Ball Jointed Dolls, or BJDs, are not your typical dolls. Unlike traditional dolls like Barbie or porcelain baby dolls, BJDs are handcrafted resin dolls from Asia, specifically South Korea, Japan, and China. These dolls are meticulously designed to resemble real humans, with intricate details such as body blushing, scars, dimples, freckles, age lines, and even veins in the hands and feet. However, it’s important to note that not all dolls are the same and may not have all these features.
What is Resin?
Resin, the material used to create BJDs, is a smooth substance that falls somewhere between plastic and porcelain. It comes in various colors, including normal and fantasy pigments. The “normal skin” color is a fleshy hue resembling white skin, while “beautiful white” is a paler variation of normal skin. Additionally, “tan/real red/peachy skin” mimics the shade of tanned white skin. Although there are dolls made with dark resin resembling African American or Latin American skin tones, not every company offers them.
In addition to the natural skin tones, there are also fantasy colors available for BJDs, such as green, blue, red, yellow, and grey. These fantasy colors are less common and are usually reserved for specific types of BJDs, such as fairies or shape-shifters. However, not every company sells fantasy BJDs. It’s important to remember that resin, while sturdy, is not indestructible. Dropping a doll from a significant height onto a hard surface may cause the resin to chip or crack.
Understanding BJD Sizes
There are numerous doll companies throughout Asia, each offering a wide range of doll molds and types. The most common sizes of BJDs include Yo-Sd, MSD, and SD. These sizes are measured in centimeters, with the shortest BJDs measuring around 9.7 cm (just over 3.5 inches) and the tallest reaching 70 cm (approximately 27 inches).
The size of a BJD typically corresponds to the age it is meant to portray. For instance, a 70 cm doll is designed to represent a middle-aged man or woman. SDs, ranging from 57 to 65 cm, depict young adults between the ages of 17 and 25. MSDs, measuring 40 to 50 cm, represent pre-teens aged 13 to 16. Lastly, Yo-SDs, which are 35 cm and below, are meant to depict younger children aged 8 to 12. There are also dolls representing toddlers, although they are named specifically by their respective companies, such as Latis on latidoll.com or LittleF’ee on dollfairyland.com. It’s worth noting that despite a doll’s intended age, BJD owners can alter the age of their doll according to their preferences.
Customization and Personalization
One of the unique aspects of BJDs is their complete customizability. When you receive your doll, it will come completely naked, allowing you to dress them as you please. Everything from the wig, eyes, clothes, shoes, and even body parts can be changed to suit your preferences. Whether you want your doll to have brown hair and green eyes or blue hair and red eyes, the possibilities are endless. Keep in mind that these accessories can be ordered separately from the doll, and not necessarily from the same company. Due to this diversity, no two dolls will ever be exactly the same. Even if you and a friend have the same doll sculpt, each doll will have its own unique clothing, personality, and sometimes even different faces.
The Art of Face-Up
An interesting aspect of BJDs is their customizable face-up, which refers to the detailed painting on the doll’s face. Both male and female dolls can have face-ups, which go beyond mere makeup. A doll’s face-up may include shaded lips, realistic skin tones, freckles, and uniquely shaped eyebrows. Female dolls may even have eye shadow and eyeliner. Face-ups can be changed by the doll company, the owner themselves, or a face-up artist. If the default face-up of a doll doesn’t include certain features you desire, you can request the company to add them for an additional cost. Alternatively, you can attempt to do it yourself, although this requires skill and caution, or seek a professional face-up artist’s assistance for a fee.
The World of Character Creation
Due to their versatility, many BJD owners create dolls that embody their own unique characters. These characters are not based on video game or fictional characters but are original creations from the owner’s imagination. It is worth mentioning that a doll truly comes to life when its owner breathes artistic qualities into it. This is especially true for BJD owners who are writers, manga/comic artists, or simply creative individuals. While a doll may look realistic, it is the owner who gives it a distinct personality and brings it to life.
In conclusion, BJDs are a fascinating world of unique and customizable dolls. With their intricate details, diverse sizes, and endless customization options, BJDs offer a truly immersive and creative experience for their owners. Whether you’re drawn to their realistic appearance or excited by the artistic possibilities, BJDs are a captivating hobby that allows for self-expression and imagination.