Inspired to make a pair of artdoll friends

by  | Apr 27, 2019 |The process of designWhen planning a sculpt, I start with an inspirational flash of something intriguing, challenging and in context to my current series of works. After finishing Madame S. Caterpillar I wanted a create a friend who was modern and eclectic to match her.Hence the idea for Abika Ladibird came to me. Inspired by the a childhood favorite ladybird beetle and the challenge of designing a model-esque woman with multiple insect arms plus using the vivid color of orange came to mind!Here is how I moved from concept to creation …Always the artist, Dina
Sometimes I start with a drawing, other times with the frame – like I did with Abika. 
I make the head separately and stick it on periodically to see how the rest is shaping up. Slowly I build up the body and stance, very rough at first. In this case her boots are made with a stronger apoxy clay as I wanted Abika to be freestanding. Her leg was 5mm to long too get a perfect posture so I needed some bone surgery to reduce it .. well worth the effort!
I am always testing colors, fabrics, hair choices along the way. Especially important was miniskirt and poncho lengths. 
I bought an mini air compressor a few months ago, best thing I did to get a great all over skin-tone. Here she is finished and dried waiting for her subtle pastel blushing. This darker caramel tone was a hard blend to get right – doubt I could ever repeat it!
Finally her body blushing goes on over the skintone to give her face some life, always testing with fabric swatches. I dont finish the stronger touches on nails, eyelashes and eyebrows until nearly finished.  
I didnt take many wip pics while making her clothes, it was a slow trial and error process. Selecting the final hair choice and style was very challenging too, I am delighted with the finished product though. 
However for all my dolls I use a proportions chart printed to the finished size. 
I use digital images and overlay them in Photoshop to calculate scale. I used the rough armature image, a ladybird beetle, legs in boots, and a female anatomy image all at once. This works out approximate lengths for each sub component like wings, boots height, arms length, torso and arms positions.I am pulling together swatches of different fabrics, furs, and hair types and colors. At this stage I was planning red hair as seen by the saran and mohair swatches on the left. I was unhappy with coloring faux fur so needed to find something more suitable and had already made the organza under wings on the far right.
Another tool I use is on my ipad, a drawing app where I take a photo and then sketch all over it, playing with color, shapes, sizes etc. I still have a sample of red hair taped to the head but decided a short brown crop may be better; plus I was still thinking gloves at this stage. 
There are plenty of inspirational photos out there to use as your source material.
Meanwhile Abika’s orange cape is coming along. I decided to hand color my own silk blend to get the graduation in tone and found some mink fur trim. Again back on the ipad to sketch in where I will position the ladybird dots. 
Finally cape .. not very happy with my black dots at all 🙁 but everything else is awesome! You can see all the finished Abika pics here.
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