What's changed in the hobby in the last ten years?

May 7, 2019

    1. Hi all,

      Thinking about things that have changed in the hobby during the last decade

      a short list of subjects I've thought of so far:

      Chinese, American and European BJD artists
      Anthros
      Realistic sculpts (iplehouse, Racoon doll etc.)
      the pear shaped aesthetic
      the grotesque aesthetic (doll chateau)
      popullarity of smaller size dolls (FID, fairyland minifee etc....)
      recasting (ugh!)
      Online FCS for Volks
      buying at Japanese resale shops like Mandarake, Dollyteria
      Buying through facebook MP
       
      #1 Lyrajean, May 7, 2019
      Last edited: May 20, 2019
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    2. If I would suggest something, it would be the community. Last year a famous artist left the hobby because the community was too toxic and she felt bullied (and yes, I've seen the comments related to her and I can't blame her, really). I'd give people a few tips about how not to get scammed when they order handmade stuff for their dolls, too. If you need a more detailed description, feel free to contact me.
       
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    3. Hm, @Skolopendrokot, what should they actually say though about the community? You just said "the community" and mentioned an incident of someone leaving said community due bullying.
      However, as it is the BJD community is like every other one: you got people of all kinds. The quiet collectors, the visible collectors, friendly ones and rude asses, the popular ones who accidentally got popular, the popular ones who's only desire/reason to enter this hobby was to become popular, the artists, the peeps who rather commission, people who actively want to be part of the community, people who rather do their thing on their own and so on. All ages as well! Not to mention how vastly different a community can be depending on which platform you are on. The ones over at YT are not like the ones over at Instagram for example. People who mostly prefer moderated places also tend to be different compared to the ones who go to easy "everything goes" communities (like Facebook).
      So for everyone who left due to bullying (who was that actually? am a bit out of the loop when it comes to "drama" and who you deem as famous might not be who I deem as famous) you got a couple people who were greeted with open arms and so far not once had an issue.

      If I would say something about the community (and I agree that should be mentioned), I would bring up that we tend to handle things a little differently compared to many other doll hobbies.
      We aren't really "collectors" in the classic sense, and customizing is very important for us. However, customizing ourselves mostly! We don't do the whole "buying finished customs from a few popular customizers" thing (like Blythe) and our desire to collect is less "Gotta catch them all" and often more rooted in character creation (also something that doesn't seemed to be as frequent in other doll hobbies).

      I think overall your list does sound good though, @Lyrajean :)
       
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    4. I think maybe touching on 3D Model dolls? More and more people are using 3D sculpting compared to traditional, its very cool!

      I'd love to hear/learn about bjd topics! Is there anyone who has made a kind of bjd crash course? I want to learn more but its hard when you don't know where to start
       
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    5. @Ara , if you want, I can tell you more about that artist privately, I just don't want to paste all the drama here.

      I'm sorry if my last post was't clear enough. Of course' I don't mean the community in general. I like DoA because I've met very nice and helpful people here. But I've meant the places like confession blogs. They didn't exist ten years ago so I thought that it'd be good to mention them because they show the hobby in a very toxic way.
       
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    6. Not a crash course, but long ago I wrote this long FAQ of sorts:
      THE BIG BJD F.A.Q.

      Just realized I need to update it though, some of the links are dead :sweat

      No, it's okay! As it is, I'm not that curious to know, so spare yourself the work :)

      The confession blogs...oh my yeah, while they popped up a couple years ago in the BJD community they are not new at all. Lolitas and other communities had them before us, and someone apparently thought we need those as well (urgh...). I am not sure something like that should be elaborated on more than necessary though. People are very sensitive at times, and it goes as far as "I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that a Volks owner once looked weirdly at them during a doll meet, now I'm terrified to enter the community" :sweat The things I've heard and seen people brought up why they are afraid to enter the BJD community were so odd at times, and many of them either boiled down to half-truths (people claiming they got banned for no reason from a forum while in reality they insulted members, but newbie now thinks that forum is horrible) or simply worrying too much about something every community has (no community is perfect, and sometimes it's not as bad as you make it out to be).
      So if such a topic is brought up, I would keep it short and simple. Like "of course the bjd community like any other has its unkind sides as well" and "Commission blogs exist and because they are anonymous people say mean or sometimes totally untrue things there, it's better to avoid such places altogether and surround themselves with nice people".
      Otherwise one just needlessly scares away newcomers.
       
      #6 Ara, May 8, 2019
      Last edited: May 8, 2019
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    7. Oh thank you so much! and oops! I hope its an easy fix <3
       
    8. @Ara , I personally do not mind the idea of confession blogs in general. I think it's good if people have to play when they can confess anonymously. But a lot of posts shouldn't be tolerated there, especially when you read horrible things about someone you know (I had this situation). You are probably right that it should be only mentioned, but it's good to tell newbies that they can meet very different people and give them some tips about how to deal with it.

