Aesthetics and Styles

Apr 15, 2020

    1. I've done some forum searching and could not find a thread with exactly this subject, so I wanted to start one!

      As a curious cat, I'm wondering how people go about choosing the aesthetics and styles they want for/from their dolls. It's all very much about personal taste, where we come from, what we watch/read-- the influences on what a person likes is so varied! So the question is; what influences/ed your style of doll? What is it about a sculpt that draws you in more than others? Same sort of questions for faceups.

      I've always enjoyed a variety of arts and aesthetics, so it's been incredibly difficult to pin point exactly what I want from my [first] doll. I adore sculpts with potential for a bit more realism, but don't want to slip into uncanny valley. I really want my dolls to have a strong personality and style of each one; it'd be especially fun for me if each one could stand apart from the others! I think my IRL Goth influences definitely affect the style of fashions I look for in doll clothes/outfits.

      Something else I've noticed in both myself and others is wanting to explore different styles; personally it's exciting to try different aesthetics, even if it won't be permanent.

      P.S.: This thread is meant to share enthusiasm for our styles and tastes, please do not judge others for their preferences and keep things friendly!
      #1 1800crow, Apr 15, 2020
      Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
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    2. Most of my dolls are children, so I go for child-like face sculpts with faceups as natural as possible (nothing that looks like make-up), on immature bodies (very little creeps-me-out more than a child face sculpt on a big-boobed mature/curvy body... {shudder!} Which isn't always easy to find for SD sized girls. I have a fair number of hybrids as a result.

      As far as styling for clothing and hair goes - Old-fashioned and Victorian childrens clothes for a lot of them, a few older period styles, a couple of 20's/30's styles and a few more modern (mainstream, middle-of-the-road modern, not a particular fashion fad style).

      Most of them have their personal variations - colour and style preferences. Hannah is a tomboy, Nesta is a fashion victim (as much as a Victorian child can be) and looks down on Hannah for her lack of interest in clothing and fashion, Edith favouors red, Elfie loves yellow, Nettle is a ruffley-girly-pink-princess, Phige is as close to Goth as a Victorian girl gets, Jane is a hippy... etc.

    3. I like the more realistic looking, but still cute, dolls. My favorite company aesthetic is dollzone. I love that beautiful elegant forlorn look.
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    4. Most of my dolls are either modern day teenagers or 30-something rockers/artists. I think I go for those ages, partly because of all the freedom and fun I had as a teen, it's kind of nostalgic, and the 30s because they're around the same age as me so it's easier to role play them realistically, and they're living the rockstar life I could only dream of.

      For the aesthetic of the sculpts themselves, I'm kind of in the middle between realistic and stylized. I don't care for anime, so those dolls just don't do it for me, but I'm also not into the super realistic. I also think it's easier o find sculpts that work well together when they're in the middle range. All of them are human. I've tried having anthros and fantasy creatures and they just don't hold my interest. I've never really been into fantasy characters.

      And for their style, again, modern. The teens vary from punk to emo to goth to preppy/casual, just like real people would. The adults are more rocker/club style to fit their party attitude. I enjoy these types of character because role playing them is an escape from reality but without too much fantasy.
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    5. Most of my BJD are based on existing characters that are either from Japanese video games/anime or from a very dark-vampire-themed original story (by my bff).So I base their aesthetics and style on their existing characters, that they are based on. Saving me a lot of the thinking work, but making it a pain in the gut because I'm cheap when it comes to purchasing things I could potentially make myself (like clothes, although I suck at sewing), and wigs, but I'm stuck with either not purchasing shoes (because I'm vegan) or settling for whatever is available vegan and fits style-wise. I'm also stuck buying eyes, because I doubt I could possibly make those but I haven't purchase BJD related items in years.

