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Sharing experience: Communication with Face Up Artists

Jan 13, 2016

    1. I did my search and really cannot find much info on this topic and hope I am not breaking any rules for this post.

      Can some of you that has been in the hobby for a while share some experience with how you communicate "how you want your doll head's face up" commission to the face up artists?

      to me a face up is an art, whether you like a certain face or not is all personal taste and preference... now how does one person in words describe how you like a certain face up done? I see some commission services offer forums to assist with questions such as:

      General feel/personality of your doll: I guess this helps with determining the shape of how the eyes and eyebrows are drawn on and it's relatively easy to describe in words too I guess

      Colors: Ok, this is a bit more tricky i think.. yes, red is red, brown is brown, but how do you describe how pink etc? how deep the blushing you would like? how red or lips? do you include a "how dark" color chart?

      So the above 2 points gives a good idea on how lost I am with this...

      Another way of communicating and I personally think is the best way to communicate is by showing pictures. Yes i understand every monitor displays the color a little differently, and I understand even the same artist cannot do 2 exact same face up work.

      If I am sending a doll head out for commission face up, obviously it's because I do not have the ability to do it myself. And if I can't really describe a "look" with just words, so I attach pictures of doll faceup/heads(taken from internet) to show that this is the type and feel and colors I'm interested in. The experience I am having with one of the artists now is that English is not their native language, so communicating in just words already adds to some complications... the main problem i'm running into now is the artists seem to think i'm insisting on imitating a face up by sending him/her pictures of other people's work.. but i'm not.. I have stated over and over that I can't describe the shape of eyebrows I would like so I attached pictures instead. Attaching a picture doesn't always mean I want an exact copy of it right?

      Any of your past experiences on the topic would be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you
    2. Difficult question. Of course there might be problems with the language, but I guess there are different types of artists as well. Some are perfectly happy to give your doll a face very similar to all the other face ups they do, not very inspired but nice. And there are people who try to create unique characters, and those artists are probably happier if you don't have too many restrictions or wishes how they should do it.

      But I think it's generally a good idea to pick an artist whose style you really like, tell them who your doll is and how you want to style her and leave as much as possible to them. Every sculpt has it's own demands, and an FU artist wants to work with the sculpt, so some wishes might be counterproductive. What looks good on one face might look weird on another. Providing pictures as an example is certainly a good way to show what you want, but if the artist feels that you want her to copy another artist she probably doesn't want to do it, maybe because she feels that you don't respect her artistic style. Just a guess. Have you asked her how she would do them to create the expression you want?
    3. @ResinRapture I have looked through the previous work from this artist, look through their price break down as well as their commission request form, both of which lists "imitate another face up". That's why selected them for the work.. Even thou an exact copy wasn't my intention at the first place, but I thought that if they list "imitate another face up" with a price, that's what they do and I try to be as specific as possible without the worry of not respecting their style.

      anyhow, the pictures I sent in are actually all of the exact same head mold I'm commissioning to do, I thought it was be the simplest to communicate what type of a style/look/feel i'm looking for. I'm still emailing back and forth with the artist so i hope things can get sorted out soon.

      Thank you very much for your input. That's what i'm looking to.. ideas on how I can communicate my point throu.
    4. Imitating other artist's face ups as a service is not really a recommendation. Just my opinion. Maybe it meant imitating her own work.
      #4 ResinRapture, Jan 13, 2016
      Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
    5. I usually send pictures and state very specifically what I want. For example, I sent two heads to an artist last year. One of them, I wanted to look like a certain celebrity, so I sent LOTS of links, since real people tend to change over time. So my message was basically like:

      "Make him look as much like _________ as possible, including if he needs mods.
      I'd like his lip color to be like THIS pic *link*, and his eyebrows like THIS expression *link*, and don't forget his moles that are visible HERE *link*, and his blushing closest to his color HERE *link*" plus any other important details, since rarely is there a photo of a living human that shows every detail perfectly.

