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Shelling OCs vs Dolls You Like

Sep 13, 2018

    1. The thing that interested me about BDJ's was the fact you can customise them to look like whatever character you like. I'm one of those people who have original characters I love to draw etc so being able to create them in real life is super appealing.

      However, as I got in to the hobby, I found that came across dolls that I just loved the way they looked. And when shelling a character, often the scupts picked to match the character's looks were not sculpts I would have picked if I was buying purely for what I liked best.

      I've ended up comprosming and have a mix of doll I loved and dolls for OCs. It's not a problem as such but means I've ended up with more dolls that expected, have trouble with limited space and been slower shelling characters as spending the money on non-OC dolls. On the plus side, it is nice to have some dolls with company face ups or full sets so I can enjoy having a full dolls while I'm shelling OCs as I find that takes quite a long time for me to do.

      I know from other discussions that some people here prefer to focus on shelling characters, while others like getting a doll and creating a character for them. I'm wondering that your thoughts are on shelling vs buying dolls you love the company look of? Do you stick to one or the other or do you have a mix of both? If you prefer to stick to one reason, have you been tempted by the other (i.e normally shell OCs but fallen in love with a pretty company doll)?
      • x 6
    2. I have a mix of both, because while I love all my OCs, there are some things that just don't exist in the world they live in, and wouldn't make sense to make for them, such as clothing with faux fur trimmings or long sleeves. My non OC dolls allow me to express my creativity through designing clothes for them, and my OCs allow me to bring my characters to life.
      • x 2
    3. I always feel so boring compared to the people whose dolls are shells of their OCs and have these amazing backstories and beautiful names. I'm simple. I see pretty doll, I buy pretty doll. :lol: I'll just stick to drawing my OCs. I feel like I would be limited in terms of clothing options, hairstyles, eyes, etc. if my dolls had characters attached to them. My OCs all have specific styles and it would feel weird seeing character a in style b, you know? Don't even get me started on the hair! With a doll that has no character, I feel like I have way more creative freedom.
      • x 8
    4. I always buy sculpts I like and make the character around them.

      I'm a character designer and illustrator, and one thing I've had to come to terms with is that I just literally can't shell most of my OCs into dolls because there is just not enough variety in dolls yet. I design my characters with the kinds of features and body types that just don't seem to exist in dolls- a lot of my characters are "Joe Shmoe" types so they have a little flab, or they have buck teeth, or they have a big hooked nose, etc. I also have a more cartoony style that just doesn't translate well into BJD. With the amount of mods I'd have to to I might as well just sculpt my own dolls.

      I've ended up just buying dolls that appeal to me and then working with them! I notice I do still migrate towards sculpts that can be made sort of charmingly awkward, like the lanky doll chateau bodies. But that's as far as I can go.
      • x 3
    5. Except for my anthros/pets/weirdies, all of my dolls shell my OCs. I’ve learned the hard way over time that I just can’t keep an interest in ‘oooh pretty doll!’ They have to mean more to me than that. My solution is to keep OCs somewhat vague until I’m ready to shell them. I have a hard time picturing faces in my head (even those of close friends or celebrities I like), so no OC is ever set in stone for me. If I find a doll I really love, I can usually make it work for an existing OC...and if not, there’s always room for new OCs in my stories! I’m also kind of not committed to my stories long term, as they tend to run their course within a few years, I get bored and start a new story. This makes it easy to just keep a list of dolls I like, then when I’m ready to start a new story, use those dolls as a basis for the new characters. I also tend to like sculpts somewhere in the middle between ultra realistic or stylized, so many of them can easily fit various characters depending on wig, eyes and faceup.
      • x 1
    6. I think it's wonderful to have OCs to shell, but since I really don't have any I just buy a doll based on its mold and let their character develop as I work on them.
      • x 1
    7. I also have a mixture of both. Some sculpts I just loved and needed to create a new character. Some characters I had in mind, I searched for their sculpt that I thought best fit the character I already had, even if they weren't the prettiest, just by looks.
    8. A pretty face isn’t enough. For me, half the hobby takes place in my unseen thoughts on OCs’ clashing personalities and lived stories. Everything I do and make for my dolls is fuelled by the desire to bring their characters to life. I just... wouldn’t know what to do with a doll who was just a doll, no matter how pretty.
    9. I just create new OCs around the dolls I like. :)
      • x 3
    10. I can honestly say 98% of the time I focus mainly on shelling OCs (or existing characters from series I love). I feel like an oddball for not really being interested enough in any fullsets/company faceupped dolls to ever go out of my way to obtain them (with only one exception: Doll-Family-H Bei-Lie; I would easily pick him up no questions asked if I had the opportunity:D).

