Updated: Feb 13
I was requested to do a painting tutorial, so here is documentation of my progress over a Caramel resin Charo during last week. Note that the doll is not entirely finished yet, but I will post more as I progress.
SKETCHING WITH WATERCOLOUR
I have different ways of working for different projects. When I don\t have a specific look in mind I usually start by blushing to enhance the three dimensional shape of the face. However, when attempting to capture a specific look (This Charo is inspired by delightfully androgynous looks of Ruby Rose) it helps to sketch the face out to find likeness, and for that I use light brown watercolour. This way I can just wash the face clean if I mess up, and try again. Painting look-a-likes is always more time consuming than freehand painted faceups, so I generally charge extra for the service. When I have found the right look I soften the lines and seal it with Mr.Super Clear UV Cut Flat spray.
CARVING THE BROWS WITH A BLADE
Some dolls have sculpted eyebrows, but when hand sculpting the Inamorata head sculpts I wanted to keep the canvas as emotionally versatile as possible. Our eyebrows communicate huge amounts of information about our mood and personality and I enjoy getting as many different looks out of a head sculpt as possible. Scraping the hairs into an eyebrow to create more textured look and finer lines that I can accomplish with a brush alone is a technique I have only recently began to explore. I love the look it gives the doll, although it limits the expression if the dolls is to be repainted in the future. I use a hobby knife blade without a handle for better accuracy and scratch the hairs into the brows. It is wonderful to study how different the look of the brows is even though the shape of the brows remains the same but the direction of the hairs changes.
CONTOURING AND MAKEUP WITH PASTELS
For contouring the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead I use pastel dust. I generally mix my own colours by scraping Rembrandt pastels into fine dust into a palette or small boxes. I also use PanPastels, metallic pigments and powder form eyeshadows from MAC and Makeup Store. In body blushing and contouring I use 2-3 different shades: usually a cool slightly darker shade for shadows, and a warmer shade for highlights. For example for Milk resin these shades a copper oxide green for shade and pale rose pink for highlights. For a natural look on Milk resin, I dust under eyes with slightly purple toned down shade, because that is closest to my own pallid complexion. However, for the makeup here I used light brown under the eyes and black pastel above the lid, natural hues on the lips and dark brown of the brows. Building the pastel part of the faceup may take several layers and I seal each phase with UV coating.
ACRYLICS FOR EYES AND TEETH
After the messy pastel base is done I paint eyes and other final details last, using acrylics and a fine brush. The acrylics brands I use are Vallejo Game Color and Games Workshop Citadel. As brushes age and lose their accuracy, I cut them down to make tiny make up brushes for applying the pastel dust pigments.
I paint the entire eye white first, then the iris, often mixing diluted acrylics while wet on the iris itself to create more interesting colour fluctuations. If the sculpts has open mouth, this is when I paint the teeth. Charo and Nnaji have sculpted upper teeth, but I like playing with the expression by painting a line of white underneath to give an impression of lower teeth. Or a line of pink as if the tip of the tongue was visible, just about to lick the teeth. These little variations change the mood of the doll hugely.
With diluted acrylics I add feathery detail to the eyebrows, sometimes draw lower lashes, add a feint lighter lip liner to make the lips pop, etc. I often apply the eyeliner inside the sculpted eye, to the deep grooves or waterline sculpted in Inamorata eyes. I find this gives a more natural effect although it depends on the sculpt too. The older sculpts like Charo and Nnaji have quite huge eyes, so I tend to paint them smaller for more realistic portions, but the three new sculpts: Midori, Nubia and Valerie have smaller eyes, so I often use the “liquid eyeline” (acrylic) on the upper eyelid too to reshape the eyes, just like I was applying make up on my own eyes.
I often prefer to use just pastels on the lips for a more natural effect, but for lipstick I use acrylics as a solid colour, or often adding lip lines to emphasize the texture. I am really not a fan of solid colour lips as always feel I could had done more with them, they feel unfinished and somewhat playline. To make this feature more interesting I sculpted the Inamorata heads with lip wrinkles and very distinct lip shapes, so even a solid coating of paint with a gloss varnish will bring out an interesting landscape of details when studied up close.
AQUARELLE PENS FOR FINER DETAILS
I often use aquarelle pens to draw finer detail on the face. Lower lashes, feathery hairs of eyebrows, wrinkles of the lips, and a fine line of highlight in a shade lighter than the skin tone on the amor’s bow on the upper lip, right under the wing of the brow and a glint of light on the waterline of the eye to extend the tear duct. These pens are great for finding the right spot of a beauty mark, as you can just safely wipe them off with a moist Q-tip if you have sealed all the layers below with UV spray.
GLOSS VARNISH ON EYES AND LIPS
One of the finishing touches is gloss varnish. I usually apply it on the naturally moist parts of human skin: the eyes and lips. Lips can have a full gloss coating as if from a make up, or for a matte look, just a hint of moisture between the lips. For eyes I apply the varnish on the waterline and tear ducts as well, and rarely a diluted solution over the eyelid if the eyeshadow benefits from the look.
I use human size lashes I cut down to right size and length, including the tapering them down towards inner corners of the eyes. I use a toothpick to roll the lash ribbon into shape before using a gel type glue meant for crystals and watch parts. Do not use superglue! It will harden the lashes and they’ll get snagged into clothes and come off, often pealing paint with them and ruining the doll.
While holding the lashes with tweezers I put a tiny bit of the glue on the lash ribbon and slip the lashes underneath the upper eyelid where Inamorata have a deep sculpted groove for the lashes. The groove helps the lashes stay in place, keep their shape and hide the thick lash ribbon and any glue residue from view. I use a toothpick to press the lashes deep in the groove, especially holding down the ends. Then I use a fingernail to press up the lashes to a chosen position and let the glue dry. After its dried I apply the final layer of eyeliner, morphing the lashes to the eyelid with acrylics.
The doll is finished!
I hope this is useful for you repaint projects and motivates you to be creative! I started out as a doll collector, repainting Barbie, Momoko and Fashion Royalty Dolls. Before that I was a nerdy kid who was into Warhammer 40000 figurines. If you want to see my early works and other tutorials, you can find them on my Flickr. 🙂