Which Came First, Character or Doll?

Jul 14, 2016

    1. For my first 4 dolls I made the character after getting the doll. However for my next two dolls, their characters are planned out pretty solidly! I’m excited to get started on them :D
    2. I have dolls that I have planned for ocs and sometimes they work when they get to me and sometimes they change when they get here.
      I have bought dolls on urge and fancy that have developed into characters and ocs later.

      But then again I have rotated a lot on dolls sometimes lol I get picky on my style and sculpts.
    3. I make characters for dolls :)
      But I say that loosely. I've never been one to write or roleplay, so "making characters" is just sort of coming up with an aesthetic and a few personality/story points. I was originally doing this to fight art blocks when I used to draw. There was never any long term attachments to the characters so I never got any interest to spend hundreds of dollars on them.
      But if I already am spending hundreds on a pretty piece of plastic, I need to know where I'm going with it! So I make half-baked characters to figure out their clothes, faceup, and potential props to buy, and photoshoots to do ^_^
    4. All your stories and opinions are so interesting to read !! I can see why both (or all three, since many of you have gone for the middle route inbetween) are really nice to work with !! Either way, it's really nice and creative which is all that the hobby is about after all~! I'm new to it, as in, I don't actually have any dolls yet, but I already have quite a few plans and it's nice to kind of hear about others and their experiences~
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    5. The former. I need a reason to buy a doll, and one reason only: to bring someone from my writing to life. I'd be afraid of how big the collection would be otherwise, honestly.
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    6. Its happened to me both ways as well. Sometimes I will drive myself nuts trying to have everything figured out before a doll arrives, and other times I already know, and yet still I've had it all figured out and the doll shows up and says that isn't going to work! I think this process is actually a huge part about what I love so much in this hobby. While I adore having things picked out and ready for the doll when it arrives, its still fun to build the doll once its in hand and can really give you an idea to their personality.
    7. Characters are first. With just two exceptions. One head I have no plans for nor any character, yet...And one doll which inspired me as soon as I have seen him. It was impulsive buy, but not exactly without plan.
    8. I feel this would be a bit different once I get my first BJD, but with my window shopping, I usually do character first! I have a bunch of OCs I'd love to make into a BJD. Although, I think I need to push myself more with I guess the doll first then a story/character? If that makes any sense. With some of my window shopping right now, I haven't even thought once of what story I could possibly create with them!
    9. I've had so many characters in my head over the years - I love the process of creating characters, but they always end up being tweaked and changed the more I think about them, and sometimes they evolve into someone else entirely. It's kind of ended up being that way with my dolls. The first I acquired to shell an (admittedly nebulous) character I'd had in my head since I was 10 (I'm now in my 30s). The doll was secondhand, and I did change a few aspects of his appearance (wig, some clothing, adding antlers), but other aspects of the sculpt ended up influencing the character (I ended up sticking with the eyes even though I never imagined him with that color, I would never dream of changing the faceup because it's gorgeous). This character had never really had a story to speak of or any connection with other characters, but I saw other secondhand dolls in that scale that spoke character ideas to me that fit in with my first doll...and then when they arrived they ended up having different character traits than I had first intended. It was an interesting balance of my vague notion of a character vs. character traits the sculpts themselves inspired.

      After somewhat figuring out who they were/their story, I didn't necessarily...lose interest in them, but my mind wandered on to other things, and I fell away from BJDs for a time. Then I started browsing secondhand again and stumbled across a doll that was full of character, and that started me on another creative path: what if I could reimagine my existing dolls, perhaps get some more characters to be part of the cast? I fell headlong down that rabbit hole, scouring secondhand and in-stock dolls looking for ones in the right scale and skin tone that might vaguely fit the characters in my new cast. Ultimately, though, I ended up with too many dolls and too many ideas. I could never settle on setting or how this expanding cast was related or connected to each other. It was more creatively frustrating than inspiring, and that combined with some features I disliked on some of the dolls prevented me from bonding with them. I was starting to think I should have stopped with my first three (humanoid MSD dolls - I have less frustration with my dragons and other tinies).

      I let everything sit for a while just to sort out my feelings. I don't regret trying out different sculpts/doll companies, as I've learned a lot about what I like and dislike that way and how my creative process works (or doesn't work), though it was an expensive form of experimenting. I'm sticking with my original cast of four and their original story, though I've tweaked the appearance of one of them (still need to update his pictures on his profile, whoops) and probably will revisit their story someday. Of the four "new" (to me) MSDs I bought in the span of a few months, I gave the two I was least inspired by to a friend who loves creating OCs in the hopes that they'd speak to her in a way they'd never spoken to me. I was tempted to give up on the other two as well, but I am more attached to their sculpts and engineering as well as the fact that they had a spark of character before I bought them (rather than specifically having traits I was trying to shell), so I'm trying to let them grow organically rather than force them to be part of one particular story. I'm thinking now that with one of my dolls I'll do something looser - they'll have the same personality but be more adaptable to different time periods, stories, and situations. Perhaps that way I will keep feeling inspired but not feel as frustrated.
    10. For my first real bjd, it was pretty obvious that she was always going to have a serene poised personality. Just her expression, you know? But I actually started building a character based off of the the factory pictures for Hui Ringdoll a few months ago, just in case I ever got one. I'm really happy to have put in my down payment for one second hand.
    11. Mostly the character. That's why I started the hobby, to have my characters in 3D. But later, I bought a few sculpts with no character behind, and tried to insert them in my old story.
      Also I have a doll which came through lots of name and gender changes. Now she wears the name of an old, almost forgotten minor villain and have a new character :)
    12. Most of my dolls were characters before being shelled. But theres a few of my collection thats just all new material. I love them all though!!! I just have a bigger bond with the ones I created before even joining the bjd community.
    13. Aeron was a character before she was a doll but she's been evolving since I was 13, and now confidently have shelled her into a Little Ifi.

      Emma was sort of a character prior to purchase (she was more of an idea than a fully formed character) but I think the Doll Chateau Elizabeth sculpt has also helped to refine her into a tangible character. I have to know who the doll will be prior to purchase.
    14. Dolls.. I honestly don’t even have a name for any of my dolls
      I see a pretty one , I buy it
    15. For me, I look for dolls to shell my various characters I already have which is really hard and takes time, especially if I've had the character so long and I know what they need to look like. I like doing it this way though because it really helps me think a doll through before I commit to buying it. I won't buy a doll just because I think it's pretty and I want it, which helps me save my money because otherwise I would have so many dolls. lol
    16. It's important to me that a doll has a character, and not every doll takes to one that I can think of, unfortunately. I usually see a doll that I think is nice and try to find them a character before I order (usually one I'm making up just on the spot based on vibes I get from the doll). If I can't, I just leave the doll be.
    17. It sounds like a lot of you got the doll and then the character or the doll enhanced the character concept the longer you had it. I'm interested in seeing how my character concepts grow if I have a doll as a shell for them, lately I've just been admiring sculpts on their aesthetics alone and haven't applied characters to potential purchases.
    18. The character! I have had their stories ready before I really got into BJDs.
    19. My dolls usually become before the character. I do have a ton of characters I would like to shell, but I tend to be too picky for this to be a very quick process, and in the meantime, I see other dolls that I like even if I don't particularly know "who" they will be yet.
    20. I have the story, but maybe the doll does not mold, in other occasions, the wrist is before history, depends.