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.
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!
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
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!