Updated: Jul 16
I decided to write down some of the things I've learned in my mis-spent adulthood playing with dolls, and for the inaugural 'Blogbie' post, I wanted to touch (eww) on the subject of....doll vomit.
Some of you are thinking - that B@rbie b&tch couldn't possibly achieve that body type by doing something as reckless as EATING actual FOOD.
You would be correct.
That particular body type is only achieved through malnutrition and selective organ removal.
But, my Babs is no ordinary doll. She eats, drinks, seduces and kills with gluttony.
Along the way, some of the meat may be a little too 'well hung' (though of course, not in the way some of us would appreciate) by the time she gets around to consuming it.
Or there may just be one too many combined shots of rum/vodka/whisky after a good kill.
So to be faithful to the subject matter and all the messiness it encompasses, it's helpful to know how to make a great batch of doll vomit.
People will send me pictures sometimes of other work, asking if it belongs to me. Usually that work will include one (or all) of the following;
I've no idea why any picture with a trademarked doll in it that's semi-clothed, performing lascivious acts that end in gruesome murder with a side-order of anthropophagy should somehow be attributed to me. No idea. Total mystery.
The majority of these alternate doll pics in question are the upchuck ones though.
Somehow, I've hitched my star to the vomit-comet of Plastic Doll Picture Production ™.
So now, any picture where a doll is calling collect on the porcelain telephone reminds people of my work. Infamy at it's finest.
Since there are a lot of pictures out there, I wanted my doll vomit to stand (lay?) out - and have spent a good long time refining the technique for creating the perfect texture and colour.
I've enjoyed tinkering with it, as well as using it over the years, and now it's time to pass it along to anyone looking for high-quality, photogenic ejecta.
The secret is... Trisc
'Baked Wheat Squares'
( I don't wanna get sued by Big Cracker)
For good vomit to photograph effectively, there needs to be a certain amount of texture.
You know what I mean, that indefinable chunkiness of proper barf, filled with more odd-coloured mystery blobs than a childs breakfast cereal.
You may not have eaten a carrot in 15 years, but there will be one lone orange chunk of it that your small intestine was hoarding for just such an occasion.
So, to capture the correct consistency of picture-perfect vomit, you need these 4 things;
Colouring (I prefer gel or water-based, not powders)
'Wheat Squares' (no particular brand which could sue my arse off)
Then, you're going to need to make an Oobleck.
There are nice detailed scientific descriptions of non-Newtonian fluids, and what an Oobleck is, and you're more than welcome to Google them yourself. I'm only here for the dolly-vomit, not continuum mechanics.
Start off by crushing your crackers - a good mix of powder and bits is important.
I like to use a wooden cocktail muddler, but a mortar / pestle would work, or a rolling pin and a plastic bag. The amount you will need is up to you - it depends on how much vomit you're making. For an oobleck with 2 tablespoons of corn starch, I find that one cracker is enough.
You want a good mix of small and large crumbs - remember, some will break down further when you're mixing.
For the Oobleck itself you will need approximately one tablespoon of corn starch to two teaspoons of water. Don't forget, your food colouring will be adding more liquid to the ratio, so you may need to add more corn starch a pinch at a time, until you get the viscosity you're looking for.
Ditto for the crackers - because they're absorbent, they will alter the oobleck texture. Keep adding a drop of water here and there as you go. The oobleck will come together, to act as both a liquid, and a solid, depending on the tension you put on it - and this can vary minutely, so it's a matter of playing around with the mixture until you get a consistency you're satisfied with.
Add the water to the corn starch first and gently stir together.
With ooblecks and colloids my experience is that the slower you stir the faster it will come together.
The mix will seize under high surface pressure, so if you try to mix too fast, the spoon will 'skid' over the surface, and nothing will meld.
Go super slow. Tantric-Sex-with-Sting-Slow.
You can make up your own lewd examples for emphasis here, I'm not sure who may end up reading this.
You'll know the consistency is correct when the mixture is smooth and liquid under slow, constant stirring, and then clumps together as a solid if you try to go faster.
Once you have the base oobleck, add your colour. I like to use a mix of green and copper, but this is up to you - whatever kaleidoscope of colour you want your upchuck to be, go nuts. Like actual vomit, the colour is personal to you.
See below for some tips on flecking.
When the colour is to your liking, add in your crushed cracker crumbs.
Slowly stir the crumbs into the base - you may need to add a little more water at this point as the crackers absorb the liquid. I usually do this with a medicine dropper so I can control the amount used, but even a half-teaspoon measure would do - just start small. Again, go slow with the stirring.
What you're looking for is a mixture that clumps together, but with a little prodding can still 'run'. It should stay put on any vertical surface, but still ooze/flow downwards if directed.
I use a toothpick or cocktail stick to push the mixture around and create smaller runnels. It also enhances the texture on camera too.
Now, some advice;
1) You are working with colouring / dyes, so take appropriate precautions. Anything you don't want to get stained, don't use - or, be very very careful around. Instead of food dye, you can also use water-based acrylic paints, as those won't stain (as much) - but you will need to play around a bit more with the viscosity.
2) Don't use any funky-flavoured crackers... seriously.
I once made the mistake of using a garlic & herb cracker ( because it was all I had ) and to this day one of the dolls STILL smells like souvlaki.
3) Colour - because the oobleck is white, you will need more dye than you think to get a deep colour ( if that's what you're going for). Start with small amounts - it's a lot easier to add more as you go.
4) Colour Flecking - if you want to add spots of colour for dimension (or gore.. helloo blood-splattered upchuck!!! ), wait until after the vomit is in place. Then use a toothpick (or needle if you are doing finer work) and dot/drag the colour in to the vomit. This way, it won't run as much and will stand out more on camera.
5) Poop. This oobleck makes great poop too (the runnyish diarrhetic kind). I use brown food colouring, and also sometimes, a bit of Nutel..uh... Cocoa-Hazelnut-butter.
6) Water - keep some water on hand if you'll be working with the oobleck for a while. It will dry out a bit. You can also use a tiny amount on the end of a cocktail still to 'spot-texture' any vomit that's already in place, but too set to run.
7) Play - play with this! Experiment - I've used carbonated drinks, gel drinks, syrups etc to play around with consistency and texture.
If you want a super 'chunky' texture, use ground nuts (peanuts with skins on work really well for the grossout factor). Instant coffee is a great alternative to brown food colouring (and cheaper). Fake blood as part of your liquid colour makes for really great blown-out-brain matter.
8) Cleanup - don't flush this down the drain. It will clog your pipes, especially if you've made a large amount. Chuck it away in the bin instead.
9) Don't eat it (see last part of step above)
Unless you were one of those kids that ate flour paste and crayons in class. In which case, congrats on making it this far and being able to read.. go nuts, you're indestructible.
So that's my ridiculously simple recipe for doll vomit.
Enjoy, with love from me to spew.