Friday, August 3, 2012

I MADE A SALE! 5 New Doll Faces & Work!

I got an order for dolls! My friend Robert read my book, Dollman the Musical - A Memoir of an Artist as a Dollmaker, (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and he then decided to get some dolls from me. I told him I want to give him a diorama with 5 dolls.

So I decided to make 5 new faces for him, but I am constantly experimenting and discovering new things, so I may or may not give him this set of 5. I currently have about 13 faces he can choose from, but I am toying with the idea of constantly making new faces. I have yet to decide if everything I will eventually sell will be unique faces, but still give myself the option of redoing the same face for my own collection, but as it is, I have learned that every step takes time.

I don't think the art stops at the recognition of a face. The art includes decisions along the way, like altering the skin colors, the hair, costumes, the setting, and most especially my artistic statement, what message I want to convey.

The message to me is what matters most. Whatever happens in the future, I hope that collectors will collect me because of me, although I intend to keep track of all my works, and have some foresight of what might be expected of me as the source.
I'm still new to all this. I gave Robert a good price, and I'm willing to take in orders, but I constantly tell people, they are getting my art, not dolls. My dolls will always be "imperfect," that they will see a human hand made them, the struggle for perfection will always be there, but it will never be reached.
This artistic process is also a time-consuming endeavor. I see the dolls as a canvas - I make my own canvas as it is, and then more art is added. While canvases may be bought at the art store, my canvas has to be made, and has to go through a time-consuming process. Once in a while, I joke to myself, that if I can turn back time, I would not get into ceramics, but that's my joke to myself. I like what I'm doing - discovering the nuances of making ball-jointed dolls.
I actually decided to stay at home from the last week of February till July, and not "work," so I can stay at home and do all this, including my contribution to Alejandro's stop motion animation feature film.
You might want to read more, by clicking on the pictures. I always put in other thoughts on the picture text, usually more details about the challenges of using porcelain / ceramic to make ball-jointed dolls, or "bjd."

I'm also just now catching up with my blogs, facebook and twitter, taking a break from the actual process of making and handling porcelain. I make sure I document the process, not just for the blog readers, but for myself. I hope it gives people ideas of how time-consuming this is.

Keywords: Porcelain, ball-jointed dolls, ceramics, polymer clay, sculpting, porcelain slip. :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Developing Characters for a Stop Motion Animation Short Feature

Whenever I work on my art, I usually tell myself that I can finish the project in 2 days, which never happens. It has taken me close to a year and a half, maybe more, to get this far with the dolls. I volunteered to help my friend Alejandro with his stop motion animation project. I thought it would just take a week to do it, but the week became a month, so in April, I was busy helping Alejandro with the development of characters of his feature film.
His initial idea was to have a laboratory type of setup, with a female robot or android, a scientist, and two lab assistants. The second set will be a newscast type of environment, with an older gentleman interviewing the scientist from his lab, with the scientist viewing the interviewer from the monitor in his lab.
I agreed to make the characters, and wanted to help further, at least in finalizing the rest of the bodies, but I had other commitments, so got as far as making the "masks" of the human characters and the head and jaws of the robotic character. I have yet to see his final animated film short, but he also told me he wanted to keep developing his story and probably lengthen the film.
That would be hard work, since each second requires a certain number of frames. Even at 15 frames per second, it would take a long time to come up with a 15-minute stop motion animation.
Latex is the base material for the masks. Initially I sculpted in polymer clay. Then I made plaster casts of the heads. I didn't include the back of the heads, because Alejandro can cover those areas with hair, and he'll figure them out later.
The eyeballs for the latex were tricky but easy. To make an eye socket on the latex, I superglued the eyeballs to the plaster cast's eye area. Then I brushed on the latex around the area. When the latex dried, the eyeballs were in place, and it was just a matter of using a blade to take out the eyeball for later coloring.
The robot girl was a different method. She is supposed to be "stiff," so the head for the shoot was made from polymer clay, with the lower section just below the nose cut off, so that jaws with different mouth movements and expressions would be interchangeable.
 She went through several incarnations, and so I'm not really sure which of her would be used. I gave all the different faces of the girl and their jaws to Alejandro so he can use whatever he decided on. I made a suggestion that the rejects can be part of the scenario, like including shelves of the prototypes.
Stop motion animation is a whole different discipline altogether. It was good to help my friend out, because we hung around and talked about stuff, especially since in March, the previous month, I took the Dov Simens Filmmaking School, which was a 2-day seminar on filmmaking.
What was funny was, on the day when he was at my place, my phone rang, and Dreamworks Animation called me. I was losing sleep, so I saw their phone number and called them 2 hours later. They expressed interest in evaluating my book, Dollman the Musical. So that was good.