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How do you decide on a Face-up?

Jun 29, 2017

    1. Hello, I'm new to the bjd community in the sense that I've always been a silent lurker since I never actually had a legitimate bjd before up until recently. I just put in my first payment on a SOOM free choice super gem (I chose the Crow head and body) and I have a LOT of ideas in mind for him. In fact, I've got too many ideas! That's why I wanted to know; What is your process when it comes to deciding on a face up for your doll? Does something specific inspire it? How do you figure out what expression to choose? How do you decide on just one? Do you let the doll speak to you and decide for themselves?

      Pics are totally encouraged, I'd love to hear the story behind them!
    2. Congrats on your beginning journey to getting your first BJD! So exciting!
      Your best bet is to find the personality that best fits him. As you decide on a name and start picking out clothes and a wig, you'll slowly find it more and more. From there you can start with an expression, keeping the sculpt itself in mind, and colors/style will follow.
      Just remember, face-ups are not forever. You can change it later down the road and if you do them yourself it will be cheaper than sending him to a face-up artist!
      Believe me, I am still thinking of nontraditional face-ups but I will save it for a fantasy character(s) I have planned.
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    3. I totally second Ansell on this. I think it all comes down to what kind of personality your doll has. What I sometimes do is drawing the sculpt and playing with my options on paper. That way I get to have a general impression of what it may look like if I was to paint the doll a certain way :)
    4. Me too! I have so many different looks, and different characters for sculpts. Generally, I've been choosing the faceups that I would most regret not applying, especially the ones that seem to be more endearing. As much as I want my dolls to be pretty and diverse and playable and fun, I've found myself most attracted to anything that has its own presence, or heart, otherwise it feels like something's missing. Not the most delightful method, as it relies less on choice and more on negative feelings.

      One thing you can do is try to combine elements of faceup ideas, for an in-between or slightly different look, that technically has the character of both, while itself being another choice entirely. What I'm considering doing for a head, is to maybe add just a little bit of the soft grey from another idea, and some very light flecks like moles from that idea as well, and some of the colourations and such and so on.. So, it's still what I want, but it's less of a sacrifice. It really is a very small change, though.
    5. Well, first you're gonna wanna think the style you want: fantasy or realistic? A mix of both? Freckles, tattoos, beauty marks...they can all be taken into consideration. Next, especially for natural faceups, you'll wanna think about skin color; the same colors and looks that work on normal skin dolls may not look good on say white or grey skinned dolls. Think about thinks like eyeshadow and highlights, how deep you want your blush and lip colors, and if you'd like some kind of skin texture.

      For fantasy, I generally find inspiration in various things related to the character. For example, if I was making a doll that controlled ice magic and wanted to do a faceup that reflected this, I'd probably look up frost patterns or snowflakes and let that influence my faceup design. My best example of this is Ilya; he's a selkie, which is a seal that transforms into a human, so I based his faceup design on a leopard seal.
      05-24(5) by kiyoshisenshi, on Flickr

      It also depends on if you're planning to do the faceup or if you're going to send your doll to an artist; I personally have never done a faceup before and certainly didn't want to try on a faceup like Ilya's, so I sent him to an artist with a description and drawing of what I wanted, and they did an absolutely fantastic job bringing it to life. Don't be afraid of commissions! You're supporting artists and you'll probably get some amazing work back. (And that amazing faceup on Ilya? $35 + shipping. You don't haveto break the bank. :thumbup)
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    6. I always plan on doing at least two faceups per doll - sometimes three. There's the faceup you dream about for the doll, the one that gets put on the doll, and then the one that the doll actually belongs with! Sometimes it just doesn't work out the way you think it will and there's nothing worse than a doll that isn't 'speaking' to you because the faceup is all wrong for it.
    7. I doodle.. a lot. Then I lose the doodles, draw new ones based on what I can remember of my first doodle, look at stuff to get inspiration, lose those drawings too and then wing it. lol. I'm terrible.
      • x 1
    8. I usually have some inspiration for each doll, whether it's a celebrity, someone I know, movie/tv/book character or just an image I find in makeup tutorials or something. Normally, I have my character fully planned out before I even start looking at buying the doll, so I already know how they should look, and go from there.

