Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adventures in Repainting, Take 2

This is a lengthy post, but bear with me.  If you have any interest in repainting with ink I hope that you can utilize this post as a reference for materials you can use and as usual, I'll show you my attempts so you can see what works and what doesn't.  If this subject isn't your cup of tea, you can just stroll halfway down and look at the repainting photos, lol.

After Jay got me playing around with ink again I decided to give repainting a serious effort.  My first step was to find some white ink pens because I wanted my medium to be strictly ink and no paint.  I have nothing against paint.  I just prefer the consistency of ink and I can maneuver a pen better than I can a paint filled brush.

I was going to order the ivory pens I linked to last time from Dick Blick. However, their shipping is ridiculous and I'm not paying $8.95 in shipping when my order of 2 pens was only $3.86.  Man, get outta here with that nonsense.  So, armed with a 50% off coupon I went to Joanns and got these:


The full price of the white ink Gelly Roll pens were $4.99 and the black ink LePen was $1.99.  After putting them to the test, I'm going to recommend adding both of these to your art bin if you want to repaint with ink.


The LePen has the smallest point of any ink pen I have ever found and is perfect for creating delicate strokes like eye liner and lashes.  Even though I'm a Faber-Castell nerd and have been using them for 30 years, if you could only get one liner pen, I'd get the LePen.  The Gelly pen took some getting used to and because it has a well point instead of a protruding tip I'm going to try out more white pens if I find them.  I still do recommend it though.


Other things you'll need are nail polish remover (at Walmart $2.96), varnish, glue and qtips. I'm using 100% remover because it's faster at removing the paint and you'll actually do less damage to the vinyl as long as you wipe the face with water immediately when done.  You'll need matte varnish for the eyes and satin or glossy varnish if you want shiny lips.  The glue is to seal your blending brush.

I had said before that you don't need the dry brush technique to blend your ink, that you can just stroke different layers over one another to do this.  While that's true, I'm totally recanting that statement.  You DO need to blend with a dry brush if you want smooth shading and shadowing.


Use glue to seal a few brushes so that only a small portion at the top can move.  If you look at the dark blue brushes you can see that the tips are brown.  The bristles below have been sealed.  If you don't have a brush small enough for blending then cut some of the bristles off like I did. The yellow brush with the white bristles has been sealed too, but I only use it to sweep away dust from the face.

I also use blending tortillons (at Joanns $1.99), but more for removing ink than blending it.  You can make these though using plain copy paper if you don't want to buy any.  You'll also need a mechanical pencil because they have the smallest points to draw your faces on, toothpicks dipped in water to scrape away white ink, copy paper to clean your pen tips on and paper towels for wiping your dry brushes on.  Lastly, you'll need colored ink pens!


Again, I'm all about Faber-Castell.  Love them.  I have several themed packs; Basic, Metallic, Sepia, Black, Terra, Landscape and Shades of Grey.  If you are just starting out, I recommend getting the LePen 0.03mm and the Basic Faber-Castell pack.  The pack is $16.99 at Michaels or Joanns, so take a 50% off coupon.

Okay, now that we have all the implements, let's get started!


First, make yourself a test head.  Using my largest face, I ran a strip of white ink across her forehead - you can seal it if you want.  Next, I drew a single stroke of each color I have through the white and 6 strokes immediately above it on the vinyl.  Because ink is much thinner than paint, this will be a big help when choosing which colors to put directly on the vinyl versus those you'll put on the white ink which is quite opaque in comparison.

My attempts:


My first try with the white Gelly and LePen seemed very easy.  If you have a defined sculpted face like the Power Team guys the Gelly will fill the groves of the eye with no problem or spillage.  Even though I was heavy handed with the black ink of the LePen, it too scrolled well and let me make minute lines (the ink in his hair is magic marker).  However, what I did notice is that no ink, either LePen or Faber, is compatible with the opacity of the Gelly.  The thinner ink would eventually bleed through to the white ink if you stroked too often.


Since the colors were soaking through to the white ink, the next time I just inked the whites of the eye and left the iris empty.  This worked fine, but it was annoying breaking up the white ink that way instead of just a strip across the whole thing.  I wiped this face away soon as I finished because the eyes didn't look so slanted when I drew them on but once I over did it with the black again, they looked a mess.


