Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Revisiting an old project

Way back in 2007 I discovered Ball Jointed Dolls, and decided that I could probably make one myself.
I had just received a Jan McLean vinyl doll as a gift, and while I was on the Internet looking at her other porcelain) dolls, I stumbled across Marina Bychkova's Enchanted Dolls. Eventually I found myself at Den of Angels, a large fan-forum for Asian Style BJDs. Way back then they had an artists subforum for people sculpting their own dolls, and I jumped in with both feet.
My first ever BJD was a 53cm tall doll which took me the better part of a year to complete. This poor doll got almost finished, then hacked into pieces and reworked over and over. She was my first experience with working with silicone and resin too. I pulled a complete cast in resin just once - my moulds were not correctly built so I had all kinds of issues with bubbles and miscasts, then I moved onto smaller dolls, where I would be able to experiment without having to risk "wasting" $1000 in supplies again.

This has been a long preamble to say that I have dragged her poor broken prototype pieces out of storage, and have been cleaning them up in preparation for alterations to make her suitable for casting in porcelain (which was what I wanted to do with her in the first place).
She should end up around 48cm tall in porcelain, due to shrinkage.
I will update with photos just as soon as I get replacement batteries for my camera.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Off to a poor start...

...the blogging everyday, that is - looks like I missed a day!
I'll do another post tonight to make up for it...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How a sculpt starts

A jointed one at least. 
This is the working drawing and floral foam armature for the doll I posted a few days ago.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ian Garmonsway - Caricature...er

It's not just myself working here, the super-talented-very-funny-and-quite-handsome Ian (it's his name on the sign) also occasionally belts out some illustrations. He draws so quickly and tidily that I get infuriated watching him do it.
Ian's speciality is caricature, something that I find extremely difficult. Finding that balance between funny and flattering.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Digital BJD Kitty

Last year I made a ball jointed cat as an Etsy commission.
Because it was intended as a one off I didn't take "mouldablity" into account when sculpting him.

I really loved how he turned out, and wanted to re-sculpt him for mould making/casting. So, using the working drawings that I made for the original, I have started building him in 3D. 

The 3D build is still in its very earliest stages, so it looks quite blocky and, well, awful right now.
But eventually it will look more like this, but with more precise joints:

Once he's finished, I'll again have a print made with Shapeways, and then start producing him in resin.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lotso Monkeys

So, plushies huh?
Earlier this year I made a whole bunch of soft cuddly* monkeys. I designed a pattern to fit the already existing character design of one of the mascots of a major online retailer down here in little ol' NZ

All of them hand cut, pinned, and then sewn by myself. (I did manage to bribe my daughter into turning and stuffing some of them).

Mighty Ape still have some in stock too.
^ If you follow that link you'll see an assembled monkey.

* Seriously - that Minky fabric is sooooo nice to handle - not so nice to sew** however...
** I only sewed through one of my fingers

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

OOAK dolls

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and tried to complete a doll in one day.
I managed to get all the sculpting done and the body assembled on one doll. I didn't get her painted, dressed or wigged though.
This is some of my progress: 

In hindsight I probably should have started only one.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


In an effort to build up better blogging habits I'm taking part in Blogtoberfest 2012, and am going to drip feed tidbits of WIPs and other stuff that Garmonsway Designs is working on (or has worked on).

Like this:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

From 3D Model to Resin-Cast Doll - Step 3

Deciding what to fix.

I've had my wee man strung for a few days, and have been playing with him to see what I need to alter before taking moulds of him.

I'm happy with how the hips, pelvis, wrists, and ankles are working. I'm very happy about his elbows. This is a joint that I always have problems with when doing a physical sculpt.

Things that are kind-of-bothering-me-but-I-can-live-with (at this scale) are his shoulders and neck. 
See that gap between the top of the shoulder and the trapezius muscle? I'm pretty sure I can fix that by reducing the size of the stringing channel in his armpit. 

His neck is short for a doll, but I was trying to avoid giraffe-neck syndrome. The issue I'm having here is how noticeable the ball joint is when his head is tilted. I won't be altering that because I think it will adversely affect his head mobility (which is nice at the moment). 

Things that I need to fix:
The outer helix of his ears must have been too thin to print, so I'll have to rebuild them. This, and the printing artifact-ridges are the only issues caused by the printing process - the rest is all design flaws. With a physical sculpt I can test pieces as I go, but with the 3D model it's a bit harder to tell how it's going to go.

