School-learning how to make a ball jointed doll

Okay, so you can’t suddenly become a doll artist. And definitely not an artist who knows how to do a ball jointed doll without someone giving advice which steps to take. Certainly, you could just go and practice and try to reinvent the wheel, or you could take part at a course or buy a book to get the skills. Whatever you do, it takes a lot of practice to become good at what you are doing. So today I would like to share some great references I found which will help me during the process of making a doll.

The first link i would really like to recommend is a tutorial on making a ball jointed doll, by aimidolls. Whenever you search the internet for a well written tutorial on BJDs, you will find people talking about Aimi’s tutorial. It’s just very detailed and very good to follow, even though it’s written in japanese. But you can use a program to translate the whole homepage, like

aimi bjd sketch

aimi doll head lengths

When creating a realistic human body, it’s always important to do this in proportion. This picture is taken from the artist Aimi and shows that her doll is measured in head lengths. An average person is usually 7 and a half heads toll, an ideal person usually 8 heads toll, and a heroic person 8 and a half heads toll.  The picture above shows a girl who is 6 heads toll, which would make her about 5-7 years old.

A very well made chart on body proportions is given by Andrew Loomis.

head lengthsI found this body chart on But now I kind of drifted into telling you details about the human proportion,while I was planning to focus on giving you names of great teachers when it comes to the Making of BJDs.

Well, when you check out Aimi’s doll tutorial, you will find information from A-Z, about making the core, sculpting  the doll, stringing, painting, making the wig and much more.

But incase you enjoy working with a book, rather than with pages from the internet, there are two great books on making Ball jointed dolls. (Of course there are more but I would like to limit myself to these two because they are really worth mentioning ). The first teacher would be Ryo Yoshida Styles, the second Martha Armstrong Hand.

Let me start with Ryo Yoshida Styles. He has written a book called  Ball Jointed Doll Making Guide. The bad news is that this book is only available in Japanese and Chinese, the good news is that it is a book with a lot of pictures. The pictures make it very easy to follow each step  described by the artist. Another aspect which makes this book a good guide to invest in, is the fact that it’s full of beautiful dolls made by Yoshida. I’m not sure if it’s okay to publish pictures of the inside of this book, that’s why I will only show a picture of the book cover.

Well, this book shows similarities to Aimi dolls guide on making a ball jointed doll. But as I said, some people might prefer to work with a book, instead of taking the internet as a reference.

The other artist I would like to present is Martha Armstrong Hand. She wrote a great book called  Learning to be a doll artists, Apprenticeship with Martha Armstrong Hand:
I do not own this book, as it used to be out of print. But I just have to list it up here because it seems to be a great book when it comes to doll making. And have I mentioned that it’s from Armstrong- Hand? =) To have an idea which aspects she focusses on in her book you can check out the following link where a ball jointed doll artist lists the books table of content.

Well, to make the list complete for today I also HAVE to refer to Hildegard Günzel. Künstlerpuppen selbermachen Hildegard Günzel Porzellankopfpuppen: modellieren, Formenbau, gießen, brennen, bemalenHer german book “Künstlerpuppen selber machen” is also available in english and called Creating Original Porcelain dolls-modeling, molding and painting. Actually this book and aimidolls tutorial are the main references I use for making my doll. Günzels book is about creating dolls in general, she doesn’t make dolls with a ball joint system.

As I am not attending any classes to learn how to be a doll artist, I just took some time today to show you which school I am attending: the school of books and the internet. The main ingredient to create a nice doll is a lot of practice  and also talent, I guess.

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