Sunday, April 26, 2009

In pursuit of doll repaint lessons: The Other Side

In pursuit of tips and techniques for repainting, trying as much as possible to find a way to understand the craft can be quite tiring. Then again, it can also be an exercise of how far you can go to find the things you need to learn.

Having exhausted - I think - all sites for repainting dolls, I thought perhaps it was time to check out other toys that artists repaint aside from dolls. Here are some sites I'd like to share with those who wish to embark on this journey more seriously than others. The technique and the process may be different, but for lack of comprehensive tutorials, these sites are worth looking into. has a series of tutorials from "painting flesh" and "using color" article. In it you will also find the "blending technique" or blending thru translucency using successive glazes or juices.

You are led to other sites from like It can get very technical but the what you find here are more than that but the "Generosity" with a capital "G" from artists who willingly share their talent with others. A very rare thing in the creative industry, in my opinion. Blending and glazes are very important because these are part of the foundations of a good repaint.

So, if you're interested to check what these can offer you, just click on the sites mentioned in this post.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not looking back at Tonner's "Don't Look Back"

Today, I made one of first denials of the year: Denying Tonner's "Don't Look Back" Scarlett. I have to admit that in my mind a great tug-of-war was going on -- between getting it and not.

"Scarlett briefly wore this costume in the film, so it doesn't really matter if you don't get it. It's not really a great association with the character."

"The doll looks beautiful! Can you imagine all the photos you can do of her, the joys of the days that will come if she was in your midst?"

"You may never get the chance again. After all, she is LE (Limited Edition) at only a hundred".

"You have other priorities. With that amount of money, you could buy a new sofa! (here in the Philippines".

"So what? You could always earn it back. Think of the time when it won't be available anymore!".

"You have so many Scarlett's already! What would you do with an extra one? This is an exercise in delaying gratification."

"Just look at how that chiffon drapes on her back!! What are you waiting for. It'll hurt only temporarily."

"Just wait for the Alana Bennett dress you ordered. Although it's taking long, you know it's yours, just yours! Now that's limited."

"Don't you just envy all those who have that doll! Where did they get the budget for it?! C'mon, you can spare for one more!"

Argh the ramblings of my mind that still linger while I still see images of the doll. Well, my relative got me The Tonner Twilight dolls. That's two dolls and they're hot! Time to practice repainting another face. So help me God. = ) The truth is doll collectors get that rush of adrenaline, the thrill of seeing the doll before their eyes, the feel of the clothes, the possibilities of play and display, of photography and repainting.

Somehow -- despite it all, I'm kind of proud I said: "No". For now. LOL.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"A Prayer and a Hope": Tonner Scarlett photoshoot # 2

Just some last few shots before the city resumes its noise. Lent has ended after 4 days of silence, no traffic, and no people walking around.

Here is the Tonner Scarlett which I repainted again. I realized that I've been using diluted acrylic and not retouching it with a last layer of 1:1 acrylic to water. Read in a very helpful hint about diluting the acrylic. Funny that you get bits and pieces about repainting different sources. For the Tara Prayer Dress doll, I chose to have her lips lighter -- pinkish. After all Scarlett was seventeen when she wore this. The eyes here are the hardest --as always. 4 layers of colors from dark green, lime, white and black and (OH!!!) those tiny dots in the eyes to make them look like they capture light. I'm still learning. I yet have to perfect contouring and shading. I wish I lived in the US to access more Tonner dolls. Each one I secure costs almost P8,000 that's because the Philippine Peso is 48 to 1 dollar. Crazy I know. That's I try to save up for each and every one of them -- and just drool over the rest I can't. = ) C'est la Vie!!!

I'm yearning for those Twilight dolls, that Portieres doll is calling too; and not far behind is the "Don't Look Back" doll = ) But priorities, priorities. They have to wait. And I'll have to break back to earn extra for them. That explains why this blog just has repeated dresses and a few dolls.

Well, Happy Easter to those who stumble upon this blog. Have a little "prayer and hope" in your heart and soul always!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tonner Scarlett: "Out of the Box" Shoot

NRFB, in my opinion, is like a child not being allowed to play. Tonner's tagline: The Power of Play is not all about that. This can be easily seen in the features of its dolls: the articulation, the hard vinyl, the recent release of the Antoinette blank face canvas; seems like Tonner realizes that part of the play is the art or craft of recreating or reinventing the doll to be your own.
The priceless value of hours of play is nothing compared to just looking at a doll behind a transparent box. And I personally think that life is all about that too. You can't live life with the untouchable or with too much of strict rules. It's all about balance. It's all about going out of where you are, what you do and exploring something enriching and new. What did I learn today? What did I give to this day? These are questions of life that is lived. It also means giving everything the benefit of the doubt -- thinking "out of the box" is allowing your mind to expand and experience new things whether big or small. There are little treasures found in the minutes of the day. Slow down and see what great things there are to be discovered. Each day no matter the routine will offer something new.

"Out of the Box" is improvisation. And this means doing a photoshoot with my Tonner practice doll themed after that concept (this will have to be her last repaint unless I subject her to more torture under the acetone). Thus, the box in the background. Thus, gone are the "Gone with the Wind" flouncy dresses and ribbons. Inspired by Katherine Hepburn's trousers LOL -- of course pinned at the back.

Have a Happy Easter everyone! Live, live again!

