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Topic: So you wanna do a repaint (guide/outline for total newbs)  (Read 336 times)
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RedheadWithThread
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« on: May 24, 2018 03:32:11 PM »

If you're here, somewhere, at some point you've probably seen a repainted doll and are interested in doing it for yourself.
Maybe you've been hypnotized by Dollightful's work on YouTube. Or maybe it's Hextian or DollMotion or TheDollFairy? (These are just some of my personal favorite artists.)
Or maybe you just liked the Frankie doll I made for gozer or the doll I made of myself? Wink
No matter who it was or what their work was, someone, somewhere has inspired you and you want to create your own custom doll, which is awesome!

But where do you start?

I will start by saying that I am no expert but I've been interested in this form of art/craft for nearly ten years and have watched/read a lot of tutorials so I know a LOT of useful tips that I'll be sharing here.
I'm also going to point out that this hobby can be rather expensive, especially when you're first starting out.
I personally have a lot of supplies but I bought them all over the course of several years to keep from breaking the bank (which is highly advisable).
I will be breaking it down into sections as replies to this initial post. For your convenience, I'll link each section so that you can jump to the section you're interested in reading.

Links:
FIRST STEP
SEALANTS
WATERCOLOR PENCILS
ACRYLIC PAINTS
SOFT PASTELS/CHALK PASTELS
NOW YOU'RE READY


If there's anything more you want to know that's not here, just leave a comment and I'll do my best to give you the information. It might be something I have to look up, or it might be something that I know but completely forgot to mention!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018 03:49:36 PM by RedheadWithThread » THIS ROCKS   Logged

RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018 03:37:10 PM »

First things first: you need to pick your victim base doll.
Some folks like Barbie, others like Ever After High or Monster High.
There are lots of other dolls out there, but these seem to be the most popular because of how easy they are to find (though Monster High and Ever After High are getting harder to find).
Barbie is really popular, especially with people who don't/can't sew or are new to sewing, because of her huge closet (fashion and shoe packs galore!) but EAH and MH are popular because of their articulation (which is being replaced with fixed joints; yes, I'm salty).
Some people only use new dolls (which can get pricey! Shocked) and others use gently used dolls and others still use dolls that have been well-loved (these usually get a huge overhaul).
I recommend going to a local thrift store and seeing what they have that's in good condition.
For Monster High and Ever After High, make sure they have their lower arms and hands (well, hands for EAH because their lower arms don't come off) unless you want to make prosthetics or otherwise modify their arms (turn them into wings or something).
And check the hips of Monster High for elastic.
There's nothing wrong with elastic hips: it just means the doll is older and the elastic might be loose/about to break and will need replaced sooner or later.
You can also buy them online but often the online prices are higher unless you buy a huge lot, which you don't want to do unless you know for sure this hobby is for you (WARNING: it can be addictive: I have about 80 dolls in my stock box, maybe more.)

Part of this step is, if they're used, give them a warm bath with Dawn dish soap (or another dish soap: I just personally use Dawn; handsoap is also good) then set them aside to air dry or dry them with a lint-free towel (something woven, not terry cloth/fluffy).
If the doll has a strong odor, soaking them in warm water (enough to submerge the doll) with liquid fabric softener can help get rid of the smell. I've been told a soak in a vinegar bath also works but I've never tried it myself.
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RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2018 03:39:18 PM »

Let's talk about sealants since it's the first thing you put on your doll's face.
Many doll customizers consider Mr. Super Clear UV Cut, aka MSC, to be the holy grail of sealants. It is made by a Japanese company called Mr. Hobby and is formulated specifically to adhere to plastic and vinyl as it is made with custom toys and figures in mind. It gives the doll's face/head a bit of tooth for the pencils, paints, and/or pastels to hold onto.
But it's expensive.
It can be found for $13/can on USA Gundam Store's website and that's not including shipping. Shocked (It's also available on Amazon but not as cheap though if you have Prime, it could be worth it to get it faster.)

There's a cheaper version of MSC (non-UV Cut) but you want the UV Cut variety because it keeps the sealant from yellowing over time due to prolonged exposure to light and/or sunlight. Yellowing can't be fixed and no one wants all their hard work ruined like that.

Even if you don't think $13/can is a terribly high price for sealant, there's the fact that you need a respirator mask to use it because it can irritate your lungs if you inhale it and those little paper masks don't work.
I bought my respirator from Amazon for $15 and it's a disposable one (supposedly good for 40 hours of use, if properly stored when not in use, which I do). A good reusable one (which I plan to upgrade to soon) costs about $15 on Amazon, and that's not including the vapor filters, which are around $9/pair and more. Shocked

If you choose to use MSC, apply it in short bursts instead of one continous one and don't hold it too close to the doll or you can cause clouding (white-ish discoloration).
Clouding can also be caused by using it when it's too cold outside. Using it while too hot may also cause clouding but I always use mine at night when it's less humid/cooler. I don't use it at all in the winter because I live where it's always humid and I worry about clouding.
MSC is a bit finicky compared to brush-on sealant, but it's definitely worth it for how it helps your pencils/paints/pastels stick to the doll.
But, on the bright side, if it does cloud up, you can use your acetone to remove it. Though if you get clouding after painting, the acetone will also take off all your hard work Shocked
If you aren't 100% sure that this hobby is for you (or you don't want to break the bank) you can use a brush-on matte sealant/varnish that you can pick up at Michael's or other craft store.
I've only ever used brush-on gloss sealant for my dolls' eyes/lips but there have been artists who use/used only brush-on sealant . The artist TheDollFairy (linked above) used only brush-on sealant until very recently. If you want tips for using it, watch some of her videos.
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RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2018 03:39:57 PM »

