Commissions and quotes: #2-5
Average Price: #6
Size and posability: #7 & #14
Materials and technique: #8-18
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1. How did you come up with the room guardian concept?
The idea caught fire when a friend and I were walking through an antique store. On one of the bookshelves sat two stuffed foxes wearing riding clothes. I contemplated buying them because one could convince themselves that their expressionless stares were actually seeing and watching over the room. It was as if they were alive though they were a long way from being realistic. My contemplation came to an end when I realized I could spend less money and have a better one if I just made it myself. That is where Caiaphas, the first room guardian, came to be. Using random foil foam and cardboard, I created his body and covered it with old fur from a thrift store coat. He was a beautiful fox and he still sits by my bed in my room. In my mind, at the time though, I pictured this being a one-time project. I would not make another because Caiaphas was such a nuisance to create. Then came Christmas and I made a white fox for my friend. She was made sturdier with corks and wire inside, but she was still a pain in the neck to make and took much reluctance and procrastination to finish. At this point I knew I would probably make more for friends, my boyfriend in particular. He constantly asked for one and finally I gathered up the motivation to make another. But this time, when I went into the garage to get the sturdy wire, it was gone. I looked for it in vain, and then began looking for an alternate material. Down on the garage floor lay a roll of dirty chicken wire (Hence the birth of the modern room guardian). With the armature becoming so simple, the task of creating these creatures became less daunting and eventually enjoyable. The hollow body also allowed for me to add in hearts for the guardians. The idea to sell the room guardians came to life and blossomed. I began to make cats and rabbits along with the foxes and eventually I have gotten to where I am today.
2. Do you take Commissions?
Yes, I do take commissions, but only at select times averaging about twice a year. I take a limited amount of slots and they are done in a lottery style through my etsy shop. I don't expect to open for commissions again until late fall or winter. I will keep everyone informed of when commissions are opening and exactly what you need to do to submit a request. The best way to receive this news is here on Deviantart or on my email list (details at the top of this page). The majority of my room guardians are non commission premade room guardians which means they are straight from my imagination and put up for sale for anyone to purchase. See next question for more info.
3. Premade Non-commission Room Guardians
Premade room guardians are the room guardian designs that I create from my head to sell to the public. This is what I ultimately do instead of commissions. During the time between commissions, I make different never before seen guardians that I will put up for sale and possibly auction off every couple weeks. I sell most of them on my etsy but I occasionally auction ones off on eBay. The etsy room guardians sell very fast so I send out announcements before the guardian is actually put up for sale. The best way to receive these alerts is to join my email list. Details are at the top of this journal. If one strikes your fancy, you do not have to commission me or try to reserve one of those limited spots, you can purchase a premade guardian.
Premade Room Guardian examples:
4. Do you give quotes?
I do give quotes, but I prefer that you wait until I announce when commissions will open next. Prices and material stock changes change throughout the year. Keep in mind; if you give me some artistic freedom on a guardian, you usually get more for your money. That makes the job more enjoyable for me and you get a great surprise when you open your package! Some examples of open ended commissions
5. Commission Payment
I do not take commissions through DA. I take them through etsy. You will see on my Etsy that I accept credit cards, PayPal, and checks by mail. Please note that you do not have to have all the money when we place the order. We can reserve the order and you can pay later when you have the money. I prefer to have everyone pay in full and not in installments, but if you need to wait to save up all the money, I will need a down payment of 50% no later than two weeks after commissions open.
6. How much does a typical Room Guardian cost?
My average Room Guardians normally range between $400 and $500, but that all depends on the design. Different colors, features, and fur patterns will change the price, and commissions will run around $50-$100 higher than premade room guardians.
7. How big is a typical room guardian?
8. How long does it take to make a room guardian?
I can make a room guardian in one sitting (8-10 hours) but I normally make them over a period of two days or so depending on the complexity of the guardian.
9. Where do you buy your faux fur and what do you look for when you are fur shopping?
As far as the fur websites go...I don't have one specific place that I get fur, but I'll give you a few links to some good websites.
For altogether good quality fur www.fabricempire.com is really good. Though you have to buy full yards of the stuff.
For smaller cuts and a good variety of solid colors www.fursuitsupplies.com is good. They don't have as big of a selection but it's nice because you can get half yards.
If you need even smaller cuts than that, I recommend looking on etsy. www.etsy.com/shop/everafterfab… has a wide variety of fur and you can get perfect sizes for small projects if you don't need a lot of each fabric.
Also, often times I will just type in the kind of faux fur I want into amazon or etsy search and browse. Amazon will give you good shipping prices. I have bought fabric empire fur from amazon for much cheaper shipping. It's a good place to find a variety of good fur sellers.
