Books Learning to Be a Doll Artist by Martha Armstrong-Hand -If you happen to live in New York, you can read a copy of Martha Armstrong-Hand's book Learning to Be a Doll Artist (but you have to keep it in the library) -You can also buy the book, but as it is out of print it can be quite expensive.
Let me know if you find other good resources!
I would love to learn how to actually make a porcelain BJD. I am more of a bibliophile than an artist, so I have been collecting books for longer than I can remember. I always go to used-book stores when I am a tourist in a new city. So I have collected some interesting books related to doll making over the years. Not all of these are specifically for porcelain BJDs, but most of them cover some aspect of making a porcelain BJD, even if it is only something like plaster mold making, or sculpting a head, hands, and feet. These are some that I own (the mini-reviews are mine.):
Learning to be a Doll Artist: an apprenticeship with Martha Armstrong-Hand. Martha Armstrong-Hand. Livonia, MI: Scott Publications, 1999. [The definitive porcelain BJD making book, by a Master Sculptor. Covers everything from beginning idea to sculpting the doll, making molds, casting and firing porcelain, china painting, making shoes, wigs, clothing, and finally displaying the finished doll sculpture. This book also covers many aspects of Martha's professional life as a doll sculptor.]
Yoshida Style: ball jointed doll making guide. Ryo Yoshida. Tokyo, JP: Hobby Japan, 2006. [This book is a detailed step-by-step photo tutorial about making an OOAK BJD in air-dry clay. It covers everything from the initial idea and drawing, to sculpting each doll part, designing ball joints, as well as making shoes, and wigs. Even though this is a Japanese language book, the step-by-step photos are detailed enough to follow along, even if you don't know how to read Japanese. Since this book describes how to make an OOAK BJD, there is no mold-making information.]
Yoshida Style II: ball jointed doll making advanced guide. Ryo Yoshida. Tokyo, JP: Hobby Japan, 2014. [While this book covers much of the same information as the first volume, it also includes a section on plaster mold-making and casting with an air-drying slip. This is also a Japanese language book, with detailed step-by-step photo tutorials of all aspects of making a BJD.]
How to Make Your First Ball-jointed doll. Aimi. Tōkyō: Shūwashisutemu, 2011. [This is another great Japanese language book which details the making of an OOAK BJD with step-by-step photos. It also includes a full-size drawing of the doll which is the subject of the tutorial. While it is very similar to the Yoshida guides mentioned above, I had to buy it because, well... I love books about making dolls. It is a beautiful book, and the doll created between the covers is also beautiful. I believe that this book was written by the author of the web-site: www.aimi-doll.com/howto/]
Zen & The Art of Articulating Dolls by Using Balljoints. twigling. 2007. PDF. [This is an amazing little booklet, which I found as a free download on the Internet. I am amazed at the amount of engineering involved in designing and creating the ball and sockets for BJDs. It is only something like 23 pages long, but it is dense-packed with information that I cannot find anywhere else. This is a fascinating read for anyone who really wants to know what goes into making joints for a BJD. If you're thinking about making your own BJD, read this first. The link I have for it no longer works, so I have no idea where it can be found? Maybe a Google search will yield results? EDIT: Try this one: twigling.com]
Creating Original Porcelain Dolls: modeling, molding, and painting. Hildegard Günzel. Cumberland, MD: Hobby House Press, 1988. [This is one of the first doll making books I ever got, and I love it. It isn't about BJDs, but there is still useful information in it that can be applied to making a BJD, including modelling, mold making, casting porcelain, firing, and more. Plus, there are so many photos !!!]
Making Original & Portrait Dolls in Cernit. Rotraut Schrott. Cumberland, MD: Hobby House Press, 1993. [If your preferred modeling material is polymer clay, then this book will have something in it for you. It is also full of beautiful photos of Rotraut Schrott's dolls. My copy has a pattern in the back.]
Porcelain Doll Design and Creation: materials, techniques, patterns. Brigitte Von Messner. Portfolio Press, 1998. [This book is similar to the above two, but also has detailed information on casting porcelain in plaster molds, china painting, and firing porcelain. There are also patterns in the back of the book.]
I'm not sure it's useful to invest in too many books; there is so much information on the web that can you can save the money to buy tools, material, and of course a kiln. I have only three books : Martha Armstrong-Hand and Yoshida's books (though the first volume one is better and more informative; the second is too redundant). Yoshida's is more than enough in my opinion. Btw there are good translations in English of his first volume available on the web too. I would also recommend buying a good anatomy book.
I love twiglings book, and she is also just a great and helpful person. She is very supportive of fellow artists too. I have always found her willing to answer my questions, just really awesome human being.
I really like twigling's thoughts about sharing of joint designs. That artists should feel free to learn from each other's work as long as they aren't directly copying. I think there are only so many ways to make joints and when artists try to have exclusive ownership over a design it causes problems.
@allurose: You're welcome (for the mini-reviews). Except for twigling's Zen book, most of the books I mentioned can be found at a local library, or through Inter-library Loan. I really like to use WorldCat.Org to look-up books. WorldCat has a really neat feature which finds a library close to you that has the book. If I can look it up on WorldCat, then I can usually find more bibliographic information about the book, which allows me to find it in a used-book store somewhere, using Used.Addall.Com, which is a book search engine that returns a list of many online bookmongers that have a book for sale (including Alibris, Abebooks, Amazon, and many more). I rarely pay full cover price for any book, if I can find it in a used-book store.
