Time for another makeunder tutorial! I did one a little under a year ago with a Moxie Girlz doll, but my style has changed (and improved) so much I figured another tutorial would be helpful!
You can find the Moxie Girlz repaint tutorial HERE.
Also, because this is the part of the blog people seem to write random things totally unrelated to the post that no one cares about or reads, I JUST WENT TO THE MOTHER OF ALL JOANNS FABRICS STORES AND IT WAS HEAVEN. My quick trip (I literally needed two items) ended up taking two hours and about $40 more dollars than I planned on. I know all you crafty people know how that goes!
Back on track….
WHAT IS THIS TUTORIAL GOING TO TEACH ME?
This is part 1 of a three-part tutorial that goes through my process of rescuing or making-under dolls like Bratz or Moxie or whatever. Part one (you are here!) goes over the process of repainting the face. Part two will cover making a simple dress, and part three will show how I make simple shoes.
This isn’t a quick step-by-step photo tutorial. It’s really in depth, with lots of tips and tricks for repainting explained under each photo. But if you don’t want to read all that, you can go through the tutorial by looking at the photos. The captions to the photos explain what I did in what order.
What is this tutorial NOT going to teach me?
Lots of things, I suppose. Like how to cook chicken without over-cooking it (this is a problem I have 100% of the time). But as far as doll-related things goes….
- First, this tutorial does not cover how to wash/tame/fix/style doll hair. If your doll needs a good salon day, head over to my tutorial HERE on how to fix doll hair.
- Second, this tutorial won’t teach you much about the materials I use or how to prep the doll for a repaint (“what?! But that is so important!” I know. Don’t panic. It will be okay.).
GETTING STARTED (This is the part where you should start reading if you skipped all that stuff above).
- Matt Spray Sealant like Mr. Super Clear
- Chalk pastels
- You’ll use pastel dust, which you make by scraping the surface of a chalk pastel bar.
- High-quality watercolor pencils (Derwent or Faber Castell or Prismacolor)
- You’ll use these dry…don’t get them wet!
- White acrylic paint
- Satin varnish (or glossy varnish, I don’t care, you don’t care).
If you have questions about any of these materials go check out my post on Materials and Doll Prep.
FIRST STEP: Preparing the Doll
What, you thought you could get away without reading my tutorial on Materials and Doll Prep? If you have any questions about how I remove factory makeup from the dolls, and protect and seal them, you should read that ‘Materials and Doll Prep’ link just above.
If you’re a veteran, get your doll all ready to start applying pencils and chalk dust.
How many layers of MSC do I spray before repainting?
It used to be that I only put one layer down. That’s not enough. I use 2-3 layers of spray sealant now, and it’s SO worth it. Trust me. Go spray another layer just to be sure.
We’re going to call her Andy, because Andy is an adorable name for a girl.
Andy is a 2015 Bratz, so her head is bigger than the older Bratz, her body shape is quite different, and she has articulated knees (whoo!). This particular Andy is the ‘Hello My Name is…Meaghan’ doll I got in a five-pack of Bratz from ToysRUs (at a price that made it worth it, I promise).
In the photo on the right I’ve gone through all the prep necessary, including spraying two layers of MSC on her. We’re ready to go!
FIRST LAYER OF SEALANT
This doll was done using only three layers of MSC after I started repainting. So we’re going to go by layer, because I’ve found it’s the most efficient use of MSC (which is expensive; you definitely want to minimize your use).
* Note on how this tutorial is organized: each picture has a caption with numbered subjects. Each subject is then elaborated on (in numerical order) underneath the photo.
1. EYE OUTLINES
Very first thing I do is outline the eyes. I never move on until after I’ve gotten both eye outlines where I want them.
Eye placement and size
The bigger the eyes are, the younger the doll will look (until they’re so big it’s just creepy. Don’t go to that place). I find that the 2015 Bratz look better with eyes about the size I did here. Smaller eyes start to look out of place on the super large heads. I went with medium-large eyes. They could be a little bigger, but not much.
As far as placement goes, on a big-headed doll I make the eyes wider than normal. You can see the shadows in the picture above where her ‘eye sockets’ are. I’ve made my eyes a bit wider than the sockets, and they’re definitely wider than the original factory paint.
Um….How Do I Make My Eyes Symmetrical?
Practice? But seriously, practice. Some tricks I used in the beginning:
- Do the left eye first so you can copy it while drawing the right eye (or if you’re left handed, do the right eye first). This way your hand isn’t blocking the finished outline.
- Don’t be afraid to modify both outlines to make them match. I set one down, then the other, then I go back to the first and change it, then so on.
- If you have a hard time reaching one of the eyes, turn the doll upside-down to work on it.
- Look at the eyes from different angles, especially from the top (bird’s eye view). This is SO HELPFUL!
- Don’t be shy about taking a ruler out and measuring distances between the corners of the eyes and the bridge of the nose.
- Hold a pencil (or anything straight) against the bridge of the doll’s nose and make sure your eyes line up along the pencil. I use this to make sure the corners of the right and left eyes are on the same plane.
