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What do do if you can't art?

May 27, 2017

    1. Wierd title name I know, but otherwise it was getting too long. My first doll will be coming "soon", long story there. Anyway, I've noticed a whole lot of people do faceups or mods, make clothes or props or wigs or eyes. Well, I'm not very good at art. Like I'm really bad at art. As in, looks like a four-year-old did it. So...what can I do to interact with my doll?
      • x 1
    2. I don't treat mine as collectables. They're my dollies, my babies and are sittng on the end table next to me at the end of the couch. I talk to them like I do my dogs and cats (LOL), carry them around with me, dress them. Play with them. I have fun buying for them clothes others have made and dressing them. I'm wanting to get props, motorcycle, bike, wagon, etc., and well play together with those. I just enjoy them!
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    3. You don't really have to do anything with them if you don't want to. Sometimes I'll do a faceup here or there or make a simple outfit. Most of the time, I just pose them and have them sit on one of my shelves. The most I do with them is use them for drawing models or practice photography.

      As long as they make you happy, that's all reason you need to get one.
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    4. There are tons of things you can do besides faceups and stuff! (Which, by the way, don't actually have much to do with your 2D drawing ability.) Things like making wigs and props really don't have much to do with general "artistic ability" either, and practice makes perfect. If you want to try to make stuff, go for it! I was in the same boat for a while; I suck at 2D drawing and most sewing or crafts projects never go the way I want, so I wasn't even going to bother. But when I got my DZ Carter, Ilya, and realized I wasn't going to be able to find his outfit anywhere, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. And surprise! He turned out fantastic. Don't guve up before you try! I'm willing to bet there's something out there you'll excel with.

      And if you really do try all this stuff and you're bad at it or just don't like it, then you can always buy or commission stuff. I commissioned Ilya's faceup from someone here on DoA (because I really don't think I could have done his face if I tried), and I love him just as much as I would have had I done it myself. And once you get your doll all finished, take pictures! Photography doesn't have to be perfect magazine quality, and setting up photoshoots is super fun.

      Overall, remember that you have your dolls to please yourself. It's not a necessity to be an amazing artist or show fantastic pictures online or have hundreds of people screeching over your dolls. Having your dolls sitting in a cabinet and never doing anything with them bt admiring their beauty doesn't make you a "bad doll owner." So basically, 1) don't give up before you try, and 2) just do what makes you happy!
      • x 3
    5. I can't agree more with the above statement or you could also write stories for your dolls. :) It's a whole lot of fun. For me no one in this hobby did anything perfect in the first time they tried. Eventually you'll just find yourself getting better at things you taught your not so good at? For the mean time I only have one head as a piece of resin. but man she talks and demands a lot. so you'll just find yourself getting inspired with a whole lot of things. it's a comforting yet frustrating hobby at the same time. just Enjoy your doll the way you do. don't feel to pressure.

      Dolly hugs,

      • x 1
    6. You don't have to be crafty to enjoy your dolls. Say... I'm neither crafty nor artistic, and I have no intention to change that to be honest - most of the time it's just not something I enjoy. To me, dolls are characters not collectibles. Playing with them inspires me for new stories abd just gives pleasure from seeing characters I've created in real world. By playing I mean dressing them up in clothes I found and bought for them, making photostories, carrying them around, thinking about their story lines... Maybe there's something like that you can have fun with too!

      On the other hand, if you'd like to try arty bits but just are not as good as people you see around... go for it! Practice doesn't always make perfect tbh, but that's fine. Hobby should be fun, not a stress.
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    7. I would suggest photography :) Photography is an art, but it's not like drawing or being good with hands, you could think of nice places to take photos of your dolls. Planning all that, going there, taking photos, selecting the best ones... is a lot of time spent with them! or maybe buying backdrops for them to take good photos at home is also a good way to enjoy one of the artistic things that dolls offer, without having to be crafty.
      • x 3
    8. I second this sentiment! I took a few short photo-stories with my crummy cell phone camera and I was really impressed with how inspired I was to try more! Now I'm writing stories and working on character development. I've even started modding a body. But it all started with some pictures.
      • x 1
    9. You can still do art even if you're not good at it.
      No one will have to know, and you don't have to show it to anyone. You could just try it, and if it's fun you try it again.
      You don't have to do anything though. There's sooo many possibilities and different ways to approach this hobby :D
    10. Like others I'd suggest photography since even if you suck at it you're not like ruining something or having to redo something, you just take another picture. Also if you're interested in the crafting aspects but feel you're just not skilled enough, keep in mind that everyone starts somewhere and very few people's early attempts look good at all even if they're artistic in other ways. Plus the different aspects of doll artistry require different sets of skills. You'd think if you're good at drawing you'd be good at faceups right? Not necessarily. Makeup skills are much more applicable than drawing skills as I learned when I first started with faceups. Then you have sewing which is kind of more math than art in practice. If you're good at geometry you're more likely to be good at sewing. If you're not interested in the crafting facets of the hobby then that's perfectly fine. There are plenty of collectors who don't craft. If however you do kind of want to craft and are just afraid you'll suck at it don't be :) just dabble in different things, find what you like to do, and the skill will come with time and practice.
    11. You don't have to be an artist to be a doll collector, OP. Trust me. I know that first-hand, since I'm absolutely not. :lol:

      As much as some of the hobby's Peanut Gallery may go on about how .-~OMG!Uncreative~-. we non-artisans may be, there are still plenty of us who neither paint nor sew nor make every single prop, wig, or whatsit our dolls need. Some of us may try our hand at (nowhere near "professional-quality") photographs occasionally, or we might sew something basic once in awhile, but that's about as far as it goes. And that's PERFECTLY FINE.

      There's nothing wrong with commissioning one of those fabulous seamstresses or faceup artists or wig-makers instead of going the DIY route. Play with your dolls the way *you* want to and feel comfortable with.
      #11 Brightfires, May 27, 2017
      Last edited: May 28, 2017
      • x 2
    12. I have some skills, but I don't always enjoy doing dolly crafty things, or even taking photos. Just having my dolls around the house makes me happy. I like to repose them, change clothing every now and again, and take a doll out to a meetup from time to time. That's enough for me.

      Like @Brightfires said, the hobby has so many talented artists in it ready to do the creative work for you. Anything you can think of can be commissioned. All you need to do is be the creative director.
      • x 2
    13. Reading most of these is pretty nice! I am just getting into this world because I am a curious person, and, I see so many encouraging people so far. In fact, what got me looking was this animation called "Trois Petit Chats" or something of the sort. (Lol, I am no french.) The models of said animation were based on Pipos dolls! I loved how the kittens look like, and so I just kept looking. Whenever I do get a doll, this will be my drawing model/poser, just as so many comments have been suggesting! I love all of this so far.
    14. I'm not very good at art, either. In fact, I kind of dislike doing anything artsy because I always end up disappointing myself.

      However, as others have mentioned, photography is really fun! I started getting serious about doll photography by using the Professional Mode on my smartphone. After about a year of that, I bought a refurbished DSLR, and it's been a great experience. Lots of fun, no crafting or drawing involved, and programs like Lightroom really bring out the best in your work.

      It may not be the cheapest way to have fun with your dolls, but it's very rewarding!
    15. Fake it 'til you make it(?)

      Assuming the crafty side of BJDs is something you're actually interested in, there's such variety in the mediums you can use (sewing, painting/drawing, photography, faceups, modding, dyeing, knitting/crochet, wigmaking, shoemaking, dioramas, etc.) that you'll probably find something artsy to enjoy if that's what you want.

      Crafting (when you're not using it as a primary source of income) isn't a competition. You're doing it for your own betterment and fun. If it's no longer fun, don't do it. If it's not fun, don't do it--there are plenty of other things you can do with BJDs.

      Just know you shouldn't expect to be good at any of it right away. The people who are may have had some initial talent, yes, but it's just as likely (perhaps more likely) that they are good at it because they've had practice--in some other hobby. Perhaps they're good at faceups because they do professional makeup, or good at modding because they're a sculptor. People aren't just good at something right out of the gate--it takes practice.

      The whole point of BJDs is that the hobby is so flexible--there's a lot to do: collecting, doll conventions, making dolly friends, meeting hobbyists, that isn't crafting. Do what you love.
    16. You can always try your hand at a craft related to the hobby. If you get joy out of it, then you'll improve with time and practice, and it's totally cool to start out being bad at any kind of art. If it's just frustrating, then there's no reason why you should have to interact with your doll in those ways.