      And yeah, before I joined DoA, I've heard horror stories about people banned for nothing here and that this forum is just a bunch of elitists. Tbh I was quite surprised that everyone was really kind and helpful here and I got a lot of advice when I needed. Maybe it would be good to mention it as well.
       
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    9. @Skolopendrokot, I am extremely on the fence regarding confession blogs, more leaning towards "not needed". The amount of slander (often without proof) or just downright "not confession worthy" stuff is just way too high. Not worthy as in "I love my doll so much!" or "Can someone tell me where to buy doll X?".
      I have to say though that I am not surprised there is a need for them though, because the community does handle the truth or different opinions not well at all at times. Someone can scam and be rude, you can have screenshots to prove this and their fans still go all "HOW DARE YOU" and will spam your inbox. It's extremely difficult to bring up things in this hobby because we have this culture of "always be nice, always be friendly", even if saying some of those things is not rude but just the truth. But people also fear to leave a bad review when they got bad service, even though they definitely have a reason to speak up/complain and could save others from the same experience :sweat So I guess unless the community changes there those blogs ought to stay, just for that rare gold nugget of truth provided with screenshots that should have been posted openly but can't because some people wrongfully feel offended by it.

      The community is a complicated thing. But more often than not there are two sides, too many people are not willing to go as far though to actually seek out both and make their own opinion. I'm glad you still gave DoA a try. It's not perfect (which community is?), but still a great resource.
       
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    10. Maybe discuss popular forms of customization, like hybrids, faceups and so forth?
       
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    11. The revolution of double joints could maybe be a topic? I always found it interesting how this shift from single ball joints to peanut double joints went quickly. I am a bugger for posability, so I am not complaining, but there is also the asthetics difference, and as I watch the second hand market closely, it seems to me a lot of price differences comes from this criteria. So yeah, something to talk about.

      Another thing could be “unusual joints” like neck and shoulder joints and exchangeable parts, like fantasy or high heel and ballerina feet, as I feel these get more common as a standard thing lately.
       
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    12. RESIN COLOR!

      As a fellow old-timer, I find the availability of darker and fantasy tones much broader than it was ten years ago. A lot of independent artists especially seem to be offering more options in that category.

      Also, you can now find dolls who are sculpted not to conform with typical standards of beauty sold at the same time as dolls who still follow that very pretty, typical stylized aesthetic. The variety in the hobby has really evolved!
       
    13. For what it's worth, there ARE more "traditional"-type collectors in the hobby...

      Not everyone involved with ball-jointed dolls has artistic aspirations or wants to customize their collection, and some owners really do buy a full-set and keep them exactly as they came. Those collectors don't tend to spend time on DoA, though. You'll find them at doll shows and local UFDC meetings. The ones I've spoken to all came to BJDs by way of an interest in either fashion or art dolls, and they do tend to think of these dolls in much the same way as the rest of their collections. (One I met at a doll show last fall was absolutely appalled that I'd had Jet, my Volks Irvin, repainted for example. She just couldn't wrap her mind around why I'd "ruin" a pricey Limited that way.)

      There are also some of us who walk a bit of fine line between the traditional collectors and the kind of owners you usually find here. The type of owner who may not insist on keeping their dolls in their original full-set state behind glass, but who also tend not to be as interested in the full-customization/extensive character-play/dolls-as-animistic-companions aspects of the hobby, either.

      So... it takes all types is what I'm saying.
      There's no wrong way to doll, and if you look at BJD owners as a whole you'll find all kinds of different approaches. :lol:
       
      #13 Brightfires, May 10, 2019
      Last edited: May 10, 2019
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    14. My girlfriend and I were just talking about this yesterday! XD

      When I first joined the hobby, the most masculine dolls I could find were Iplehouse Barron and Dollshe Saint, and even then, Saint had some delicate features that translate well to female dolls. Unidoll popped up sometime around then, but they were never really popular, sadly. I loved so many of their sculpts...

      Now, you have so much to choose from, and much larger and more muscular bodies. The variety has certainly grown, as many companies still dedicate themselves to the more traditional, anime aesthetic (which is wonderful to see!). There are also more companies offering fantasy dolls. Used to be only Soom had the fantasy dolls, now you've got Resinsoul, Loongsoul, Fairyland, and many others.

      While I prefer to collect the very masculine and more realistic dolls, I'm happy to see the other styles still going strong. I still love seeing them and still love watching others enjoy them!