This guy got redone several times.  I was still trying to perfect laying down the white ink without it getting stroked away.  I was working on his last face when it hit me that if I seal the white layer with varnish I can paint over it without affecting it.  I'm slow, but I get there eventually.


Ok, the first head is to show you how much whiter the ink is compared to her original eye.  However, if you seal down your first white layer with matte varnish your eye whites will have a much more natural color and not be so glaring.  Another thing the Gelly is good at is making teeth!  You can either put your white down first and ink color around it or put down an entire layer of color and then stroke the white over it.


Extra photo added for Mrs. Anderson

This dude. Oy vey.  He's kinda creeping me out but I achieved what I was going for.  Because Power Team guys have sculpted eyes I wanted to see if I could go beyond the sculpt and reshape the eye by making it bigger.  So, I covered not only the eye socket, but the lash and crease lines as well with white and sealed it down.  His iris is actually going below his intended lash line and his eyebrows have been painted above their intended placement as well.  Creepy, but doable.

Now that I've figured out how to work with the Gelly, let's talk technique.


When you put down your varnish, whether your first seal of white or the final seal of the full repaint, DO NOT STROKE the varnish onto the ink as you will stroke the ink right off.  You have two choices.  You can put a small dab of varnish on your brush and pat it down so that only the varnish touches the ink, not the bristles.  Do this gently over and over until you've covered the areas.  If you have a steady hand, you can put a large drop of varnish on your brush and let it bead on top of the ink.  Then, pull the bristles through the drop and spread it around - again, making sure not to touch the ink.  You will probably practice either of these more than you will inking.


Dry brushing is your friend and it's easy.  The second face shows you how you can use dry brush shading to define the eyes and give shape to areas that don't exist.  I used one color, raw umber, to shape her sockets, brow bones and eyebrows.  You simply stroke a line and pull your dry brush through it.  Keep adding strokes and brushing through them to deepen or darken areas.  Use a qtip, tortillon or folded paper towel to wipe away from these areas to create highlights.

The third face has been defined using black ink around the lashes, in her creases and brows.  Except for the blue in her irises, this is just white ink in her eyes, with black ink and raw umber everywhere else.  Even her nose bridge was widened using shaded raw umber.

___________________

That's all that I can think to share with you now, but if you have any questions and I know the answer, I'll help you out.  Please take my attempts and comments with a grain of salt because I am by no means an expert at painting faces or anything else.  And, while I know that I won't be winning any face painting contests anytime soon, I've gone from my first "paint" repaint that looked like that:


To my latest "ink" repaint that looks like this:


I'll call that progress any day of the week.

45 comments:

  1. Wow! I love how they came out! Great job with those inks! That last gal looks really good! Mattel's dolls don't even compare! Again great job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chynadoll! Given your skills I take that as a great compliment.

      Delete
  2. Muff you have come a long way with your ink repaints! Still testing out few on mine I will try to do a post later on today?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jay and I'll be on the lookout for your post!

      Delete
  3. Great job! You have a really good sense of colour. The pens are something new to me, I'll have to look for them. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, IHime. I've been using these types of pens since highschool. If you are into drawing or coloring they are pretty sweet.

      Delete
  4. I really like your repaints. I prefer pens over brush so this method sounds promising. I like shading the eyes, they look really neat and i would buy your OOAK dolls anyday (heh, not anyday cuz, you know-money, but I would buy them anyway).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MM, try as I might I cant control paing brushes well. I also don't like the streaks it leaves behind but that just may be my poor painting skills. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. Very useful and interesting, and cool to see pics of your progress too. Bookmarking for future reference!

    Just wondering: what does the guy with the "paint-modded" eyes look like in profile? I'm guessing that's his creepy angle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Mrs. Anderson and thanks! I added an extra photo so you can see his profile. He looks creepy because he's just staring at you. It's as though extending his iris made it appear flat instead of round because there is a crease in it.

      Delete
    2. Oh, thanks! His eyes look a bit concave, I guess? You still did a good job with them though.

      (Also, I'm not actually a Mrs. Andersson... :) )

      Delete
  6. Thanks for sharing your technique. It's an interesting consideration. I don't do repaints per se but do tweak lips occasionally and this method looks like a good option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roville, using the pens for lips is really easy and you can change the color and shape as often as you like.

      Delete
  7. ohhhhhhhhhh¡¡¡ ,menudo trabajo¡ los hombres de quedan genial, me encanta su barba¡
    Sarai

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Sarai! Su barba se ve bastante limpio.

