Monday, December 26, 2011

Adventures in Repainting

I wanted to try my hand at face painting because I've seen some fantastic One Of A Kind repaints and I love the idea of being able to make my own custom dolls.  I gave it a try early on this year and was thoroughly disappointed with the results.

Before and After: Dolls I purchased back in 1992, I think.

It was so hard!  First off, I wear glasses but I couldn't see the doll closeup unless I took the glasses off and turned my head to the side and squinted.  That alone was frustrating, but when I tried painting... dude, I about lost it.  It's been twenty years since I've painted or drawn anything and I couldn't control the brush, judge the paint opacity, stay inside the lines, nothing!  I did practice first by making small portraits on paper, but applying paint to paper is a whole lot different than applying it to a round, molded face.  From start to finish, which included removing the eye and lip paint (I left the eyebrows), it took me six hours to complete and frankly, she looked better before with the anime eyes.  You can literally see every brush stroke.  Yuck.

Chandra's eyewear are cut and hollowed out Barbie sunglasses with acetate inserts.

I did try again, but in limited moderation.  I bought one of those magnifying circles to help me see without removing my glasses (didn't work) and this time I kept it real simple by just removing the lip paint.  I don't like light pink or coral lips on black dolls and on dark skin dolls I prefer no color at all.  Chandra's eyes became brown instead of that lion like golden rod color and you can barely see the brush strokes this time.  I did a bad job with the Basics lips and had to repaint them twice.

Before and After:  Beach Ken 2012 and Beach Ken 2011 Redux

This last time, I decided to try a paint over, instead of a repaint.  I also find I work better with india ink, which used to be my medium of choice back in the day.  So, his makeover is probably 30% paint, 70% ink.  He turned out much better than my other attempts.  Granted it's not really a "new face," but my hand work and application are becoming more steady.

Meet Riley:  Newly red-headed with olive eyes and a cleft chin.

I'm going to do more of these paint overs before I try completely removing the original face paint and starting from scratch.  Not like I don't have enough heads to practice on.


  1. Hello from Spain: good work you did. As much you had left fantastic. beach Ken and Chandras seem dolls new. You paintedvery well the dolls. We follow in contact of blog blog

  2. LoL you have me cracking up over here when you said "Dude I almost lost it" LOL! From a repaint artists point of view, Your repaints are actually very good with you just beginning and all! They are not as bad as you might think. The major key to repainting is practice, practice! Don't ever expect your first, second, third or even forth to come out looking good. My first several repaints were so bad that I just kept redoing them and redoing them over and over. By the time I was done, her face was so full of acetone, baking soda and more acetone, I had to leave the last face on just because the vinyl was starting to look a little strange LOL.

    I would have kept going but my niece was there trying her hand at repainting. She eventually gave up and snatched the doll I did LOL. I have tried the india ink and think it works best on the eyebrows, liner and lashes also.

    There are really good videos on youtube showing how to do the eyes (if it is still up) Patience ,patience ,patience is all I can tell you. Looking at your last doll, you are already on your way! Just have fun with it :)

  3. Thanks Marta, I'm going to keep working it and maybe it will get easier.

    Chynadoll I think my problem is that instead of fun I was concentrating on "Why wont this thing do what I want!" But you are right, I've just got to relax, let it flow and keep on trying.

  4. Thanks for sharing your repaints. I have not done any repaints in years - rebodying and hair cuts, yes - so it's interesting to see early repaints. Inspiring, too.

  5. D7ana, painting has never been my forte and I should have remembered that before I got so frustrated at my results. Still, it's been interesting, horrible results notwithstanding.