by Patricia Haydel-Jarrard, Reborn Artist
Not all reborns are created equal. Some have been fully and completely reborned with careful attention to every little detail while others have merely been enhanced - and in most cases, still have factory paint intact.
Whether the reborn you have your eye on has been hand rooted, micro-rooted, or wigged - fully reborned or enhanced - it is our hope that this guide will help you to know exactly what you are purchasing and exactly what you will receive.
Whether you are bidding on an auction or purchasing directly from the artist it is not our intent to tell you who to buy from or who not to buy from. It is intended only to give you guidance in your purchase of a quality reborn.
Know Your Artist:
Before you bid on an auction or purchase a reborn find out all you can about the artist. Read the artist About Me page on eBay. Check out the feedback. Most guild members are required to have no less than 98% customer satisfaction and are committed to high standards.
If the artist displays a guild logo - is the artist actually a guild member? All too often, unscrupulous individuals will add guild logos to their auctions when they are not guild members. Verify the artist's membership. Check the guild website. If you don't know who to ask for verification, contact another member from that guild and she will direct you.
How long has the artist been selling on eBay? How many reborns does she have listed at one time? Does she consistently list numerous reborns on a weekly basis?
Many reborn artists work on several babies at one time. While paint dries on one baby, they work on another. While paint dries on several babies, they root hair. One good, quality reborn can take weeks to finish properly, depending on the technique used. In spite of what you may hear, the reborn process cannot be properly completed in a day or two. Having more than 2 - 4 reborns listed at one time may mean shoddy workmanship with lots of cut corners.
Check on the artist's return policy. Can you return this reborn for a full refund if you're not satisfied? If you return it, are you required to pay return shipping costs? Many artists state that your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed or your money will be refunded, minus shipping costs. Many others will also state that all sales are final unless you find the doll was grossly misrepresented. That statement is there to eliminate cases of "buyer's remorse."
Read the artist's description carefully so you know exactly what has been done artistically creating the doll. Study the photographs and in particular, the close-ups. Be sure what you see is what is stated in the auction. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. Most artists will welcome your interest and respond in a timely manner.
Things to look for:
1) Did the artist mention the amount of time it took her to complete the reborn process? Quality reborns can take weeks and the basic reason is "drying time." The amount of drying time required will depend on the technique and methods used. With the heat set paints, it is less time. Whatever she used on the inside of the doll, whether paint or glue, must have ample drying time before assembling the doll. Improper drying will result in molds and funguses which may not be immediately apparent.
2) If the description says "rooted" or "micro-rooted", there should also be sharp and clear close-up pictures of the head so you can clearly see the rooting. Micro-rooting should have no more than 1, 2 or 3 hairs per follicle, should look like a real baby's hair and should be styled like a real baby's hair. If the artist says "rooted", it means the hair is what we call hand rooted, and will be thicker with more than 2 or 3 hairs per follicle but should not look "plugged." Did the artist mention securing the hair on the inside of the head? Rooted hair must be secured on the inside.
3) If the description indicates the baby is wearing a wig, there should be a clear and sharp close-up picture. The wig should fit properly and be well secured. There should be no evidence of glue residue, or flaking glue, showing through the hair or around the wig.
4) Make sure the baby eyes are placed according to the age. Many artists deliberately cross or slightly offset the eyes to give that "trying to focus" look that new babies have. Eye color should coordinate to match hair and eye brows. Most importantly, the eyes should look real.
5) Eyelashes should be fine, wispy, and coordinated with the hair and eyes. There should be no glue shine, flake or other glue residue on the "skin" around the eye or in the lashes themselves. However, many artists deliberately apply some sort of shine around the lash area for artistic effect. Some often lightly gloss around the lashes for a newborn look ... they're very oily there. Others do something for that just finished crying look as well.
6) Rooted lashes on sleeping babies should be fine and wispy and color coordinated with the hair.
7) Eyebrows should be properly placed, fine and wispy, and color coordinated with the hair and eyes. Eyebrows should follow the brow structure on the sculpt
8) Baby lips should look natural for the baby's age and complexion. Did the artist mention sealing the lip color? Find out what the lips are painted with. Sealing the lips is not necessary when using the genesis heat set paints.. however Glass paints, another thing still commonly used, will peel.