Always keep in mind the pile length when buying fur and try to find pictures of the backside of the fur. Anything 2" pile and up will be pretty darn fluffy on an art doll, depending on the size of your doll course. If you think you will be trimming the fur at any point, it's good to know what the fur will look like cut down. The back side of the fabric will give you a good idea. Some furs are light on top with a dark bottom so you know that cutting the fur down will be darker. Some fur when left long, looks evenly colored, but underneath you will notice spots of color instead of a nice blend so when cut down it will look unnaturally spotted.
Just one last tip: do not ever buy "fun fur" it's like the worst of the worst quality.
As with everything, it takes some trial and error to know what you like. I've definitely ordered some bad fur in my day haha. These are just some guidelines.
10. Will you make a tutorial?
I am planning on making a tutorial, in fact I started one a few months ago but it ended up getting a little too complex for a basic tutorial, so I'll have to try again when I have the time. I do have some great links to some other posable art doll tutorials that you might find helpful in the meantime though.
Artdoll Making ResourcesHere are some helpful resources and tutorials that are made by amazing artists which can assist you in making artdolls!
FULL POSABLE ARTDOLL TUTORIALS:
Posable Doll Tutorial By Eviecats
Armature to Art Doll Part 1
Armature to Art Doll Part 2
Basic art doll tutorial
The Making of An Art Doll, Part 1
The Making of An Art Doll, Part 2
How to sculpt a head / face mask
11. What materials do you use for your armatures?
My room guardians start off with a chicken wire frame for the main body. I use copper wire for the arms, legs, and tail so they can still bend and I use a plastic ball and socket armature for the neck. I fill in the holes and beef up the wire with aluminum foil.
12. What kind of clay do you use?
I use Super Sculpey clay for the head, hands, and feet and I use instamorph plastic or apoxie clay for horns and claws so they are more durable.
13. What kind of paint do you use and how do you seal it?
I use cheap craft store acrylics to paint the clay parts. I seal the paint with Mr. Super Clear sealant spray, then I use a varnish to make the eyes, nose, and mouth look shiny.
14. If Room Guardians are posable, why do you have to choose a pose for them?
Room guardians are not plush. They are made with a solid frame (see question 11) so, though you can bend their, arms, necks, and tails, normally the spine and thighs are stationary. There are exceptions of course, but a typical room guardian does not bend like a plush doll would.
Check out my posabiltiy video to see where a typical room guardian bends.
15. How do you attach the fur to the body?
I sew the fur on the neck since the neck is the only plush part and I also sew the tail seams since it moves around the most, but I use mainly hot glue to attach the fur everywhere else. Using glue allows me to make them so efficiently but I tend to reinforce some of the more mobile seams with thread after they have been glued. If I was making plush dolls, I would sew the whole thing, but as you read in question 11 and 14, my guardians have a solid frame so instead having hard nasty seams like a plush doll would, the room guardians feel seamless because I can glue directly on the foil and wire body.
16. Do you use real rabbit fur?
You may have noticed some of my older room guardians have real fur pelts. That is because I used to make room guardians strictly from real fur, but starting January 2015, I made the switch to faux fur for personal and ethical reasons. I do have quite a lot of rabbit fur still in my stock, so you may see a few more guardians made with rabbit fur, but I will not be buying anymore here on out unless it's from a humane or recycled source.
17. Do you dye your fur?
Yes, I do dye some of my faux furs if I do not have the right color or pattern in my existing fur stock. It also helps to blend hard color edges into more of a gradient change. I can color faux fur much easier than the real fur, but there are still limitations. Some patterns I will still have to cut and puzzle together. And I prefer to limit the amount of dying on my guardians because the color tends to make the fur feel less soft.
All the real fur colors are individual furs that I have to order. That means if I do not have the right color, I do not have the right color, and you will have to alter your design or pick a design with colors I do have. I have recently found a way to dye rabbit fur, but I prefer not to. Some of the pelts like the lynx’s and the tiger’s are stenciled furs that I have ordered. But most of the rabbit fur patterns you see on my guardians are pieced together with cutout pieces of fur. Keep this in mind if you have complicated fur patterns on your design. There are many patterns that are simply impossible to do with fur that way, and it takes a loooooong time.
18. Can you tell me about the crystals?
The crystals are tumbled stones, not crystal points. They vary from around the size of a nickel to the size of a ping pong ball depending on the type of crystal. If you have not looked in to crystal properties or crystal healing, I recommend you do. Each crystal has special qualities that help you with things like creativity, self confidence, emotional stress, etc… The stones I have are clear quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, tiger-eye, onyx, citrine, sodalite, and carnelian. If you do not specify which stone you want, I will choose what I feel is the best fit. If you want to send me a crystal from home, by all means, send it. That is your choice.
19. Do you do trades?
I only do trades once or twice a year most of the time, and if I am interested, I will come to you. So, no I would not say that I am open to trades, but I do participate in eviecat's art doll secret santa every year.
Hope that answers all your questions! Let me know if there's something I missed.