A brief primer of how I convert dolls and make plush toys, etc.
The Stalker Sheet
As you can see, I've printed out pictures collected from DVD screenshots
of a few characters that interested me. I call them Stalker Sheets mainly to amuse myself, because let's face it: cover
your tables, floors and walls with sheets like this, and you're either trying to reproduce likenesses, or you're a stalker.
And woe to those who, like me, bring any of them into your 9-to-6 job in case you get some time during lunch to work on some
sculpting. Chances are they won't believe your explanation.
As you can see, I've grabbed a few screenshots of different angles.
Usually each person takes up a few pages as I try to print many front, side and 3/4 view angles.
Picking the Base Doll
Hm. You know, I'm going to send you to this site, which a friend discovered
(Hope he doesn't mind the plug!) I've been doing this sort of thing before
finding that site, but it sums up better than I could here the process of finding a base doll to work from. In my case,
more often than I'd like, I start with figures that require a lot more imagination before seeing any likeness. The rest
is up to my own hacking and sanding and squeezing and... er, creative efforts.
Magic Sculp! And I used to hate any clay that
air-dried. This is a 2-part epoxy that is workable for about 20 minutes (a little longer if wet), and lasts much longer
than its small containers would suggest. When working directly on a vinyl head, I use this. If working from a
resin head, I use Sculpey, since Sculpey is an oven-bake clay, and resin can easily handle low oven temperatures. Vinyl...
no so good.
If a local hobby store doesn't carry Magic Sculp, Monsters in Motion sells it, so have fun.
Sculpey! As mentioned above, it's a tan, polymer-based clay that bakes
at low temperatures in a regular oven. By low, I mean no more than 200° It doesn't air-dry like Magic Sculp, but
the older it is, the harder and more crumbly it gets. I sometimes sculpt accessories with this, then cast them in resin.
Just about every hobby store carries this.
Resin! I use Smooth-on's 2-part rubbers and resins to make castings of
pieces and heads whenever I can. Better hobby stores (and I don't mean Michael's or A.C. Moore) might carry them.
By the way - working with them makes gooey messes, so be careful. As for moldmaking itself, well, finding reference
on that is a whole 'nother area I'm not experienced enough to cover.
Everything else! By that I mean fabrics, glues, leathers and suedes, the
dolls themselves, parts and accessories from other dolls, doll hair, and whatever else is needed to make it work!