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I've been meaning to put this together for some time, despite how embarrassing it is for both me and for poor, poor Darryl. I mean, really, I'm going to be trotting out photos of his earliest resin shells, from back in the days when I could barely work a camera. But I think it's interesting to see how he has evolved over the years, and how my skill has evolved, both as a photographer and as a doll owner. I chose Darryl for this project for two reasons; he is both my oldest doll (I had other dolls before him, purchased in 2003, but those have completely moved on), and also one of the dolls that I own that has gone through some of the most significant transitions while still remaining recognizable as a permutation of his original self. Because Talon also features so prominently in many of my photos of Darryl, this retrospective focuses somewhat on him, as well. SO! Carry on my wayward son, there'll be peace when you are done.

Circa February, 2005. This image is from one of the first sets of photos I took of Darryl, when he was fresh out of his LE Kohya box from Volks. His default LE faceup was summarily stripped off upon arrival (I don't think I even photographed it), and I replaced it with the clumsy, no-less-effeminate-but-at-least-slightly-less-day-glo one seen in this photo. Talon is also seen in this picture, despite being purchased well after Darryl, because his secondhand hybrid parts (Volks F-16 head, old Souldoll body) arrived before Darryl did. Talon is sporting probably the worst faceup I ever slapped onto a doll, and we're not even going to talk about the materials I used. Remember, this was back in the days shortly after DoA came into being in its present (forum) form, and information on these dolls and how to work on them wasn't widely available. It's amazing I didn't stain him.
The rest of the photos in the retrospective can be seen under the cut. )
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Darryl is back (or at least, Darryl's torso and left thigh are back) from a sojourn in Ireland with the inestimable hane, who made my descriptions of his dragon tattoo a vivid reality. His parts have actually been here for about a week, but I've been giving them a "no-chipping-or-wearing-off" treatment using painted-on coats of clear polyurethane resin (the same resin I use in making my eyes), so I haven't been able to assemble him until now. This tattoo is completely permanent. It will not wear off. In fact, all of the tattooed pieces have been sanded to remove (most of) the glossiness from the urethane coating, so that should give you an idea of just how durable it is. I may give them a hit of MSC or Zouk's spray in the future, just to matte up the parts where there are dips in the sculpt that were hard to sand and that still retain some shine, but I don't know if I'll bother. (I really hate the texture of spray coatings like MSC.)

So without further ado, I give you...Darryl's dragon tattoo.

Three more photos under the cut - warning for nudity. )
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These 16mm eyes were experiments. I'm pleased with how they're turning out.

And these 12mm eyes are "Special Editions." They'll be priced a bit higher than my usual eyes, as the materials are a bit more costly and slightly harder to work with. They contain natural moonstones. It was hard getting a decent picture of them. These photos still don't do them justice. The moonstone pupil isn't visible until the light hits it. These are the kind of eyes that will look cool in photos, but that really have the most impact in person, since they change and move with the light.

Both pairs will be stock for my booth at the convention in Poulsbo, WA, on May 26th.
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This is (most of) the rest of the last batch of eyes, which were doming yesterday. (I can only dome seven pairs at a time, because of space restrictions.) They're not quite done, obviously, and one or two of them have minor imperfections, but I like them. They'll all be added to convention stock.

The domes on the pink ones turned out too tall, which make them hard to position and magnifies the pupils a lot (it's why they look so big), so I'll have to fix that.

The teal 14mm ones on the lower left will probably be discounted, because one of the pupils ended up off-center. Despite that, they're gorgeous, and if they're positioned correctly you can't tell. I might also be able to correct it by reshaping the dome a little, but I'm not sure.

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These are some of my most recent eyes. Most of them are stock for the upcoming doll convention in Poulsbo, WA. They're not quite finished (the domes on them just finished curing), but at this stage, they're far enough along to give an accurate idea of what they'll look like when they're done.

Some close-up shots. )

Some Eyes

Apr. 16th, 2012 08:48 am
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Here are some eyes I've made.

This is a prototype eye. I was playing around with a junk cast sclera (ran out of resin and didn't have enough to fill all my molds, so this eye has a hollow back/no stem) and the idea of foiling an iris instead of coloring it. I think it turned out pretty interesting. It does have some fairly annoying bubbles, but I wasn't being very careful when I made it, since it was just an experiment. It's a 16mm eye.

There are some more pictures under here. )
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I'm kind of sad that I have to send these on to their new owner. They're really lovely.

In other news, the eye making is coming along well.