      I'm a weirdo, so my personal clothes are only limited to black, and that's what I make most of my doll's clothes in. When I purchase OT dolls, I don't mind what color clothes they come in, but I do mind what types of fabrics I buy, and how the garment looks in the end (aesthetically speaking). I feel that my dolls would feel uncomfortable wearing any color because I do IRL, so I make all their clothes black unless their specific characters enjoys wearing actual color. However, most of the dolls I own that are not based on OCs don't have a body of their own, because that was always my intention, so I am kind of cheating because they wear whatever the owner of the body wears. DX
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    6. I have so many styles for my dolls! :...(

      I have some bigger dolls (65-70cm) that are a mix of medium-to-high realism; they are all shelling characters based on the Fallout games. So they have pretty basic, but sometimes more rugged or scruffy (two of them are even 'dirty'), types of faceups using mostly natural colors. And their clothes are all based off of clothes that exist in the games. :XD:

      Then, I also have some dolls who are just kind of super basic, normal people. Most of those ended up being slightly more stylized sculpts, and they also have pretty basic faceups, but they are mostly natural colors. And they wear a lot of super basic normal people clothes. :P

      Then also, I have some 1/6 centaurs, and they are all fairly stylized heads, with simple features. So they have a mix of fantasy and tribal styles for their faceups. Some of them are fantasy-colored resin (like green, red, grey, super-yellow, etc), so they are a lot more varied. And even with using a bunch of different colors on each one, they still look very natural since I specifically picked complimentary colors for those dolls's faceups. :)
      And I made them some cute leather vests and saddles and accessories, so they are a very rustic, homemade style.

      Then also also, I have some Minifees as well. Those sculpts are slightly more realistic-leaning, but they all have more dramatic faceups, with bold colors. Their clothes are more dramatic too, kind of a haute couture crossed with street wear.

      So for me, I normally find something about a sculpt I like, then fit it into one of my style groups, depending on the size and stylization level. :)
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    7. I'm a bit like Airimir; I have too many individuals in my crew. Well, my intended crew [I'm in the process of figuring them out].

      I have Leon from Resident Evil, so leather jackets, dark colours, and police uniforms are in order for him. I also have Dante from Devil May Cry - I was going to type DMC, but I didn't want to confuse him with that bizarre Ninja Theory 'spin-off'. Mine is the "proper" Dante by Capcom. So, lots of red leather and long coats for him. Still quite a few dark colours, though.

      I have, in mind, a band that does not have one determined style between them. They're all eclectic and some are wild. The lead singer looks like if Steven Tyler and David Lee Roth had a child, the drummer likes to wear vests and sweats most of the time, and the guitarists are probably the most down-to-earth of the lot. One dresses like some rich-boy skater that doesn't even own a board because he doesn't want to scuff his $100 sneakers. The other is just a 'whatever fits' kind of style, as is his girlfriend. She's a bit like my 'tomboy' style, but more flamboyant. Basically, she's how I'd love to dress if fashion lines catered to my 6'2 frame and I had the money. There's a lot of colour in this group.

      Then, there's my traditional Korean pair. That'll be a challenge, like Leon and Dante are proving. Because I'll have to make a lot of their stuff myself, and there's not a lot from their time period. I should've gone for the Joseon era, instead of the Three Kingdoms. But, I'm also thinking I can get them to 'interact' with the aforementioned band, with a 'modern AU' style. So, a mix of colours again.

      As to how I came to pick their styles, their story settings picked them for me. Leon and Dante were styled by their developers, and the band and my traditional pair are my creations. The band is set in modern-day California, while the traditional pair are in 6th Century Korea [an excuse to get stuck into historical k-dramas]. I'm going to love styling them in a modern AU style, I think.
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    8. As for aesthetic of the sculpts themselves, I’m very much into the rather stylized, old-school look...Volks, Luts and Peakswoods, with some Doll Chateau thrown in when I really want to go out on a ledge!:lol: I think this is because these sculpts generally give me a rather fantasy vibe (and I frankly have enough reality in my life, thank you very much!) I need the escape. I deliberately set my dolls’ world in an inner city neighborhood with a hidden fantasy realm so I could be as eclectic and creative as I wanted. I love the variety and freedom of it!

      As for their individual styles, early on I was absolutely fascinated by the eclectic variety of Harajuku street fashion, as well as vintage fashion, and that is reflected strongly throughout my dolls’ wardrobes. One of my biggest reasons for building a collection as large as I have is that I wanted to freely explore these styles to my heart’s content. I love the research and creativity of it! In fact, I think I only have one doll in my collection who occasionally dresses in traditional modern clothing...all the rest of the time he’s in clothing from one period or another since his character flows through time.
      #8 PoeticSoul, Apr 16, 2020
      Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
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    9. To begin with, let me just say that what I own/sew is just a small part of what I like in general. The most revolutionary point in my doll collecting was when I realised that I don't need to own all the dolls I like.