- Hold the doll up to a mirror for a different perspective.
- Put thin outlines down, and make them more symmetrical by making them thicker in the same places.
- Practice. Repeat.
2. EYELID CREASES
After the eye outlines are in place, you can pencil in the eyelid creases!
To achieve a more natural, child-like face, I keep the creases rounded and fairly close to the upper lash line of the doll’s eyes. For other dolls I might make the eyelid larger and the eyes less round (this achieves a more sultry look).
I also do a double-crease, just because….why not?
3. EYEBROW OUTLINE
Now for the brows.
I only pencil in an outline for the outer edges of the brows, because I’ll fill in the rest with chalk pastels. These brows are going to be pretty neutral brows, nothing crazy going on!
Caption: 1. Fill in brows. 2. Eye whites.
This is where the chalk pastels come in. Make some chalk pastel dust in the right color for your brows. Then use a small flat brush (I use my black 10/0 flat brush for this) to pick up some pastel dust and fill in the eyebrows.
You can go back and clean the brows up with a kneaded eraser (the weird grey kind that’s like gummy clay) or any eraser, really.
2. EYE WHITES
Using a white pencil, fill in the eyes. A lot of people have trouble getting the whites to show up well enough, and this is normally because they didn’t seal the doll enough before beginning. The picture shows just one layer of pencil, and it shows up so well only because I sprayed two layers of MSC on the doll before starting.
If your white watercolor pencil isn’t showing up like mine, don’t worry, you’ll just need some extra layers of MSC sprayed on to make the color show up more.
Use a dark brown or medium brown pencil to mark two nostrils, about the shape of those in the photo. Make sure they’re centered as well as possible, and even. As far as placement goes, I put them right where the nose mold curves into the lip.
Warning: don’t make them too round or too tall! The doll will look pig-nosed (of course, if you adore pigs, go for it).
1. LIP OUTLINE
Use a dark or medium-brown pencil to make two very small dots in the corners of the mouth. Then draw a thin dark line from the dots towards the center of the mouth. My line is only about 4 millimeters long: they’re very short.
Then use a pink or red or whatever-lip-color-you-want pencil to outline the corners of the lips, and the upper lip curve. If you don’t want the lines to be too noticeable, use a lighter pink or nude pencil.
1. EYE SHADING
Break out those chalk pastels again! Make pastel dust in nude colors. Here, I used light tan, tan, and brown dust to shade the eyes.
Starting with the lightest shade, use a small flat brush (I’m using my black 10/0 that I used for the brows) to shade above the larger eyelid crease and the outer eyelids. I also used some of the tan dust under her lower lash line.
Note on natural v. makeup looks: for a natural look, this shading should be fairly light. If you want the eyes to look more deep-set, you can use some darker shading, but you have to be very careful not to go overboard. If you want your doll to have a more smokey-eye look, just use darker/not-nude colors to shade!
2. NOSE SHADING
For the nose, use the light tan and tan dust to make the bottom of the nose (area around her nostrils) a bit darker. You can bring the dust up the sides of the nose if you want more realism.
Warning: I would advise against using a pencil to outline the bottom of the nose. I haven’t been able to do it where it looked natural, so I only shade with pastels. But if you are a braver soul than I…I can’t stop you.
1. WHITE HIGHLIGHTS
This is more a personal style preference, so it’s up to you.
I use a white or off-white pencil to mark highlights around the doll’s tearducts and eyelid creases, and her upper lip curve.
Note: If you’re nervous about how white and bold these highlights are, don’t worry. They’ll fade a bit after they’re sprayed with sealant.
Use a dark brown (or whatever color you outlined your eyes with) pencil to add a waterline to the doll’s eyes just underneath the lower lash line you already drew. I keep them very narrow, and only extend this waterline to about the middle of the lower lash line. You can extend it all the way if you want; it’s just a personal preference.
1. COLOR THE WATERLINE
Use a light pink pencil to color in the waterline until it ends and hits the white highlight pencil.
2. FILL IN THE LIPS
Using pink/red pastel dust, fill in the lips. I use a larger brush for this (my short clear makeup brush that I show in the Materials and Prep blog linked at the beginning of this tutorial).
I use darker pastel dust in the corners of the mouth and the center of the upper and lower lips.
Using pink/light pink pastel dust, use a fluffier larger brush to blush the doll’s cheeks. I use a fluffy eyeshadow brush for this.
I use a lighter pink dust to blush the doll’s chin and center of forehead.
Why blush now and not earlier?
Because we’re trying to minimize sprays of sealant, I do blush right before I’m about to seal the doll. If it’s done earlier in the process it’s super easy to smear the blush dust all over the place, which sucks.
SEAL WITH A THIN LAYER OF MSC (OR WHATEVER)
First, let the layer of MSC dry for ten-fifteen minutes.
Tiny note: see how much the white highlights faded? It’s more natural-looking now.
