Annyeong! Welcome to Dollightful! It’s psychic, it’s purple, it’s Espeon time! Let’s get to the concepts. The Pokemon itself is elegant, mysterious, intelligent and spiritual. So for the first eight sketches I was drawing inspiration from things like fortune tellers, Shaman priestesses and several cultures from around the world. I’ve always pictured her in long flowing clothing. After talking it over with you guys on Instagram, I revised and combined the most successful designs into these three. These were inspired heavily by the traditional Vietnamese ‘áo dài’. “Ow die?” Hold on. I don’t know how to pronounce this. “ow-ya-ei”? Okay, so I thought that ‘áo dài’ dress is perfect for Espeon. It’s a modest, but still sleek and attractive piece of clothing Moving on to the color studies. This is my first batch and they are all terrible! I really wasn’t in the zone that day and to be honest her color palette was kind of tricky to work with. I had better luck the next day and came up with these things. Which I asked you guys to review again. After reading all the feedback I came up with one more color combination that finally felt balanced. The darker purple design was popular as well. But keeping in mind that she is a day opposite to Umbreon’s night. I leaned in favor of the whiter palette. Now that the design is set I can start the doll! I will be using Elizabat this time. She’s got a sweet face shape and has lilac-ish skin. So she’s the perfect face. As usual we’ll start by stripping down the doll to its bare base. This means cutting off and removing that beautiful hair. Even though I customize dolls, I’m a huge Monster High fan and totally love Elizabat! So it pains me to do this to her. To remove the head, dump her in hot water for 30 seconds or so to make that vinyl nice and squishy. Then you can yank it off without damaging the neck peg. Wriggle the pliers around on the inside to pull out rows at a time and speed up the process. Before too long. She’s nicely bald and smooth. Use acetone or nail polish remover to take off the factory paint. I’m using the last of my nail polish remover this time, and you can see it takes a little more effort than acetone. Either way with enough elbow grease you should be able to get it off. Before we move on I have another Elizabat here because I was curious. I swore Elizabat had more purple in her skin tone, but holding her side by side with Draculaura, they’re exactly the same color! So I guess I just got tricked by all the purple surrounding her in the design? But either way, I’m already committed, soooo Let’s make those ears! Espeon ears are massive! Akin to the Fennec Fox perhaps. So after removing these human ears that we don’t need anymore. I’m going to take a wire to form the armature for the ears. But this time I won’t be securing them to the inside. The wire is going to sit loosely in the head while I take a two-part Epoxy sculpt to build the ears. Epoxy cures somewhat slowly. So the first pass is just to fill in the space between the wires. A couple hours later I can continue with another Epoxy blob and so on until the shape looks good. Once that’s secured a final time I’m going to smooth and sand out some kinks with the sanding block. And here’s why I didn’t make the ears permanent. After marking around the ears. I can pull them out. And also mark the exact holes the wires went through. This way, I won’t have to work around big clunky ears when I do the re-root. Taking acrylic paint I coat the epoxy with a lilac color. Adding a subtle fade to white at the tips and a purple-ly indigo inner ear color. My design gives Espeon ombre hair which means it’s time to do some dip dyeing! It’s really a shame I can only die darker because look at all these purples I already have. If only I could lighten this instead. Oh well. Let’s get out the dye pot and mix up some Polyester dyes. I’m using the ‘iDye Poly’ brand that I picked up at ‘Hobby Lobby’. I already have blues and red mixtures saved from previous dolls, so I’ll be blending those to create purple. Please note that this product only works with synthetic nylon doll hair. Always dip a small strand in first to test the mixture before committing. That looks good. So here it goes! Because it’s ombre, I’m being a little hesitant. That’s pretty dark, so I think I should add more water and dip it again. Once all the dyeing is done, give the hair a thorough washing with shampoo and conditioner. I know it’s awkward washing a loose hank of hair. But if you always keep a tight twist tie somewhere on the hank at all times, you shouldn’t have to worry. Unfortunately this hank turned out too blue. Part of me wanted to just continue with it… But I knew she wouldn’t look right unless the purple was more magenta-ish. So I died another hank of white hair and got it right the second time. Now I can re-root Espeon! Taking my cut-needle-inserted-into-a-drill-chuck aka, my ‘re-rooting’ tool, we can separate small plugs from the hank. Loop them onto the needle and stab it into the head. I follow the existing plugs, but feel free to stab new holes if your doll was a little sparse to begin with. Plug closely around the outline of the ears just like you would with hair line. This will ensure that the hair lays thickly around her ears and won’t reveal any awkward spots. Once she’s filled out finish the job by plugging in lots of thick hair where you want the part to be. With hair this long and heavy we definitely need reinforcements to secure it. Here I’m squeezing ‘Fabric-Tac’ through the neck hole and mushing it around the inside of the head. Trying to coat all the plugs on the inside. Set her aside to dry. As much as I want to put the ears back on immediately, I should probably give her a face up first. I secure the head with a fabric wrap and pins in the hairline. Then while wearing a gas mask, spray the doll with ‘Mr. Super Clear’. I usually only do one coat because I’m cheap. But I was feeling generous and mixed it up with three initial coats this time. I think you’ll see the difference. Using water colored pencils and highly pigmented ‘Mungyo Hand rolled pastels’, I gradually draw on the face. Mostly following the molding, draw with a lighter pink color to gauge the shape and then go in with the darker purple. I thought Elizabat and Dracula’s faces and apparently, skin tones were identical. But it seems Elizabat has more defined eyelid molding and deeper set eyes. So, they are a little different. Blushing and drawing in lilac was actually harder than it sounds because I don’t have lilac pencils or pastels. So, I had to mix several colors together in attempt to get lilac. I want to give her a relaxed expression like she’s seeing you more with her third eye than her real