through Facebook, then congrats, you now get to know that I not only collect dolls, I want to make them.
A little bit about me: I’m not just your average hobbyist turned bjd sculptor, even though that is exactly what I am. I also have a degree in Fine Arts. I focused on Painting in my last year, but I studied sculpture throughout. I even took a year of casting classes. So the problem for me isn’t about whether or not I can make this. I know I can make this work. The problem for me right now is time.
I work as a graphic designer in Germany right now and I’m working full time. Where I used to make projects in three months, working six hours a day at least twice a week, I simply don’t have that sort of time to get into the mindset of sculpting with clay like this again.
Here are a few of my recent sculpture sketches for my first doll head (keep in mind these are just quick sketches. No where near final drafts:
Here’s my problem: the process isn’t time efficient for me, right now, with my current schedule needs. The second problem I’m facing is making the inside of the head look nice and neat… and making a headcap which is also neat, with a mechanism that keeps the head cap on nicely with magnets. I’ve seen a lot of headcaps, and I’m partial to caps that prevent the back from sliding off even if the magnets aren’t working.
So, that all being said, I think I’m going to take the plunge into Zbrush. I studied 3D design in college as well and I feel confident working in such a program. It’s now just a matter of teaching myself how to use the interface and get the results I want. Before I buy though, I’m going to try the tutorial. I’ve done some research on other programs but if you’re reading this and have experience and opinions on programs I should look into, please let me know in the comments. I would love to gather more user experience and stories before I settle.
Now. The breakthrough.
My SO was browsing the web and had a Eureka! moment to share with me. (also I cannot tell you how nice it is to have SO interested in my projects even if SO doesn’t care one lick about dolls xD ) Apparently, we can use a CNC machine to make the molds. This to me sounds like something that would be most beneficial if I was 100% sure the doll would be perfect right from Zbrush, however I do know from watching and listening to and following other sculptors that this isn’t always the case.
I think the way I’m going to proceed is pretty simple. I’m going to sculpt the 2D drawings I have made for my dolls and print them. I’ll see if all the mechanics work and then fix everything that doesn’t work with hands on sculpting materials. Once I get something like that, I’ll begin casting myself… provided I can get my hands on a pressure chamber. If not I’ll try and get my dolls cast by a company until I can grow enough to cast myself.
I have a few ideas for different lines and I think the best way to go forward now and figure out if all my ideas work is … to just do it.
I’ll keep you updated here on this blog in case you’re interested in my progress 🙂