      Delete
  8. Hello from Spain, www www... You are an artist. Your job is gorgeous. I like the new faces. They are real persons. I like to see the steps of your Work. Keep in touch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, Marta! It's interesting for me to see the progression photos too. I keep redoing the faces so it's good to take photos to see how I'm doing.

      Delete
  9. Wow, you're really good at this Muff!
    Who knows, if you keep on practising like this you might even call yourself a proffesional repaint artist someday :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tali! I told myself I was going to do at least one face every weekend to keep up and improve. Yeah, I'll see how long that lasts, lol.

      Delete
    2. Lol!
      Well, at least you have enough heads to practise on xD

      Delete
  10. Thanks thanks thanks for this tuto!!!! As soon as I can save money for it, I'll make and inversion on ink markers like yours. My Chinese-non-mattel dolls can start trembling!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Rossetti, I think that your non mattel dolls will appreciate any time you spend with them, even if it means they get a new face.

      I haven't been in "artist" mode for quite some time. It was nice to get back to my roots.

      Delete
  11. I forgot... I have told you before but I must tell you now... you're an artist in repainting, wonderful jobs!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Muff :) It's very interesting what you write and show. I see a big difference how you painted dolls at the beginning and as it is now. Congratulations !!! I like your repaints :)
    Greetings from Poland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there, Marille! I think I frustrate myself by not taking my time and realizing that I cant improve if I don't keep at it.

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Mustiwait! Thank you and nice seeing you around these parts!

      Delete
  14. Great job Muff!! I am going to get a few pens for the lips. The lips and a little eye shadow is the extent of what I am comfortable doing. This is a really good post that I plan to revisit. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Georgia Girl! The pens really do make it easy to redo lips and add make up. If you have any dolls that have brown or light colored molded hair they are also great for adding lo/hi lights. I added some to my Justin Bieber doll and his hair is much improved.

      Delete
  15. I just want to print the page and take it w/me to the craft store. Great info...always love how much excellent info you share. Thanks so much *.*nyw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Nykole and you're welcome! I tend to over share, lol, so hopefully through the fluff people can find something useful.

      Delete
  16. Fantastic work, that's amazing, I would like to try it some day...

    ReplyDelete
  17. I learned so much here, Muff. Since I prefer the steadiness of pens over paint brushes, I'll have to give some of your tips a try the next time I am motivated to repaint.

    Sealing the upper bristles of a paint brush to gain better control is an excellent idea! Thanks for sharing this.

    The difference between your first and most recent repaint is definitely progress. We all have to crawl before we walk and learn not to give up too soon because "nothing beats a failure but a try." I'd say you're taking giant, successful steps!

    dbg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, DBG! I know they make bristles long to hold more paint but it's dang annoying when the bristles start flopping around when you don't want them to.

      Yes, I do tend to give up a might too easy. I'm going to consider February "Repaint Month" and we'll see if I last after that. Of course, I would pick the shortest month, lol.

      Delete
  18. Here it is Muff, just as I promised the link to my post for the doll head tranfer. http://purplecandy1997.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the very last photo, that will she will be the luckiest doll once she is put back together, because she has such a gorgouse face, and all the other dolls will be jelly. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, Tracey and I'm on my way to check out your post!

      Delete
  20. Your post are always so learnitive and useful! Love them. I'm bookmarking all. Thank you for sharing your skills with us :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sergio! I hope you'll be able to use this in future projects.

      Delete
  21. Great post! I know. I'm late again. I really have to try to get your site to show up again in my reader. Great tutorial and great progress. You've surely mastered those pens. Your last girl is phenomenal. You seem to have achieved the look of glass eyes, which we porcelain doll makers love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vanessa, I gave up on trying to get people into the reader. The very first 6 people I followed just wont stay in the reader no matter how many times I unfollow or refollow. Thanks for coming to visit me anyway!

      You know, when I finished the last blonde I was like, "Wow! Her eyes appear to have real depth to them, cool!" Of course I have been unable to duplicate it, lol. Imma keep trying though.

      Delete
  22. Thank you so much for all of your generous comments. It makes me want to make a thrift store run and paint some faces. Keep up the great work and being such a positive voice in the blogashere *.*nyw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Nykole and thank you too for your comment!

      Delete