      On the other doll, he had no real life basis, no other faceup inspiration and no character specific details, so I sent him with a faceup I had already done and just asked her to use colors that looked good and do something similar, but better. XD

      I don't take commissions, but I have done faceups for a few friends before. I would MUCH rather have pictures than descriptions, because what I see in my head and they see in theirs based on words might be completely different. I have my own faceup style and make them aware of that first, but I'll usually attempt what they want, as long as it's not fantasy or really intricate. I always ask them for examples of what they want, whether it's from other dolls, real life people, friends, celebrities, tv characters or drawings.
    6. The faceup artist I use is a close friend of mine, and I'm pretty general with him on what I want. He's only done my faceups and his own, maybe a few to sell, so I always let him go to town and be experimental as I trust his sense of creativity and eye for design.
      For Mau, I sent him a picture of Nicki Minaj with pink hair and minimal theatrical makeup and, pretty much, said 'This, except kawaii. Can do?' He did a absolutely fantastic job at it. The next resin doll I plan on sending to him may be a deer, as we were discussing faun makeup and he expressed a wish to faceup and body blush a faun. It's probably gonna be another case of me sending him a colour pallet and then letting him go to town with it.
      I like his work, trust him, and, in turn, he gets a pretty good paycheck for faceups and generally gets to do what he wants. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

      So it really depends on who the artist is, and what their relationship with you is. And, I suppose, who you are; I'm so loose with what I desire out of a doll due to my inability to design something that I don't mind if it's not what I 'expected.' He made something beautiful, and that's all I need. You should probably seek out a artist you can be buddies with, and communicate with easily; providing sketches and references that 'resemble' the makeup you want them to paint probably wouldn't hurt either.
    7. @ResinRapture Yes I agree that a complete imitate is not a very good practice. People customize their dolls to their liking, it's their hard work even if someone else did the actual work, and it was only the idea that came from the owner. I personally would be flattered if someone liked my doll so much that the wanted a copy of their own, but that's another topic.

      @CloakedSchemer Thank you for your input. That's very close to what I did, except I took a bunch of pictures from the internet of the same head mold(but not same doll), very similar in style and color them, and asked for "that" look. But somehow the artist took it as if I wanted an exact copy. The last I heard from them was they were going to send my head back to me as soon as they receive it. I hope I can get my point through before they do that.. shipping overseas from Canada costed me a fortune.

      @aliasmedalis Thank you for sharing your experience. I guess my lesson here was to communicate more on email with the artist before sending out the head. The first 3 emails back and forth seemed pretty easy to deal with and I did tell them what I wanted but not as detailed. They said ok, so I sent head out and filled out their form... and now this miscommunication etc... it's very disappointing.
    8. I have never asked for a face-up from someone who was not very good at English, so I am not certain of what phrases to use to make it more clear for them. For eyebrows, I usually just say what color I don't want, and that I don't want them to look angry, and everyone I've worked with has been great at working with the sculpt to create a great brow. From other communication experiences, using slang and contractions doesn't help get a point across because non-native speakers don't always recognize those characteristics.

      Their use of the phrase "imitate another face-up" must refer to doing something similar to their previous work, based on their reaction to you sending photos. Other than re-stating, "I am not asking you to copy this face-up, I am just sending some examples of styles I like, please do not send my head back right away" I don't know what else you can do. I do hope it works out for you in the end.

      (Edit to add: nice Harima avatar! :))
    9. That's a pickle. I've never met an artist who had a problem with being given photo references for parts of a faceup (ex. 'eyebrows like this, please' or even 'this general color scheme, please'). In your case, it does sound like just a communication problem! Maybe, you can try circling the eyebrows on the photo when you attach it and that could get the message across.

      More generally on this topic: when faceup artists provide those forms you're talking about, I tend to go a little bit overboard filling them out since in my experience people being commissioned for artwork (both doll faceups and art commissions) would much rather be told exactly what is wanted than be given an open-ended prompt and risk the customer being unhappy with the work (this is also a lot easier on them, since it is time and effort to brainstorm a design from scratch, whether it be for a drawing or a doll face.) I always mention that if any part of my request was unclear or not specific enough, they can feel free to ask for clarification. W/r/t colors, if I'm really hung up on getting a specific color I try to include pic references, this is really the only right way to communicate the exact hue if it's that important to the commissioner :s of course there's still differing monitor settings, like you said, but the color will usually be close.
    10. @evilhamster13
      thanks :)

      I just wrote another email to them last night (all simple words) basically capturing what you guys said.. stressing over and over that "I do not want to copy the face up in pictures". Hopefully they will reply my email.. they haven't replied me for 3 days now since my last email.
    11. I hope it works out!
    12. @kurosan, did you ever get your order back from you commission?
    13. Double post.
    14. I did actually... back in mid May *_* (Process started in December)... it was a very long process and very long communication experience. After a few more emails back and froth, I ended up using google translate and a friend who knows better chinese than I do to help out. With that, the artist finally was comfortable to accept my job and start.

      But at the end, I got the head back and was VERY happy with the result.

    15. O she is magnificent! I'm glad you were able to have a friend to help you translate your dream faceup! May I ask which artist you used? I really like her/his soft style, especially on the lips detail.
    16. Thanks so much for the kind comments :XD:

      artist I used was Lapland

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