I’ve recently become quite obsessed with the BBC series Taboo (possibly due to the leading man). The costumes and sets are amazing, and I love how each character’s wardrobe has been designed to communicate something about that character. What better way to express my admiration than a series of miniature dolls?
The process I follow when designing a doll usually goes like this:
Visual research into the character – photographs, paintings, drawings, screen grabs of TV shows or films. I need a lot of visual information to get a feel of what they look like, preferably from several angles.
Background research – if they are a real person, looking for records of physical attributes. Most importantly, their height, so that I can reproduce it in 12th scale. It strikes me that lots of male actors are shorter than the average man, while actresses tend to be on the tall side.
Book research into costumes and props for their period. What styles, materials and colours will be accurate and work for this character? I have also built up a collection of photos of garments I have found in museums.
Having analysed the costume from the collected imagery, I need to work out how to reproduce it in miniature. Not every tiny detail is going to work out in 12th scale, so I need to simplify it while still conveying the general impression. This will involve drafting my own patterns for the clothes.
Last step before starting to make the doll, I need to work out how they will be posed, i.e, sitting or standing, where are they looking, what are they doing with their hands.
Once I have all these details planned out, I can start sculpting the doll! Yippee!