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What new skills have you gained through owning BJDs?

Apr 26, 2011

    1. Visitors to our house always remark on my dolls, which all sit on a long shelf together above my desk; invariably they'll ask if I make everything myself. Originally I would explain that I do the face-ups and make their clothes myself, but now it's got to the point where I do their face-ups, make their clothes, acrylic eyes, wigs and even their shoes and jewellery myself. My most recent guest asked when I was going to start making the dolls themselves too!

      Which made me realise that since I started collecting BJDs six years ago, my crafting skills in many areas have expanded significantly. I was already a reasonably accomplished seamstress even before I took up BJDs, but certainly making clothes for them has made me more adventurous in clothes designing - and it's improved my hand sewing skills immensely, to the point where when sewing human-scale clothes, friends remark with awe on the tiny size of my stitches. I've learned how to make wigs, including making weft. I've taught myself how to make shoes, using the same techniques used for human shoes - and even written a tutorial on the subject. I've taught myself how to make eyes, and I'm teaching myself how to cast urethane so I can start making urethane eyes. I've taken my existing skills in silverwork and refined them to work on a much smaller scale to make BJD rings set with gemstones.

      The biggest impact has been on my photography however. I was an indifferent photographer at best before BJDs, with my camera pretty much permanently set to auto - whereas now I know exactly how to get the best out of my camera and how to produce high quality images, particularly macro shots.

      So, how about you? What have you learned to do since getting your first BJD? What new skills have you acquired? Have you honed an existing skill to a level you hadn't thought possible? What new skills have BJDs inspired you to take up and learn?
    2. Hmmm interesting topic :3

      I've been a sort of mediocre seamstress at best until bjd's. I sewed my own cosplay costumes with difficulty and chagrin, but now, after a few months of sewing painstakingly by hand, without a pattern to guide me, I've learned how different pieces go together. I wouldn't say I've honed the skill, but I'm definately more knowledgeable on the topic than I was before starting in this hobby.

      I've also made large improvements on my faceups. I'm quite proud of the skill I've gained in this area, and want to improve even though I've seemingly run out of dolls to paint ^^;;.

      I can't claim to have made progress in the jewellry field. I have no knowledge for this field except to string beads on wire or piece together bits of chain and findings. My photography has improved a little bit, but there's still lots of room to learn and improve - this is, in particular, one area that I'm hoping to improve in.
    3. Plain and simple: I learned to sew.

      Oh, sure, I could hand sew, but only for simple stitches and even then, that was only for mending tears and such. I used to be really into making jewelry (beading, because I have no idea how to set actual stones, or synthetic ones) I've been thinking about doing it again, since I'd stopped when I entered college. At the same time, I don't particularly know how to sew beads onto fabric, but that's ok for now.

      Even though I know how to sew, it's only for simple stitches - nothing fancy. I must've made five pairs of pants just because I knew how to sew pants. FYI: none of them fit her; they were all too long or too short and too narrow. I've got a pair of Dollmore pants, so I at least can get some idea of how wide and how long pants need to be. I need more fabric (as well as find my sewing supplies, since I haven't sewn since last summer due to obligations.

      My photography... meh, it's getting there. I wasn't a stellar photographer before, and chances are I won't be for a long time - or ever. I'm slowly learning that I need to pay attention to both foreground and background. Slowly learning how the darned thing works, overall. Just got the hold of the Macro setting. Don't expect terribly deep, artsy photographs from me anytime soon.

      Never have I been so thankful for Photoshop, though some of my pictures can't be helped through that, either.
    4. When I first read this I kind of thought to myself, "I haven't really learned anything, how sad. :...(", then I stopped and thought about it a moment and realized actually I've learned quite a lot!

      I learned to hand sew (before I just did the most basic normal stitch with a sewing machine) and not only that, but I've learned to enjoy hand sewing! :o I learned it's much more enjoyable for me to work slower and with my hands than speeding along on a machine and sobbing bitter tears while going back and ripping out all of the wrongly done seams from the machine. Don't you know that was so much fun, and so relaxing! *_* /sarcasm

      I learned to make basic doll clothing, very basic jewelry and other tiny accessories like headbands, alice bows and lace wrist cuffs. But because of learning to hand sew because of having tiny BJDs, I've become a lot more willing to try new things with sewing without being scared of ruining anything.

