Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Biebers

Although Bieber dolls have some great play quality male fashions and accessories, I've never thought much of the bodies.  The older versions have twist-n-turn necks and although newer ones have pivotal necks their range of motion is quite limited and no versions have articulated wrists.  Because of this, I chuck the bodies into the spare parts box, never to be seen again.  However, I dug two out as inking test subjects.  Here they be!

Now named Marcus -|- Original -|- Still named Justin

Bieber heads are much harder and less porous than Barbie's so the ink lays on the surface of the face differently.  The ink is more likely to lift off which can be good or bad depending on your application.  Also, because the face is so hard it's more prone to abrasions or stains from overuse, unlike a Barbie.  In the end, it's really about the quality of your workmanship and skill set.  Mine are a little on the wobbly side, so I do what I can.

Unvarnished -|- Matte varnished

For large surfaces of black I always use a Avery Marks-A-Lot permanent marker. I've been using the same one for 15 years so they've got some staying power.  I would not use marker as part of the face paint (!), just for molded hair and you have to seal it down.  If you want it to retain its original shininess, you have to put gloss varnish on it.  If you want to dull it down, put matte.

Matte varnish will effect the sheen of a magic marker, but it will not make a noticeable change to your artist pens - if it does, you aren't using acid free, ph neutral inks or a quality varnish.  His entire head has been matte varnished and there is no change to his face ink.  If you want wet eyes or shiny lips then add satin varnish to these areas.

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2/12/13 Edited to add:

Black haired Marcus is being given away. If you've already commented then you are in the running to get him.  If anyone else is interested just say you want Marcus and I'll add you to the list.  I'll pick a random person on Saturday and get him out in the mail to you on Tuesday, 2/19/13.

Disclaimer:  He's got a wonky eye 'cause one is bigger than the other and he has sloppy sealing streaks from where I fought with a string of dust while applying the varnish - and lost. But hey, it's a free doll, so you get what you get.  He will be nude with no accessories but you will get the body.

2/16/13 Edited to add:
 
Marcus goes to MajorMistakes!
^__^

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Since I never played with the Biebers before I took some scale shots to see how they compare height wise to other dolls:

Shorter than a Barbie SIS body

Slightly taller than a Liv body wearing heels

Taller than a Monster body -|- Super taller than a older Bratz body

Shorter than a Fashionista -|- Shorter than a Power Team

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To address some inking and longevity concerns:

  • Poor quality inks will absorb into and bleed on vinyl. Acid free, ph neutral inks are less likely to do so. That's why I use Faber-Castell.  Will LePen or Gelly bleed?  I haven't even been using them 30 days yet, so I'll have to get back to you on that.
  • To prevent future bleeding or smudging no matter what quality of ink you use, seal the face when you are finished. I only use Liquitex varnishes.
  • If you touch your fingers to your dolls face while you are inking, you are putting a layer of oil on it.  ANY ink will bleed on top of oil.  So, only use a brush to remove dust and residue from the dolls face while you are inking.
  • If you want to preserve the original vinyl for future reinking or repaints then seal the entire face with matte varnish before you get started. I don't do this, but I'm using cheap dolls so that's not important to me.
  • While I've been using Faber-Castell inks for 30 years, I've only been applying them to vinyl for 1 year. My unvarnished ink applications have not bleed - yet.  Hit me up in 5 or 10 years and I'll let you know if they are still holding up.
  • Would I risk putting ink on a higher priced doll like a Fashion Royalty? HAHAHA, as if I'd untighten my fist long enough to buy something so awesome! Ah, but anyway, if I was lucky enough to find one at the thrift store then yes, I would ink it if I wanted to - but that's just how I roll.

And on that note, please don't be discouraged from trying different mediums and letting your creativity flow where it will.  If it doesn't work, okay, at least you made the effort.  But if it does, props to you!

29 comments:

  1. I know it sounds repetitive...but I LOVE your repaints. Simple, but good. The eyes look a bit manga-ish. Ever thought about selling them?

