Tag Archives: MiniFee

BJDmagazine Happy New Year

Happy New Year from BJDmagazine

Dear Friends, thank you for being part of BJDmagazine in 2010. Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2011!!!

Thank you to our readers!

Thank you to the many forums and BJD communities that welcomed us!

Thank you to our interviewees and tutorial contributors! Jessica DeBuck (Fanciful Delights), Caroline Seales (Viridian House), Cindy Sowers, Dale Zentner (Pink Grapefruit), Kirika Dawn, Marina Bychkova (Enchanted Doll), Meike Herpers, Miriam Bos (Sweetly Twisted), Marta Piotrowicz (DollWhisperer Studio), Rachel Bartel (LillyCat CeriseDolls).

Thank you to our advertisers! BigEyeBetties, Cindi’s Doll Apparel and Patterns, All the Way Down, Triskel Fantasy Shop, CADolls, Mint on Card, Ruby Red Galleria, The Junky Spot, Luxour Academy.

BJDmagazine Happy New Year

Fur-collared Winter Jacket Tutorial

Tutorial: Keep Your BJD Warm with This Fur-Collared Winter Jacket

Even with a surprise blizzard, you can keep your BJD warm by creating this fur-collared winter jacket. The pattern fits any ball-jointed doll size – just plug in your BJD’s measurements. This is a quick and easy project with few required materials. The jacket can be sewn by hand or by machine.  Our FairyLand Minifee Shushu, Isabelle, is modeling the jacket.

winter jacket tutorial 2


  • 1/4 yard felt
  • Sewing thread in matching color
  • Piece of fur, or faux-fur, long enough to go around neck opening
  • 2 beads
  • 2 snap closures
  • Sewing needle, or sewing machine
  • Magna-Tac or clear craft glue
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors

Measure Your BJD

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Measure from wrist to wrist. (wtw)

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Measure from collar bones to hips. (cth)

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Measure from wrist to half way between elbow and shoulder. (wts)

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Measure hand at widest. (h)

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Measure from collar bone to right above chest. (ctc) For example, the 1-inch mark in this image.

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Measure from one side of neck to the other. (neck)

Make the Back Pattern

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Draw a rectangle using the wtw and cth measurements.

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To get the width of the sleeve, divide the h measurement by 2, then add 1/2 inch. Draw a vertical line at each end of wtw with that measurement. Draw line parallel to wtw using the wts measurement. Draw parallel lines to cth. Cut.

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Center neck measurement on back piece, and draw a gentle curve 1/4 inch deep.

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Cut the neck opening. This is the pattern for the back piece.

Make the Front Pattern

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Draw a rectangle using 1/2 of wtw measurement and cth measurement.

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To get the width of the sleeve, divide the h measurement by 2, then add 1/2 inch. Draw a vertical line at the end of wtw with that measurement. Draw line parallel to wtw using the wts measurement. Draw a parallel line to cth. Cut.

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Using 1/2 of neck measurement, place a tick mark on wtw line. Using ctc measurement, place a tick mark on cth.

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Join the 2 tick marks. Cut neck opening. Make a duplicate of this pattern.

Cut the Pieces

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Pin the pattern pieces to the felt.

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Cut the pattern pieces out.

Sew the Jacket

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Pin the pieces together.

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Sew shoulder seams, stopping at neck opening.

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Sew body and underarm seams.

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To allow the underarm to lie flat, make a central incision at the underarm corner.

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Then make two incisions, one on each side of that central incision.

Repeat for other arm.

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Turn jacket right side out.

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Place a line of glue around collar, and glue fur in place.

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Glue 2 buttons in the upper part of jacket.

Sew 2 snap closures to keep the top of the jacket closed.

winter jacket tutorial 1

If you like this tutorial, please link to it and share it with your friends!
Delf El BJD with faceup by Caroline Seales of Viridian House

Caroline Seales, renowned BJD face-up artist behind Viridian House (part 2)

This is the second of a two-part interview with Caroline Seales, the renowned BJD face-up artist behind Viridian House, in which she talks about  modifying ball-jointed dolls, and the art of  beautifully blended face-ups.

BJDmagazine: You are a wonderful photographer and illustrator. How does this influence your face-ups?

Caroline: Oh they both definitely influence my faceups! I used to paint the faces quite pale with few colours, and then after taking the photos the colour would always be washed out and quite bland. So I began to layer more colours with the intention to make them show up better on camera, which actually turned out to be a real learning curve. Also, I think painting all these dolls has actually influenced my illustration! Learning about which colours work best on which part of the doll has improved how I draw portraits :)

BJDmagazine: When you paint a face, do you see more than just a face?

Caroline: When I look at an unpainted doll, I see a blank canvas and I just can’t wait to get stuck in! For customer’s dolls, I try to think about what the character is like if they’ve  described it, and what kind of expression it has. When painting my own dolls, I’m happy to just paint how I like and then see what kind of personality has emerged in the end!