      That being said, if anything, I usually like dolls with delicate features. When it comes to SDs I cannot decide between the more realistic (just milder, idealised ones) or totally stylised (like my volks nanas) so I keep both xD MSD are always kids, so it's easy. I generally like their delicate noses (they can be wide, or narrow but always turned up!). I have a straight nose. it's pretty but boring. Same with my eyes. So I look for dolls who are just not as boring as myself lol xD When it comes to lips - I like the prominent upper lip, but not too big. I like delicate, smooth bodies with visible belly curve and wider hipbones. Small chests. I mean, the smaller the better.
      So, generally - delicate, teenage-like girls with delicate features.

      When it comes to clothes and accessories, I have for my dolls everything I cannot have for myself: different eye colours, high heels and blond hair and elegant dresses I can only dream of. I live through them. I have a club foot, so no heels, just vans for me. My dolls have a huge collection of shoes and I like showing it to people. I like realistic shoes though, so nothing fantasy or ultra-pink. With eyes - I only like natural colours, especially caramel or dark grey. Well except for purple. I love all shades of purple eyes xD. When it comes to blond hair... it's a pain to maintain them and I'll never go back to platinum. One really has to take a good care and I have no time for it. So my dolls are either blond or jet black like me. Something definite and extreme anyway. And the dresses... yes *-* Soft southern Gothic or mori. My two favourite styles.

      That being said, I LOVE when other people have casually-dressed dolls or awesome fantasy ones. I just don't feel like owning it for myself.
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    10. My dolls have their own styles, this seems to happen organically and has gotten super out of my control! When I got my first doll I had no idea what I was going to do with him until I finished his face, and then it all clicked when it came to his style.

      Pretty much the same has happened with my subsequent dolls, it's like they're the ones who pick out their own style once we meet. I do have some doll plans where I have a vague idea of what kind of general concept I want for them (one will be gyaru, for example) but I feel like my dolls just take on their own personalities and I'm just here to materialize their clothes, eyes, and hair.
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    11. Before getting into BJDs I was very fascinated by Japanese artist dolls (Koitsukihime being my all time favorite). And after all these years I'm still very much fascinated with the art dolls from Japanese artists and this definitely shows in the style of my BJD collection. While I obviously can't afford to buy a doll by Koitsukihime, I can still try to mod my own BJDs to assemble her work, so that's what I often do (yes, I'm a copy cat!)^^
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    12. Like CutieKitty, it took me a while to decide I wouldn't try to collect every type of doll and look I wanted. I have a couple of designated "aesthetic only" dolls and I try to dress them in more outre fashions and give them cool accessories. I'm limited by budget so a lot of my dolls are more tame and subdued than I'd prefer, especially the ones whose aesthetic is important (the rock star and the fashion designer come to mind). The only dolls that have strong aesthetic needs that I can't sway on are my Borys. My KDF is what my partner calls a "drowned Victorian boy" aka he's sad and romantic and wears vaguely Victorian/Edwardian clothes even when I put him in modern streetwear. My MDF Bory is very decidedly an eboy and genderfluid so gets to wear all the hip and experiemental fashions I can afford. I've found in dolls as in life it's most important to have a strong vision and commit to it when designing a Look. It doesn't matter about budget and it can be approximated, but it should be strong. Also, accessories are hellah important to completing a Look, so whenever possible I try to add those final touches that push a blah streetwear outfit to a "Yes I am a rock star and I am very famous, thank you" look.
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    13. Influences Just to name a few
      Anime: Gave the idea that so much is possible visually and bright eyes are amazing. And so many pretty things. My dolls looks are simple but each characteristic is kind of elaborate.
      BL: I have all boys and most of the boys in the series I enjoyed are very pretty. I love pretty, flawless, elegant guys.
      Traditional Japanese art (including performing arts): This happened when I started learning Japanese drumming, my teachers are just so cool and amazing that it has influenced my dolls from time to time. They have a fun yet respectfully reserved style, I try to have that in my dolls faces since they cant move.
      Visual-kei: The style and music is kinda deviant and often a bit dark, I love that for my big doll.
      Porcelain Dolls: I used to love them when I was little, they looked so pretty and elegant to me, like they were meant to be royal items (odd I know).