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    1. MM, it's funny you said that because I read a lot of Yaoi Manga and it's been the inspiration for my male inking efforts. The brownhaired Justin redo is the only one based on an american face and surprise, I don't like it at all. He's too... wholesome looking for me so he's getting wiped and redone.

      I'm at the testing stages, so no I wouldn't sell any of the ones I've done so far. I'm a quality nut and I would be very particular about charging money for something that wasn't done to the best of my ability. I think (or at least I hope) I can do better if I keep at it.

      However, if there is interest, I may do some giveaways of the test subjects I don't want, wonky as they may be.

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  2. Nice post as always Muff! TRU had some on clearance, I need to pick up a couple for the clothes. I plan to turn the pants into shorts since he is shorter than Ken.

    P.S. I still love your house.

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    1. Hey, Georgia Girl! A TRU clearance you say?! I must have a look see. I never thought of using them as man shorts. I just roll up the legs and have the hippier girls wear them as capris.

      That "house" is no more. Only the front portion is still intact since it was one piece. I need to make up some more simple facades like that.

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  3. I LOVE your posts! The photos are so crisp and you do some really awesome things with your guys n' girls. Great job on the repaints but I think I have a crush on the one with black hair...Ka - yutie pie! The Bieber clothes are awesome, I've gotta get at least one of that boy.

    It's good to see Carmen again, because of you I put her on my list and finally scored one last week. She's the cutest to me on an articulate Bratz body. Also, surprisingly enough it actually made me appreciate Bratz feet a lil' more...strange.

    By the way, great to see that fabulous house of yours again.

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    1. Tracy India, thanks so much! Congrats on getting your Barbie fairy. She just has the cutest face and interstingly her personality seems to change based on what body you put her own.

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  4. Hey Muff Do you think you could try reinking to make an asian or a mexican ken because Mattel is seriously slacking in that area!

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    1. Jay, I'm certainly going to give it a try!

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  5. Hello from Spain, i really like your work. Your touches are perfect because they are very natural. I love clothes Bieber. I have to buy a guy for my collection. I really like the front of the house. Your photos are always of very good quality. Thanks for your recomendations of material to use. Keep in touch

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    1. Hiya, Marta and thanks! I try to get all the accessory packs that they release for Bieber fashions. Hope they have another set this year.

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  6. Great work, Muff. I like your black-haired Bieber and the red-haired guy on the far right (facing the audience ;-D). You gave the Bieber a face. (Usually he looks like a ghost - like he has no kind of features). Nice to see him looking better.

    Thanks also for the painting tips. I am keeping track of them.

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    1. Dana, that redhead is Riley and he was the first doll I tried ink on. He still looks fresh as a daisy.

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  7. I just love what you did! I really have to try this. I found the photo of the redone Unvarnished -|- Matte varnished especially interesting. I like the comparison photos too. I hope to pick up some his outfits on sale too.

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    1. Ms. Leo, getting Bieber clothes on clearance is the best. A lot of times BigLots has sales on the dolls but I like the fashion packs without the doll 'cause they add more stuff in it.

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  8. I Love the burner with the black hair if I had any money I would so buy him from you. I love your reprints, I would be afraid to my own because for one thing I wouldn't want to screw up a perfectly good doll, and we found the articulated dolls I like to play with don't come cheap, third it is rare I get a doll, but either way BRAVO!

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    1. I mean *Bieber my auto correct on my kindle drives me absolutely nuts sometimes.

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    2. LOL, Tracey! That's why I just watch movies on my Kindle. That thing is the worst to type on because of all those correction options.

      Thanks so much for the compliments and I'm going to give that Bieber away. I'll update this post to let people know that and anyone who has commented so far is already in the running if they want him.

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    3. Haha Muff, I would use my desktop but it's from early 2000s and it has Windows xp. slow as molasses in the winter or even worse, Internet explorer. That's why I use my kindle.