Modified FairyLand miniFee Shushu

BJDmagazine: You are not afraid to modify a doll. Can you tell us about your experiences with modifications? (We are thinking of your sleeping face Shushu.)

Caroline: Well for the first time I was actually very afraid! The sleeping Shushu was originally meant to be a practice, since I knew that if I messed up it would be easy and fairly cheap to get another one. It’s actually much easier than I thought it would be, I started by just opening the eyes but now both my Shushu heads have had other modifications! My favourite kind to do is in the lips and nose – I like to make the face softer and rounder.

BJDmagazine: The blending is perfect on your face-ups? How do you achieve this?

Caroline: At first I would try to get a strong colour by just choosing a darker colour – for me this just ended up a mess! I prefer to choose a normal colour, but the key to building up the colours without making them patchy is to do it in layers – making sure to spray the MSC in between. I also like to use a large soft brush and lots and lots of cotton buds! The cotton buds are perfect for blending in small areas like just under the eye and the lips.

BJDmagazine: Would you say your work is more like a watercolor, than an oil painting?

Caroline: It’s quite hard to say really, watercolors are more subtle and delicate whereas an oil painting has a richer colour, so I’d like to think my work is somewhere in the middle!

BJDmagazine: How does the music of Akino Arai relate to your work?

Caroline: Oh it seems like I long time since I last listened to her music! Music is important to me when doing any kind of art, I think most artists feel this way! Right now I’m drawing inspiration from a Scottish band, Cocteau Twins. Music certainly creates all kinds of images and colours in my mind so this band is definitely my favourite for that!

Alchemic Lab Unoa Faceplates

BJDmagazine: You paint mostly female sculpts. Why? Would you like to paint more male sculpts?

Caroline: I’m very happy to paint either, though I think I do slightly prefer female sculpts! This is mainly because I like to paint pretty, rosy colours so that just suits girls more. Saying that, I do love to paint more natural styled boys – getting to paint hairier eyebrows is quite fun! I’ve had a few commissions where I was given photos of male models as reference and I was very happy with the results :)

BJDmagazine: You choice of eye lashes is always perfect. Do you have a recommendation for our readers on how to chose the best eye lashes for their dolls?

Caroline: It’s quite hard for me to get hold of good eyelashes, so my customers usually send some along for me to attach. I would recommend joining a group order if you just need one or two pairs, but sometimes human lashes can be used if you’re desperate. I’ve seen some really lovely styles on the 4D website (vier4d.com) which I’m dying to try out! The best kind of lashes to look out for are the kind that taper off at the end, so that they have that fine feathery effect.

BJDmagazine: Why do you say YO-SD Nana is one of your favorite paints?

Caroline: Oh this doll is just so cute! The ‘four sisters’ sculpt is one of my all time favorites, such a classic by Volks! And the Yo-SD one is just a miniature version so to me she is just so completely adorable – I would never get tired of painting either the SD or Yo versions!

Volks YoSD Nana

BJDmagazine: Which sculpt would you dream of painting?

Caroline: Over the course of the past two years I’ve painted a few of my ‘dream dolls’! I used to always want to paint an Alice by AIL, Supia Rosy, and a Volks Williams. I’ve managed to paint these (in fact I’m painting a Williams right now!) so I guess my next dream commission would be a female School Head A & C… and a Michele. Oh and I’d love to be able to modify a Volks Nana – especially the mouth area to exaggerate that cute pout! There’s just too many to name!

BJDmagazine: What is your work process? How do you approach a commission?

Caroline: I ask for written instructions or pictures as an example from my commissioners, so I’ll start by looking over these first, and then comparing them to the actual doll, for example, working out how a particular expression will fit on the doll. I’ll paint really faint guidelines for the brows, and then start to build up all the hairs, and the lashes too. After I’ve painted the ‘base’ details I’ll begin to start working on the blushing and colours – and then continue to layer up more paint and more pastels. I think it’s easier to work with more broad terms rather then specific instructions on each part of the face, so I stopped using a questionnaire and now I just ask my customer to describe in their own words.

Lati Faceplate BJD faceup

BJDmagazine: How often do you open commissions?

Caroline: I open up whenever I can, but it can sometimes take a long time! Rather than to strict ‘monthly’ slots, I just take on commissions whenever I have the time. It’s not so easy to get hold of some of the materials, so sometimes I have to wait till I’ve got enough stocked up.

BJDmagazine: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Caroline: First I would just like to thank those who have read what I had to say! And second, to thank all my customers who have trusted me with their dolls in the past :) I’m still amazed that people want to send them all the way to Scotland just to get painted! I hope I can continue to improve my work and I look forward to what comes in 2011.

FairyLand modified miniFee ShuShu face-up

You can find Caroline on:
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28802671@N04
Blog: http://viridian-house.blogspot.com
DeviantArt: http://icchaeyo.deviantart.com

If you like this interview, please link to it and share it with your friends!