9) Manicured nails should not have stark white lines at the tips. Nor should they be jagged or wavy looking. The nail tip line should be very fine and either beige or off white. The nails should have a matte or satin finish.
10) Does the artist mention weighting materials used? The description should include materials used inside the baby along with exact details of everything that was done in the reborn process. 100 percent organics (such as Rice, Beans and salt) are totally unacceptable fillers. If sand is used, it should have been sterilized to ensure all microscopic organisms are gone. Acceptable weighting materials include: high quality poly-fill; poly pellets and glass beads contained in a closed bag or knee high; baby fat pellets should only be used in the cloth body and not in the limbs; sterilized sand contained in plastic to prevent leakage and the plastic contained in a cloth bag to prevent noise.
11) Did the artist reborn this doll? Or is she taking credit for someone else's work? Her description should clearly state whether or not she is the artist.
12) Is this doll really a "closed" edition? Or is this terminology being used to make more money on the final sale?
13) Is the artist using upscale products? Did the artist actually use artist quality oil paints or did she use inks or eve make-up? Her description should indicate exactly what she used to achieve skin tones.
14) Did she use angora or mohair for rooting? Or did she use synthetic hair? Again, her description should indicate exactly what material was used for rooting.
15) Does the baby look in proportion? Is the head too big for the body? Are the limbs too short for the body? Is the body over-stuffed and out of proportion with the limbs and head? Quality reborns will be perfectly proportioned.
16) What about the photos? Photos should be large, clear and close-up. They should not be fuzzy, out of focus, dark, off color or manipulated. The photo collection should include close-up views of the hair, the face, the hands and the feet so that you, the buyer, can see all details. The baby should look "real" and should be photographed in natural positions. Most babies, and in particular sleeping babies, can't and don't sit up. If the photos in the collection don't show you something you want to see, be sure to ask the artist for additional views. Most artists will be happy to supply them.
17) Does the reborn come from a smoke free, pet free environment? If it isn't mentioned in the description, the buyer should ask.
Our list of things to avoid is short because once you become familiar with the list of things to look for, you will easily and quickly know what to avoid. Meanwhile, this short list will help you get started
Things to avoid:
1) Avoid auctions with small, dark, distant photos.
2) Avoid auctions with only 2 or 3 photos and no close-ups to show detail.
3) Avoid reborns with ill fitting wigs or "plugged" rooted hair.
4) Avoid reborns that look like they are wearing lipstick. Lips should be done in a natural shade.
5) Avoid reborns that look like they are wearing mascara or "spider" eyelashes. Real baby lashes are wispy, soft and natural looking.
6) Avoid reborns with heavy, thick, Groucho Marx eyebrows and spider lashes. Eyebrows should look natural, not severely arched. Lashes should also be natural and should have the same color tones as the hair.
7) Avoid reborns with strokes of lavender, purple or pink "caked" paint on the face and around the knuckles, nails, and on the feet. This is a sure sign of lack of attention to the little details.
8) Avoid reborns that have been purple washed internally with deep royal purple or wine, heavily pigmented coloring, or that look like they are starting to "bruise." This condition will only worsen with time. Many Artist's still use the internal coloring, but a carefully applied pale lavender or periwinkle internal wash of color ONLY sufficient to accentuate the normal skin tone foundation of a baby.
9) Avoid auctions where specific weighting material is not mentioned.
10) Avoid reborns that look out of proportion with too short limbs, too large head, or too over-stuffed body.
Last but not least, probably the most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing a reborn is this: Good, quality reborns, don't come cheap. You get what you pay for.
Reborning is a very expensive, time consuming art. Artist invest a lot of time and love creating a reborn baby and a buyer should easily see this quality in their work. When buying a good quality reborn on an auction there should be good clear close up photos of all the details. Shin tone, hair, eyes, finger nails and toe nails. Close up photos as well as full length photos of the baby dressed as well as undressed so the buyer can see the limbs is very helpful in determining the artist work.
If you are buying a custom reborn check the artist photos of past work. Always ask for progress photos, a reputable artist will be happy to email photos for the buyer to critique the work and offer suggestions.
Angels Touch Nursery
Mon Enfant de Coeur * My Heart Child