These are the paint colors I use almost 100% of the time, unless someone wants painted lips. I don't know if it's me or what, but I really didn't like the two Liquitex paints that I tried, so I use Delta Ceramacoat since they have enough color concentration for me to water down to the consistency I need. The bottle on the far left I swear by, it makes watered down colors about a million times easier to work with! ADD IT TO EVERYTHING(except gloss), I don't specify anywhere here to add it, but I add it to all of my paints so it's a given that it's mixed in. If you don't have it, GET IT. The one on the far right is the gloss that I use, it's okay, no complaints; it's just a bitch and a half to remove =/ But never had problems with it becoming gummy.
Again, these are the colors that I almost solely use for pastel work(ignore the centipede lashes sitting there...). I used to grind them up and put them on that plate and mix them, now I just rub the brush over the top of the pastel. I have no idea what brands these are... But! Just because you have an airbrush is no reason to abandon the pastels, they still rock!
Here are my brushes. I'll go in order from left to right, and what I use them for.
-White watercolor pencil, Derwent brand. Obscenely useful for marking where the doll's eyebrows are going to be.
-Little scratchy brush. I use this for scratching off the tops of pastels if I need more dust than I get from rubbing a brush over the top, sounds a billion times better than an x-acto knife scratching over pastel.
-Little crap round brush. Make sure you have a mediocre brush for putting gloss on, since gloss is notorious for being really hard to wash out of the brush, and it's not good for them. Expect to replace this brush every so often.
-LONG LONG liner, Leow-Cornell brand, 18/0 Script Liner. The best brush I've ever used for little hair details. It takes a little getting used to since it's so very long, but it's amazing for giving beautiful tapered edges and thin lines. Once you get used to it, it's rather easy to control.
-Slightly shorter Liner, Princeton brand. You can buy the Princeton mini brush series on dickblick.com and they are nice enough brushes, but not the best you can do. Good for doing tattoos and tiny details that need precision, and as we all know I can't help myself on the dolly tattoo front.
-Pointy brush, Zoukeimura NY-...03? 01? Not my favorite brush, I just got one to try it out, and it's nicely pointed with no stray hairs, but it's a bit course and not very small. I've had better brushes.
-Large/medium round brush with point. Just look for some soft bristled, probably synthetic brush that's large and round, and comes to a nice point on the tip and this will be your pastel applying brush. You can use it for applying details with just the tip, or for large areas like cheek blush. Don't get it wet while you're working with it, but you can get it wet once you're done for the day and let it dry completely for the next day. If you use it wet you'll get streaks of pastel and it will kill you.
-Crappiest brush you own. Used for mixing paint colors. If you know anything about painting it's that you don't mix with the colors you're using with a nice brush or you'll ruin it. You can use a palette knife if you want, it's just we're using literally drops of paint at a time I didn't fine it useful.
Not listed: Little chunks of Magic Eraser sponge. They're really useful for removing things when you mess up and for blending pastel. I usually chop one up with a knife into 1" strips.
Here's my lovely set up. It's not as dark as these pictures make it seem, but my camera wasn't cooperating x_x Not very tidy, but it works! Pictures for inspiration on the wall~
Make sure your doll's head is VERY squeaky clean! Wash with dish soap and rinse thoroughly, if you don't your coating will flake off! I always put a clean paper towel beneath my workspace to dab paints on, and keep the head off a hard surface where the coating may be scratched.
Uncoated! How shiny! Before this I modified his eyes open, in case you were wondering. So get spraying! I'm currently using ZM finishing spray from Volks, it's easy to get a hold of ^^;
After being sprayed we have a nice grainy surface to work with. I usually only do one coat before, but you can do two or three if you're working with paints you're unsure of if they will stain or not.
I'm working with my airbrush for this, but the fundamentals are the same for the face up if you're using pastel. Teaching about the airbrush would be an entire tutorial of its own x_x Maybe another time. I use an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS and it gives me the detail I'm looking for. I bought it as a kit with a compressor, and it's dual action, which means when I push the lever down I get more or less air, and when I pull it back I get more or less paint. You NEED dual action for painting dolls, or at least control of how much paint.
My compressor behind a bunch of crap, don't know why I need a picture of this...
Okay, so finally to the face up part! I mixed a peachy/pink color and applied it with the airbrush. Like I said before, if you're using pastels there's no difference between how to do that with this tutorial.
I applied it to the inner and outer corners of the eyes, lips, under the chin, under and behind the ears a little, and above the ears/temple(I forgot the cheeks until later, whoops!). Those are the normal places that I blush when doing a face up. Other places you can blush are: below the lips(more useful if you're painting them a solid color), either side of the nose, lightly under the brow line, inside the ears, nostrils and the entire upper forehead.
He's supposed to have shimmery gray eyeshadow around the sides of his eyes. I bought some of Delta Ceramacoat's metallic silver paint and good googa-mooga it has a lot of glitter in it x_x His eyelids look glossed, but it's really just tiny glitter everywhere, gah!
Eyeliner, whoop-dee-do. For doing eyeliner what's easiest to get an even look is to fill the brush with paint, poke the bristles into the eye socket and move it around so that if you're given a profile view of you painting with the - being your brush and the I being your doll's eye socket it looks like this -I perpendicular.
Doing eyeliner on the lower lid is an option. In my opinion it usually makes the eyes look smaller if you fill in the entire lower lid with eyeliner since it closes off the eye. If you're going to do it as it is in this picture with a thin line with some open space behind it be prepared to mess it up a few times first. It's hard to do well, take my word for it :C This is the only time ever I will suggest that you use watercolor pencil on a doll when it's not going to be covered up by paint. I have no tips for doing it besides practice.