Sweetly Twisted’s Secrets for Stunning BJD Face-Ups (2/3)

Also see: Part1Part3

Miriam (irrimiri on flickr) of Sweetly Twisted
Website: http://www.sweetlytwisted.com/
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetlytwisted/
Blog: http://faceups-sweetlytwisted.blogspot.com/

BJDmagazine: How do you decide on a face-up when you work on your own dolls, and when you work on a commission?

Miriam: On my own dolls, I am way more relaxed. It’s funny, because I often know just what I want for them. Though, with my pukiFee, I was experimenting, not knowing what she was going to look like. I love doing my own dolls most of all, because every doll has his or her own character. I just know how to work on them. When working for customers, you have to understand what they want. I created a face-up questionnaire for that purpose. It’s a simple list with questions about the general mood, the shape, and colors of eyebrows, eyelashes, mouth, and so on. I ask customers to provide photos as examples, if they have them. I would never copy a face-up from another doll owner, especially not on a similar sculpt. Though, I don’t mind copying a default company face-up. The difference is that every doll owner creates their own unique doll character (unless it’s a limited full set of course), and I don’t want to simply copy a doll from someone else, unless I know that this face-up doesn’t exist anymore.


BJDmagazine: What advice would you give to collectors wanting to commission a custom face-up from you?

Miriam: Think about what you want for your doll. What kind of character you would like your doll to express. What colors you would like me to use.

BJDmagazine: You paint beautiful sleeping faces. Tell us more about the choices you make when painting them.

Miriam: I work on them the same way I work on normal faceplates, even though sleeping faces have more neutral/peaceful eyebrows. When I do sleeping faces, I try to give the face a calm expression, as if the doll was really sleeping.

BJDmagazine: How different is it to paint an SD, as opposed to an MSD, Yo-SD, or a tiny doll?

Miriam: Sometimes it’s a relief to work on SD heads. At the moment, I have two huge SD heads from customers. I am very glad to have this change of size once in a while because bigger heads are always easier to work on. The smaller they are, the harder it is to paint tiny sharp eyelashes and eyebrows. I get a lot of requests to work on MSDs and Yo-SDs, so I am happy when I receive bigger heads. The shade work can be more interesting and it is even a bit more relaxing.


BJDmagazine: You paint wonderful freckled faces. What is your approach to making them look so natural?

Miriam: Haha! I’ve been asked about this a lot. My tip is to thin the paint with water. Make the paint very translucent, but just dense enough to leave marks when you apply it. And, of course, you need a tiny airbrush and lots of patience. Painting freckles is slow and time-consuming.

BJDmagazine: What materials do you work with? Do you prefer pastels or paints? And why?

Miriam: I work with different brands of acrylics (Lascaux, Amsterdam, Jo Sonja’s, and Americana’s), and with one brand of pastels (Rembrandt). I use different brands of acrylics because every brand has its own colors that I prefer. Some paints, like Lascaux and Jo Sonja’s, have strong pigments, which is handy when you want to work a bit darker. Americana and Amsterdam have a thinner texture, which makes it easier to produce lighter shades. Rembrandt pastels are my favorite soft pastels. They provide me with the right colors. Sometimes I also make use of my airbrush when I need to work with other colors, like purple and blue color tones. It’s hard to make blue and purple look bright and saturated with pastels, especially on normal or darker skin tones.


BJDmagazine: Are some molds harder to work with than others? Tell us why. Do you enjoy the challenge?

Miriam: Yes there definitely is a difference in sculpts. Companies like Fairyland and Soom have sculpts that are very easy to work with. Their faces are smooth and don’t have too many details, like very deep set eyes, heavy eyebrows or frowny faces. They leave lots of possibilities open for face-ups. But heads from companies like Souldoll, Doll in Mind, or cheaper Chinese companies such as Dollfamily, are harder. Some of the head sculpts from Souldoll and Doll in Mind have very deep set eyes and often deeply sculpted eye creases. This makes it harder to get an ‘even’ effect when blushing.

Another challenge is asymmetric faces. Faces from cheaper BJD companies often have this characteristic. When it’s not too obvious, there is no real problem. It can even add a touch of realism to a face, since no human face is perfectly balanced. But once, I had to work on a doll that had one eye that was a lot wider than the other. It was the first thing I noticed when I looked at it. It was really obvious. Also, the eyes were not at the same height. Even the elven ears were uneven. One ear was obviously bigger than the other. It was hard to give the face a somewhat balanced face-up. Those dolls are not fun to work on. It takes a lot of effort to get it ‘right’, and in the end, I often don’t even like the results. I guess I am too ‘precise’ with these things. I keep seeing the fact that the face is unbalanced, and it bothers me.

BJDmagazine: Do you fall in love with some molds?

Miriam: Oh yes! Definitely. I once did a face-up on a doll that was to be sold by Triskel Fantasy Shop. It was a MiniFee Seorin. In the end, I decided to buy him and he never left me SmileSmile. He still has that face-up. I love him very much, even though I am now capable of better quality face-ups than back then.


Also see: Part1Part3

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