      On the rare occasion when I don't have a plan (event head, trade offer, gift, impulse buy), I just start painting and see what happens. I do my own faceups, so if I end up not liking it, I'm only out my time and cost of materials, so I can wipe it and start over. In these cases, I think if I didn't do my own work and the character didn't matter, then I might just pick a faceup artist I really admire, send them the head and tell them to just do whatever the head "tells" them to do, or maybe very simple instructions, like "she'll have a red wig and dresses casually" and let them surprise me!
    9. Its so neat to hear everyone's different methods! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who had actually drawn pics and doodled ideas of what might look best. Sounds like it's actually pretty common! How many of you prefer to your own face ups, and how many have had them commissioned? I'd like to give it a shot but, but their are so many great faceup artists out there, I know I'm going to have to get one commissioned some time too :blush
      • x 1
    10. I for myself shell one of my characters into a doll, and due to the fact that this character already has a personality, I'll try to catch up the atmosphere that comes with her by sketching the face-up on paper and color it. I really plan a lot since she has marks all over her body. Character sheets always help a lot.

      If you are not shelling a character, I'd recommend to browse through the internet looking at different faces/make-ups and just note down what you like most of them: how are their cheeks, lips, eyes, eye brows, lashes, colors, expressions, atmosphere, etc.
      Helps a lot when creating new characters. <3
    11. Ahhh yes I've totally started doing this already, haha! Unfortunately the character I have in mind is a bit less human than most dolls appear, so eventually I may make a custom head for him since I do mold making and resin casting for cosplay as it is. But I've been trying to think of a way to sort of translate his character into how he'd look with a human face, by doing just as you said! Sifting through other face ups and picking out what features look best fitting for his character. It's just a shame that the head wasn't made with a smirk!
      • x 1
    12. I think that looking at pictures of face ups on the same doll is very helpful and gives you ideas of things that you wouldnt have considered. The personality I see in the doll has the heaviest influence though. I can't draw so that is not an option.
    13. I usually plan what I want to do with my dolls faces in Photoshop. It's easy for me to see what I like and don't like,
      what I think would work best for the sculpt or even if I don't want to modify on the actual sculpt. It's not usually as pretty IRL, as
      it is in Photoshop because I suck painting tiny things, but I get a general idea of what I want my doll to end up looking like.
      Congratulations on your new doll, I hope you are able to get him to look just the way you want! (:
    14. That's definitely something I've been playing with! Using a picture of the unpainted face, I've been trying a handful of looks on photoshop, and it definitely helps visualize what will be best for it.
    15. I don't know that I'd say I 'decide', so much as I kind of start with some ideas, and then I let the faceup happen? So far I do my own dolls' faces, so I don't have to have sketches/references for another artist to stick to (there are artists whose work I'd love to have someday, but... I also love doing them myself).

      I tend to make a lot of sketches before I start working, of different possibilities. But I don't necessarily pick one sketch before I start blushing. More like the sketching phase just solidifies in my mind who it is I'm bringing out of a sculpt.

      There are exceptions-- Billy always had a very set look in my mind, the only thing that happened organically was the precise spread of the freckles. And I had a strong general idea with Pete but he wound up with 'eyeliner' that I didn't plan on, but that felt right as I was painting.
    16. In all honesty I want her to look like an idealized or fantasy version of myself. Blue/Grey eyes, brown hair with bangs, similar or the same piercings, freckles (only more and cuter than mine), similar or same makeup style, more glitter, etc.
    17. I tend to do my own face-ups, so I like to have the doll in hand and feel it out as I work. I don't think I ever really decide on what face-up a doll is going to have until I see the finished product in my hands and think, "yes! that's it!" My Paul has gone through so many face-ups now I'm starting to lose hope, but it only took me one try with my Shale to see the character truly emerge. My next doll will be coming with a company face-up, a first for me in a while, because I saw the company photos of him and immediately knew I wanted THAT doll, exactly. But with horns. So he's getting mods instead to bring out his character. LOL

      We will ignore my anthro dolls, who have been without face-ups for 2-3 years...one day it will happen.
    18. I honestly can't imagine a face-up at all. I don't use makeup myself, and just have a hard time picturing them at all. I'll probably stick to company face-ups, maybe commission one once I have marketplace access. It would depend on what I see done.