@fawkes: For me, actually making a BJD is a dream that I doubt will ever come true. Likewise, collecting the kinds of dolls I really like is also too expensive for my budget. But I love books. Books are my constant companions. There is something (a special feeling) about holding a book while reading it that I will never have reading online. For example, I downloaded and printed out twigling's Zen booklet, then made some covers for it. It is on my bookshelf, right beside Learning to be a Doll Artist and my other doll making books.
I must agree with you that reading about making sculpture is no substitute for actually making sculpture. But for me, at this time in my life, I can only afford a few books about making sculpture, and therefore must content myself with only reading about the subject. I also have a small collection of art anatomy books. The one that I am most fond of is:
Human anatomy for artists : the elements of form. Eliot Goldfinger. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
[This is an awesome artist's anatomy book in that it is written mainly for sculptors. There is a special section in the back of the book which contains Mass conceptions of the figure -- Mass conceptions of the head -- and Mass conceptions of the hand.
A MASS CONCEPTION is a three-dimensional "idea" of a complex shape in nature, reducing many interrelated forms of varying sizes into a simple, easily remembered, geometric volume. ~Goldfinger pp.311
The mass conceptions look like they are made of plaster, or a similar material. Below the rotated plaster figure/head/hands are photographs of the artist's models, rotated the same way. I found this the most helpful when I first started reading about sculpture and art anatomy.]
In Learning to be a Doll Artist, Martha Armstrong-Hand says that the "apprenticeship" she offers is in the form of reading more books. Each of the books she recommends goes into more detail about each of the many "hats" that a doll artist must wear in order to create a porcelain BJD. The one thing about me is that I do read the books I buy. For example, I have read Learning to be a Doll Artist at least three times, and I think I am just beginning to understand the whole complex process involved in making a porcelain BJD by hand; from concept to displaying a finished, wigged, clothed porcelain BJD, complete with shoes and accessories.
As far as buying an electric kiln goes, I do not think that I would ever purchase a kiln before I had made a complete porcelain BJD, ready to be fired. They are very expensive, require a special place, and also require an electrician to wire them safely. I would probably try to get a porcelain BJD fired at a local artist's studio first, or perhaps at the local community college. ~SC
SC, do not mistake my words, I didn't criticise you for collecting books, I too have to refrain myself from buying too many. What I said is that of all the books I bought about the subject of making your own bjd the one I found most useful and informative is Yoshida's.
LIving in the countryside and in a country where bjd collecting may not be as developed as in other countries - in my opinion - it was nearly impossible to find a local artist's studio that suited my needs - I found one but with very poor results. So I had no choice but to buy my own kiln, which I absolutely do not regret. It's a fairly small kiln but suits my needs very well.
I've been doing this for a few years now and sometimes I realize that the fear of failing, of not being able to create what you have in mind can be your worst enemy...
fawkes:OMG !!! I hope I didn't sound too rude? I certainly didn't mean it to come out that way. All I was saying is that I am not a doll maker, and probably never will be. Also, I am not a doll collector, due to being poverty-stricken most of the time (that is so hard to admit, but it is the truth). I have a millionaire's tastes, but a pauper's pocketbook. It seems that whenever I get ahead a little bit, something always comes up which siphons off the extra money. It is always something... hospital bills, car repairs, unexpected emergencies of one sort or another... but I persevere. I always have hope that things will get better some day, but they never do. Oh well. I can afford the occasional book every now and then, and the books that I am attracted to are art books. My books always go with me when I move, even if I have to leave other things behind. I am also a voracious reader of library books, especially Young Adult Fantasy. I do appreciate the huge amount of creativity and work that goes into making any kind of art, especially sculpture, and even more so, porcelain BJDs. So please forgive me for any hard feelings I may have caused. I really didn't mean to. I am SO sorry.
To keep this on topic, here are a couple of more titles from my small art book collection that I think are very interesting for sculptors, even though I am not an actual sculptor:
Modeling the Figure in Clay: a sculptor's guide to anatomy. Margit Malmstrom and Bruno Lucchesi. NY: Watson-Guptil Publications, 1980.
Sculpting The Figure In Clay. Peter Rubino. NY: Watson-Guptil Publications, 2010.
I have made my contribution, so I will just go and look at all the pretty dolls that are here. Best wishes. ~SC
Don't worry ! No hard feelings at all and no need to apologise; I too can be blunt at times and English is not my native language so I sometimes have to struggle to put my ideas correctly. As I said I love books too and I have quite a few on the subject of bjds; if one day you give bjd-making a try feel free to contact me if you have questions. Best wishes. BG
I am in the same position SC- I would love to sculpt my own doll one day, but lack the necessary skills. I too have the Yoshida book which is amazingly informative and I love nothing better than to pore over the pages thinking ...one day... lol!!
Fawkes, you have done an amazing job with your dolls so far- I too live in a very rural area, and although I don't make dolls, I do make clothes for them, and it can be very frustrating not living anywhere near shops that can supply fabrics, beads etc! - Especially when you run out of one particular item that you need which doesn't warrant an 80km journey to buy more!! I find I really have to plan well for my projects. This is where the internet comes into its own, but I do prefer to feel the quality of fabric before I purchase it.
It is hard to start something as new as making a doll, and it is true that the entire process can be expensive. But it only costs $10 to buy a package of clay and try out sculpting! It is very fun, and if you are open hearted about not having something perfect right away (or ever), it is so nourishing and interesting. I hope you both will not be too afraid to try if you are interested! I have learned a lot just from that first step, and you don't need fancy tools or materials, just clay, your hands and something to look at. Like a picture, other person, or yourself in the mirror.
I enjoy it so much that I almost don't care if I complete a doll or not. Almost....