      I would be so happy if I won one, it's not just cause he's a Justin bieber doll, it's because you make the doll look so much more attractive and better quality with your paint job. HAPPY LATE VALINTINES DAY!

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  9. Aaaaaaah you're going fast Muff! I'm so busy with school, I can't even keep up with your posts xD
    I see some real progress here, Muff! Your repaints are great, I especially like the eyes, the colors are amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Tali! Real life has been slow for once so that means more time for crafting and posting.

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  10. A couple of months ago, I decided to started the process of restoring some of my older male dolls that have paint rubs on their hair with acrylics and Liquitex varnish and and have generally found the process easy and kinda fun. What I'm wondering is, would be be easier and more cost effective to start using ink to fix head rubs instead of paint ?

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    1. Ken, I don't know what a "head rub" is. If it's a molded section, then you can use ink. Black ink doesn't show streaks when applied over a large area, so if that's the only color you are using, you are good to go. If you use a colored ink it is likely to show streaks so you have to use a dry brush to spread it around and then follow up with sealer - gloss, satin or matte depending on the finish you want.

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  11. It's amazing what you can do with ink. I'm trying to look for those fabercastell markers but there aren't where I live, nor the matte varnish...

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    1. Thanks, Rossetti! You can order the Faber markers online (Amazon, Joann, Dick Blick). I don't know if varnish can be shipped overseas though.

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  12. your reinks are awesome!

    i have a question about one of your tips:

    If you want to preserve the original vinyl for future reinking or repaints then seal the entire face with matte varnish before you get started.

    i'm new to repainting, so right now i'm just doing 'enhancements' and would like to preserve the original paint. so i should varnish over it before i start? would i be able to wipe the paint down to that part and start over with the original paint intact? is there a 'light duty' varnish i could put over my repainted areas that would be removable so i could remove just the added paint and restore it to the original factory paint but would protect the repainted areas from scratches?

    sorry for so many questions. i'm really paranoid about ruining my dolls/accessories.

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    1. Thanks, Queen!

      That statement about preserving the original vinyl is for the vinyl alone, not preserving the original paint. My tip assumes that you've removed the original paint. Keeping the orignal face intact would require you not using any acetone to remove whatever changes you have made, otherwise you risk removing the original factory paint as well.

      Preserving original paint can be done but it's rather tricky so use a practice doll first. You have to put multiple layers of varnish (3 to be safe) on your doll, letting each layer dry first. Then, if you wanted to remove whatever you applied you would have to do it gently with water or a moist qtip. This works more for fixing and wiping away mistakes as you are working. However, once your repaint dries you could mess up the original paint underneath if water and a gentle qtip rub doesn't remove it. Varnish is "permanent" but can be scratched if it's harshly scrubbed.

      I have no experience with a "light duty" varnish, only with varying degrees of sheen. If you seal your repainted areas with varnish then you won't be able to preserve the original paint underneath as you've permanently bound another paint on top of it.

      It sounds like what you might need for your purposes is mod podge or even elmers if it dries transparent. Let's say you varnish the original paint and let it dry. Next put a thin layer of mod podge over the varnish and let it dry, BUT ONLY PUT IT ON THE AREAS YOU ARE GOING TO PAINT. Now, you can apply your repaints to the mod podge and then seal that with podge as well to protect it from scratches. Your mod podge layers can be pealed off thus preserving everthing under the varnish. Just put the head in water for about 15 minutes or more and when you take it out you should see an opaque film where you applied podge and you can gently rub it off with a paper towel.

      Again, all of this is a risk so a practice model is key!

      Whew, I feel like I wrote a book, but I hope this helps you. Good luck! ^__^

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    2. oh wow, this is awesome, thanks so much! I never would have thought of using mod podge or glue. genius! this sounds pretty close to what I think I am looking for. I'll have to give this a go whenever I find some new varnish (the bottle I have now is 15-20 years old! probably not the best for using on dollies).

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    3. You're welcome, Queen. I dunno, that varnish seems to hold up pretty well. There might still be some kick in it.

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