One Year!

April 30th marks one full year since I set out on this reborning journey! So what better time than to reflect on the journey so far… with a list of sorts and reflections. I figured I’d answer some much posed questions via fans on my FB page. (Delay in posting this means I’m now at my 1 year selling anniversary on Etsy! In addition to over 1 year of reborning!)

Do you remember your first sculpt?

Yes!! I could never forget him! It was Sam by Marissa May. A baby I ultimately fully rooted – in an attempt to throw myself straight into the deep end of reborning (since I was soooo scared to root!) But, in actuality, I’d ordered five sculpts before starting on him – Sam and Meg May, Kameko Edenholm, Aubrey Pratt, AND the sculpt that launched my love affair Cozy Smith. I started ordering just her, and quickly ended up with my first five. It was all sort of accidental, in amassing all the start up materials, I kept forgetting something & having to add to my list. And in order to ship from BB, where I started out, it just made sense to buy sculpts. And they had a massive sale going on (back when I actually thought it mattered, cuz I’ve learned my lesson, shipping & duties always make their sculpts expensive! LOL!) Reborning Sam was magic. That first time I creased! Adding his milia. I remember going downstairs just to fawn over his head. Reborning has never lost the magic for me. Transforming plain vinyl — aiming for more and more realism with every subsequent sculpt — into a near living baby is incredible! And the constant innovation in the industry is what keeps me coming back, as excited for the next sculpt as I was the first.

Which brings me to the question I wanted to ask myself at this landmark. Just how many sculpts have I reborn?

I keep a # tally via my birth certificates, so this one is actually easy! I’m currently at baby 68 ahem, 76. Yes, it’s crazy. But also, I am soooo incredibly grateful for the steady stream of orders. I aim to do 3-4 sculpts a week (because I batch paint, more on that below) but it actually works out to about 3-4 every two weeks when I factor in photography, rooting, that sort of thing. It’s still ambitious. But every time I think I’m going to have some extra time to do a few Reborn, Sweet original babies, the custom orders pile back up. I manage to have at least two weeks of work ahead of me all year round. Which is incredible! Custom reborning is my favourite thing and I am so glad I decided to carry over my niche from pop art into reborning. I love it because I love to vary my orders, and pretty sure if I were making them all, they’d end up combi’d. This way I have to root and do baldies! (my least fave reborns! HAHA! And only because bald is boring & rooting is still Everest! LOL!) And I just love combi.

Where exactly would you say you get your ideas on what the baby’s look like?

Ah, I can’t take credit. It’s actually ANOTHER reason I LOVE custom orders. Because I end up with a really diverse portfolio of babies I’d not necessarily have even thought to make if I hadn’t been commissioned. I also swear I save myself some time knowing exactly who they’re going to be as I work, because with all my homeless babies, I always spend at least 2 weeks debating what hair or eyes I’m going to use (when applicable). And I think my techniques would take longer to develop, as I’d just reborn what I was most good at, and most comfortable doing. This way, I always have to up my game, whether I’m psychologically prepared or not.

IMG_3388 IMG_3391

Which brings me to what’s my fave reborn customizations?

This one is soooo obvious: COMBI!! I looove combi. Full combi, partial combi, barely there combi. It is my fave look. And it holds up so well. And I just hate, personally, having to comb hair to make it look perfect. To me it looks the most realistic and always looks and feels perfect, no styling required! 😀 And my fave sculpts are newborn sized. Although I’ve got a bit of a fondness toward 17 inch preemies currently, thanks to Pixie & Meredith Brown! LOL! And sleeping sculpts over open eyed, mainly because I think they look more realistic and versatile over time. And inserting eyes is sooo overrated! LOL!

Pencils or paint?

Hair painting, you mean? 😀  Both. I love the look of both. I’ve recently been studying tutorials on blending prismas to create even more hair colours & techiques to feather the pencil strokes to look more painted. Because I do feel pencils are limiting. And for a while I was doing half and half because I missed that feathered hair look. Now I totally think it depends on the head. And my pencil painting wouldn’t be half of where it is without having started using painting, and vice versa. My hair painting is so much better since I was able to hone my pencil drawing strands. Now, my hair painting? I’m totally in a place of feeling like it’s still no where near where I want it to be, and yet I can see that it clearly has improved a lot! LOL! I just have extremely high expectations for creating the most realistic head of painted hair. (Because I also love painted hair). And I still regularly indulge in painted hair porn in my spare time. I could fawn over Evon’s, Little Chicks, Isabelle’s, and Sam’s painted hair. It’s too exquisite! XD

Who’s my fave sculpter?

Ha. SO HARD! I still LOVE Gudrun Legler! I would probably rank her first. Followed by Laura Lee Eagles (she’s def almost in the lead!) and Bonnie Brown, Tina Kewy, Elisa Marx, and Marita Winters are all right behind them. I am ALWAYS ALWAYS on the lookout for a new sculpt to add to my must reborn list. And I have a ton. I have totally gotten the reborners obsession of needing to REBORN ALL TEH SCULPTS!! Karola Wegerich, Emily Jameson, Brit Klinger, Ulrike Gall, Rachel Maynard, Sandra White, Natalie Blick, Joanna K, Heike Kolpin! Oh man, I could go on and on and on. Yes, I can’t choose!!

Have a question I didn’t answer, comment & I’ll add it! 😀

Currently in my studio:

I am batch veining & blue undertoning my next 7 sculpts. Looks daunting, but actually only 3 more than usual. Yes, I prefer to batch vein. My veining always looks better and I stay on one to two colours and it’s real easy to play musical body parts in the oven. LOLOLOL! Lots of cute babies to be! Took me two days of work to get through them all (not realizing there are 8 not 7 in that pile! Boo, math!)

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About Shaylen Maxwell

Custom Reborn Artist, Portrait Artist, Writer, Editor, Momma of two (Sneaky & Meekly)
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