Sculpting BJD Head – Part 1

I was given this pack of Das paper clay about 5 years ago and I’ve never really done anything with it other than prop my desk lol. So one day when I was bored I tinkered with it and tried to make a doll head. These pics are several weeks ago before I stuffed up my hand.

The first thing I did was used my Dollshe Saint Old Hound Body as a reference for size. I’ve stuck his torso part onto a box so I can turn it around while I work on the head because I didn’t have a lazy susan. Then I used a balsa wood stick which I wrapped with some foil to give me a ‘head start’ (still with the bad puns I’m sorry!)



The next step is I cover the foil core with some Das paper clay like this:



I covered the clay with some cling plastic wrap and occasionally spraying it with water so I can keep the clay from drying out and therefore remain maleable for me to nudge and poke it until it resembles the shape of head that I’d like. From a perspective of a complete novice, I can say that this process of creating a head shape that I like is probably one of the hardest steps. I’m finding I have a tendency to build a shallow forehead and a protruding snout, making the head appear more ape-like than human, whereas a human head as more prominent forehead and back set jaw (especially for Caucassian faces).


Now for me anyway, the most important thing to know before I can even dream about sculpting a head is about the human face proportions and the 1/3 rule. Without knowing this rule, the face will not look human. This was a good guide:




Then I spent several days (yes I’m sloooww) tinkering with getting more shape out of my base head shape.



I have to keep remembering to keep the jaw back behind the forehead!! Otherwise, APE-MAN!!



I’m quickly learning a second most difficult thing about sculpting a face: symmetry. Omg, if your symmetry is off, the entire face just falls apart. I haven’t got an answer to this one other than using a mirror and loads of practise ahead!


The rest of the progress is about adding more clay on top of the basic shape and when it’s too much I shave that away using some tools such as these. I didn’t have all of these in the early days so I was just mainly sculpting with my hands, but once I begin to make the nose I realise I can’t just do it with my nails anymore, so I bought these from Ebay which are so cheap but useful!


Oh yes, I also changed my clay. Das clay is cheaper and coarser so it’s great for just forming the basic shape of the head, but it’s not good for fine detailing. For that I switch to La Doll clay as pictured above. There are many kinds of La Doll clay (Premix, La Doll original and Premier), the best one for a beginner I think is the Premier. It’s a lot more forgiving and uniform rate of melting. Easy to shape with just a paint brush for the really fine details I found. You can see where I’ve used Premier clay on top of Das because it’s a lot whiter.






It’s always good idea to keep turning the head as I sculpt to check the symmetry.




Sculpting BJD Head – Part 1

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