Sometimes inspiration strikes and you run with it. I’m not sure if that was what happened with these two, but something struck and I ran with it!
The last time Isul MIO kits got restocked I bought two of them: one for Haruhi, who I already had planned, and one with no particular plan other than to make a custom doll to hopefully sell. This second one sat around with no particular plan until I also ended up with a very inexpensive Dal Charlotte from a Tuesday Morning that was going out of business. I decided I wanted to pair these two up in some way, and started looking around for ideas.
I’m not sure exactly when the idea for the forest animals theme struck me, but I know that as soon as I saw examples of custom deer themed Pullips and Blythes, I knew I wanted to try that for the Isul. It took me a little longer to settle on the skunk idea for the Dal– she almost ended up being a snail fairy until I couldn’t come up with a good way to do that– but once I’d committed they were very fun to make!
I wasn’t brave enough to do any sort of body modification for their animal traits, so that’s why you don’t see any sculpted ears or furry legs or anything like that. I kind of liked the idea of having the ears and tails be detachable for varied photoshoot options anyway, so it worked out as it was. I did go ahead and commit for the full animal look on faceups, though– both the deer boy and the skunk girl got animal noses and facial markings (white freckles in his case, a skunk stripe up the nose in hers). I had some issues on the skunk girl with my dark pastel going all over the place and I don’t think I ever got that fully cleaned up, so that would be my biggest disappointment with her. She was definitely one of those dolls where the more work I put in on her, the more I liked her: I kind of hated her after I got the faceup done, but she started being a little cute to me once her eyes were in. The wig made me like her even more, and by the time she had her clothes and ears I pretty much loved her. The deer boy, on the other hand, I loved from the start and still really love.
Both of the dolls’ eyechips are from, you guessed it, CoolCat. I debated whether or not to get the black ones for the skunk girl but I felt it fit her coloring and her character and I went with it. I’m really glad I did. They look much cuter in a head than I was anticipating, and they kind of have a pretty greenish undertone I didn’t notice until I was taking outdoor photos. Fun story: I ordered all the eyechips for the five PUDDLE dolls that needed them (excluding Stevonnie, who doesn’t take eyechips, and Josefin, whose eyechips came from last year’s PUDDLE) at the same time, and I thought I’d ordered a much darker brown for Haruhi than deer boy, with his being more of an orangey tan. When they got here I could barely tell them apart, and I’m not 100% certain I put them in the heads I meant to, but I still love how they turned out anyway. Deer boy’s wig is from Tata’s Paradise BJD (the same place I got Tamaki’s eyelashes and his and Haruhi’s roses) and is seriously the best thing ever. Skunk girl’s is from For My Doll.
I wanted to go with a kind of mori-inspired clothing look for the two of them. Not sure how well I captured that effect but I do like how their clothes turned out, so that’s good enough for me. Deer boy’s pants used the same Blythe basics pattern as Haruhi’s, shortened as well (perhaps a little more than I should have!) They’re a nice suedey fabric to kind of emulate furry legs, and I gave him black boots as pseudo-hooves. I think his shirt was an EAH boys’ uniform shirt with lots of modifications to make it flowy and awesome, and I definitely put the v-neck on the wrong side of the shirt, which is why it snaps in the front. Oh, well. I do love the way the gauzey fabric looks on him!
Skunk girl’s shirt is another variation on the Barbie princess pack bodice and sleeves, again made to be more flowy. I loved the tiny buttons I found for it, and I was also super happy I decided last minute to go with a black collar instead of one in a matching taupe. I think it really adds dimension to the shirt. Her vest was my first attempt crocheting with crochet thread instead of yarn, and I think it turned out pretty cute. Her skirt was the first thing I tried to make out of my Doll Coordinate Recipe book, before I’d figured out they tell you what size to print them at; I printed it at half the size I should have and figured out pretty quickly that something wasn’t going to work, so I used what I had printed and made something up. It still turned out pretty cute! It was another one of the fabrics that would have been a no-go without fray check; it’s a linen-look and frayed really badly as well.
Both skunk girl’s and deer boy’s animal ears are made of simple craft felt. Hers are attached to a headband while his are on clips; I had intended to give her a bow on her headband as well out of the same fabric as her skirt, but these were a couple of the last dolls I finished sewing for and I skipped the fray check step on the bow, causing it to totally fall apart when I went to turn it inside out. (I actually ended up eliminating a couple other clothing items I had planned on each of these for the sake of time, a vest for deer boy and a pullover sweater for skunk girl. They would have been cute but I just couldn’t make it happen.) The tails are both attached using the same kind of clips as deer boy’s ears. His tail is felt as well, but Skunk girl’s is faux fur. It’s pretty bulky but I think it’s cuter than felt would have been! The clips and headband all also came from Tata’s Paradise (which I had never even discovered before working on all these dolls, but I can definitely see myself becoming a return customer).
The biggest nightmare on these two was the shoes. I followed the same method to make them each a pair of shoes as I had used for Haruhi’s and Tamaki’s, only really adding lacing. Even so, skunk girl’s turned out so bad I opted for some Barbie shoes for her instead, and while deer boy’s have stayed with him because I don’t have any sort of alternative, they somehow ended up way off-center and crooked as well as the fabric being too small for the foam soles. Trial and error, I guess.
All in all, I’m quite happy with how these two turned out. They weren’t for any contest so I didn’t feel quite as much pressure on them to make them perfect, but they still turned out really cute! And the good news, as I mentioned in my PUDDLE post, is that they found a new home! I’m especially happy because they got to stick together; I’d have been happy no matter what but after working on two dolls together like these or like Haruhi and Tamaki I sometimes feel like it’d be sad to separate them. These two don’t have to worry about that, though!