How do you begin to make dolls?
by Jean Lotz
It can get overly confusing to a new student since there are so many types of dolls and so many different materials used in doll making. So before you can begin to learn to make dolls you must know what direction you want to go. Know what type of doll you want to make. Decide what styles and materials you like by looking at other's dolls: collect photos of dolls that you love and sort them out. How many are hard dolls (porcelain, polyclay, wood, resin, etc.) vs. soft cloth dolls? Are they realistic, fantasy, or stylized? Only when you know the direction you want to go and what you really like in any figure, can you start to learn how an artist goes about making dolls of that type.
I strongly urge people to start by making cloth dolls since sewing is such an important aspect of all doll making. If cloth doesn't turn out to be your primary interest, then at least you will have learned the basics so you can easily handle the costuming and making appropriate cloth bodies for heads, hands, and feet when you jump into other mediums.
Luckily, there are many resources available to doll making students today. There are many good and some great doll making books about almost all aspects of this creative process. Doll making / sculpting classes and seminars are readily available (advertised in doll magazines and via the Net). There are even "virtual doll making classes" on-line. Many ODACA artists teach classes and these are listed in Workshops by Artists. The Internet is a major avenue for doll information sharing via chats, forums, email lists, and newsgroups. Links to many of these doll making resources can be found on the ODACA Links page.Click here to return to the Tips & Resources listing