      I think a lot of it for me stems from some past obsessive habits I used to have in other hobbies (I collected G1/G3 MLPs for a while because I liked their look/aesthetic, for example), which I have since I've grown out of. I used to collect for collecting's sake back in those days, and I guess eventually I not only lost motivation to keep it up, I felt like I was over-accumulating a lot of non-personal hunks of (insert material/object of choice here) instead of something with actual meaning or personal connection to me.

      When I first stepped into the hobby with my B&G MSD girl I was still stuck in that mentality, having picked her out because she was cute to me at the time. I think she might have also been my turning point, as I started growing more interested in doll customization and creating OCs/existing characters in doll shells instead of just collecting ones I thought looked nice. A majority of my Pullip/Taeyang collection ended up customized, and I realized I developed a longer lasting attachment to them when I instilled something deeply personal into them.

      Which brings me to where I currently stand with my BJD crew. For me, I have to have some personal investment in a bjd's shelled character for me to even care about having them around. So while there are so many nice looking sculpts out there I find captivating, if there's no personal, deep connection of some sort---I don't get them.

      Collecting for me isn't about amassing a bunch of pretty things to look at (I don't have the room for that, and past experiences keep me from treading in that territory...), but a personal collection of characters I have a connection with somehow: ones that are part of some elaborate tale currently in the works, ones inspired by something/someone personal ( e.g.: a catgirl that will take after my cat in name and personality, for example), or exist in some other capacity (TV/movie/game/book/etc) that I've grown a deep connection to. I collect what I find personal meaning in.

      Not to say I don't admire those who do collect BJDs for the sake of something pretty to look at. It's all about what makes somebody happy to me, and everyone should approach the hobby the way that connects best with them. Don't feel intimidated into collecting masses of dolls to be like everyone else, and don't pass up fullsets and dolls that catch your eye because it's not quite the same as doing it all yourself. Taking enjoyment in what you love is what collecting bjds should be all about:kitty2<3.

      I probably said more in this then I needed to, but I think these words have been waiting to break free from me for sometime. So...apologies for rambling so much, but thank you for putting up with reading through it all if you have :kitty1
      • x 5
    11. *raises hand* I like buying dolls that fit OCs but then Volks happened and they’re just dolls that I like — that I can make a story for if I pleased for the sake of building something more solid, but I find I struggle with keeping the OCs and dolls I like for the sake of liking them.

      And this is mostly because I like aesthetic similarity. So the dolls that fit my OC will end up being more on the realistic side and my love for Volks makes it so they’ll fit with other similarly stylized dolls breaking the chance for me to ever put them in the same picture together and thus feeling like I have two very separate collections.

      I did take the plunge to get my Volks grail and she has nothing in common with the others, but I love her and plan to get her some friends. She’s just going to be part of an entirely different world and my OCs will remain in their AU and never cross paths with the others in pictures or shelf. I’m that picky where even seeing them together rubs me wrong if they’re not aesthetically similar.

      So, if you can manage to juggle both, I’d say it’s cool to be able to buy dolls you just like for liking.
      • x 1
    12. I bought a fullset once without much thought about the character but when she arrived I created a new character for her to fit in. I also bought a nude doll because it would be a perfect shell for my existing OC.
      It goes both way so I guess their identities came after first impression for me.
    13. I like having a mix of both! I do the same thing with action figures - sometimes I buy because I like the character, other times I buy because I like the look of it (it’s usually a spin-off of a character I like though, ie. Wild West Batman). My MSDs are dolls that appealed to me, what I enjoy most about them is the amount of freedom I get with a blank (or semi blank) slate. No limits since there’s no character (yet), so I can create whatever I want! And if I’m really inspired by them, then I’ll make them a character.

      My SD17s are shelled characters...they’re a lot harder to work with so sometimes I don’t have the time for them. They cost more than most MSDs and a lot of their accessories cost more too, and I spend a ridiculous amount of time searching for the perfect sculpt in the right skintone that stays in scale with the others. It is super tedious. The fact that I have to be extremely picky about what I buy does make working with these guys rather hard too, there’s not as much freedom...but I love my characters, and I know that at the very end of it, it’ll feel incredibly rewarding to have them completed and in the flesh.

