Custom Reborn vs. Reborn Baby
I have decided to write a Guide on Custom Reborns, simply because day after day I hear horror stories from people who thought they were getting a Custom Reborn and they are disappointed with the outcome.
Custom Reborn vs. Reborn
There is a world of difference between the two. A Reborn is a baby that has been created using the Artists vision. This means that the Artist will make the baby to their liking from the skin tones, hair color, to the eye color and sex of the baby.
Custom Reborns mean that you the client have full say so on all of those aspects.
A lot of so called Custom Reborns are not Customs. I see time and time again on doll forums, chat rooms, yahoo groups, and Guilds that someone purchased what they thought was going to be a Custom Reborn and were disappointed in the outcome. The baby was not what they had envisioned. There are a lot of Artists who claim that they do Custom Work when in actuality they are simply letting you choose hair and eye color. THAT IS NOT A CUSTOM REBORN. This is simply a Reborn with options.
If you are in the market for a Custom Reborn these are the things that you need to ask the Artist. If the Artist is not willing or able to provide these things then, I suggest you find a different Artist or take the risk of being disappointed in the outcome. Let’s be honest here only you the client know what you have envisioned for your baby without the Artist working hand in hand with you how can the Artist ever hope to recreate that vision? Here at Lasting Memories Reborn Nursery you will get all of this and more!
Questions you should ask
1.) Will I get to choose skin tones and coloring?
2.) Will I get to choose hair color and style?
3.) Will I get to choose eye color and placement?
4.) Will I get to choose mottling options and blushing options?
5.) Will I be kept up to date through emails and photographs throughout the entire process?
6.) What happens if I don’t like something? Will you change it to my liking?
7.) What are your Return Policies?
The Answers to these questions should be YES on all of them for the baby to be a TRUE CUSTOM BABY.
If an Artist is not willing to do these simple things the most important of which is to keep the client updated with emails and photos then you are not getting a Custom Baby, You are simply getting a Reborn Baby where you get to choose hair and eye color. That is a HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Here at Lasting Memories Reborn Nursery I expect the client to be involved each step of the way when I do a Custom Baby. I literally take hundreds of photographs throughout the entire process to provide to the client. I ask numerous questions throughout the entire process to make sure that the Client is getting what he or she wants. You see sometimes a client will want something that totally goes against what I as an Artist feel is right. I will admit it is hard to go against what I want to do but that is what a Custom Baby is about. I have to put away my vision and concentrate on the clients. Now please don’t get me wrong, I am here to advise the client also. So if I know something will look horrible I will communicate my worries to the client. If he or she still wants it done it will be done because in the end it doesn’t matter if I like the baby or not only if the client does.
So now you know the questions to ask for a Custom Baby but what are you to expect after that? Here are the steps in creating a custom baby.
You the client contact an Artist and they have agreed to do a Custom Baby for you. Now what?
Well the first questions that the Artist should ask you are:
1. What have you envisioned for a Reborn?
2. Would you like a preemie, newborn, infant, toddler or child size Reborn?
3. Do you want open or closed eyes?
4. Do you want an open or closed mouth?
Based upon your answers the Artist can then gather photographs of sculpts that will suit what you are looking for. The way that I personally do this is I email the client photographs of different sculpts and below each sculpt I put a brief description of how big the baby will be when completed, the size of the limbs, (1/4= stops above the wrists and ankles and must wear long sleeve clothing, ¾ = stops just below the shoulder and at the top of the thigh can wear short sleeves and diaper covers, full = goes into the shoulder and thigh area can wear anything) I also include the price to create that particular sculpt. This is the longest process and the hardest process for both Artist and Client simply because there are literally hundreds of sculpts to choose from.
Okay, you have picked the perfect sculpt that has stolen your heart! The next step in the process is choosing hair color. Most people think that you can just choose, black, brown, blonde or red when in actuality there are many different versions of each of those colors. So again the Artist needs to send you photographs of these colors. Please remember at this point you may receive different kinds of photographs. I personally use two different mohair dealers. Delta Dawn Mohair and Slumberland Mohair are my providers. With Delta Dawn’s hair I can actually send photos of rooted babies using the different colors from her website. With Slumberland’s I only can send you photos of the hair itself, not rooted. I want to add this also, Hair matters! Not all hair on the market is the same. You will want to make sure that the Artist is using quality mohair on your baby. Here are the differences in mohair: Kid mohair being the finest and perfect for preemies, newborns, infants and toddlers, Yearling mohair perfect for infants and toddlers. When you get into child size dolls you may want to consider human hair. I also want to note at this time that STRAIGHT mohair is hard to
come by. Mohair is from Angora Goats from what I have been told the first clip is usually the straightest and from there as the Goat grows the hair becomes curlier.
Now onto eyes, again you have a wide range of colors to choose from but on top of colors to choose from there are also different materials to choose from. Eyes can come in plastic (the least expensive), silicone, glass, crystal and I am sure a few others that I can’t think of at this time. Of course, glass and crystal are the most expensive but do give you the most human eye look. I didn’t want to say this but in creating a Custom Reborn you really do get what you pay for. If you want a top quality reborn pay a little extra (the price that you receive at the time of choosing the sculpt should reflect all of the costs). Once you choose your general color, let’s say blue, and then the Artist should again email you photos of different eyes in that color field.
