A Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes Look at Doll Production
This is how 86fashion will design your dream doll for production.
Dolls like Asuka (shown here) come to life through a collaboration between you and 86fashion Product Development. You are the chief designer, and we help bring your dreams to life.
PHASE 1 – DESIGN CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
It all begins with your vision – what your doll is about and what you want it to look like. Dolls like Asuka begin as an idea, and those ideas are conveyed to us through drawings and images you provide. From that, we will come to an understanding the visual aspects of your one-of-a-kind custom doll:
Clothing & material patterns
What (or who) your doll looks like, which is usually accomplished through drawings or photos of a person (or other visual references) that show us how the face will be portrayed.
From this point, we can begin designing pencil drawings for you to choose from. The pencil concepts demonstrate how your doll design is shaping up and will preview design options for the various aspects of your doll concept. The first three images in this series show here show options for hair style, eye design, Shoe design style & the outfit or dress design. The dress designs include the cloth patterns, pleats and folds. The fourth image shows the chosen designs for the: eyes, the dress, the shoes and a color option for the dress.
Renderings & Design Progression
Asuka’s creator then decided to change a few things in the design.
A change in the color scheme affected the look of the bow, skirt, socks and shoes (reflected in the 5th image above).
This image shows the finalized pre-production doll design with skin, eye, lips, cloth and color specs.
PHASE 2 – DOLL PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT
Now it’s time to sculpt the face and head of your custom designed, limited edition doll. We can sculpt your custom doll head/face from the pre-production design created in Phase 1. The doll head is sculpted from photos of someone close to you or from photos, drawings or images of your choosing. The same media you provide is then also used to digitally sculpt your custom doll face design. This image shows the doll design concept and the digital head sculpt. We allow for 1 or 2 rounds of tweaks in the sculpting stage to perfect the doll face design.
Face painting for dolls is an art in and of itself.
With the doll face sculpt approved, we then masterfully create the prototype doll head and hand paint the facial features.
You can see the hand painted custom doll head before the wig or hair is in place. Notice the beautiful brush strokes to simulate the eye brows and eye lashes! Look into her eyes. The detail painted around the pupil and the round highlights reflect off distant light sources help bring her to life.
Our designers search and select the perfect color combinations to closely match the design as possible. In some cases, we custom print the cloth for exotic designs.
The perfect materials need to be sourced
The patterns need to be a doll scale, so they look real on the custom doll
For the socks, three different materials were used to create Asuka’s look. One for the body, one for the stripes and one for the ribbing at the top to finish off the look. The perfect ribbon color and sheen was chosen for the bow and another for the straps for the shirt. With all the fabrics in hand, the seamstress then uses the doll body to create the custom patterns to fit the doll. Usually this takes 2-3 attempts. For the shoes, we have tooling for some types of shoes that we have created over the years, but when needed, we fabricate custom doll shoes, or tool up a new style.
The wig, or hair sewing is yet another specialty that requires years of experience and specialty tools. A separate mold, made from the head is used to create a wig cap mold. The wig cap is then formed with high heat over the wig mold. This wig mold is then used to sew the hair into. The spacing, direction of sewing or grain and many other details must be adhered to in the making of the wig. When the sewing is complete, the wig is placed on a mock up head of the same doll. The hair is combed, cut and coiffed. It is as if your doll prototype goes to the beauty salon and has her hair styled and set.
With the face and head painted, the outfit sewn, and the doll wig coiffed, we are ready to assemble the complete doll. Your completed custom designed doll prototype is complete.
Now it time to design the packaging and put your custom, limited edition doll in production. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions related to the steps in production.