Is this really art if

Ok ladies and gents.
First. I don’t want to start drama so if something I say Makes you mad. Be an adult about it. Lol

I follow several artists online. Paint on canvas type of art. And they do a podcast that is always talking about artistic freedom and being true to what you want to create and being happy in that space.

But that got me thinking. I come here and see lots of threads of. “Dont do this on a doll.” or. Someone buys a doll online that it exactly like that photos and they don’t like it and proceed to complain.

So. Is this art or a simple craft like paint by number? Because with all the restrictions of what not to do and what to do. All the collective criticism and hive mentality. It doesn’t feel like art. It feels like paint by number. Do it this way or its wrong.

That makes me sad. Reforming used to be so freeing and creative when I started. Not so much anymore.


Hmm. Reborning is a relatively new process. I think people are starting to figure out how to make dolls look as real as possible and some rules do need to be followed in order to not kill the realism to the critical human eye/brain.

If realism isn’t what you personally are going for, you don’t have to go by anyone’s standards but your own.
You can still go crazy! The world didn’t get Picasso from someone who was inspired by Monet. :slightly_smiling_face:



I’ve been returning for close to 20 years. Before kits. Before heat set paints. Back when we used Wal-Mart dolls. Stripped them. And redid them with wigs and stencil paint. Haha. This art isn’t new. Its more mainstream now. But not new.

I just mean people seem more and more restrictive of what’s right. And if this is art. There is no “right.”
There is only what you like. Or what you don’t.

That’s not to say technical things aren’t important like oven temps and paint thickness. But that is different.


If something’s been around just since the 90’s, that’s still relatively new. Newer than American Girl, newer than Barbie, Raggedy Ann, Kewpie, a long ways from composites, porcelain, and metal dolls.


Newness isn’t the point of my post tho. I simply mean that it is now treated like a paint by number craft. And no longer an art.

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I think it is what you make of it. Some people paint however they like, and some just do the exact same steps over and over and produce reborns that all look exactly the same. The last one definitely isn’t art to me.
But I think especially with alternatives, people can be super creative and I would say that that’s art.
I think canvas art also has standards, doesn’t it? Like not using cheap paints that can fade over time, for example.


Eh. My husband paints on canvas and has no rules for it. He just does what he likes with whatever paint he has on hand.

Also, I view the ‘don’t do this’ as more of a “if you want a realistic doll, don’t do this”. Does the same thing not apply to portrait painting?


I mean, I do paint my reborns like that sometimes. All I stick to is using paints that shouldn’t fade. But it mostly works with alternatives for me. Not with realistic reborns, I feel like there are more ‘rules’ with that. So I get what you mean.


From my experience reborning is becoming more and more restrictive because of how the community is about it. People will absolutely trash an artist for not following the arbitrary rules.


Yes, I tend to think of this as portraits of people.
I love art made by children, but I’d hate to see what a child would do to a reborn without some instructions.


I understand what you mean. Maybe that’s why I am getting more into alternatives. In the Facebook group I’m in people just do whatever and come up with some great art.


That’s very possible, and a good point. I’ve only been on this forum for a few months and not from an artist’s perspective.

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I’ve done alternatives as well. Super fun.

I’m only able to speak from my own perspective. But I’ve watched the degrading of this art down to a simple craft over the years. Cheaper and cheaper prices. Hive mentality of artists and all these arbitrary rules. It makes me sad.


So funny you should bring this up as I have been thinking about this recently. I haven’t even started yet but I have watched many tutorials and I don’t know whether to follow the step by step approach or go by instinct. I think I will probably use them as a guide - but I am also thinking I should have invested in air dry acrylics instead of GHSP as that is the medium I am most familiar with. Some of the reborns I have seen have so much mottling that they sort of look like like stillborns. Will see how I go! :slight_smile: I have already messed up my test head lol


Use the tutorials as a guide. But at the same time. Go with what you like. Remember. You will improve with each doll as long as you keep going.


[quote=“taylorsgirl, post:15, topic:90227”] But I’ve watched the degrading of this art down to a simple craft over the years. Cheaper and cheaper prices. Hive mentality of artists and all these arbitrary rules.

I’ve been doing this for over 13 years…I agree that this art is being degraded by the flood of “artists” and cheap Chinese knockoffs into the market.

Not sure what you mean by hive mentality of artists…

If you mean people being upset by the “get rich quick” mentality and barely painted dolls being offered…maybe??

Or the mean-ness of comments by some people in the community…??

I really don’t understand what you mean by arbitrary rules?? I paint the way I feel…although I don’t actually do any alternatives…if that’s the way an artist feels they want to paint…that is their business…not mine.

As far as paint by number…I say…give the same kit to ten people…give them a limited palette…sit them side by side with the same amount of time to paint…you will NEVER get the same doll…so no…it is NOT paint by number at all.


In my experience a large majority of artists have this set of rules that a doll must meet to be good enough. To me. This stifles creativity and makes people feel like they have to meet this set of rules to be taken seriously as artists.

Again. This is just my opinion based on nearly 20 years of doing this.

Im not speaking of the knockoffs. That’s another ball of wax entirely. I simply mean that I have seen many. Many people ripping another artist a new one for not doing something. “Right.”

But. That makes this a craft. Not an art form. Art doesn’t have rules.


I think that fall into the “mean girls” clique then…Doll people can be vicious…seen it too many times.