      Back before I got BJDs, if a button fell off my clothes or a seam ripped I'd sigh and put that piece in the back of my closet waiting for the day my mother could get around to fixing it for me because I didn't have enough faith in my sewing to do it myself.

      Now I not only fix any little rips, tears or wears on my clothing, but I actually customize them for myself. Adding new collars, lace hems, sewing on little interesting do-dads. If you'd told me a five years ago "Someday you'll have dolls and they will inspire you to become more creative and confident", I would have laughed at such a good joke. :lol:

      My photography hasn't really improved at this point, though I hope it will soon. At least my understanding of how cameras work has very much improved. I think it's only a matter of time.
    5. Your all going to laugh at me XD, but I found out carrying alot of bjds room to room was dangerous when you had to open doors as well, afraid of dropping them or, being annoyed with putting them down, I rather quickly learned to open a door with my foot XD. I hold my dolls in my arms lift my leg up high, grasp the doorknob with my toes and twist and push and POP open goes the door XD. Its a very weird but useful skill.
    6. My photography has improved and my attention to detail has shot through the roof, but the most impressive think is that I have learned to sew, well reasonably. The last textiles project I did, about a year ago, I managed to get a "U" for unmarked, I sewed the arm (wrist part) of a kimono to the back, no idea how I managed that. But now I can follow patterns and make my own, I have also mastered how to attach sleeves properly xD
    7. Photography for sure. When I first joined DOA and saw the gallery, my first thought was that I was going to need a good camera. I don't post photos here much, but I do take them for my own enjoyment. I still have lots to learn about photography, but I'm getting better.
    8. ^^That reminds me of how freaked out I was that she was going to get stained or dirty when I first got her. I kept putting a tissue down before I sat her on something. Now I realize how crazy I must've been. And it wasn't even on things that *could* potentially stain, either for the most part.
    9. A lot, actually. Actually most things I've just been merely gaining back. Such as photography, writing, and painting. I had to drop out of highschool early to take care of my handicapped sister and my mother, who was falling very ill at the time. Because of that, obviously, I wasn't able to continue in my art classes (I went to an art highschool so I was in a lot of different art classes and my family couldn't afford to let me take outside classes). I am not really GOOD at painting and photography but, I love it and, with practice I have shown that I can get better and do reasonably well. Unfortunately, with me dropping out of highschool, I let it all go. The camera my mother bought for me while she had her job broke and I lost interest in painting just because of taking care of everything. I wrote a lot but even that suffered after awhile and went away over time, especially after my mother passed away and after I had a falling out with a friend. Basically, I let ALL my art go over the years and it has been frustrating without it.

      But, then I got into dolls. And, with that, my writing, though SLOW, has been coming back bit by bit (because I'm collecting my characters and feeling inspired). I started photography back up and even bought myself a new DSLR camera recently. I also, a week ago, did my first ever faceup. It was AWFUL! But, instead of getting discouraged, I wiped it and did it again and actually like it, though it's still weak. :D But, I plan to do many more in the future and I LOVED doing it, despite what it looks like. In fact, I actually have four dolls planned that will come with no faceups when I figured I would only go with company defaults. I also started up sewing, which is a new thing I'm doing so I'm not that good, but it's fun and I like doing it as well, which surprises me. I also bought supplies to do my own yarn wigs which requires crocheting and I've NEVER done that before but I can't wait to try.