Scarlett wears:
Tuxedo shirt from Tonner Rhett Butler 2008
Dark pants from Tonner Rhett Butler 2008
Brown trousers from Tonner Lord Asriel 2008
Multi-layered tulle gown from Alana Benett ooak "Jezebel" white gown
Corset by Tonner from its GWTW line
Lace-up boots from Tonner Scarlett 2008 line

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tonner Scarlett Doll Repaint: Sans Scarlett & Things About Repainting You Ought to Know

I deleted the last blog haha. I realized those Brooke brows were so unbecoming. So I re-did the brows, fixed the hair.
I'm no artist and wish my mother allowed me to take that Fine Arts course in College (she believed that artists don't make much). Well after me, I now have 3 sisters who are into the arts -- lucky them. An Interior Designer, an Industrial Design artist who also illustrates for children's books, and a photography-digital artist who now resides in Seattle.

Okay, so let's go to repainting. There's one word I have for it -- frustrating.
And if you're interested to get into it there's also one word that I have for you that is so important to the craft -- Patience.
If you can stretch it, stretch it as far as you can. I'm not good at it. Guess I always wanted immediate gratification. And so, it is also a great lesson in delaying gratification.

The title says Things You Ought to Know about Repainting. Patience is a given, so I'm not including it in the list.
These things I think are important if you want to get serious into it. I don't know if I am even getting into it. Unless I find great patience -- that is my resolution this Lenten Season. = )

So here goes:
1. Do get 'em brushes. There are those for small points and round ends. There are even angled ones because most of the time at least for me, I really have difficulty painting the "left" eye or even the "left brow". The doll has to be angled, rotated so get a good table and a good seat. Back to the brushes. There are specific brushes for specific effects you want on the doll. I never found which one was right, but you can check who is so generous with his time about it. I found if you google up Ultra Mini Brushes or Ultra Mini Detail Brushes you will come up with a good list of stores where you can order them. Lucky you, you're in the US. = )
Check out, and and you'll see what I mean. For references on repainting you can also check -- this one was helpful for me. The artist is very generous with details. It is rare for you to find that kind as technique is also a secret to their business. But you know what, it's how you handle it really.

2.Study color mixing. I had to get this book "Color Mixing Recipes for Portraits - Featuring Oil and Acrylic -- Plus a special section for Watercolor." It has more than 400 combinations for skin, lips and hair. I did not study this thoroughly but use it as a reference, specially for those "oh so difficult eyes". If you're into portraits, I'm sure this will be a good enhancement to your craft.

3.It's all about "diluting" the acrylic and glazing. You have no idea how much it takes to just make a soft-looking brow or lip. So practice on that. I still am if only to get the results you want -- a realistic, soft look. And put your palette on ice, so it lessens the time for it to harden.

4.Get the "Thinning Medium". That will help you in creating the glaze for the contouring and shading.

5.Look at Makeup magazine, Vogue or Allure to see the latest in color if you wish to get into creating Supermodels. Myself I prefer "beautiful" dolls than those that are too heavily made up. Also study "contouring" the face. The skintone of the doll is not realistic sometimes, so you'll have to do a lot of contouring all over to create a "pinkinsh" or "tan" tone.

6. Study the eye. There are parts there that are so minute that you have to know which goes first. The "little tear ducts", the "gray color" that you shade around so to create a shadow, the roundness of the pupil and iris : those are layers of paint.

7. The "little push" technique or "dry brush technique" (not sure if that's what it's called) whereby you "dab" a particular area to create a soft diffused look -- I usually do that in the eye.

8. Wash and clean your brushes. I only have 3 and 2 seem to be on their way to carelessness. So I'm holding on to one! Heaven help me. = )

9.I always use a lead pencil to outline the face but make sure it is very light. There are pencils that are light so I'm sure you'll be able to find that easily in any art store.

10. Over and beyond the technique and what you know, it's all about how you handle your time with the repaint process. Your patience will be tested. And I mean test with a capital "T". So if you're not like me then, I'm sure you'll be able to sell some of your dolls on ebay and enjoy the art.

Well, that's about it. I hope I've shared what I know well enough. I hope too that I've been able to help those aspiring and really talented and patient people who want to get into it. There's another aspect to doll art: The hair. If you want to get into it seriously, then the hair makes the doll. I use strings, bands to hold the hair well. Don't boil too much, don't use the blowdryer too much, and don't hairspray too much. God knows I must've sent many hairspray cans to the trash. I'm just a person who enjoys the dolls and play with the art of dressing them up and making them look realistic. If that takes me anywhere, I don't know. I only know it is a simple joy that takes the stress out of an Advertising job = )

PS. Tonner has come up with its Basic Angelina doll -- a good canvas for studying. = )

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doll Fashions by Alana Bennett: Victorian Bustle Gown - Upcoming

I had Alana Bennett do me another gown for the Tonner Scarlett. With all the costumes going around, I thought I might as well do something unique for the doll.

The dress is a pale blue and white 2-piece day dress or so (I am not sure). A friend sent me some pictures of Edwardian/Victorian gowns. I thought of combining designs to make the gown. I am not sure where she got the pictures. They must be from www. Anyhow, here are the pictures and the photo that Alana sent me of the gown -- which I couldn't stop turning into another portrait. She did wonderful embroidery by hand on this gown. So what you see here are derivatives from original pieces. The blue and white ensemble has been revised via photoshop to have lace on its sleeves. I also added a bustle to it. Alana said the bustle was detachable if I so choose to have the dress without it.

Can't wait to have it. In this life, we live for little joys. In Alana, I find more joy to fill up my little joys!

Photos coming soon (when the dress arrives)