1. IRIS OUTLINE
Using a color that is a shade or two darker than the shade you want your iris to be, make two round outlines for the iris. For example, I’m going for light blue eyes, so I used a dark blue pencil to outline here. You can go as dark as black, though, if you want.
I made Andy’s eyes looking to her left, but it’s easier to make eyes that are looking straight forward, if you’re just starting out.
Your outline shouldn’t be perfectly round. The iris should always be partly obscured by the upper eyelash (if it isn’t the doll will look crazy or terrified or some horrifying combination of both). For a rounder, more Caucasian eye, the bottom of the iris should just touch the lower lash line. For a more almond-shaped eye, or an Asian eye, the bottom of the iris can be partly obscured by the lower lash line, but generally not as much as it is obscured by the top lash line.
2. EYEBROW LINES
Using a pencil with a darker color than the pastels used to fill in the brows, use fast, short strokes to create individual ‘hairs’ inside the eyebrows.
I also colored in the outer edges of the eyebrows with a dark brown pencil to make them more solid. I often make the outer edges of the brows darker than the inner edges.
Oops, I forgot to take more pics of this process (sorry, I was watching Jurassic World and got REALLY caught up. Ahhh the raptors!).
1. IRIS COLOR
After penciling in the outline, color in the whole iris with the lightest shade you want in your eye. I chose a very light blue for this.
2. IRIS SHADING
Then take a darker pencil and lightly shade in the top 1/3 of the iris, trying to blend it into the lighter color as well as possible.
Using a black or dark brown pencil, pencil in the pupils using circular strokes. Start small, then build them outward so they don’t get too big too fast (if they get really big, your doll is going to look really stoned, which would be funny, but probably is not the intent).
1. SMALL EYE LINE THINGS
Using a dark brown or black or dark blue/green/purple/I-don’t-care pencil, make tiny lines in the irises, radiating out from the pupils.
1. DARKEN UPPER LASH LINE
Sorry about the lighting that keeps changing in these photos. I was chasing the good natural light around my tiny studio, which is definitely easier said than done!
Use a black pencil to make the upper lash line a bit darker and thicker. This is less ‘natural,’ so I suppose it’s my own personal style preference. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but I’d recommend it.
If you want a more natural look, use dark brown instead of black.
2. EYE WHITES
Using a light grey pencil, very lightly shade the part of the whites that is just beneath the upper lash line.
Then, go over the entire whites with white pencil (including the grey, unless you want your shadow more pronounced).
1. WHITE HIGHLIGHTS
If you want the white highlights to be more pronounced, go over the white highlights again with your white or off-white pencil. Remember, after we seal the final time they’ll fade a bit more.
2. LIP LINES
Using a light red/dark pink pencil, draw tiny lines inside the lips. These are the lip creases that most people have!
SEAL WITH A THIN COAT OF MSC!
Remember to wait for the MSC to dry!
Technically you could do these on the previous layer. I sometimes do that. But I normally try and do them after sealing because I often have to erase them once or twice to get them perfect, and I don’t want to ruin anything underneath.
For the upper lashes I do thicker more doll-like lashes using a black pencil. For the lower lashes I use a dark brown pencil and do tiny, thin, straight lashes until the waterline ends. For a more natural look on the upper lashes, you can use a dark brown pencil instead of black, or you can just make the lashes thinner and shorter!
2. EYE WHITES
Go over the whites of the eyes with white pencil again. If you want more shadow, add more light grey underneath the upper lash line.
3. DARKEN PUPILS
Go over the pupils once more with a black pencil, or dark brown, or whatever color you chose for the pupils (they don’t always have to be black!). If you want you can also darken the shading in the irises.
If you want, go over all the highlighted areas from earlier again with a white or off-white pencil. If you like where they’re at already, you don’t have to go over them again.
However, ALSO add some thin white lines to the lower 1/3 of the irises, and to the lips.
Sorry about the weird green lighting. Dunno what was going on there.
Optional, of course, but Andy’s a redhead so I decided to give her some freckles with a tan pencil. So adorable. Love freckles.
SEAL WITH A LAYER OF MSC
Let that stuff dry.
1. UNWRAP DOLL
She’s looked like a serial killer victim for long enough. And she’s SO CUTE!
2. CATCH-LIGHTS IN EYES
Or eye reflections, whatever you want to call them.
Mix up one drop white acrylic paint with two drops of water to thin the paint down. Then, using a toothpick, make a small white dot in the same place in each eye. Then make a couple other small white dots (or not, the number of white dots is up to you. I use two-three, normally).
Just make sure the white dots are in the same place in each eye (for the most part).
Using a gloss or satin brush-on varnish, brush a coat over the eyes and lips (or eyes only if you don’t want the lips to be a bit glossy).
I have a satin varnish, and I used one coat on the eyes, and two coats on the lips, so the lips are shinier.
And she’s done! I don’t have Part 2 written up yet, but I’ll try to do that this week. Stay tuned!
Furthermore, if you like Andy, you can adopt her on my Etsy page, here! She comes with a cute pair of glasses, a pink dress, and booties.