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Inspiration for a Character?

Nov 17, 2006

    1. You know, this is one of those topics I'm certain has been done before...whether it was merged with another topic or what, but I can't find it X3

      so...I'm making my own. I just recently got Kayden on monday...and he's really rather beautiful, and he's really all I wanted him to be ^^ but I have yet to see a character really shine though. He certainly has a presense, but it's very mild, and I don't think that I could truly pin down who he is, in my head.

      So my question is: How did you develop your doll's character...did you try different wigs/eyes, did you role play or write about them, did you simply wake up and notice "oh, this doll would be perfect as ___"

      I guess this is a wierd question, but I think you guys can catch my drift...It took me a while to get over the fact that my doll is just a doll. I'm going to have to pull his personality out by myself...so what do you suggest is the best way to get a doll to be more three-dimensional? (personality-wise, heh) ;)
    2. Well, my boys were all pretty well-developed characters long before they were given resin bodies so I'm not sure how helpful this advice will be, but...

      When I first got each of them I did spend quite some time trying to get the doll and the character to synch up more closely. Part of that was working out the exact eyes for them - with Dee and Ilú that was easy, but I had to buy two pairs for Aulen and swap them back and forth before I was really pleased with how he looked... and I still might try for something closer to the image in my head at some point. Another thing was the hair - for two of my boys none of the wigs I could see in shops looked quite right, so I bought something in the appropriate colour and spent a long time modifying it to get it exactly right for the character. It meant a lot of cutting, restyling, adding braids and extensions... and like his eyes, in Aulen's case it's still an ongoing thing to try and get him exactly right. I think this is a good way to bond with new dolls, too - working on small parts of them like their hair, and seeing it take shape exactly how you envisioned it being. There's also the satisfaction of looking at them and seeing a result you've brought about yourself ^^

      I did - and still do, when I can find the time! - a lot of Photostories about my boys, too. It doesn't have to be anything particularly deep and meaningful with some epic plotline if you don't want it to be: in my case, the majority of Ilú's early 'stories' were just cute silliness, since that's what his character lends itself best to, and that allowed me to get a better integration of doll + character by seeing the little resin body doing the things that the 'real' Ilú would do.

      I didn't actually start RPing with him until a little while after he came home, and though I think it's helped deepen his character in many ways that's certainly not been the be-all and end-all of how he's developed. It's a lot of little things that come together to form the complete package, I think.
    3. Well for me, Chris and Lucas were around way before I knew of ABJDs, so I had a definite look/character in mind. I haven't played around with hair/eyes/clothes very much because of that.

      For Lucas, he's been around forever man. Like ten years! He started out as a shy, brainy character and over the course of role-playing and developing different stories for him, he's turned into someone completely different. :3

      Chris was kinda different, in that he was put in Lucas's story to be a good friend at first, but over the course of writing my webcomic that they appeared in I realized they were more like brothers. Chris just kinda nudged me and said 'You's got it wrong, this is who I am really am'. I haven't role-played Chris much, but he doesn't need it, I think.

      I hope that helps a little bit. :)
    4. :D thank you both! that's very helpful :)

      *shnoogles ilú*
    5. I'm not much of a writer, and though I love photographing, I totally suck at it, so my boys's development go mostly though their clothes..I love sewing for them a trying out new things to see if it fits them ^^ Like with Sumiya, when I got him, I had this character in my mind, who was a prostitute, so I made some slutty leather clothes for him..but it didn't really seem to suit him..then, I made a kimono for him, just for fun because I found some beautiful fabric and it seemed like a nice thing to make, and I put it on him, not expecting much, and there he was! He was incredibly elegant and sexy and still obviously a seducing character-the prostitute I wanted him to be ^_^ after that, I've been making mostly covering, elegant Victorian dresses and kimono's for him ^_^ Recently, I found out that black hair looks amazing on him, and there was another step to what I want him to be..

      it's just playing with them, I think, changing things, trying things you never thought would look good on them, and just..let them evolve ^_^ How much they change is one of my favourite things from this hobby, I just got Vasiley a black wig as well, and it's like I have a new doll :D
    6. Personally, my characters did exist before the resin form as it were. But I think I know how I'd go about developing a good look/design from a doll itself:

      Pick a feature. When you look at other dolls, do you like the hair the most? The eyes? Maybe a really unique faceup? Or something else, like, you notice the cat ears/tail? Clothing style? Whatever your favourite feature is, try to figure that one out first. Splurge a little, get something really special. Put that in place and then think of how you can compliment it with the rest of the character design. If you have too much thats bold about a character, it'll just look kind of overkill.

      Alternatively, pick a theme. Like a gemstone or something. I love black opals. So I use them as inspiration for character design. One of Kurosakura's influences (he has three) is a black opal. Another one of the dolls I'm slowly working on has the theme of an old sepia photograph. I am actually trying to hunt down sepia-coloured eyes, sepia-coloured hair, etc. He's going to be great when he's finished and a very strong character design.