Now that all of the choices have been made the actual work on your baby can begin! During the base layers of painting your baby there is really not much to see , however once the first layers are put on the Artist should send you a photo so that you can see how progress is going. This is also the time that the Artist should ask you about your preferences for mottling and blushing, birth marks, scratches etc. I can’t stress this enough when you receive and email with photographs from the Artist please answer as soon as you can and as honestly as you can. The Artist is not going to take offense (at least I don’t) The reason I stress this is because when I send photos I need you to approve them or tell me to do corrections before I can move on to the next step. Only once the photos are approved do I then move on.
This is done after each step so you should receive photos at these intervals:
1. Base coat. This is just to reassure you that your baby is being worked on.
This example will be a little different than just the base coat as it was also a Portrait Baby so the initial photo I send is of the sculpt once it arrives here at the nursery with a photo of the baby photo that the client has provided.
2. Mottling stage. This is to make sure that the mottling is to your liking
Mottling and blushing photos may be taken at one time.
3. Blushing stage. Again to make sure that the blushing is in the right areas (to your liking) and that it is not to red or red enough.
4. Vein placement. Again the Artist should be asking you if you want veins or not. Some clients choose to have very subtle veins others like the veins to show more.
During this time if you have seen another baby that you like the skin coloring of please feel free to send photos to the Artist. But please remember this; I cannot even duplicate my own work! Even if I am working on two sculpts at the exact same time they will not be exactly the same. These photos however, can be used to see what your preferences are and we can then base our color choices on that. I cannot stress enough though that the baby that you are receiving will not be exactly like the photo that you have provided!
Once the painting phases are complete the Artist should then put the baby together and do a mini photo shoot for final approval before moving on to the hair. This way you can see what the baby is going to look like put together and looking like a baby not parts.
Moving onto hair.
The majority of Artists can micro-root hair meaning that only one to two strands are in each follicle the goal being only one. Styles will vary from sculpt to sculpt also. Most Artists hate to root. It is a time consuming tedious process to get the hair to look amazing. It can also make or break the baby. So when considering an Artist to do a Custom Reborn please make sure that you look at their rooting. I have seen beautifully painted babies with the most horrible hair. When I say horrible I mean that it has 3 to 4 strands per follicle and it looks like it is plugged (kind of like the manufactured doll heads with hair) , or it is standing up in all directions with no normal pattern to it. I personally send photos once I have completed the hair line on the sides and front to confirm it is the color the client was hoping for (remember you are picking the color based on photos so it may look lighter or darker once on the baby) I then send more photos after the full hair line is completed and then again once the entire head is completed for final approval before assembly.
Making the baby
Your baby is now ready to be assembled. What does this mean? This means that all of the little details like glossing, sealing, magnets, and eyelashes are done at this time.
Here are some tips:
1. Eyelashes should look normal. I am going to be honest with you here, some sculpts look horrible with eyelashes. Eyelashes can either be applied or rooted. Most Artists choose to apply them as they look more natural this way. Eyelashes should not be long and spidery looking. They should either match the shade of the hair or be a shade lighter or darker. They should not be placed in the crease of the eyelid as that is not where eyelashes are on a real baby. Bottom lashes are seldom used except in older babies.
2. Glossing: The Artist should ask your preference on this. There are two different forms of Gloss, a matte gloss and a shine gloss. It really does depend on what you the client prefer. The shine gloss makes the area look wet; the matte gloss makes seals the area but gives it a more natural muted look. I personally prefer to use the matte on nails and the shine inside of the mouth with a combination of both on the lips. Also you will need to decide if you want the eyelids glossed to appear moist at this time. The eyes themselves will need to be glossed (depending on which kind of eye you choose) with the shine gloss.
3. Magnets: Magnets are used to attach pacifiers and bows. I just had a client that was leery about using magnets because of her computer. Now granted we use some of the strongest magnets out there but unless you are planning on sticking your baby’s lips or head to the side of your computer it will not do damage. If you choose to have magnets in the head for bows now would be the time to let the Artist know where you want the bows to sit at. If a client asks me for bows I usually put three magnets in the head for that purpose, one on each side and one in the brow area this way the Mommy can move the bows around.
4. I forgot to mention baby scent. There is a product on the market called Wonder Wafers. They come in Baby Powder scent. Make sure to ask, especially if you have allergies or are sensitive to smells if the Artist uses these. I do use them on request only inside of the baby. I always send some home with the baby so the client can choose to use them or not inside of the diaper.
Your baby is finally completed at this time. What should you expect now? Well the Artist again should do a photo shoot of the completed baby. The Artist should dress the baby in new clothes that will be going home with the baby and do professional photos. I say professional but I mean the photos (though out the entire process) should be crisp clean photos. If possible some photos should be taken outdoors or in a natural light (in front of a window). Due to weather sometimes this is not possible. The baby should then be packaged in a new box (there is nothing worse than spending hundreds of dollars on something and it comes to you in a used chip box) the baby should be carefully wrapped in a new blanket and all of the accessories carefully wrapped also. Presentation is part of the package when receiving a baby.
In closing the most important part of getting a Custom Reborn is the communication! The client needs to be able to express what he or she wants and the Artist needs to communicate each step of the way. When the Client communicates a need the Artist needs to be willing to work with the Client in obtaining that goal. If the Client does not like something then the Artist needs to change it. If an Artist is not willing to take these steps in creating your Custom baby then I advise you to find a different Artist. Because you will not be getting a Custom, you will simply be getting a Reborn baby where you got to pick the eyes and the hair color. By following these steps you vision will become a reality and you truly will have a One of a Kind Custom Reborn Baby.
I hope that you have enjoyed my guide and I welcome you to visit Lasting Memories Reborn Nursery at http://www.lastingmemoriesrebornnursery.net to view my latest creations and previously adopted babies.