Thursday, March 9, 2017

Making Aspen the Dryad, part I

So I've wanted for ages to make one of the weird super-slim alien jointed bodies sold by Doll Chateau into a Dryad. I found the perfect body for this, the K-08 male, and while it is 52cm with a head on, in scale it counts as Mini sized. She'll just be awfully tall for a 1/4 doll.

I chose the boy version of that body for this project because the girl body has huge hips and almost no ribcage ....and i know it's weird but just looking at its frail and tiny torso makes it hard for me to breathe- it's a personal anatomy nitpick/phobia/involuntary reaction I can't get around. So I bought a boy doll and will be making it into a girl who could plausibly have organs and inhale or exhale.

Then I just needed to find a head. I wanted it to be more than just another pretty face. The right face for my dryad would need to be something special, striking, otherworldly. Armeleia of Seed Doll/Seed Arts made this little bird faced head called Wol, and I knew she'd be perfect. I snagged one as soon as the order went up.

In the months before Wol arrived, I spent a lot of time working out how I would make her into a dryad. I knew I wanted a very special kind of wig, not just a green hair wig. I wanted to give her leaves, and do four or more wigs that I could change seasonally to take her outside for photoshoots. I settled on hand dyeing a LOT of fringey lace.

So much lace. So much hand dyeing. Partly I used Dye-Na-Flow by Jacquard, and partly just fabric markers for the brown twiggy bits. Each piece of lace was laid out flat, then painted and marker'ed one.
 at a time.  ....Yikes. Sometimes I wonder about myself and my idea of fun.

 Then it was time to work on the body mods. I shaved off the boy bits on the hip piece, which was easy, but the chest was a little trickier. I wanted her to have some small breasts, so I had to sculpt some in. Luckily this body has wide, low, long pecs so there's plenty of room. Here's the first few cuts with the ceramic scraper knife, and you can see my pencil guidelines. Nothing too extreme, just an A-cup size.

 Making things symmetrical before I refine the shapes. A certain amount of symmetry is desired here.

 Then a LOT of sanding! So often the key to a good mod vs a kind of shoddy one is the amount of time you're willing to put in with the sandpaper and descending fineness of grits to get a good smooth finish.
 Even at this stage she's not quite done. I hurt my thumb with an S-Hook at this point, (you do NOT want to know, it was pretty bad) so sanding had to stop while my poor digit recovered. 
Luckily Wol arrived to distract me!

 Here she is! And with her genius little s-hook holder made in the shape of a cluster of crystals! It's super sparkly in person. Armeleia hand cast it herself to include the glittery bits, so unless a bigger company wants to go to that kind of trouble they might not steal the concept. (fingers crossed. it's such a nice detail) Wol herself was in a cute little printed cloth bag I will be keeping.

I spent some time with my bandaged thumb and engaged in an evening of wigmaking. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

 Here she is, starting to come together! I am so excited! Her eyes are some I'd already owned and used on a doll I had sold on, and I was hoping they'd work for her. I love her look!

What you're seeing here on the blog is the Summer Wig, but she'll have other seasons too. From similar lace I've made her an Autumn wig in full Aspen Gold. I want to make a Spring wig with budding leaves and flowers, and a Winter wig full of ice crystals and dusted with snow.

I plan to blush her like an Aspen Tree, with lots of little black bark texture marks, and greyish brown shading and faceup.