Junk Eyes

Feb. 3rd, 2012 04:12 am
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Here are some more of my junk eyes. I'm still having problems with air bubbles, particularly during the doming process. All of these eyes have imperfections that make them unsaleable. The purple eye is the worst - it shifted in the pressure pot during the curing process, and the dome ended up moving WAY off-center, so it looks like it has some kind of growth. The darker blue eye was a test subject for several different things, including touching the resin before it was fully cured to see what would happen. The answer? Lots of tiny, tiny gouges in the surface of the dome that make the eye look cloudy. The light blue eye actually turned out the best, but again has bubbles in it. For some reason, the clear resin isn't responding well to the pressure pot (not de-bubbling, surface texture going "wonky"), while the white resin does just fine in it. I'm really hoping I can solve the bubble issue without having to build a vacuum chamber. Building the pressure pot was difficult (and expensive) enough!

Since these are junk eyes, I probably won't bother removing the stems from the back. For the eyes I actually intend on selling, the backs will be removed, resulting in a flat-backed/half-round eye.
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My eyes have improved by leaps and bounds over the last few weeks. You may remember these prototype eyes that I shared a while back. The eyes below are the exact same pair, with some updates. (They're junk versions, full of bubbles and stuff, but I've tried a few different techniques on them and learned what I do and do not like, as far as results go.)

Getting close to the finish line, now.
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Because it's snowing, and I work at a college that has a small Japanese garden on campus, I slapped a kimono onto Darryl and brought him to work with the intention of taking photos in the snow.

Of course, by the time I actually got to work, it was raining and windy.

So instead, I took him into the tatami room next to the garden and shot a couple of quick photos.

Two more under the cut. )

We're, uh, not going to talk about the fact that it's a fairly girly kimono.
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Talon, Darryl, and Rupali have a little chat.

(This is just an excuse to take pictures, don't read too much into it.)

Four more photos. )

Talon 2.0

Jan. 9th, 2012 06:25 pm
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Like several of my other dolls, Talon has recently undergone an upgrade to a more realistic and mature sculpt. I'm really, really ecstatic with how well he turned out.

He looks great with Darryl, too. ^__^

Three more photos under here. )
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I broke out one of my photography backdrops, and finally got a chance to take a couple of shots of the new Wren and Darryl together. Still getting the hang of this DSLR. It's a doozy, and way more complicated than my previous cameras. It took me ten minutes today just to figure out how to turn off the flash!

I really need to start on the backdrop stand that I've been intending to build. These things make my photos look so much better. I want to get more backdrops, too.

Darryl's head is quite a bit more yellow than his body right now (though the difference is more pronounced in pictures than in person), but I have no doubt that will change as the body mellows. It's currently still paper white.

Darryl 2.0

Dec. 8th, 2011 06:04 am
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Just a one shot. Darryl's new self finally has eyes (of a sort). They're urethane prototypes that I made a few months ago, and have some problems, but they'll do for now.

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A small selection of a bunch of photos from months and months ago, taken at Cornwall Park, a few blocks from my old apartment.

More photos under the cut. )
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It's probably been 10 or more years since I baked anything. We had some bananas laying around that were ripe to the point of being almost solid black-brown, so I mentioned to James that maybe I would bake some banana bread rather than throwing them out. Well, he got this wonderful, dewy expression on his face, so after that I pretty much had to make the bread. However, my recipe calls for three to four or more bananas, and we only had two. Thus, I modified my recipe, leaving out the chocolate chips and substituting a couple of cups of frozen blueberries to replace the moisture normally supplied by the two missing bananas.

I don't know yet how it will taste, because I'm waiting for James to get home from work before de-panning and cutting into the loaf, but it smells delicious.

The loaf is so dark because I sprinkled brown sugar on it before baking to give it a nice, crunchy-sweet top. The weight and extra moisture of the blueberries kept the loaf from really rising, but I'm okay with that. I prefer heavy, thick breads, anyway.

We're, uh, not going to talk about the "domestication" jokes James and I were trading back and forth while I mixed this.

Wren 2.0

Nov. 14th, 2011 07:31 pm
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I'm just going to leave this here.

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I made a dreadlocked wig for Rupali. It still needs some work, but I'm pleased with the results thus far. (Rupali wears her hair short, but in her downtime she sometimes puts on a wig with big, chunky dreads.)

Look under the cut for another shot of Rupali, a couple pictures of Zsuzsa, and two photos of Darryl 2.0. )