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. = )


  1. Great tips--and I have to say, I'm impressed (though I can't tell photoshopped photos one from another).

    I stick to sewing, myself--and sewing large, flat items, like quilts, which don't require fitting. ;) Love your blog--and keep up the painting. I can't wait to see what you do with a blank canvas like the new Antoinette doll. I think you'd have a blast!

  2. Thank you Alison! I hope they shed some enlightenment on this patience-driven craft. Perhaps all types of crafts involve patience. Quilting? Interesting! Tell me where I can see some of your items!
    I remember the film: The making of an American Quilt. Quilts can have stories too it seems. And beyond the bed, they can be curtains, dresses, shawls little hankies.

    Yes, the Antoinette doll is beautiful! I am thinking about her actually.
    Drop by again soon Alison! Happy Easter to you and your loved ones!

  3. Happy Easter to you as well. You can see some of my quilts on my blog, if you like--stop by when you have the time:
    Leave a comment, if you like! (I don't get many visitors!) ;)