Thursday, June 16, 2016

life at home

Just graduated and moved back north over the weekend! It's been a busy week for me and I'm still unpacking essentially four years' worth of accumulated junk. I've also got exactly 32 heads between my side commissions and trades to work on so I've basically got my entire summer cut out for me. I did however manage to squeeze some time out right before grad weekend to redo Estelle & Polaire (first faceup by me on the left, newest faceups on the right):

Polaire's is heavily based on the mockup from my last post, while Essie's is just a renewed version of her previous faceup (not the one pictured on the left) with more detail. I wouldn't have wiped her at all if she didn't have that chip on her chin that was still bothering me, but since I was planning on redoing Polaire anyway I ended up wiping her as well.

My first business after coming home was to give Lenoire & Haerang a much needed makeover since I hadn't done anything to their faceups in over a year. This also served as a practice run with my home setup and new brushes before even trying to tackle the backlog. I'm glad they both turned out as great as they did. I also did a small mod to open up Lenny's eyes a tiny bit more. Honestly, with the modded eyes I think she's managed to narrowly escape being sold... I was originally going to wipe her and reshell her into a Delf Ann because the last faceup I did really ruined her for me (it just seemed like no faceup would ever make her look good!) Thankfully I've changed my mind and she's here to stay for a long, long time. Both Lenny & Haerang are sporting brand new manicures I finished yesterday, too! Improvements all around for everyone.

And here's Yagi. She basically hasn't changed at all - I just added some more blush to her cheeks and maybe overblushed her nose a little. 

That's about all I've got. We've come a long way folks!
One of these days I'll have everyone standing up or posing in one picture all together again, maybe when Tamako comes back from Canada ;9

❤ Kai

Sunday, June 5, 2016

post-doll north update

Hi again! It's officially finals week as I'm writing this and I'm so ready to graduate. I've also got a lot of plans for doll stuff now that I'm free of school and I'm excited to share them with all of you.

Last weekend I had a blast at Doll North at Anime North in Toronto - really just all around great people and an experience I will never forget. Getting to there and back was a little stressful (I've never gone on an international flight alone before) but being at the con was so worth it! I met tons of my followers, led my first workshop ever, and made tons of new friends, including Merry Doll Round's sculptor. Since my admission for next year is free I'm looking into going again next year and hopefully bringing a few of my friends along for the ride!

Unfortunately my newest girl Tamako managed to get her face chipped on the way back home so she's getting wiped after only 2 months of having her current faceup. I do however want to commission a new wig for her though, as her current soy fiber one actually doesn't really stick to her head too well so I'll be sending her whole (blank) head to one of my new friends in Canada for a brand new alpaca wig. I guess she won't be showing up in any videos I make anytime soon, but she'll have her own separate one once she comes back and I have her painted up again :)

As for the faceup commission side of things, I know there's tons of people waiting in line and there's still a few non-trade/non-private commissions that I have to tackle once I move home, in addition to all the people who contacted me regarding my "want to paint" list about a month ago. I've also got a couple plans of my own that I've probably mentioned before, i.e. reshelling Lenny and pouring more money into the hobby for more dolls I don't need.

You should be able to recognize at least one face in this mockup dump. If you need help, here's a link to an earlier mockup on the exact same image (I think my Photoshop painting skills have improved quite a bit in the past 2 years!) Quick breakdown of the dolls pictured in clockwise order: Daydream Noah (Mie Takanashi/buncho hime), Daydream Grace (Aster Cerana/bee prince), SWITCH Waseon (Julien Feng/bee prince) and my favorite girl Polaire, who was voted as first to get made over once I get home!

I'm excited to be putting all these plans into action as soon as I humanly can. There's just so much to do and now that I finally have the time and space to do it I just want to do everything! I'm also working on expanding Darjeeling Aesthetics to more than just faceups and customization (hence the change in the name of this blog) and I'll be giving this place a facelift very, very soon. Wish me luck!

❤ Kai

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

meet tamako!

Through an unexpected turn of events I've managed to secure a body for one of my floating heads, so I'm rolling out the doll plans a little bit earlier than I expected. A huge thanks to my friend sabotendoll for doing this ridiculous FM60 Celine split with me, because now I can finally bring my dream girl Tamako to life!

She's currently borrowing clothes and wearing a temporary wig/eyes but I'm excited to have her completed soon. It just seems that with every new character I make it gets harder to find the clothes I want for them. Essie was already difficult to tackle, but Tamako has to have practically everything custom-made. I'd better learn how to handle a sewing machine!

Here's just a few of the items I'd be trying to make in miniature size:

They're really cute but there's no way I'd be able to get them without the help of a seamstress custom-making them for me, sadly. At the very least she'll be getting her wig and skates pretty soon so I hope to have her basic look ready for an update within the next month or so.

❤ Kai

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

rebranding, planning, and more updates

Wow! Two posts in the same month? I shock myself sometimes, I know. Things are coming along interestingly for me these days so I thought I'd touch base with all my followers here! I've been doing much better and I'm finally back in my element thanks to my much freer schedule this quarter.

I know it's been barely a year but I've become pretty bored with the layout of my current branding and I've been upset about not having a proper logo for... well, basically three whole years. So I finally got around to making myself one after weeks and weeks of Etsy browsing and getting lost in local stationery stores. I now present to you my official Darjeeling Aesthetics logo!