      Now for sculpts, I kept coming back to Dream of Doll. Their sculpts gave me that feel good feeling while also being visually appealing, pretty boy dolls, dark and light and so easy to make mine. All my boys have a pretty face.

      Faceups...I look for artist that can be detailed but still pretty. All the little things I mentioned before is considered when I commission someone to do the face of my doll.
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    14. I'm femme and a history buff. My dolls are all girls and I adore making them clothes from various time periods. Even when they're in modern clothing, they're usually feminine. I also adore certain video games, leading to a few dolls based off video game characters.

      In terms of sculpt, it's changed over the years. Many of my earlier girls have animesque faces. I've drifted more towards realistic faces, particularly PoC ones.

      As for faceups, many of my dolls are children or young adolescents. Naturalistic faceups look best on them.
    15. Im really all over the place with aesthetics. Im very much inspired by artists from different fields like movies, painters, animators etc so I often find myself changing my taste in dolls or how I want to dress them. For me it's about finding the perfect balance between all my inspirations
    16. I made some compromises in my personal style (due to limitations of funds/needing to be professionally presentable/not wanting to fall into the trap of consumerism), but I wish I could switch aesthetics drastically almost every day. If it's in-your-face, I would probably wear it --from librarian chic to rave fashion.
      So dolls are a way to realize the aesthetics I can't do IRL. The doll ends up wearing a style that feels right for them, but since I have such a wide array of styles that I like there's little conscious thought on my end. They just end up picking a style that's already 'fully formed' in my personal tastes.
    17. I have a fairly good sized, all male, collection (currently 64) from 5cm to 70cm. They represent 3 different worlds and generally the aesthetic of dolls within those specific worlds line up. I'm all over the place as far as hair/eye colour and even the resin colour of the dolls (I'm deadly weak to coloured resin). I'd say that easily 2/3's of my collection has hair colour that isn't natural to humans and eyes that fall into the same category.

      Big Mystic Smoke: Modern day Toronto/GTA but where Otherworldly beings exist yet hide in plain sight. They wear modern clothes that you'd typically see in every day life. Tshirts, jeans, suits. Most of the sculpts are semi-realistic as far as heads go but several of them have fantasy parts/bodies like horns, dragon feet, cloven hooves, wings.

      The Dream Time: Future in another galaxy with some connecting characters to a future Earth. The characters in this world that I have as dolls are alien in that they are not human but are (generally) humanoid. The clothing is all typical cultural wear that I make that is frequently a hodge-podge of several Earth styles mashed together to create their cultural styles. Most of the sculpts are stylized and several have fantasy parts like tails and wings (and 1 cyborg).

      Divine Worship: Ancient past when gods freely (and frequently) walked the Earth. Clothing is loosely based on ancient Asian and Middle East style clothes that I make myself. Sculpts are generally semi to realistic and frequently have fantasy parts such as horns, wings, naga bodies.

      The colour palette of my guys varies wildly by character. Some utterly refuse to wear certain colours (they become the Incredible Noodle Doll(tm)) if I foolishly try to dress them in a colour they don't like. For some weird reason, several of my dolls strongly/violently protest wearing red. I like red so it's not a situation where I don't like the colour and don't want any of my guys to wear it. I loathe pink (I actually don't own any pink clothes for myself and refuse to have any). Yet I have one doll, Haniel, who not only has baby pink hair, he likes pink. Fine, he also likes to wear baby blue, chocolate brown and purple together and thinks plaid and paisley are totally fine to wear at the same time, but he's my fashion disaster so make what you will of that.
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    18. I tend to favor child like sculpts, though that maybe because I prefer the tiny size.
      I am also a lover of historical clothing, so I tend to favor fantasy versions of historical clothing for my dolls. Their molds tend to influence the time periods I draw from, but not always.
      Another deciding feature is how big they are. My pukipukis where viking and anglo saxon inspired clothing because it doesn't limit their range of motion as much.
    19. I love the kind of vintage porcelain doll-look for my dolls, so I try to dress most of them up in victorian/rococo inspired clothing. I’ve loved lolita fashion for years and I like to express my love for the aesthetic through my dolls.
    20. I really like dolls that look like they inhabit my world rather than their own. Fairies that might be hovering in the garden or sneaking around inside the green room in the house… I like when they adapt implements from the human world rather than tiny size artifacts for their own. Maybe it comes from growing up reading the Borrowers… (dates me for sure, but oh well…)