“Diary of a Dummy Board”

Julie of Bellabelle Dolls has a wonderful Edwardian toyshop.

She has asked me to make her a miniature rocking horse like the one pictured on her blog.IN her own words….”

” The whole place will be slightly shabby with a lot of antique items .
The dummy board I want is to go into the shop window and I would like it to be a Victorian style rocking horse. I particularly like those with seats attached. I would like it to be a dapple grey and it would be lovely to have an antique doll riding on it or sitting in its seat, a Jumeau or Bru type doll would be fabulous!-
or a little Victorian child ( female to represent a young Belle )
would be lovely. This would save me space in the window and work as a backdrop for me to display toys in front of .
My window space is 6 and a half inches wide and 6 inches high.”

The 19th c. Rocking Horse from Bellabelle's blog

So this is my remit.

I thought it might be a nice idea to chronicle the making of this PastMastery figure from start to finish.

What is the very first thing we need to do?

Study the photo and then find an image which is similar but that will give us the colours and the shadows that we will need to work with. Some research needed there then…

Interestingly, Julie mentions that her window space is quite small and I suppose this is the case in most mini shops. If she were to use a real rocking horse, it wouldn’t give her much room for any other toys. That is one of the joys of the dummy board figure, they are flat and take up so little room you can cram your space with items that are really three dimensional.

When we have an image, we firstly have to scale it down to one twelfth. In the ‘old days’ this would mean using a grid system – like so….

Grid System

where the image is broken into pieces by adding horizontal and vertical lines. Then, all to scale, we would have to draw the different sections by eye. Nowadays, at the touch of a button, we have computer programmes to do this for us. However there is still a bit of maths to do as we need to work out how large the real item might be and, when we come to printing the smaller image to copy, make sure it is one twelfth the original.

Then, we will have to prime a piece of basswood the right width ( this will be quite a wide figure) with that horribly smelly stuff…oil primer! It has to be oil primer- if not the paint will not stick but will pool and won’t be permanent.

When I paint a figure, I don’t usually draw anything. I transfer the outline only ( as the original sign painter dummy board makers would have done ) and I paint the detail directly onto the surface with oil paint. But as this is a”Diary of a Dummy Board “…….

Raw Umber

I will paint the detail in Raw Umber for everyone to see- before I use any colour. This way, you will be able to see what we are up to! Watch this blog!

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