It's pretty simple but it's also really versatile. I've had fun changing the leaf colors and text colors to suit the background of the pictures I use the logo on, and it seems to work fine without ruining the integrity of the design. Here's some examples in action:

I'm also trying very hard to up the level of my photography. Even with my faceup portfolio pictures I'm focusing less on a precise, manufactured look across my pictures and more on flattering angles that make my work look good. It's been strange coming out of my very clinical, science-y way of looking at things, but I'm making progress! In other news, this new logo means I'll probably be making new business cards sometime this year, maybe featuring some gold foil for extra fancy goodness. I'm probably also going to be changing a few of my SSN handles for more consistency between my accounts.

Coming out of my quarter-long slump has been very difficult but I've realized that looking at the hobby with my own goals in mind really helps the situation. I've still got a few February waitlist commissions to tackle, but essentially all the commissions I've accepted for the future are all sculpts that I handpicked from my want-to-paint list. I'm really excited to be just sitting back and catering to myself (essentially) for once :') In other news, I've got the doll plan wheel grinding again, and it looks like I've managed to get myself to a grand total of 11 dolls... I drew this chart up the other day picturing all my current and planned characters.

So far everyone up to Prunella is complete, minus Lenny who might be getting reshelled into a Delf Ann sometime soon. Tamako needs a FM60 body in NS to complete her (I'm still looking for one for sale! Or maybe I'll do a split?) and the rest of the dolls I have planned will come slowly in their own time. Julian is currently planned as a Switch Waseon on the HD65 body, Mie will be either a Daydream Noah or Grace, Aster a DIM Jullis, and Edan (my poor excuse to have another tan doll in my family) will either be a LUTS Carmine in Real Skin Brown on the Delf body or a Little Monica Eden in brown skin. Looking forward to spending... say... the next 10 years of my life amassing enough money to bring my doll dreams to life?

That's about it for this update. I'm debating whether or not to wipe Polaire's face and redo it before Doll North, but I think she'll tell me when she's ready. By falling into my camera like last time, or something.

❤ Kai

Friday, April 1, 2016

updates from the household

Long time no talk, everyone~ It's always like this. I recently received a message on my faceup shop Tumblr asking if I'd quit blogging - the answer's no, I just tend to forget about this blog sometimes and only post when I have something I feel is worth posting about :') I've also been pretty busy as of late, with graduation coming up soon and a spectacular commission backlog I've managed to rack up due to having almost no time to work at all last quarter. Things have been a little bit rough on me but I'm slowly coming back, and my new doll purchases are helping me out quite a bit. The commission queue is up and running again, and I'm hoping to have whatever's left in my drawer cleared out by the end of April. There's also some huge news I'm very excited to share, so this is going to be a pretty info-packed update on my end.

First things first - new dolls! Back in November I signed on for an exclusive collaboration with Sephie Doll Shop, a few of my faceups in exchange for one of their dolls. Earlier in March a package from Spain came in and I got to working straight away.

This is Prunella, my artist-cast Sephie Doll Shop Tr├ębol in sugar (white) skin. Cloudburst Dolls & I worked together to create her unique peachy hairstyle. She's an adorable little peach fairy with a penchant for mischief. To be honest, I had no idea what kind of character I would create with her since I've only owned SD girls up until now, so it's been difficult imagining what I would do with a doll of such a small size. I'm glad everything worked out, though!

Here's my latest impulse buy - an FLA60 event head whom I've decided to shell my character Tamako into. I'd originally imagined her as a F60 Chloe or if Fairyland chooses to ever release one, a F60 Mio, but I thought it would be fun and interesting to try doing a faceup on a less popular event head. I've also taken the liberty of giving her some scrapes and bruising on her cheek, which I've never done on any of my own dolls? I can't wait to get her a body, maybe sometime this summer :) She'll be the same height as Essie, but even shorter because she's always wearing Converse!

Tamako's a tough girl just like Estelle - and maybe that's what drew them together. Born and raised on the streets of Los Angeles, Tamako is no stranger to confrontation and altercation. Her backstory is kind of a mess right now, but the general concept I'm going with is a pizza delivery girl on roller blades who spends her paycheck on raves and vintage records. It's a bit fanciful, but given that she's really inspired by video games, internet subculture, and chiptune music (aka my side project Kazoo Quest) it's really not all that surprising :')

Lastly, the big news:
I've taken a temporary "hiatus" from some portions of the hobby, so I don't post pictures of my dolls regularly or accept new faceup commissions (the latter is mostly because I'm so backed up on work). Burnout's been eating at me since August and I'm glad that last quarter gave me the chance to take a break even though it wasn't the most favorable of conditions. I've been really stressed out about my internet presence, my identity, my future after graduation - everything just kind of fell on me mentally for the past couple of months and it ended up being too much to handle. I'm currently getting professional help and things are starting to pick up again for me so I'll work my way out of this funk eventually...
There is some good news though, and this is something I've kept secret for a good couple of months now. If you're going to Doll North at Anime North this May in Toronto, I'll most likely see you there! I am attending as a featured guest and I'll be leading two workshops: one for faceups, one for doll manicures, and I'm really looking forward to being able to do this for everyone who attends. It's going to be an exciting (and kind of scary) experience for me, but I've got high hopes for it nonetheless.

That's probably the lengthiest update I've posted in awhile. I'm signing off before I fall asleep at my PC.

❤ Kai