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Dolls influencing character? Or vice versa?

Apr 1, 2011

    1. I've been wondering about this for a while- just how strongly are dolls intertwined with their characters, and what influences what?

      For example- you might have a dark, brooding character, so you give the doll a dark, brooding faceup. But for some reason it comes out with a slightly raised eyebrow, giving the doll a snarky expression. So the character becomes snarky too. Likewise, you could have a doll that's always slumping and flopping around the place, so does that mean his character is a lazy, laid-back stoner?

      Sometimes it seems the opposite is true too- the character you give the doll just seeps into its resin, almost! For example- I have a character who's very "clingy" but at the same time stubborn; and it seems this aspect of his character has influenced his resin form! He always flops into me and knots his fingers into my hair or wraps his arms round my wrist. Likewise, his joints nip me if I do something he doesn't seem to like! I have another character that doesn't like to be touched, and if I pick him up he always seems sort of stiff and stand-offish.

      So, do you have any characters who have been influenced by their resin forms? Or do you think the actual dolls have conformed to the character you have given them? And what is the relationship between resin and character?
      Hope all that makes sense, I'm somewhat inarticulate today :|
       
    2. My dolls are pretty much all of the above! Cass was supposed to be a flirty, bubbly outgoing boy- but when I finished his face-up, he was shy, quiet, solemn and a bit withdrawn. His body has that odd Dollmore slouch to it, but on him it's not a slouch so much as a complete cave so that he's always shrinking into himself- it's totally part of his character! Likewise, Morghan is Morghan to the point that I could get another L-Bi and it just wouldn't be the same. (Hence, I cannot sell Moggy, no matter what I do XD)
       
    3. Teruchan- Psst- I also have a character called Morgan whose nickname is Moggy :D Great minds, etc.
       
    4. Mainly the character influences the doll, but I've definitely had the reverse happen, too. When I reshelled Van as Crobidoll Zack, Zack's rather long schnoz transferred to Van. A couple of characters developed from sculpts, and having Fabe and Kinney "interact" with my MSDs and Yo made me feel that both of them like kids and are good with them (while Mi-Ja and Han do not and are not), which isn't an aspect that's come up in the actual fiction. Archer's become so intertwined with his 08 Man head sculpt that I can't remember if that's what he looked like before I shelled him :sweat.

      Resin and character can be a weird and fluid relationship. While I consciousy do things to make the resin more like the character, the resin does seem to have a mind of its own!
       
    5. Three of my five dolls came home without cohesive or coherent characters, so the doll definitely had a big impact on their characters.

      Daisuke/Haven's face to me always seemed scheming and conniving, while at the same time being sad. Which turned him into the sadistic kitsune with baggage. *shrugs* Also his size... With his lover being a 70cm boy, it makes me chuckle to imagine him as being very, very short.

      Yuusuke was so far the only other doll to come home without any preliminary character set up for him. I loved his brooding face, and now he's a brooding character.

      Nola was my first doll, and her character was so new when I got her that doll and character really evolved together to form what she is now.

      As for the other two? I haven't played much with Lucilius in a long time, and Mulloch is a recent acquisition in the process of some mods. With Lu, it was like Nola. His character evolved with how I handled and learned about his mold. In addition to some of the damage his head took. Darn kittens.
       
    6. I've had both happen, certainly. I've had a few characters that really weren't well developed until I put them in doll bodies -- suddenly I started getting all kinds of ideas that I hadn't been able to do when they only existed on paper. On the other hand, I just got a body for Tomás and it took a bit to get used to it as the headsculpt seemed very different. After a few days I picked him up and he is just *so* Tomás, I even read his expression differently than I did when I first got him put together. It was as if his character suddenly moved in and took over.
       
    7. It is both for me.
      Somehow the dolls suit the character when they arrive already. I have one doll who is a thoughtful, intelligent, determined and reserved character, and she arrived tightly strung, and is a great poser, but not very flexible. Another doll is a beautiful, gentle, and at the same time malicious and dangerous dreamer (still waters run deep), and she was loosely strung for shipping purpose and even she is not anymore, after two times restringing her, she is still very flexible, and always striking a beautiful pose no matter how I put her down (she was also able to stand while loosely strung).
      At the same time, one of my dolls changed the character it is depicting, adding small details and rejecting others that were there before, just because the sculpt has a certain look that awakens associations in my mind that were not there before I had the doll (it was a pre-existing character, and one I had for many years before I chose the sculpt - rather atypical for me, since I prefer to create doll characters when seeing a doll picture).
       
    8. Sure, these guys are often just the way they look. No mystery there. For example, I have two Tan Soo Ris, which you'd think would just look like twins, but thanks to variations in eyes and faceup, they couldn't look less alike... one looks like a wild bitch-queen with an aggressive amount of makeup, the other looks like a skeptical college student who doesn't like to talk much. The characters followed thusly.

