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Commissions - Experiences, Advice, Horror Stories?

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Without a doubt, one of the biggest draws of our hobby is the aspect of customization! Whether it be different outfits, wigs, and eyes or face-ups, modifications, and hybrids - everyone of us has the chance to take even a standard model DD and turn it into something truly their own.

Now, unfortunately some of these customizations can take more artisanal/ artistic skill than others, but that's where commissions come into play!

Personally, I consider myself to be fairly untalented in most regards, so the idea of commissioning someone - especially for a custom face-up - has been interesting to me ever since I first joined the hobby earlier this year. Back then I wondered how I would ever be able to settle on what exactly I would want - there is just so many beautiful dolls to take inspiration from! However, I've been narrowing down on my preferences in recent months and am now at a point where I am seriously considering reaching out to an artist.

Since I've never commissioned anything ever in my life, I thought I'd ask about everyone's experiences here first though! 

Have you ever commissioned something for the doll hobby? What was it? How did it go? Any advice on how to make sure you properly communicate your wants to the artist/ seamstress/ etc.? Did you ever have a commission go badly? Do you think it was worth it in hindsight? Or have you taken commissions yourself? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

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Ooh, I have some experience in this! My boy Eiran is easily my king of commissions.


Everything on him in this pic except for the doll himself, his gloves, and his boots are commissioned. The full outfit and wig are also, so far, my only successful commissions. I've had a few I've tried to request, and they're either still in progress or got canceled.

The wig is a custom sculpt by Synthetic Ephemera, and it took a little over a year to get. SE has a 3D scanner, so I sent Eiran's whole head to her (and he's a milk Eiji with a lightly customized factory faceup, so you can imagine how terrifying that was) so that she could make a 3D scan of it to use as a base, as well as to ensure the final resin print fit on the real thing.

For the initial request, I sent a few pictures: Eiran's character reference sheet, and a nendoroid back plate to give an idea of how the back of his wig should look, as the ref didn't have that.


There was quite a bit of back and forth throughout the process - he's an OC of mine, and floofy anime hair is a challenge to translate from 2D to 3D, so there were some tweaks needed once the initial 3D sculpt was done. The best way to get my point across was redlining, by far, where I quite literally drew over what was sent to me in red so I could illustrate what the shapes should look like:


He was really flat on one side for some reason!

Once the sculpt itself was fully complete, I provided a Pantone that was close enough to the actual color of his hair using a Pantone finder tool I found online. I went with Pantones as those are designed to be accurate across mediums and screen types, and that's all I trust for something as important as the color of my favorite OC's hair. The resin was tinted to match, printed up, and off it went to my house! I then applied paint to it myself, as well as magnets, as it was originally designed so the front would stick on with putty.


The outfit, on the other hand, was SUPER fast. I think that got done in less than a month. I ordered that from BJDream_sells on Instagram at the recommendation of AtelierVanilla on here, and it was a great process! I once again relied on pictures and Pantones for my initial references, and there was still a bit of back and forth because the pictures weren't perfect....so I spun up some more by thinking really hard about how the outfit would be put on if it was a physical thing, and then drawing that. Once the corrections and clarifications were made, it was sewn lightning quick and sent off to me! Fit great, too! 😊


My overall tips are this:

- Visual references are always king for getting a good commission of any sort, even if you have to find pictures online or poorly draw them yourself! Provide every detail you can think of in a visual format early and the commission will go a lot smoother.

- If you are ordering an outfit, have measurements ready, or even be prepared to send off a Duct Tape Mannequin!  Better to have measurements and not need them than leave your artist in the dark, even if they've sewn for your doll's size before. Specify if something should fit tightly or loose as well, and if you know how the fabric should hang (light and drapey, stiff and heavy, etc) include that too.

- Definitely do not be afraid to send followup pokes to keep communication going if you haven't heard anything for a while, and for something complex like a custom 3D sculpt, be prepared to be very patient. SE's delays were mostly due to IRL stuff getting in the way, but it was also a difficult ask!

- Keep an eye on the feedback of whoever you're commissioning - Aside from it being confirmation that you'll actually get what you ordered, SE's positive feedback was all that kept me going through some of the months of silence. 😅

- Check your artist's past work before you commission! I went with BJDream for Eiran's outfit because there was a lot of other fantasy outfits in the portfolio, so I knew his would be done well. One of my failed attempts to get his outfit was with Mobinjo, who backed out upon realizing how complicated his stuff was: a good call, as that artist specializes in simpler modern stuff. The wrong artist will make it at a lower quality and take much longer.

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tumblr_o9govtKpFv1v9twgko1_400.gif.eae368d3c0bfc2a75087167170705ec2.gifPlease ping me when replying!

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I only had a comission for an outfit done and while it went well, the outfit ended up being too big in some areas. Im still not sure if my measurements were off or the person made mistake w the sizing. It was still wearable and came out great anyway. 

definately researching comission reviews and feedback is key. For clothing i would also check of theyve done clothes before for the type of doll u have but also Always double check measurements too :) 

i would imagine faceup comissions would be the most terrifying as theres always that risk of mail getting lost/damaged or comission not coming out as you thought.

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Research is key, and I had both face-up and clothes commissions done
Look for feedback threads, example photos, customer photos etc etc. Ask around this board too, perhaps someone has heard of whatever shop u found and has experiences to share!

The face-up took forever (they had a long waiting list, knew this going in) and lucky for me this chara is insanely popular so could use Model Kits and Statues references when explaining exactly what wanted for the face details (she needs this type of eyebrow, and see this faceplate smile? that plz!)
There absolutely was a terrifying moment when the post office "lost" my package (hadda run over there with print-out of tracking, and was sent to another building and everyone had a good look around for like an hour.... for my small box....) the final results are beautiful, worth it

The outfit also took a while (which is fair, they're in Poland!) and this particular place had done plenty of sewing for all sorts of sized dolls. I let them know exactly what doll it was for (Volks DD with M-bust) and did my doll measurements too
Sent a very wordy description of what the outfit looks like, how many/what pieces it would be, with plenty of images
Turned out AMAZING

Edited by Anna-neko
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Thank you, @Oculae! Those are some really great tips. You made some points I didn't even consider before - Pantones? A Duct Tape Mannequin? Reading up on the commission you've made for Eiran's hair was also really insightful. Before I'd gotten into DD's I saw some BJDs with sculpted hair (Sio2 and Arcdoll, for those interested). I thought that was really cool and I wondered why it wasn't more common in BJDs and when I first saw Eiran in one of your photo threads I got really excited haha. Who knew there was such a nerve-wracking story behind it! Sending off a Milk Eiji head and going through months of silence? I do think the result was worth it though. He looks stunning!

I guess it kind of comes down to two main points: Research (Can this person make what I want?) & Communication (How can I tell/show them exactly what I want/how I want it?)

I would be absolutely devastated if something got damaged/lost in transit though! That just sounds heartbreaking, but I suppose it's always a risk..

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I bought a Rem wig and outfit from AliExpress.

It was supposed to be custom made for my girl but when it arrived it was obvious it was not truly Dollfie sized. Even DDdy Towa found the long socks baggy.

Also I paid a lot... AliExpress was really cheap in 2016 but not now. We Brits have to pay VAT (another 20%) on the order value too.

On the plus side, the shoes are fab (although not the right Mary Janes for Re:Zero).



Plus Erica 🥰.

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