Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saving Face

When I first started making fairies I had no experience with doll making. Actually, I never really considered the fairies as dolls. I still don't think they are. They're more decorative accessories at this point. As I've more recently discovered, doll making is a lot more involved; there are movable parts made of clay or soft dolls with sewn details that would have taken hours, real doll hair, eyelashes, and clothing handmade to fit. All in all, very impressive and a goal worth working toward but I definitely don't have the time or skill at the moment. I'm particularly impressed with and inspired by Art Dolls which I will post about in the near future.

For the time being, I discovered a few much needed improvements I do have the ability to make - mainly on the fairy faces. I hadn't really given a lot of thought or effort to the painting of the faces, in fact, I was more intrigued with the construction of the entire piece. The faces, I would say, were rather rudimentary and the more fairies I made, the less satisfied I became with the lack of expression. I have been, however, pleased with my ability to mold the heads and the features out of clay so at least I have a good base to work with.

While perusing the remarkable works of the art doll makers I noticed one thing in common to all of their dolls. The eyes were very big and very bright while the nose and mouth were small and subtle. The mouths are almost like little cherries which allows the eyes to be the focal point. I think this is something that draws in people. When we talk to others we look in their eyes (assuming we're not shy or socially awkward), when we see the face of a beautiful person, we tend to notice their eyes first and their eyes are usually large. I also read somewhere that people find symmetry very appealing in a face. This is a key factor, apparently, that model agencies look for when selecting candidates.

So, with these things in mind, about a month ago, I modeled a new head out of clay and left it to dry. It wasn't by choice that I left it so long, but when I finally found the time to work on it, I was happy to have it waiting for me. I had, back then, made sure that the eye cavities were larger than the ones I had made previously and I also made the face a little more heart-shaped with a small chin. Several nights ago, I got to work with a new set of colours...watercolour brush pens made by Bienfang. I quickly, discovered, however, that they weren't the best medium for drawing faces. Although I could get a fairly fine point with the brushes, it wasn't quite fine enough. The mouth became much larger than I had wanted and the eyes just looked weird and flat.

I almost threw it out, that head, but then I thought I've already screwed it up so I might as well play with  it. I pulled out a bunch of different items to apply colour, one of them being simple crayons. I started by adding a light pink crayon to her cheeks and was delighted by the result. Then I started adding more definition and colours to the eyes, eyebrows and lips. I also got a simple black in ballpoint pen and outlined the iris and lips. Finally, every fairy needs some sparkle and glitter glue is a lot of fun and adds so much to the eyes.

Autumn Fairy with her Orange Eyes

Well, isn't it amazing when you just let yourself go and not worry about getting everything perfect? I was absolutely thrilled with the final result. Although I still find the lips too big, I think the eyes help to detract attention from them. Clearly, I have a long way to go before I would consider myself on par with the other talented ladies out there making dolls, but I am pleased that I have made this much progress. I also want to try some other ways to apply colour and if, by some chance, a veteran doll maker is reading this post and has some words of wisdom to offer, I would be so appreciative.

Okay. I'm off to make more heads for the future...hopefully the not too distant future.


  1. I am glad to be the first to comment on this post. Unfortunately, I'm not a veteran doll maker but I'm a seasoned eye lover. I wholly agree with you that you should concentrate on the eyes, that much I know :-)
    Just the other day, I read this beautiful poem on the net written by Teresa Mahieu. You can find the original text here:
    The beauty of a woman
    Is not in the clothes she wears,
    The figure that she carries,
    Or the way she combs her hair.

    The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
    Because that is the doorway to her heart,
    The place where love resides.
    The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole
    But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

    It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
    The passion that she shows,
    And the beauty of a woman
    With passing years only grows!

    Keep making beautiful fairies, they too, are mirrors to your soul.

    1. Abufares, I have to admit that I'm always surprised to see you here but never disappointed. :) This poem is lovely. Thank you for your support. And I couldn't agree more with you and the poet.

  2. I can't give you any advice, but I do like her cheeks and her sweet pointy nose! She's very beautiful in a sultry way.

    I agree with abufares' comment - eyes are the mirrors to your soul

    1. Hi Anji. Thank you! I'm so happy you see her that way. Sometimes I worry I'm the only one who sees it. :) I always appreciate your comments.

  3. She's very cute:) I agree I think eyes are probably the most important thing on a doll. Faces are the one thing that most doll makers find to be the hardest thing to do. I'm not an expert but I think practice is the only way to get where you want to be with your faces.

    1. Hello Mary Ann. I really appreciate you dropping by and commenting. It's good to know that a seasoned and talented doll maker agrees with me. :) I will forge ahead and keep trying as suggested. Thanks!

  4. I think she's perfectly lovely. I love the sculptural line from her forehead down to her nose. I think you are on to something there.

    1. Thank you so much Unusual Girl. I was pretty excited about how it turned out. You know, small victories! :) So glad you dropped by.