I bought Teresa cheaply from a collector (no, not one of THEM), who was making more room on her shelves. I’m not into Barbie dolls much, but this one had such a lovely hair, and besides, I was curious if I was able to paint on that small face, as I’d never tried it before. I was, it turned out, but we live an we learn, and now I know I’m gonna have to use more paints and thin, thin brushes rather than watercolour pencils. They simply don’t allow enough detail, which is especially visible on close-up photos. In real life it’s not so bad.
4. End result (no flash, daylight)
I used: Derwent watercolour pencils, acrylic paints (black and white, Fevicryl), Koh-I-Noor dry chalks for shading, many coats of Mr Super Clear flat with UV filter and Tamiya clear gloss for eyes and lips.
After some head-scratching, I decided to try and make wedge sandals, so that our warrior lady could “tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under her sandaled feet”. First, I made some basic soles to match the said feet. Then I filed them, and built the wedges on tem, or rather under them. I used polymer clay. There was much filing, sanding and cursing.
However almost as soon as Mum saw the soles, she decided to try and make boots. I had some trouble imagining it, but her brain was just getting warmed up. So she designed and created open toe boots to match the outfit.
Since the Unreasonable Bra slipped off and moved around quite easily, and doll’s thin upper body peeking from under the clothes looked rather disturbing, we came to the conclusion that a bodysuit is absolutely necessary. Mum experimented with hand sewing, but it didn’t turn out that well and took forever to make. But she wasn’t sure if a sewing machine would be good for something so tiny and flimsy. She gave it a go anyway and the result was satisfactory.
I’ve always been miserably bad at sewing. But at the same time I’m quite good at working with small things. So as long as it does not involve miles of fabric, and life-sized patterns, I should probably be able to handle it. However, I am also horrible at planning and designing, so I figured I needed help. And help came in the person of my ever-creative Mother. Just sitting together, sharing ideas over a cup of coffee was a lot of fun. We made a lengthy list of outfits, and decided on the seemingly easiest one to start things off. We chose the warrior/gladiator set, which we wanted to make from a piece of old, brown suede. My Mum once used it to make a jacked, skirt and boots for my Barbie when I was in grade school, so she kinda knew the pains of turning it into small clothing items. I guess she didn’t quite remember just how hard it was…
The suede turned out to be thicker than I remembered. But it didn’t stop my Mother. She designed, cut and stitched it all by hand.
JACKET AND SKIRT
Meanwhile I occupied myself with decorating the “armoured jacket”.
Mum decorated the skirt.
I really wanted the outfit to include some kind of metal bra, worn by stereotypical warrior girls. Since the whole idea wasn’t supposed to be realistic, I created this:
Clawdeen is my second doll. I got her from the same friend who gave me Catrine de Mew.
Clawdeen is still unfinished, but I need to buy a good clear gloss before I can wrap this repaint up, so I put her aside for a couple of days. She still needs a few details, and I’m seriously considering adding some real eyelashes.
Mr. Super Clear, matte, with UV protection. Many, many coats.
First of all – happy St Patrick’s Day! I may not believe in saints, but I sure believe in beer and the colour green 🙂 Bottoms up!
Now, to the point:
I’ve always wanted to do repaints and face-ups. Ever since I saw Asian ball-jointed dolls, and thought they were the most perfect things in the world. Then I discovered that there are people actually doing it on a regular basis, some for fun, some for fun AND money, I wanted to give it a go. But how do you exactly go about it? I was already in my later twenties, usually jobless and poor as a church mouse. Those beauty queens of doll world were far beyond my grasp. When I had money, I used it on other things, saving was out of the question. I thought I could perhaps practice on some cheap dolls, but nothing could quite match the clean, high-quality perfection of a Super Dollfie. Besides, how silly it is for an adult to have that kind of a hobby? Yes, that’s exactly what I thought. So I watched the videos, I looked at the photos, and I dreamt.
A few years passed, I got married, my financial situation got a bit better. And I found out about Monster High. They weren’t perfect, oh no. I found them rather ugly and disfigured, but they were different, and the things that some people could paint on their faces blew me away. But they were addressed to children, so it would be even more frivolous and weird to collect them, right? Even for the sole reason of painting them anew. But they were rather affordable. I am a professional make-up artist and an illustrator. Painting faces and painting ON faces is what makes me perfectly happy. And the temptation was just too great for me to resist. But still, buying a doll AND the necessary equipment was just a bit too much for my purse to bear. I waited, and wailed a bit, and soon enough my friend, who, for some strange reason, bears with my weirdness and actually cares for what I really want, got me one for my 33rd birthday.
So, I geared up and got the so-called show on the so-called road.
Now I actually had some doll-painting friends, so I could count on good advice and help. First of all I bought Mr Super Clear, which, I was told, is the best base and fixing spray (in one) for this job. And it IS. Also, it smells of chemical apples. I’m sure that’s exactly how Discworld’s scumble should smell.
Then I got myself Derwent watercolour pencils. I found some old acrylic paints, and dry chalks, and brushes, and started painting.
It was nothing like what I expected.
I had to wash everything off and start all over again three times before I finally got the hang of it. And even then my results weren’t what I would’ve liked them to be. The process was as follows:
It wasn’t ideal, but it was mine. I was excited like a month-old puppy and wanted to do more of the same. Only better. I also learnt that a good pencil sharpener and a thin, precise eraser are your best friends. And that you should never, EVER use Citadel’s ‘ardcoat as gloss for eyeballs and lips. It dries sticky and ruins everything, unless you’re willing to keep your doll in a glass-case and never take it out.
And thus began my adventure with dolls.
*Nerdroom – one of the rooms in my appartment (actually considered “my” room, because my computer is there), that contains most of the nerdy stuff me and my husband have collected over the years. The collection is growing and will eventually swallow the world.