      All in all, I'm glad I discovered BJDs. I LOVE being artistic again! It only took, what, almost 14 years for me to get back into it? Shame, that, but I'm glad it's coming back. XD
    10. I am much better at doing faceups then I used to me. They are much harder to paint then I thought. I still have a long way to go, but my eyebrows are "ok" now
    11. I now have a reason to improve my sewing and trying new projects, and at least the projects I want to try I can make at a reasonably priced scale now. I hadn't ever considered painting anything akin to face-ups until I got the dolls, and have found that to be enjoyable, and I've gained a good bit of personal attachment to them. While they might not be awesome, there's definitely a personal satisfaction to "hey, I did paint that!"
      My dolls are somewhat indirectly influencing my writing too. Because I see them out and such, I end up thinking about my writing more (my dolls are secondary/tertiary characters in one of my stories, but they help keep it on my mind).
    12. I still haven't attempted much in the way of full faceups or sewing clothes, but I am a much better photographer now (tho that's still not saying much!) and since I'm really picky about my dolls' wigs, I've gotten pretty good at cutting and styling them into what I want them to be.
    13. I can't necessarily say that I learned how to do face-ups, with my mom having sold Mary Kay in the past and teaching me a LOT about make up, but I got a better understanding of human (or human-like) features. I also sewed for the first time in my life, and it's something I feel that if I put my mind to it and practiced (when I had time), it might actually be something I could get better at.

      Also, learned how to use a camera. Rather than just point and click and hope it came out good.
    14. The usual....Faceups, body-blushing, simple modding both additive and subtractive, a little photography (not as much as I'd like)....but to tell you the truth, I'm an artist anyway (I went to school for it and now I get paid and everything lol) and I'd be kind of depressed if I wasn't at least a little decent at this stuff.

      So my best skill that I learned that I didn't know I had was hair cutting! I've cut almost all of my doll's wigs at least a little and you can totally tell which ones were done first and which ones are more recent (meaning the first few = suck) XD
      I've even gotten brave enough to cut my own hair, something I never ever would have attempted years ago. I've chopped several inches off of my own hair, and done some layering! Not that you can tell...my hair is curly and long. Three inches off and no one even knew I'd gotten it cut....Still, that's my favorite skill XD

      I'm also really good at restringing. I can do it fast and with almost no tools. Considering how terrified I used to be to unstring anyone, this is pretty great!
    15. I think sewing, for sure.

      As a cosplayer, I'm always hesitant to experiment to make the costume because its so much fabric, and mistakes can be costly.
      But since I started making bjd-sized clothing, I get a lot of practice, and its not as bad if I mess up so I'm not afraid to try out different patterns and stuff. ^^
    16. I admire your ability to lift your leg high enough to open a door with your foot!

      *on topic*
      I learned how to design clothing better and BJD's helped me learn proportioning with drawing. For the longest time I never understood using circles when drawing bodies!
      My sewing has also improved. Nothing major, but it's something, right?
    17. a
      better sense of composition through photography :lol:
    18. For me, it'll be:
      1) Photography
      2) Sewing
      3) Faceups & other BJD related "techniques" such as sanding, restringing, etc.

      The BJDs hobby 'encouraged' me to learn and pick up some photography and sewing skills~ I guess I am still considered an amateur in all the above, but I am learning as time goes~ XD
    19. I'm slowly learning to be a better photographer! I still have a lot to learn though.
    20. I've definitely honed some skills since I started collecting! My mum taught me hand sewing when I was 8, and I've always made things for my dolls (clothes, food, furniture, houses etc.), but when I got into bjds, I found the lack of appropriately sized things that were reasonably priced really upsetting. I'd never sewn on sewing machine in my life before that, but I got on one and found out I was something of a natural with it (my gran had been a very talented seamstress and I sort of inherited her affinity for machine sewing.) Then came the clay. I wanted realistic food props for my dolls, and I figured for the price I'd pay to get the quantity I'd need, I might as well start making it. So I did... and discovered another talent ^__^ I've dabbled in wigmaking (which was horrible- definitely not good at that) and I've considered doing eyes, but I'm not as interested in that because I prefer glass. Lately I've been building photography sets, because photography has become a passion of mine too through all this, and those need furniture, and light boxes, and I'm going to eventually start sculpting the sort of dolls I'd like to see when I've got the time and space to devote to it. I've done face-ups since my first doll (I ordered him blank) and I couldn't imagine not painting them, so I guess that's a new hobby as well!

      This is a great hobby for artistic expression, and I've found several new hobbies as a result of it!