Some artists use only watercolor pencils to paint their dolls.
I've done this for my self-portrait doll but I need to either do another layer of pencil or go over it with paints to sharpen her eyes to make them more visible .
The downside of using only watercolor pencils is that it takes a LOT of layers of sealant to get dark/vibrant colors, even when working with your darkest pencils.
And if you're using a brush-on sealant, you have to be super careful as they're very likely to run/smear even if you're careful. I'm not even sure how some artists have done this as my one attempt smeared badly.
Some artists refuse to use anything but Faber Castell Watercolor pencils. They have great pigmentation but are expensive: $38 for 24 pencils on Amazon.
The 72 pencil set I have was $20 but is no longer available on Amazon, nor is it available on the company's website. Prismacolor Watercolors are about the same price  ($20) for 36 pencils and they're a good brand.
If you choose to use watercolor pencils, be advised that you need to keep them sharpened to a very fine point for ease of use on dolls, especially if you're wanting to do tiny details. Invest in a good sharpener that can do this (I have a Prismacolor brand that has two sides: one for wide tips and one for narrow tips) or use a craft knife to slowly and carefully sharpen them. Sometimes even with a good sharpener you still need a craft knife for especially tiny details (lashes, freckles/moles, etc.)
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RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2018 03:40:24 PM »

Some artists use only acrylic paints.
I'm not good enough with a paintbrush to do this myself and the only artist I can think of off the top of my head who only uses paints is Noel Cruz, who does hyper realistic repaints.
To use paints, you're going to want varying sizes of small paintbrushes, preferably the sort you would use on miniatures, and a very steady hand if you're using only paints.
If you can't find brushes for miniatures, get a pair of very sharp scissors (microtip are the best for this) and cut down a regular paint brush's bristles. (Or you can do like Dollightful did in a recent video and make some paintbrushes.)
There are artists who will only use Liquitex paints, which are $12 on Amazon for a set of six 22ml tubes, but if you're just starting, you can use the sort of acrylics you can find at Walmart for about $1/bottle (which many of us often have on hand from other crafts).
And to start, you really only need white, black, red, yellow, and blue (aka the primaries plus neutrals) as you can mix colors from them pretty easily.
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RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2018 03:42:21 PM »

Soft pastels, aka pastel chalks, are used for body and facial blushing as well as for doing eyeshadow on dolls.
There are artists who swear by Mungyo Hand-rolled Soft Pastels but those things are around $60 for a set on Amazon Shocked
Mungyo brand has a cheaper set of pastel sticks available on Amazon for about $9 and they have vibrant pigments (these are the ones I use).
You apply it with a brush to the cheeks, eyes, corners of the mouth, hands, and any other place you want the body to have a blushed look. Some artists do the whole body.
If you want to do this, remember that you have to seal EVERYWHERE YOU BLUSH or it will just come right off.
Some artists use Pan Pastels, which are rather pricey at $6/container, but they're also compressed (like powdered foundation make-up) and, from what I can tell, go a very long way compared to other pastels due to how little you need to use.
I recently purchased a small set of Pan Pastels from Amazon for $22. It came with the red, yellow, blue, white, and black. I got a bit of the blue on one of my brushes and rubbed it on my hand as a test. The pigment came out the same bright, vibrant color as it appeared to be while in the container and didn't rub off (it was hard to wash off, too, but I'm very pale).
So if you decide you're super-serious about it, you may want to invest in some of these at a later date. DollMotion (linked above) uses these alongside the stick sort of chalk pastels in many of her works.
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RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2018 03:44:49 PM »

Hopefully at this point you have an idea of who/what you want your doll to become. If not, brainstorm and do a little sketch and/or get a bunch of references from the 'net, especially if you're wanting to make a doll of a character from a game/movie/show/book/whatever. It will make your life so much easier.
Though there are artists who totally wing it to make amazing dolls, too.
Do whichever works for you. Smiley

So now you've decided what materials you're using and have them on hand alongside your doll and what you're going to do with him/her.
Congratulations, you're ready to get started!
Now you're on your own...
Or not.
For more help, watch Dollightful's playlist on getting started. I also recommend just bingeing a bunch of the repaint videos fromDollightful, Hextian DollMotion, and/orTheDollFairy because they all explain what they're doing as they're doing it (something some repaint artists don't do) but don't drone on forever (like some repaint artists do).
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2018 04:21:19 PM »

THANK YOU! This is invaluable information and much appreciated. It has encouraged me to finally give doll repainting a go, so I thank you again for sharing your guide!
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RedheadWithThread
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2018 12:07:35 AM »

You're welcome!
As I said, if there's anything you want to know that you can't find, let me know and I can find it. Or I may already know and just didn't think to list it.
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