I am finally starting to make progress on the backlog of things that I want to write about, although unfortunately, I come up with more stuff all the time. Today, I just briefly want to share some work Ive done, and some rather cool finds.
First, I have the latest addition to my wierd Dora the Explorer dolls collection
Yeah, she’s kinda funky looking. I was drawn to her because her face sculpt is pretty unusual, and I thought it would be a nice challenge to make her look completely different.
Just want to point out right now that I never said pretty, just different! I actually want to redo her eyes, because Ive improved a lot since I did this one, but I am still fairly pleased with it because I feel like Ive managed to give her some character, whereas before she looked very bland.
My next repaints are part of another accidental collection, dolls from Sofia the First. I found them in home bargains, the same place as that Dora, and like her they seem to be a low-budget version of the dolls, when compared to what else is out there.
Here we have Sofia and her sister Amber. They have quite sweet faces, although again without a lot of character
And Amber has some serious wonk-eye going on. I actually think that it looks quite cute, gives her a sort of adorable lop-sided smile, but I assume it is an accident. In the TV show, Amber often has a bit of asymmetry going on, because she’s often sneering or being sarcastic, but this doesnt really look anything like that. If that is what they were going for, they failed.
When it came to Sofia, I was quite happy with my first attempt at a repaint. I kinda had a hard time with getting her mouth just right, but Im very pleased with the eyes.
Amber however, I dont know…
Her face mould is different to Sofias, with much wider eye sockets, and as I generally use those as a guide when painting the eyes, my first attempt looks a bit like an insect.
For my second attempt I tried to make the eyes smaller, but it is tricky, because my brush really wants to follow those socket lines. Also, now that Ive got the eyes to a better size and shape, her gave has gone to pot somewhat, and she’s kind of looking in two different directions. Eventually Ill try again I think, but she isnt too bad for now.
On to charity shop dolls!
They’re all from the same shop. I have no idea who this doll is, cant figure out anything about her other than that her face is hard to photograph, but I though she was cute so for 25p I just picked her up.
I first spotted this girls hand and elbow poking out, and decided to investigate, although I feared it would just be an action character like a toy wrestler or something. The combination of such good articulation for such a small figure, but the attention to clothes and feminine face and hair of a play doll, not an action figure, immediately gave me a clue about her identity. One reason, I’d say the most obvious, why a play doll would have this kind of robust articulation and hands that can hold things, is that she is designed to ride horses. The outfit kind of goes with that theory too, with those boots. It was certainly enough to take a gamble on.
As I started to undress her, I discovered little elastic straps holding her trousers inside her boots,
And her shirt is actually more of a leotard to stay tucked in, both of which suggested to me that my theory was right. When I got her completely undressed, as well as a bit of staining on her legs, I discovered that she had Breyer written on her back, too. I didnt photograph that because you’d never have been able to see it, but seeing as Breyer makes model horses, that would seem to be case closed. Ive seen dolls like this plenty of times, and I suspect that she originally came with a jacket and a riding hat. Also, probably tied back hair!
My next find was a cause of much excitement
A Bratz Big Babyz doll. She seems to be Sharidan from a line called Forever Diamondz, or Diamondz, or something like that. She’s obviously missing her shoes, and I think she should hae had a jacket, but I like her a lot
Her face is really sweet. Big Babyz are a thing of my childhood, and I never had one, so it was nice to pick her up. However, she needs renaming, because I dont like Sharidan at all. I feel like when Bratz was going through that phase of adding mountains of new characters for no clear reason, they seemed to go for the most unusual names they could. I dont mind unusual names, but when they all have unusual names, or unique spellings, it gets a bit annoying.
In the first photo of her, you may notice a certain bush-like quality to her hair. That photo is in fact taken after I washed her hair, and spent nearly two hours trying to detangle it. Its so thick that it just seems to tangle right back up again. Tying it back is definitely a good plan, but my hairstyle ability pretty much stops at plaits. Its not my fault, I have no hair to style! With her big head, thick hair, and general look, I was at a loss to come up with something for her that would look nice, and then I realised; she’s not a current doll. Bratz came out during my childhood, and so I could use that for inspiration, changing the rules somewhat
Lots of plaits hanging down all the way around. I remember pop stars doing this when I was younger, and it goes with her outfit style somewhat.
I had to clean up her face a bit too. She was a little bit dirty, and one issue that she had as a decent sized black smudge on her cheek. It did come off with nail polish remover, but now she has a spot with no blush on it. It is still more subtle than the black smudge though.
Finally, I would like to introduce you to a rather special doll. I would like to explain that my childhood Barbie dolls, whilst much beloved, are no longer with us. I have no idea what possessed me, I think I was trying to be grown up or something, but I got rid of all my old dolls in my teenage years. I think it probably took me all of a year before I found myself buying dolls anyway, and nowadays I really wish I had kept them, although they had sustained significant wear and tear that is the sort of thing that’d put me off buying them now if I saw them. Still, I missed them, and one of my favourites was my Workin’ Out Barbie doll. She had a neon pink outfit, tape player for her and matching tape for me, a water bottle, and some articulation that was incredible at the time. Ok, so its not a big deal any more, but she had hinge joints in her elbows and knees, a ball joint in her waist, and she could do side splits, which was a fairly novel thing to do. Modern Barbie Style dolls could out-pose her in a flash, but it was a big deal. The other thing about that doll was that because she was exercising, and stood up and stuff, she had flat feet which were noticeably larger than usual. As a child with big, wide feet that made shoe-shopping difficult, that was a trait I could totally identify with. Like me, she couldnt fit into any of her friends pretty shoes, and instead had to stick to her own somewhat clunkier, less elegant ones. I got so much play out of her, and now she’s gone. However…..
I found a doll with the same body style!
And that face, with the blue eyelashes, and the soft, poofy hair, the fringe that went wild and wouldnt be tamed, the hourglass shape. Talk about nostalgia! She isnt the exact same doll, but she is defibitely a 90’s girl. Sure enough, her back says 1993. I actually cant seem to figure out who she is. I know the year she was made, but I dont really have any other clue, since she came with no clothes or accessories. Her earrings are white (my dols were pink), and Im reasonably confident that they’re original because I remember them being difficult to get in and out. Dolls with this body time were often active characters, like horse riders or gymnasts, but U cant find a single doll like that with white earrings and the same face paint. I feel like somewhere in the world of the internet there’s a list of all Barbie releases by year, which would be super helpful, but I cant seem to find it. If anyone reads this who recognises her, I would love to hear any suggestions.
Im now hapily engrossed in sewing her a new wardrobe, since she cant share with my modern Barbies. I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those dolls that gets far too spoiled in terms of clothes. I wan to sew for her so much, because she just makes me so happy!