I'm very excited to be able to share early photos of Octavia, my first ever ball-jointed doll. I'm annoyed with myself for not taking more detailed in-progress shots of the early stages, so I'll try to slow down from now on and remember to take more photos. For the most part, I've been following the instructions in Yoshida Style (the photos only, as all the text is in Japanese).
But I have made few modifications: instead of styrofoam, I used spray foam insulation for the core of her head and body. After spraying it into a cardboard box and letting it dry/ expand in the box, I could cut it into pieces and it was then very easy to carve into the shape I needed.
For sculpting most of the doll, I've been using Premier Stone Clay, which Yoshida also recommends - it's much stronger than Paperclay or LaDoll. For smaller details such as facial features, I use LaDoll because it's more dense and easier to control.
Another change I made from Yoshida's instructions was to use drinking straws wrapped in tinfoil as the base for the arms and legs rather than styrofoam. I found trying to carve the foam into pieces thin enough for limbs much too finicky, and by using straws I also don't have to worry about carving out the foam after the clay dries. (You do have to do this for the head and body, but it's easier with the larger pieces.) Below are the arms; in my next post, I'll include photos of a leg being made in stages.
I haven't gotten the proportions exactly as I would have liked (the torso's a bit short, for example) but overall I'm quite happy with how my little Octavia is coming along and I realize that I built the construction of a BJD up in my head as this massive task, it hasn't been as daunting as I'd anticipated. But maybe I'll change my tune when I start adding the joints and trying to string her together! I'll be grouping all posts on Octavia under a single category in the sidebar; while they'll be a far cry from a proper tutorial, I'll try to document the process in as much detail as I can.