      A personality will start to develop purely from the visual look you give the doll. A face-up with suggest a bit of an emotion, the style of clothing and the colours you use can suggest personality aspects as well. In some ways I think, if you have a completely blank slate, it is easier to develop the visual look and wait for a personality to surface, than it is to start with a personality and try to achieve it through appearance. Its been a lot of trial and error developing my pre-existing characters, even though I knew in my head what they should look like.

      Hope this helps as maybe more 'practical' information.
    7. *lol* I've got an interesting lot.

      --My first boy, Naioki, I got before I was really involved at all in BJDs, I just fell in love with him. So for the first few weeks we sort of sat around and stared at each other--I was trying to let him sort of develop a personality on his own and get him to be more than just a doll, and I think he was pretty sure I had no idea what I was doing :P I was uncomfortable assigning him any kind of roll--he actually seemed like a child to me, so I didn't even want to give him a sexuality or anything *lol*. We were just trying to warm up to each other.

      --When I got my second boy, Aspen, I tried to assign some attributes to him before he even arrived--but the minute I looked into his bewildered face, I knew he wasn't the wise clever character I was going for, but a rather dense and innocent one. So he sort of developed on his own too--and along with him, Naioki sort of settled into who he was (a loveable brat ;))

      --My third boy, Taji, I adopted--and I kept his previous personality since his previous owner didn't seem to mind, and it just seemed I couldn't change him if I wanted to. I think he seems a little younger in my care than he was though.

      --My fourth, Rowen, also adopted, didn't really come with his character, since I had been developing (and still am) one in my mind. But he definitely had a wiser-beyond-his-years way about him, which was exactly what I was going for--so we're getting along just fine.

      --My fifth boy, Jaden, is on his way--and he is a pre-established original character, i'm sort of hoping he stays that way, because i really want a doll of him--so this will be my first true attempt at assigning a definitive character to a doll. I think it will work out--I'm really excited about it. :D But I won't know until I have him.

      --Same with boy #6, Zillah, I know he's going to be my rebel & troublemaker. The rest he'll tell me when he gets here *lol*

      Of course, I swear I'm stopping at 6 *LOL* I guess time will tell that too ;)
    8. Interesting because I didn't really have any set character for my dolls before they arrived.But doing their Face up really helps, and then you might find that when you dress them in something,or put a certain wig on or a pair of eyes in, it just doesn't look right on them,but then you might dress them in something else,and use different eyes and wigs, and they look brilliant and really seem to 'shine'.So I think that's what their 'character' is all about:). Some dolls look good in a lot of different outfits, and I think that means 'they like dressing up a lot' LOL!:lol:
    9. For each doll it's different for me since some already had characters before they were a doll, but in general I find photostories help. You don't even have to share them at first, heck you probably don't even have to TAKE them at first, just thinking up the dialogue could help.

      But recently I got a new boy and realized that whenever I tried taking pictures of him with other dolls it looked very forced, it wasn't natural, it just didn't look good. So I started working on his character, fleshing him out a bit more and having him interact with the other dolls in photostories. He's already become a lot more "alive" to me and fits in better than he did when I first got him.
    10. Before my girl come, I used to think she had those kind of cool character as dun talk much or kinda silent type... but when she's here she;s totally different from what I think. Is like an opposite of it. HEr character actually develope her own... Will this sound crazy?

      I never taught she can be those playful, talkative and active type. She surpise me alot and this make me love her more and more. Then I try to get her different wig and style of dressing, some makes her look mature, some makes her so kiddo which is how she suppose to be and some make her look so tomboyish... XD She's amazing with characters that I loved... HAhaha
    11. My first three boys, Arioc, Radriel, and Aster were all characters in my writing, and later characters I role played extensively. Since they existed in different stories, I fleshed out their relationships by just thinking up dialogues between them. :3

      My fourth boy, Chalcedony (still in faceup land) was actually born when I found a doll I wanted but didn't fit a character of mine. I took the way the mold (sleeping Harang) looked, fashioned a basic personality for him, and then began writing. :3 I feel like his character's come a long way since I first decided I was going to get myself Sleeping Harang.
    12. My first doll, Val, just started as a kind of gothic lolita doll. The hardest part at first was naming her, and I did not really have a set character or anything. I didn't really like dressing her in anything other than lolita clothes, but I loved switching her wigs around and making her into other concepts that could fit with dark, lacy clothing.

      Then, I entered a Study of the Graphic Novel class, and we had to draw a 24 page comic. I thought about what I liked (gothic lolita, dolls, monsters, Megaten, FSS, etc.), and I decided to draw Val. Yuli ended up popping into the comic to push the story along, and Val started to solidify. A second comic (this time script only) helped set her concept and her relationship with Yuli.

      Val started wearing a long black wig constantly around that time. Ironically, her style has moved more into punk, and Yuli is turning into the gothic lolita fanboy.

      Yuli's concept came before I got him, but he needs to be painted and to have his wig fixed and some more clothes before he'll settle down as a character. He keeps switching between nice trickster and mean trickster, but that actually fits now that I think about it -_-;.