      ...I now have the dangerous thought of starting a SD13 collection. I do like a lot of the sculpts... :frownyblush:
      • x 1
    14. I got my first two dolls as fullsets, but I don't think I would have liked them as much if the company hadn't given them a fairly intricate story. I sort of view them as being equivalent to fan character dolls, haha.

      After them, I decided all my dolls would shell my OCs, and for the most part I've made good on that. It's a lot of fun looking for sculpts and gathering all their clothes/accessories/etc, it really does feel rewarding when everything comes together and the character inside my head comes to life (especially since I can't draw). But I haven't really been able to stick hard and fast to this rule...I still find myself falling in love with fullsets every now and then. Got my DF-H Anye just because I couldn't stop staring at his pictures, and I feel the same thing's going to happen for Ringdoll Ashford EVO, and Luts French Knight Abadon is now my grail. -_-

      I can't really connect to a doll if it's just there being pretty, though. They need to have a character, even if I don't immediately know everything about them when I first get them. I've challenged myself to try to fit all the "ooh pretty" dolls I have/want into a single cohesive world of their own, so at least they'll all have meaning for me (and I can theoretically do photoshoots of them together). It's interesting and kind of fun to build a world like this based on the dolls themselves, rather than just having the dolls represent pre-existing characters.
    15. When I started out in the hobby I had dolls I tried to give a backstory because I had bought them for their sculpts. After a while I started to lose my connection to them because they had no story, Then i decided to shell one of my OCs and that was the best decision I could of made when it came to the hobby. I was already so connected to the character that once I shelled the doll the connection was already very strong and now he's my baby, my favorite doll. I plan to shell more of my OCs but really take care in the sculpts I choose for them.
    16. I don't really have any OCs (and the few that I've had for novels and such over the years are so flat and cardboard anymore that I would never shell them with a BJD!), so I think I tend to simply collect sculpts that I like. I guess they're more like art pieces? Except they're art pieces with their own personalities and I can interact with them and create for them ^^ They'll probably end up being their own characters, but pretty self-contained and not as part of something larger. I'm not very creative lol.
    17. I guess for me it's a mixture of both. I have ideas for the types of characters I want to shell, and when a doll comes along that fits that concept, I get them if I can afford them...though sometimes they end up becoming a completely different character once I get to know the doll's personality a bit better (and once I see what clothes/wigs/eyes/etc. suit them). I'm still working on a concrete setting/story for my dolls. Only one of them is potentially not part of this story (my tiny might just end up being my travel buddy, but I'm still quite fond of him). ^_^
      • x 1
    18. I've decided not to buy any dolls I just like the look of before I actually shell my main 5-6 OCs, since they were the reason I joined this hobby! I also feel like if I bought a doll just because I like the way they look, I wouldn't really have much of a connection with them and would probably get rid of them at some point.
    19. If I'm being honest, I have to resist the urge to buy every single doll that catches my fancy. I *love* looking for and admiring dolls with strong aesthetics (pretty dolls, gory modded dolls, dolls with unique faceups, unique molds) but I can't justify owning most of them. To indulge in that fancy, I got an MSD that I figured I could have as an aesthetic "freebie" and sent her for a faceup just for something cute to look at. She's not enough to meet my magpie nature, but because she's so different from my other MSDs, it's easier for me to admire from afar when I remember that I have her. I also have two tinies purely for the joy of bringing them around improptu-style whenever I want. But the rest of my MSDs are shelling specific OCs. I bought two MSDs with vague intentions but I gave them backstories and/or shells of OCs to justify keeping them. I've got SDs for a few characters planned but my goal, to keep myself realistic and frugal, is to only shell my OCs (eleventy bajillion!!!!) they can be from RPGs I play in or from art and stories I work on, but I don't have the funds or space to buy every doll I've ever admired. It feels limiting, because there are so many fantasy sculpts I want (Dragons! Nagas! Chimeras! Spiders) but they're also some of the most expensive dolls...so for now it's best to stick to my manageable goals.
    20. i have .... a terrible amount of ocs, like bordering 200 on last count. but, for whatever reason, i havent been able to spark interest in making any of them into dolls--which seems wild, because i totally expected myself to!? but the dolls i have i just have because Doll Pretty... they have loose personalities in my head which steers my choice of clothing and aesthetic for them, but they don't have nearly the depth of any of the characters i draw or write about. i love them all dearly (esp my MSD boy, my first doll and light of my bjd life) but no oc action here ....