      But the "character" behind any face is totally subjective. Two different people might see two totally different characters in the same face & faceup.
       
    9. Definitely the characters influenced their shells, lol. My Ize is haphephobic, so if someone picks him up, his hands will snap to his face or swing out to rebel. My Tony has a long-haired wig and he's very vain about it, he tends to fall over if something musses it up.

      My non-character doll, Wi, did come into his own though! He's got a sweet but mischievous face, and lo and behold, he's now a crafty little darling.
       
    10. I would say it works both ways for me. On one hand I have Lucian- who's character has completely and perfectly seeped into his resin embodiement. On the other hand I have Takanori- his character development is an ongoing process. And while he does have a relatively solid character concept, I'd say that a decent amount of his personality traits have come across through the resin first.
       
    11. I think it's more of dolls influencing the character. Because the doll is the physical representation of that character, whatever else you see of that doll will become part of that character. Dolls give us an incredible amount of sensory that tells us their human, or at least alive, so I think that dolls influence characters more.

      Oh the other hand, if a character influences a doll, then it's probably you remembering things about the doll that make the character seem more alive - standoffish, quiet, kicky, etc. Your mind is selectively sensing your doll, picking out the things that fit, and ignoring the things that don't.
       
    12. Emma's character came after she came home. I had really wanted to create a character for her before that, but after switching things up three times, I had to settle on the fact that I couldn't do it without having the doll present.

      For me, the doll and the character are very different. I've said this in another thread, but if someone were to ask me about my doll, I'd probably say something along the lines of "This is Emma, and her character is supposed to be...", rather than say "This is Emma, and she's..." I just don't find that character-doll connection like others do. The only thing that really connects one to the other is name - the doll's name is Emma, and so is the character - as well as the character being modeled after the doll.

      I think that maybe *part* of her character can be influenced with how the doll functions; her knees will bend at the slightest push, which is a PITA when you're trying to dress her. But I never found myself saying "Stop being so stubborn!" to my doll - or even in my head, which would've been more likely. I just can't do it; not that I wouldn't do it, I just can't.

      I just can't personify my doll at all. She's a doll, and her character is everything else. Maybe it's because I don't have many real-life connections to doll people, or the semi-overwhelming disapproval of my doll by my family, but I just can't bond in that manner.

      I've bonded in other ways, though. She was my first major purchase, which was pretty cool. I've taken some pictures, but maybe only a handful I can consider 'artistic'. I find I bond more to the character because I can take her character with me wherever I go. I don't want to take my doll out all the time because I'm too worried about the looks and such. Her character I can take with me all the time, and no one would be the wiser.
       
    13. The doll definitely influences the character in my case, as I don't have a pre-existing cast of characters I'm shelling - the characters don't exist until I have the doll in hand and start to do the face-up. I may have some basic ideas as to colour palette and likely expression, but they don't take real form until I start to work on the resin - and it's as I'm working that I start to get a sense of character and personality, and an appropriate name for them. The character doesn't exist until that point.

      The only exception is likely to be my LuWen vamp who should be arriving here on Monday; I'm reshelling my Chiwoo Elf Satin into the LuWen vamp, so in this case I'll be trying to reproduce his original face-up on the new head. Inevitably it won't be the same, which means his character will change slightly - but then the character is undergoing a change anyway with being turned into a vampire. But I can't predict yet in what ways he'll change until I do his face-up.
       
    14. I think cross-contamination of observed or experienced influences is pretty much a part of the creative process itself in this way. Good characters are rarely one-dimensional. Sometimes it just takes a nudge of some kind to explore aspects of them we might not see normally. If the doll brings out those aspects, and encourages us to explore them, I tend to see it as a good thing.

      Does the doll look happier than you envision the character? OK, well, most people experience happiness at some time -- how does the character do it when they do? Does the doll look more gentle? That's something that's drawn out of most people in certain circumstances, too. So what are they, and how do they fit in to the character's life? Or do they at all -- and this is just how they would be if they did/ever do in the future? Contradictions like this, or subtle changes, get us asking the questions that can lead to really fleshing a character out even if their core concept is not fundamentally changed by what we uncover in our imaginings.

      When I took some improv training for a summer gig at a Ren Faire, they did a lot of improv exercises to bring things like this out -- you'd be dropped into some ridiculous and impossible situation, and told to respond as the character would. This brought out a lot of fantastic aspects of characters that never would have surfaced otherwise, and allowed us to play with them and further explore them.
       
    15. HI FIVE! LOL, great minds indeed think alike! :D
       
    16. Den of Angels prefers that threads focus on the actual dolls themselves rather than the intricacies of character and world building. There are a few current threads in the General Discussion subforum which focus on character. There are also many collectors who discuss character in off-site locations and there are links in our Links Out! subforum. Thanks!