The slots for his wrist (and ankles too - but they're not as bad) - there's just not enough room to string him easily because I've set the bar too close to the base of the slot. This won't be an issue with a larger scale hand, but this currently about 2 millimetres to string through, which was Not Fun. I'll need to break out a tiny drill bit for this.

His chest slips forward, making him slouch - this will be fixed by adding a teeny bit of a step at the base of his sternum.

I didn't take a photo of it - but tilting the chest to the side doesn't look fantastic either. It's to do with the slope of the ball-joint in the belly piece being too shallow, resulting in a stepped look similar to the line of the back in the above picture. Again, I can live with it at this scale, but this is something that I think will have to be altered in the 3D model for larger scale doll.

Next up: His knees.

They actually look quite nice if only the joint connecting the thigh is bent down.
The bit going into the calf however... urgh. In order to accommodate the curve of his calf, I think I've made the knee piece too long.
I may have to make his legs single jointed (as a last resort). I'll definitely have to do something to the 3D model here.

I'll be doing the fixes with Aves Apoxie Sculpt, which I've never used before, but is perfect for this purpose.

I need to do some (read: lots of) priming and sanding too, but that comes after the alterations. The surface of the print is very "toothy" but I need him to be a bit smoother. The only place he has noticeable ridges is the very top of his head, the  rest of the priming should go quite smoothly (oho! a pun!).

And to finish, a piece of advice:

Shut any kittens out of the room when taking photos of small dolls.
Basil picked the doll up BY THE HEAD at the exact moment I pressed the shutter button. Little sod.

Monday, July 2, 2012

From 3D Model to Resin-Cast Doll - Step 2

Step two is receiving the printed prototype a day before it was scheduled to arrive!

On initial inspection, he looks great (but so teeny).

There are a couple of issues I need to address before I can string him together.
I will need to go at him with some sandpaper and drill bits, some pieces haven't printed hollow (probably due to the teeniness), and I didn't allow for any ease between his joints and don't want to force anything, so I need to give the elbow and knee pieces a gentle reshaping.

Turns out that the un-hollowness was just residue leftover from the printing process, and I found that the force needed to fit his knees and elbows in was less than I thought.

I'm going to leave him strung for a few days, and "test" his design.
I've already picked up on some aspects that are going to need alteration, and will make a more detailed post about that later.

Friday, June 29, 2012

From 3D Model to Resin-Cast Doll - Step 1

I thought it might be interesting to chart my progress with this particular project.
I've had this 3D model in the works since late November last year.

In Early December, before I scrapped his body and started again - at this point he had no hands or legs.

I had a concerted burst of energy in early February - working on building him a body and then chopping the model up for joints.

How he looks currently.

Working in 3D software is odd. It's the same skill set artistically, but at the same time, a whole different type of thinking than physical modelling. It seems to absorb you, and it becomes very easy to spend what seems like hours trying to find the perfect position for each vertex. You spend hours creating something that doesn't really exist.

Last week, I ordered a print of him from Shapeways, a fantastic service based in the Netherlands. 

Also, this beautiful thing was purchased around the same time:

It's a painters' pressure pot which, with a few minor adjustments, I will be using for pressurised casting.
My silicone moulds will be cured in it under pressure, and after that the resin casts.

The print I've ordered is 1:12 scale, so he's the same size as the old G.I. Joe toys - and just right for doll-houses. Once he gets here - and exists in the real world - I'll be stringing him together and checking to see if he "works"; how his balance is, do his joints work like I expect them to, and all that stuff. Then I'll make any necessary adjustments with Apoxy Sculpt and prime and sand (and repeat) until he's nice and smooth. Then I'll make moulds, and cast him.

If all of that is successful, I'll update my digital file, and get him printed in a larger size.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Beginning...

Hi, I'm Alana.

Garmonsway Design is a brand new (ad)venture for me.
I have spent the majority of the last decade and a bit feeling progressively more and more that my creative "urges" were pulling my in a different direction than my career was heading. In 2011 these pesky little voices telling me to "make art" became overwhelming, and I caved in. I handed in my notice at my nice, stable job - and am diving into the business of making toys and art as my own boss.

Yes. Toys and Art.
I believe that a child's toys are their first introduction to the world of Art, and it saddens me when children are 'encouraged' to "grow up" and put away those toys. Toys are for grown-ups too!

We (the royal "we" currently) will be designing and producing a range of products, and you can follow along right here on this blog!

You will see plush toys, One Of A Kind Art Dolls, and I'm planning some adventures into resin, and maybe even porcelain...