Saturday, January 26, 2013

Eyechips ahoy!

Hi everybody!
I've been preoccupied a bit lately, and now I've been enjoying painting eyechips again.  I also gave my girl, Amelia, a freshened faceup.  I want to paint some new front-facing chips for her, as well as some more chips for Cover Your Dolly, so I've been preparing some blank chips and thought I'd do a mini-tutorial for anyone who hasn't painted eyechips before.  It's SUPER basic, so if you've ever done it, it will seem obvious, but if not, hopefully it'll show you it's pretty easy to give it a try!

First, hello from a newly freshened-up Amelia!  (here she happens to be showing off some eyechips I made that I haven't been able to duplicate, and want to keep attempting as I think they're pretty cool).

Now, for the eyechip preparation.  It's seriously only 3 simple steps before you get to the fun creative part!

1.  Acquire clear eyechips and remove them from their packaging.  Also remove any foils that may have come with them.

2.  This is something that I do that not everyone does, but I am a bit obsessed with symmetry and smoothness when it comes to these babies.  I also don't want to take any chance of them not fitting perfectly into the doll's eye socket.  Each of the eyechips will have a little piece that is not smooth, where it has been separated in the factory.  In this picture, you can see it on the upper right edge of the eyechip:

Using a very sharp exacto knife (use with caution, at your own risk), I trim away the little piece of excess plastic.  I then use an extremely fine grit sanding sponge (3M makes some nice ones) to completely smooth the area, and a piece of cotton to buff it to its original shine.

3.  After rinsing off and carefully drying the now-smooth eyechip, I use artist-grade acrylic to paint the pupils of my eyechips (on the back side, of course). I allow the paint to dry completely, usually for several hours or even overnight as I prepare multiple pairs at once.  I find it easier and more convenient to paint the irises of the eyechips in various colors and designs once they've all been prepared in this simple way.  It's also very satisfying to begin the creative part in that they're all clean with the pupils painted and ready to go.

After this simple preparation, you can use your imagination, along with doll-safe paints and pigments (acrylics, watercolors, watercolor pencils, water/pastel combinations, etc.) to paint the irises of your eyechips.  After your design dries COMPLETELY, you can seal the backs with foils and/or a final solid layer of paint.  Keep in mind not to get TOO thick with your paint/foil combination:  if the eyechips aren't able to be flush in the eyesockets, they can interfere with the working of the Blythe's eye mechanism.

I hope you've enjoyed this super-mini tutorial, and aren't too disappointed that I leave the imaginative, creative part to YOU!

hugs and love,

p.s. If you want to see some of the handpainted eyechips I've created in the past, you can check out my flickr set here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My first Jecci Five custom

Here she is:  the first to be completed of the "dozen dollies."
This girl was a complete and total pleasure to carve and transform for my friend, Sylvia.  I had no idea how different the quality of the Jecci Five plastic would be from a Blythe doll, how much more translucent it would be, and how challenging the mold would be to work with.  It brought back some of the original excitement of customizing.  For that, and for the freedom to interpret a theme, I am very grateful to the dolly's owner, my friend and fellow customizer.  You should check out her work-- it's beautiful.  S.Cola customs.  I have one myself.  And now, on to the Jecci!

When I got her, her face looked like this:
*not my photo* -- I didn't get a snapshot of Sylvia's girl before carving her, but this is what she looked like before all of her transformations.

After a SERIOUS nose job, total re-working of her lips (they bizarrely jut straight out), and reworking the shape of her face so that she didn't look to me like a mogwai with a very obvious sort of "snout" sticking up from the base of her face (I know, I make it sound terrible, but the subtleties get to me), and some new lush lashes, I came up with this look for her:  

I wanted her to have a color palette of lilac and apricot, with some wintery chapped lips and lots of freckles.  
Here she is with her eyes open (please excuse the washed-out winter lighting:

So, all in all, here's how she evolved:

I learned a great deal, and I look forward to the opportunity to customize more of these cutie-faced clones in the future.  :)  I hope you enjoyed seeing her transformation!

Thanks as always for checking in, and all comments are welcome and appreciated.  Take good care of yourselves and each other, and happy holidays!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Dozen Dollies...part 1

Hi everyone!
It's been far too long since I've updated my blog, and there are lots of fun Blythe custom creations on the horizon.  I have twelve girls I'd like to finish on my own that aren't commissioned works, and here's the start of the sneak peeks!