      Photography, as many have mentioned, is a great way to spend time with your dolls, and to share what you love about them with others (I wish I was better at that one, myself...), and honestly... sometimes you don't need to have any kind of art in mind, even photography-- sometimes it's just really fun to get out a doll, change an outfit or even just change around accessories... and play! Play dolly dress-up, or have a private tea party and let yourself do something silly and fun with your doll that way. Or even just sit one in your lap while you're watching TV-- sometimes it's nice just to cuddle with our dolls. It's not everyone's thing, and it's also okay to just have them as pretty things to look at if that's what brings you joy. But there's definitely a lot you can do without being arty/crafty!
    17. Sooo... I sometimes get faced with the "I can't Art!" statement and I will tell you what I tell those people.
      Art is a skill. Yes, there is talent involved and yes it certainly helps but Art is fundamentally a skill you learn. You can have all of the talent in the world but if you do not put in the work to learn the technique and just do the thing, it will not help you.
      Everything you've listed above is a skill- face ups, mods, making clothes, making props, making wigs, making eyes- ALL of that is a skill.
      People were not born knowing how to do *any* of these things- they all had to learn them and you can too!
      So maybe a face up is a bit scary right now because you don't want to damage your doll- that's fine. You can maybe grab some cheap heads off of the MB and practice on those. (Just please, please, please do research and take *every* safety precaution very seriously!)
      So maybe you don't know how to sew but you can go and learn- start small, maybe making a simple dress or skirt. And maybe that first dress you make will look like a potato sack but you would have learned *so* much more by actually making the attempt so that when you sit down to make a new dress it will look even better! :D
      So you don't know how to make wigs- great! Grab some yarn and start with a yarn wig instead of going for alpaca wool or something much harder.
      You get what I'm saying right?
      The only limitation here is you!
      Don't be afraid of trying new things. As you attempt to make these things for your doll you and the doll will bond over it. It will be a great journey for you as a person as well, you'll learn so many new things!
      My point is... I get that it can be intimidating to try new things but if I've learned anything during my tenure on Teh Interwebs! It's that there is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. There is so much stuff you can get just off of DoA and YouTube that it's a bit crazy and that's ignoring any independent blogs and the like.
      Believe in the me that believes in you and just do the thing! :D

      ....=-= sorry if this was a bit long winded but as an artist it really grinds my grits when people lament that they can't art...
    18. @Nevi, I'll have to disagree with you a bit.

      With any skill, the more you work at it the more you get out of it, so I'll agree you there.

      I can't really draw a stick figure. If I did a ton of practice I'm sure I could get better, but I'd never be the next Michelangelo.

      I do a lot of programming. The more I do it the better I get at it. It's quite obvious that most people can't wrap their heads around it at all though. With a bunch of practice they'll be able to basic things, but they'll never be able to write anything large or complicated by themselves.

      People's brains just work in different ways.

      (On a re-read -- I think this is just an argument of degrees. If you're starting at the ground floor the only way to go is up. The harder you work the further you'll go, but everyone will plateau at different heights though).
    19. I do think that anyone can learn to faceup or photograph or sew (I've learned all of these things since joining the hobby to varying degrees, and I used to tell people I "couldn't do X to save my life" about all of them) if they want to, but it does take a lot of time and effort and perseverance. If you're not up for that struggle, having your dolls looking awesome on display so they bring a smile to your face is a totally legitimate way to enjoy the hobby, and as others have said, you'll just be supporting other artists when you comission them for the things you want for your dolls.

      It's your hobby, so do what makes you happy.
    20. If you're interested in learning, then don't be discouraged. Everybody starts somewhere, and you will improve with practice. I have been doing art since childhood and have a 2 year art degree, and my first faceups were...terrible. Just absolutely awful! It was so different from anything I'd done before, and I completely started from the bottom and am still learning nearly ten years later. Same with sewing, I first picked up a needle and thread at age 5, but sewing for 3-D BJDs was so different from anything I'd done before, I've had to learn some new techniques. If it's something you really want to do, do it! Don't worry, just have fun, do your research, be open to ideas and don't be afraid to ask for help or critique.

      If you're not interested in learning artsy stuff, that's okay too! I know people in the hobby who aren't into making their own stuff, but that's fine too. That's why we have so many commissionable faceup artists, tailors/seamstresses, costume designers, furniture builders, prop makers, wig makers, eye makers---if everyone only made their own things, those people would have no business. I actually tried wig making and sculpting a few times, and I did not enjoy it much. I think I'll leave these things to the professionals.

      So how can you enjoy the hobby without doing all of that? Take photos, write stories or a background for your doll, roleplay his/her character, dress them up, change their clothes, go to meets with other doll owners, have them sit around the house with you, pose them. I do most of the faceups, and a lot of sewing, prop making, diorama building, and I still spend more time writing/role playing my characters than anything else.