A friend of mine thought Howl, from Howl's Moving Castle, was a real doll, a total babe.
I secretly agreed and decided she should have a loveable, huggable Howl of her own.
I'm delighted with how well he turned out. Every step of the process was botched, my sewing skills are atrocious and I've never made a doll before.
The entire figure is roughly 20" tall, with polymer clay head, arms and legs and a cloth body. His costume and jewelry was handcrafted by myself. I purchased his wig--I know my limitations!--but I'm fairly certain it was handcrafted as well.
I created the harlequin fabric of his cape by painting the material with watered down acryllic paints. It has a red satiny lining and gold braid. I invented the patterns for his shoes, shirt and cape but used a pattern from a book to make his body and his slacks.
The jewelry is gold, garnet and glass beads. The earrings have real posts and could be worn by a human. The necklace has a clasp and is long enough that it could be worn as a bracelet. The earrings are secured with poster tack so they can easily be removed.
When I finally finished him, my husband and I strung him up with fishing line and posed him all around my folks' place. I was very pleased with how Howl's expression seemed to change in different lighting and positions.
It was my husband's brilliant idea to have Howl fly, like his animated and literary predecessors.
For more pictures, go here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/harnishcentral/sets/72157602006852030/
And please, any questions or comments will be most welcome! I learned a ton doing this project and would love to share. I also hope that someday soon I can give dollmaking another go and would welcome some advice.
Here are a few pix of the "making of" process...
This is Howl's head, as I was finessing the scuplt job.
His head, arms and legs are made of a blend of Sculpeys. The blend was nice for pliability, but the end strength and appearance wasn't satisfactory. The arms and legs are sculpted to about the elbow, with a wire running through them for support and attachment. The head was sculpted over an aluminum foil ball, with a "breastplate" sculpted to the middle of his chest and sewn on to the body in four places.
The body was made of a jersey knit. It has an armature made of different types of wire, including pipe cleaners. This all was wrapped with nylons and stuffed with a polyester batting. I should have used a much heavier weight of knit, although the stretchiness was good. I also should have not used pipe cleaners but a heavier, more flexible wire.
This is his body, before limbs and head were attached. The white things sticking out of his arms are the pipe cleaners
The second photo, I've drawn lines to illustrate where the armiture supports are. The "I" shaped part in the torso was made of a heavy, strong wire. The hot pink lines represent the pipe cleaners, which were folded on themselves and looped through the heavier wire. I'd hoped the pipe cleaners would make him flexible, but really they made him rather...well...flaccid. None of my armatures did much of anything to support the weight of the polymer parts.
Here's Howl with his limbs shoved in, but not actually secured.
I've done some drawing to illustrate what the sculpted parts had looked like before attached. I will scan them in the next couple of days and add them in here.
I've scuplted another Doll's head and created a tutorial for it here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=138998.0
. I'm sorry I didn't put it here, but I thought this post was already a bit cumbersome.
Thanks for looking!