1.  My citrus-inspired girlie.  I've been excited about this one for a long time.  She's originally a Simply Peppermint RBL, and I chose a bright lemon yellow, an orange, and a special blend of 2 parts lime and 1 part super-bright yellow for her reroot, which was completed by the wonderfully talented Jess of MilkyRobot (this snippet is from her photo, as the reroot will be on its way to me soon)!  Jess also did the work on the substantial alpaca reroot for my next custom girl:

2.  Inspired by Storm from the X-men, this Manuheali'i Paradise Girl RBL has had the most amazing (and expensive) reroot to date, with well over 3 oz. of pure white alpaca from alpacaoutbacka rerooted by Jess of Milky Robot.  I'll be doing custom eyechips for her inspired by the four elements:  earth, air, fire, and water.  I only wish I weren't allergic to the alpaca, so that I could keep this girl forever!  The above sketch is by Lynne Yoshii.

I'll give you more details on the next 10 girls coming up, but I'm off to get some food and visit with friends for tonight.

One last thing:  I don't know that I've ever explicitly stated it, but all of my customs to date are from original Takara Blythe dolls or Ashton Drake Galleries Blythe dolls-- I don't work with factory or counterfeit Blythes.  This is a personal choice.  That's not to say I won't enjoy customizing other CCE dolls like Icys, Jecci5s, etc.  Also, I do not and will not copy another customizing artist's style, nor will I re-customize a doll that has been customized by another artist (unless that doll has been sold to me as "bait" or explicitly to be recustomized by the person who originally customized it).  I may well write more on this later, but I just wanted to let you all know!

Take good care of yourselves and each other, and happy November!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Freckle-Faced Cutie-Pies!

Eep! I know I had no plans to take any commissions until after Blythecon, but I'd been planning on customizing a Simply Vanilla into a cute little freckle-faced girl on my own, so when I got a request from the lovely Lisa (greybird1881) to transform her stock Vanilla in just such a way, I couldn't keep myself away.  I got an extra bonus in that I also got to transform her darling sister, a stock Birdie Blue, any way I liked!  I especially LOVED doing the carving on these girls :)  I'm very happy to introduce you to Story and Maggie.  I hope you enjoy the few pictures I was able to snap of the girls before I sent them back home the evening they were complete :)

Sweet, sassy Story:

and the mischievous miss Maggie:

Here they are in an attempt to get a bit of natural light and a little nap out on the patio before Maggie got her lips glossed and they got boxed up to head home :)

Maggie got a little extra sun!  :D  I just couldn't resist giving her freckled cuteness a little extra rosiness :)  
I hope you love them as much as I do!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shop update with new OOAK handpainted eyechips at Cover Your Dolly

Hi everyone :)

My shop has been a bit sparse lately, as I've been trying to relocate myself and my studio back to the midwest, as well as working on customizing, but I got in a stretch of painting the past 2 days, and Cover Your Dolly has half a dozen new sets of eyechips to show for it!

I've been trying to decide one thing, though, about how I present my eyechips:  should I continue to show them both against a plain black or white background and sitting (NEVER glued, of course!) inside a lovely Blythe dolly-model?  Pros? Cons?
I'm not sure if it helps or hinders being able to envision the chips in your dolly to see them in a Blythe girl, but one who is not your own.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Here are photos of a few sets of my new chips (completely OOAK) to give you an idea of what I mean:

What do you think?  With dolly?  Without dolly?  If both, which should be the first image you see?

About my eyechips for Blythe:

My eye chips are lovingly handpainted with various dolly-safe paints and sealed with a reflective foil and black acrylic paint. 

The designs behind my eyechips are NOT drawn, printed, or painted on paper like some other eyechips, but are painted directly onto the clear eyechip itself, giving a lovely variety of depth in color and reflection. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

new OOAK handpainted eyechips at Cover Your Dolly

Hello friends :)
I've been handpainting some eyechips lately, and have put some up for sale at Cover Your Dolly.  I often get started with one idea for a custom girl and then decide to go in a different direction as I'm painting, so I end up with lots of unique mixes of colors and patterns.  Here are a couple that I have up right now, for example:

These are both still available, and I'll be posting more throughout the week!  :)  I hope you like them, and as always, I welcome any feedback.  Thanks for visiting, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Petite customizing spree!

These four tiny gals are currently "on my slab" in my laboratory... I mean, studio.  That magnifying lamp has me feeling more like a mad scientist...hehe... :D  I love these little ones!  These are their "before" mugshots.  So sweet and innocent-looking, no?  We're ranging from a few changes to total overhaul:  I'll be excited to share the results!

I hope you all are having a refreshing start to the new week.