art · dolls

Australian birds

Now that I’ve finished drawing out my dolls inspired by aussie birds, I might as well show them off and talk about them. After all, it’s going to take me forever to shade them all.
I tried to pick out species that have some sort of meaning to me.

Crimson Rosella. I love watching these birds at mum’s place, they are so vibrant and have cute little chirps. Aside from the bodice and shawl, I didn’t have much idea what I wanted to do with the doll so her design was made up as I went along. While I do like the dress design, the skirt doesn’t give off a rosella vibe for me 😦
Maybe I’ll change it while shading.
I did not want to have to endure redrawing the face, like I originally planned, so I just mirrored the face I made for the galah doll.

Laughing Kookaburra. I grew up to this bird’s call but didn’t really see them much around the house. Normally I’ll see these birds hanging out on fences or power lines in the country. But at my mum’s new place, they like to feed on a strip of grass just beyond the window. It’s great to watch them.
I don’t know why but I wanted more of a tribal look for the doll. And although their calls do sound like laughter, I liked the idea that my doll wasn’t all bubbly and happy – instead, looking a little peeved and not wanting to be there.
I really like the design of her.

Superb Blue Wren. This is probably the bird that I miss the most since moving out of home. They are so sweet, hoping all over the place, and have a beautiful call. I’m glad that one of my lecturers was also such a fan – I got to learn a bit on them. But I didn’t really have a clear idea about what to doll. Of course I had to use the dominant male’s colouring, since the females are so plain aside from a fleck of red. In the end I went for a fae look, since they are also called Fairy Wrens. I edited the base so that she was a bit of a shorty, as well as have a cute head tilt.
The hair is meant to be the red of the female birds but I’m not sure the doll looks good as a redhead.

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. Sulphur-Crested cockies had a strong presence when I was growing up in the country. They really are noisy buggers. I haven’t really had much to do with Black cockies but I thought it would be nice to have a contrasting couple (which is the main reason why I chose this base in the first place). I chose the red-tailed instead of a different black cockie since it was a mascot for the Commonwealth games. My doll more follows the look of the females, rather than the males. The males lack the cool sunset tail.
The one issue that I have with this base is that the arms behind the backs seem to vanish. Alas, I am not a skilled enough base editor to tackle arms wrapping around waists. Let us pretend that these ladies are groping butts.

Galah. These birds weren’t as prominent around my mum’s area but they have more of a presence in suburbia. I don’t know why but I quite like them and even got a cute little cross stitch to work on. The design of the doll is radically different to the original sketch. It was originally going to be some retro formal look (without reference so I’m not sure that there was any specific decade) but I just didn’t feel motivated to drawn it out. In the end I went with a more modern look, more suburban. And pants to try and balance things out with the rest of the dolls. I think it was a good move, she looks so much better than the sketch.
I didn’t want my dolls to all have the same head, particularly all foward facing. There were no alternate heads on offer so I ended up drawing this. It. Was. Hell. But probably worth it in the end.

Australian Magpie. These would have to be my favourite bird, which is just as well since they can be found all over the place. I love that the won’t take fright and fly away if I walk near them. And they have a nice call (except the young ones, which are awful). I even based one of my practical subjects at uni on the call of magpies. They are such smart birds. At my mum’s place they learned that we would throw out dog bits every morning so the whole family would wait for it and then hunt for bits with the dogs. So of course I had to go all cliche and give my doll glasses to denote intelligence. But I have glasses and I’m smart so it’s ok 😛
I did edit her so that she was taller. Maggies are a ground species – they’d rather walk around than fly – so it made sense to me that they would be tall. However, I don’t think it’s really noticeable next to the other dolls.
I was dreading drawing the shoes but was quite pleased in the end.

Rainbow Lorikeet. I didn’t really have much to do with these birds until I moved to inner city. They really have thrived in the suburbs. There are so many in the trees down the hospital strip and are so deafening on my trip back home from uni in the evenings. They like to hang out and squabble in the park next to my place.
I think this doll has had the least amount of changes in design. I think of lorikeets as such crazy and bubbly birds and that’s what I wanted to reflect in the doll. But the colours are so bright, I worry that this doll will stand out above the others.
The hair makes me think of a medusa doll that’s been on my to-do list for over a year. Coincidentally, the base I picked out is from the same basemaker as these ones. I really should make that doll one day…


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