Creating a Character within a Doll

While I’m waiting for news of my recent purchase, I can’t stop thinking about all of the possibilities for her. Unlike most ball-jointed doll owners, I don’t have characters in mind when I purchase dolls.

I’ve only ever been an extremely casual writer, and the attachment to my characters isn’t one where I hope to embody them. I find that the majority of ball-jointed doll owners (or at least those who are most visible) are writers with a desire to see their beloved characters in a tangible form. These are the people who plan every aspect of a doll down to the last detail. They don’t only know what colour eyes their doll should have–they know the price shade, depth, and speckling that should be present. They hunt endlessly for that perfect wig, frowning at a shade that is slightly off in tint, and contenting themselves that the current wig will be a placeholder until they find the right one.

I think that those owners have it both easy and hard. On the one hand, most of the creative design process is already finished–they did it a long time ago! On the other hand, their character is determined, so it can be hard to find the perfect clothing or materials or make the correct modifications. They may also have a hard time finding the right sculpt to properly embody their character–or the right kind of resin!

Creating a character for a doll when you don’t already have something in mind can be very challenging! Obviously those who base their doll on one of their own characters have already done this work, probably over several years; only those who don’t add the same kind of creative spin to their dolls or craft theirs in the shape of someone else’s characters skip the stage of character development. I’m the kind of person who cannot plan a “personality” for an item in advance–if I do, I never actually gain a connection to the item in question. All of my dearest treasures developed on their own from my initial impression of that object. Due to that, it’s really hard to want to do “doll things” when my doll has not arrived yet!

I want to be prepared for her arrival, but the only thing I really “know” about the doll is that she will be a cute little girl. That is why I purchased her, and in the event that she isn’t suited for the role of cute little girl, I will find her a new home. Since a doll (even a fancy ball-jointed resin doll from Japan) is a personal possession, I don’t feel terribly awkward setting certain criteria. I want to own something that serves some kind of purpose.

Although I adore the facial sculpt, body sculpt, and adorable outfit that comes with the full-set Nagisa in Preschool, I am not keen on her wig or makeup. Her faceup bothers me due to the fullness of the eyebrows being at the outer edge of the eyebrows, the placement of the dark lip colour, and the overall slightly melancholy expression. The Volks story for Nagisa says:

Who’s that girl with the ‘zing’ in her step?

The one riding the school bus, who always sits in the very front seat, that’s Nagisa!
The girl singing with the tiny voice, that’s Nagisa!

Once you turn the corner at the bakery, soon you’ll see the kindergarten.

I wonder if she’ll be able to greet everyone today.

It implies a much more cheerful type of a little girl. In the Volks promotional images, she certainly doesn’t look downcast, but in owner’s pictures her bright little face seems much more morose. I’d like to see her with a sweeter expression–something more suited to a little girl with a “zing” in her step. I’m also not fond of her wig–wavy blonde hair in two messily braided pigtails. The style itself is cute, but it doesn’t appeal to me. However, it’s hard to pick a wig without having a clear idea of the girl! I want to pick the right color, the right style…but I don’t know what is right.

I’ve been browsing pictures of other people’s adorable MSDs, but it’s so hard to tell whether something that is cute on one doll will be just as cute on another–and beyond that, I don’t want to copy. I can’t help buying her some clothes, though. Even though I don’t believe that dolls are “real,” I know that I am trying to get things set up so that the doll will feel “welcome.” It isn’t so much that the doll has actual feelings as much as my perception of the hypothetical feelings affects my ability to create a character. I’ve invested so much time, energy, and money into this that I want everything to work out!

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