BJDs: A Guide for Beginners

Ball Jointed Dolls, or BJDs, are not your typical dolls. They are exquisite, handcrafted creations that have garnered a devoted following worldwide. Originating from South Korea, Japan, and China, these resin dolls are designed to look incredibly lifelike. Each doll is meticulously detailed, with features such as body blushing, scars, dimples, freckles, and even veins in the hands and feet. However, it’s important to note that not all BJDs possess these specific details.

Resin, the material used to make BJDs, lies somewhere between plastic and porcelain in terms of texture. It is available in various colors, including normal skin tones and fantasy pigments. Normal skin tones range from the flesh color of a white male or female to a paler, whiter shade. Additionally, there are resin options that resemble the skin tones of African American or Latin American individuals, though this depends on the company.

Fantasy colors, such as green, blue, red, yellow, and grey, are also available, though they are less common. Typically, these fantasy colors are reserved for specific types of BJDs, such as fairies or shape-shifters. However, not every company offers fantasy BJDs, as working with resin can be challenging. Despite its sturdiness, resin is not indestructible. Dropping a doll from a lower height onto a softer surface may not cause damage, but a fall from a greater height or onto a harder surface can result in chipping or cracking.

Asia is home to numerous doll companies, each offering a wide range of doll molds and types. The most common BJD sizes are Yo-SD, MSD, and SD, with many other specific size names depending on the mold and company. These sizes are measured in centimeters, with the shortest BJDs standing at approximately 9.7 cm (just over 3 1/2 inches) and the tallest reaching 70 cm (about 27 inches).

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The size of a doll often represents the age it is meant to portray. For example, a 70 cm doll typically represents a middle-aged man or woman. SDs, measuring between 57-65 cm, resemble young adults aged 17 to 25. MSDs, with heights ranging from 40-50 cm, depict pre-teens around the age of 13 to 16. Meanwhile, Yo-SDs, 35 cm and below, portray younger children aged 8 to 12. Toddler dolls are also available, but instead of having broad names, they are usually given specific names by their respective companies, such as Latis or LittleF’ee.

One of the most remarkable aspects of BJDs is their customizability. Owners have the freedom to change virtually everything about their dolls. Upon receiving a doll, it arrives naked, awaiting its owner’s personal touch. From wigs and eyes to clothes, shoes, and even body parts, everything can be swapped or changed according to the owner’s preference. Whether you envision a doll with brunette hair and green eyes or one with blue hair and red eyes, the possibilities are endless. Accessories can be ordered separately from the doll, allowing owners to mix and match from various sources. Consequently, no two dolls are ever the same, even if they share the same sculpt. Each doll becomes unique, reflecting the individual tastes, personalities, and styling choices of its owner.

To delve a little deeper, a doll’s face can vary depending on its “Face-up.” A face-up refers to the realistic details on a doll’s face. Both male and female dolls receive face-ups, and it’s important not to confuse this with traditional makeup. A face-up involves shading the doll’s lips to achieve a lifelike appearance or a specific color. Blushed cheeks and freckles are also common, along with carefully shaped eyebrows. Female dolls might even have eye shadow or eyeliner as part of their face-up. Each doll comes with a set of eyes and eyelashes, which are already in place upon arrival. However, it is possible to change the face-up of a doll to suit individual preferences. This can be done either by the doll company, the doll owner, or by a specialized face-up artist.

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Many BJD owners infuse their dolls with a character of their own creation. Some are writers, manga or comic artists who breathe artistic life into their dolls. Although a BJD may appear lifelike, it truly comes alive when its owner unleashes their creative vision upon it. This is only the beginning of the journey, as there are countless possibilities to explore and discover with these remarkable dolls.

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With their stunning craftsmanship, endless customization options, and the passion they inspire in their owners, BJDs truly stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re captivated by their lifelike appearance or drawn to the creative possibilities they offer, these dolls have an undeniable allure. Embark on your BJD journey, and let your imagination soar as you bring your doll to life.

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