eyes. I definitely wanted to keep the original eyes from the Pokemon. Some people might find them a little spooky, But she’s supposed to be that way. Freaky flaws and all don’t you know? Let’s add her cute little nose! And a couple of lower eyelashes. Taking a sharp white pencil, highlight the corners of the eyes, around some of the lids, underneath the eyebrows and on the cupid’s bow of the lips. Adding tasteful highlights like this can really finish up or complete the face. My concept gave her darker lips, but when I was drawing the face I felt a more natural lip color looked better. Goes to show that things can always change. After spraying the doll again with sealant, I just have to build up more color and values until she’s done. When the face up’s all done, and you sprayed the doll one last time with sealant, paint glossy varnish onto the eyes and lips. Let’s take a break from her head and turn to the clothes. Here’s the dress pattern I came up with. If you use silky fabric like I do make sure you seal the edges with a fray check or similar product immediately after cutting them out. It will save you some frustration in the long run and keep things clean. Before I sew them together though, I need to add the fancy design element. I sketched up the design on a piece of paper and because the fabric is white I can kind of see through it. This makes it possible to trace my design onto the fabric using white fabric paint. Some of these characters are incredibly small and delicate so I took things really slow and carefully. The design itself incorporates a Chinese ‘Fu’ talisman for protection against black magic. The psychic eye symbol, spoons which are associated with psychic pokémon and the pokeball tipped on it’s side at the very bottom. It was pretty fun working in all these secret symbols. Just be careful to keep your helpful cat assistants away from your work area. Yeah, I had to cut a new piece and draw it all again. But it was for the better because I actually learned from the first try and did a better job the second time. If you use this method make sure you cover your drawing with a clear tape so that it won’t stick when you separate it from the fabric. Also, it occurred to me now that if you have access to a service that lets you print designs on the fabric, that’s an option too. I’m still glad I went through the trouble though. Because I want to be designed to be raised. And at last we can stitch the whole thing together. To achieve an ombre effect on the fabric, I wet it down thoroughly with only water first then dabbed on watered down purple paint. The gradient should happen easily. Thanks to the water feathering out the color. And because the fabric painted parts are glossy, it didn’t color. Giving the dress this neat effect. I draw on the last neckline detail while it’s on the mannequin to make sure I’m placing it right. For the scarf, I have this limp maroon knit that’s perfect for drapery on a small scale. I cut a long rectangle and make seven cuts on each end. Then I tie two and two together to make this easy, but fancy looking finish. I thought these tassels would mimic the two-pronged tail she has. Speaking of the tail, i’ll be modifying this monster high tail from a Catrine DeMew body that doesn’t need it anymore. First I find a drill bit the same size as the hole then drill into the body. Using thin wire to create the armature, take epoxy again to form her signature two pronged tail. Just as with the ears, I sand and painted. Let’s not forget one of her most important details. I paint a red dot onto some thin vinyl material as a base. Then, using UV gel I blob on a slow dot. Now, I don’t have a UV lamp, but who needs that when you’ve got the sun. Right? Guys the sun went away, and now I can’t cure my resin so I’m going to have to wait. Sunlight! Yessssssss Nooo, it’s going away! Alright, to plan b then. Using the same base, I’m going to squeeze out blobs of hot glue to form the forehead gem. I made a variety so that I can choose the best one. I gave Espeopn Several Talismans on the design to get across that spiritual vibe. I cut rectangles out of construction paper and did my absolute best to copy real ‘Fu’ Talisman. According to this website image I’m referencing, this should resemble a basic protection talisman. It was actually very interesting researching this. The process to creating real ‘Fu’ talismans requires special preparation with- incense and reciting spells with each brush stroke, cool stuff. The shoes are nothing special this time. I just painted a pair of monster high heels purple. Let’s see… the ears, the tail, the dress, pants, scarf, forehead jewel, and talismans. I think we can finally start assembling these things! Temporarily clip her hair, we add a little glue for good measure and re-insert the ears. Now we can bend and twist the wires together on the inside to secure them in place. Taking brushed acrylic yarn, I dab some fast drying ‘Elmer’s glue’ onto the ends and stick them onto the head. That’s the reason I didn’t plug that area. When they dry, trim them to shape. So fluffy! Use small elastics to secure the hair in place, then tie thin ribbons on top. The plan was to have these macrame fabric designs holding on the talismans. But it’s already feeling a little crowded on her head as it is so I simplify the design and I’m just going to glue the talismans right on her ears. After marking in graphite where I want the stitches to go, I sew red string onto the hips. Then taking a bead I made from extra Epoxy. I thread the string through and around the talisman then back into the bead. And the forehead jewel. Attached with ‘Elmer’s glue-all’. Lastly to curl her hair. You thought we were done right? This doll has a lot going for her. Basically I put her hair into curlers using straws and bobby pins then pour boiling water onto the hair. Check the description box below for links to videos that go more in depth on curling hair. Unfortunately, the bobby pins stained many of her curls. This never happened to me before so that must mean these bobby pins are getting too old. Don’t know how to remove the stains, so that’s too bad. Still the girl look great and she’s finally done! It turns out the tail was too loose, so I had to permanently glue it in place. I wish it was pose-able, but I couldn’t think of a good solution. Overall, I’m super happy with Espeon out of all the Eeveelution dolls i’ve made so far. I feel like her vibe is the closest to the actual Pokemon. What do you think? What’s that? Hmm Espeon says she perceives a vision of you pressing the ‘Like’ and ‘Subscribe’ button. Wonder what that’s all about? Thank you so much for watching and our spiky yellow friend is next~! Stay Artsy! Annyeong!