      I've also noticed the increase of people just making their own accessories for dolls - eyes, wigs, clothing, props, etc. It may be that the increase in social media simply allows for me to see people doing their own thing - totally plausible - but it just seems like more and more people are willing to try different skills for their dolls, and to see more and more people sharing their knowledge about wig-making, eye-making, etc. Of course, this means there are more people offering their skills on places like Etsy, which is never a bad thing.
       
    15. Well, ive been away for a while. Ive noticed some of the same things metioned by others.

      - The rise of the minifee (and other 44cm slim minis)
      - Anthros eveywhere! and I love it!
      - The spread out nature of the community, we used to have just DOA, Deviant Art and Livejournal. Now we have instagram, facebook, tumblr. All sorts of places to find out about BJD's
      - I will say the addition of confession blogs has not helped the community.
      - recasts. bleh. the worst thing to happen ever.
      - the slowing down of the 2nd market.
       
    16. A lot of people have pointed out things I would point out! But here's my take on the things that stand out most to me...

      The Bad
      - The addition of "confession" blogs. I truly abhor this entire concept... If anything, a confession blog should be wholesome (Confession: I really love X's dolls.)! But people are very petty and I think that these blogs are immature and give the community a bad name (and too much drama).
      - Recasts. When I started in the hobby, recasts weren't even a question. Now they are a booming business -- and the fact that people that consider themselves part of our community (the BJD community as a whole) argue that they 'deserve' dolls and that recasts are okay is terrible to me.

      The Neutral
      - A lot of companies have come and gone. The most poignant for me is Dream of Doll, the company that produced the first doll I ever fell in love with.

      The Good
      - The rise in independent artists! I love this so much because now BJDs aren't just *A*-BJDS, they are from all over the world with beautiful, unique body shapes and styles.
      - Community hubs - there are so many branches of the BJD community now. We don't have to stick to DoA now; there are also discord groups, instagram, facebook, flickr, and so many other places we can communicate with each other.
       
    17. Ugh recasting. "confession" blogs.
      But also body variety, resin colors, lots more styles, which is cool.
       
    18. Face up aesthetics seem to have changed, and moved a bit away from traditional perfectly clean looking to a bit more, heavy on the blushing and speckling. I recall when I first painted a few of my Minimee head sculpts (back in 2009) to have "faux" pigmented skin texture, some people on a hate-spreading-forum were calling it "Geostigma" (an illness of sorts affecting people in FFVII:AC) on a few of my Final Fantasy inspired sculpts. Nowadays, it seem like "skin-texture" is everywhere, and it's not always used on realistic dolls, but all sorts of styles, which is really interesting. Around ten years ago as well, or a bit more I was looking for people taking custom eye orders, because small irises weren't a thing. Now they seem to be a thing, although still a bit too large on most eyes, for my purposes. I hope these newer trends moving towards realism mean, in the future there will be more realistically proportioned large bodies, so I can finally complete one of my dolls. DX

      Fashion doll sizes seem to be a popular trend now as well. Before then people didn't want them to be included in the forum, but now every other company has a fashion doll sized BJD. If it had been a thing ten years ago, maybe Fairland Chic Line would have been more popular and they wouldn't have discontinued the line. Kind of interesting how popularity always rules, I guess.
       
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    19. I feel like the average age of BJD hobbyists has dropped drastically.

      When I joined the hobby 11 years ago at age 25, I felt like I was one of the youngest people in the hobby, most of the people I met were 35+. The hobby wasn't as well known back then and the prices and rarity of things meant it was very much a luxury hobby that many people couldn't get into until they were out of school, working full time, financially stable and on their own. Now, at 36, I sometimes feel like an old granny when there are soooo many people under 25 in this hobby, many of them teens! I think it's pretty cool that younger people are interested and finding ways to save up enough money to get a doll.

      Another thing- social media has become a huge thing that it wasn't back in 2008. I see this as a double edged sword. In a way, it encourages instant gratification, which can be bad when the hobby requires so much waiting. People expected to wait hours or days for replies to things back then, now they get upset if they don't have an answer within minutes. On the other hand, it's a good thing to have so many different places to share your hobby and meet new people in ways that are most comfortable and familiar to you.

      The available clothing and accessory options are so much better now! Everything back then was lolita or emo, and it was so expensive, there really weren't cheaper options available. Finding casual clothing and shoes was extremely difficult. Finding a short wig that didn't look like it was made for a toddler was impossible. Faux fur wigs were all the rage! I rarely ever see a doll wearing one now.
       
    20. Maybe this is just perception! It's funny to hear you mention this because I found out about the hobby through anime cons and I felt like most people were in their late teens/early twenties... I was around 17 though and I didn't feel too out of place. I agree it feels like some people in the hobby are very young now though! Sometimes I am not sure people are telling the truth about their ages even when they are my age, either. *_*