      My "third" doll, Bee-an, is not really mine, but she seems young, innocent, and a little oblivious to say the least. I haven't written or drawn her though.
    13. Actually, Laurent was a very obscure character in a sideplot to the (then) main story. I had an idea of what he looked like, and his age, but nothing else. Once he got here, though, he sort of spoke for himself. Actually, he then proceeded to steal the story and now he is the main character and his plot IS the main story ^^; I would suggest, if you write, to write out the backstory, not in a general 'he was this, then he did that' form, but with dialogue, maybe some other pre-existing characters, etc. For me, since I can't draw, nothing fleshes out a character like writing the story itself. And I'm a horrible writer, too lol But it just feels more real that way. Even just doing a single chapter or two, a few scenes, helps. Then, acting out the scenes with the doll helps connect the written character to the doll, too, or a corresponding photoshoot. That's basically how I go about it, and so far it's worked for me ^_^;
    14. I have three dolls that had no definite personality when I got them: Fall, Yuki and Harumi. With Fall, he was my second doll and I had no idea what would happen when he got home. I was hoping for a passionate lover for my first doll Yoriko but he turned out to be an angst-bucket. The way I developed his personality was taking pictures, trying clothes on him, seeing what wigs worked, different eyes, adding tattoos, etc. It's taken nearly a full year for him to really get comfortable in his own skin and he's still developing, day by day. He's got a lot of potential left, when I have time to play with him again. (Too busy moving and working. :| )

      Yuki was a doll I fell in love with and brought home with severe doubts that he'd fit in. I took him out of the box, put his default wig on and presto, there he was! My smexy little mini who thinks he's a demi-god.:aheartbea His character development has been entirely teasing out hints of his past and how he's related to the other characters.

      Harumi was a doll I bought from a friend when she didn't bond. I saw her in pictures, pondered, didn't know who she was, and still brought her home. By the time she actually made it home (took a bit) she was ... talking to me? Sounds wierd as I didn't really trust it until I had her in my hands. But I put her wig on and made her some clothes and, yup, that really was Harumi's body and she's a hyper ADHD today as the minute she showed up.

      I'd say the best way to develop your boy is to spend time with him. Take pictures of him, even if they're horrid. You don't have to share them. Try different clothes, wigs, eyes, etc. Try and imagine how he'd react if he was in different situations, like out shopping or in the library or a bar or whatever. Take him out with you and see what other people say, too. Their impressions can be very revealing! (Ignore the jerks who say he's creepy or stupid, of course. They don't count! ;) ) Give it time. Pretty soon you'll look at him and go :love :D 'cause you'll know exactly who he is.
    15. This is really a fascinating thread - it's interesting to see "character building" discussed from the actual aspect of owning the doll rather than from a role-playing angle...

      And I find that what is being said here is very true for my own "character building" especially the part of PHOTOGRAPHING the doll. I have found that I "fall in love" with the dolls through the camera lens and by seeing them through the lens, I find that their "charas" really will begin to emerge. I know, I know...that can sound a bit nutty, but it is how it works for me. And that isn't to say that the boys get "locked into" a chara, either, but that through photographing them, posing, lighting, working on "emoting," the characters emerge as of their own resin volition!
    16. I think my doll developed the character by himself... What I did was just spending sometime to find it out.
    17. Wow, thanks for all the wonderful responses!!! :D they're all just fantastic, its all very intriguing and helpful :)

      Zagzagael ~ that's interesting, because I actually find that I too, am much more enamored by a photograph of my doll, rather than him, just sitting in front of me...not sure if that's a good thing or not ^^; I think it may have to do with seeing so many doll pictures in the past ^^
    18. When I decided on getting a BF Niky I had *no* idea what his character would be. In the space of ordering him and waiting for him to arrive I ended up thinking about him almost constantly (ah the fun of waiting ai?).

      I ended up focusing on his most obvious feature, the Niky smirk and basing his whole character off that. The Niky mold strikes me as very wolfish, so I worked off that. The name Connor means 'wolf lover', and he's fond of wolves too :D (I've already lost about a pint of blood stabbing myself with sewing needles while a made him a little wolf toy - and I'm planning on making him a couple of t-shirts with wolf prints :D) My boy's a MSD and he really does look childish at times so he's got a typical teenage-boy attitude over most things.

      His other main characteristics (a love for jazz and ska music and a artistic streak) are just based off my own interests. I felt it would be a nice way to bond a little more with him if we shared a few interests :D
    19. Lily was a surprise, so she didn't have anything planned. She was just this blank, bald, eyeless thing. 0.o I spent a week straight sanding her, modding the heck out of her face, and making her stuff.

      When I started drawing her, I realized that she was a silly girl who wished she was a super-hero. I got more ideas about who she was when I drew her then when I was just staring at her.
    20. I developed Roo's character over a period of several months with Ferret-kun's help XD However, he didn't really come together until I actually was able to hold him and play with him. The F-09 head mold refined his already-naive character and made him the cutie he is today X3