I always do eyeliner on the upper lid and fill it all the way in, since I think it looks much better, no matter what, especially if eyelashes are installed. Depending on what you're looking for you can do brown or black, brown looks more natural though.
So in this picture I've given him lower eyelashes, painted them in, and sketched in where the beginning of his eyebrows will be with white watercolor pencil. The white marks will be almost entirely covered up by paint. I only sketch in the beginnings of the eyebrows, but it's usually more helpful to sketch them in entirely so there's a guide.
Talk about a useless picture, ugh. Sorry, this was supposed to show the eyelashes and eye creases after they were painted in. The eye creases were painted in since when he was modified his eye creases were removed, and never put back in so I had to paint it to look like he had them ^^;
Here's the tip for lower eyelashes and eyebrows: if you think you have enough paint on your brush, it's probably too much. I use my obscenely long script liner that I have for this. I water down some dark paint like black or dark brown and load the brush up with as much paint as it will hold so you can see a little drop of paint on the end. This is where my paper towel comes in handy.
Tip! If you have a head cap handy you can test a stroke of paint on that first if you're not sure how much paint you have on the brush!
I touch the little drop to the paper towel and let it soak in off the brush for just a second(this is where you can tell the opacity of the paint you're using, you can see a few other blobs like this on the paper towel in the background).
Now I run the brush up and down a few times, until the brush gets enough paint away from the tip of it for me to paint on the doll. There's no magical amount I can tell you to get off the brush, but usually I count going up and down about 12-25 timed(less for thicker darker lines, and more times for thin light and tapered lines). Still, go by the rule of if you think you have enough paint, it's probably too much.
With eyebrows, again there's no magical way to do them. The brush dries out fairly quickly since there's very little paint in it. I can usually get through one eyebrow, or one set of lower lashes before the paint in it is used up. For getting even brows what I usually do is paint the one on the left first since I'm right handed. It's much easier for me to control things on the right side of the doll's face since I have to flip the head over to get to the left side, so it's easier for me to copy things exactly to the right side than the left.
I don't go straight to the final thickness of the brow when I start. I start on the inside(closer to the nose) of the brow with a few strokes, and they're very horizontal strokes so I can map out the direction and shape of the brow before filling it in with a million more strokes. Putting a few more separated strokes towards the inside of the brow make it look more natural.
Other brow painted in! Now, since I painted the right one first the left one isn't exactly even =/ Sigh. He's starting to look more finished though, right?
One trick I've found is that if you have unsealed paint on a doll, it will hold pastel much better than the rest of the sealant, you just have to be gentle not to rub the paint off. So I'll usually paint details in gray and then brush some brown pastel over top for a brown color. So I take me some brown pastel dust on the tip of my big round pointy brush!
Just run the pastel over the brow and gently rub it in with the tip of the brush, then blow off the excess. One brow done!
Extraneous picture of both brows done =3=
I add white in usually to add some contrast and highlight, since when you paint over something it loses some of its natural highlight. I did lip lines by loading the brush up just as I did for the brows and lashes only with white. I suggest carefully practicing to get these all parallel if you plan on going for that look(lip lines that are just randomly painted don't require much practice), it's harder than it seems. A major problem I ran in to when I painted them was that the tip of my brush would hit the back of the mouth and bend, getting white paint where I didn't want it. Again, it just takes practice.
I added a small line of white below the brown line on the crease above the eye, so it looked like natural shadow and light on the lid. Some don't like the painted appearance of this, but for a doll with no real creases I find it MUCH more necessary.
Alrighty folks, we're winding down! I did the final spray down(guh, I'm so bad, I do face ups in one layer. You can add a layer of sealant to 'save your progress' any time you want) and now we're glossing. Places I gloss are: all inside the eyes, tear ducts, and lips. You can blush the upper lid, and it can look very good depending on what you're looking for.
This is the same action you took when painting the eyeliner, putting the brush perpendicular to the eye socket and kind of sideways rubbing the paint into the eye.
For lips on boys I'll usually water down the gloss, this is hard to judge though unless you test it out or really know what you're doing. Too much water to the gloss and it won't do anything, too little and it will look just as glossy as before. It's an exact science here.
Okay, this is a good a good example of TOO MUCH gloss. If you leave a puddle of gloss to dry between the lips it will create little lumps in places between the lips, and there will be nothing you can do to get rid of them without redoing the entire face up! Also, avoid bubbles!
Much better! I find that gloss really makes a face up look completed, and if you're worried about it looking messy then gloss usually helps a lot!
And that's all there is folks! Tired of reading yet? These things don't have to be done in this order, this is just the order I do them in. I do blushing first so that if I do black details they won't be dulled or erased if I put a lighter blush color over top of them.
-If using pastels(or even airbrush colors really) don't use a color that's too dark. It will just make your life harder when you're trying to blend. If you're looking for a pink color, GET a pink color, don't just spread red out.
-If using black pastel- well, stop right there. Same rule as above goes for black too, if you want a black smoky look start with a medium gray since it will be infinitely easier to blend evenly, then put black over that to get it darker.
-Wash your hands. There's nothing more disheartening than smudging all your hard work because you dipped your finger in black paint and didn't notice until it was on your doll's face.
-Play music, it sounds stupid but there's reason behind it. When I was starting I had a lot of trouble just getting things to be evenly spaced. When I played a song with a beat in it I could do each stroke to the beat while moving my hand across at a constant speed and get even strokes. It sounds like BS, but try it!
-Never give up, never surrender. If you mess up one thing that's no reason to do it all over, just practice to your hearts content before you wipe it all off so you don't mess up next time!
-Coloring Gloss, if you want it to look like lip gloss you can add a bit of red to the gloss and put it on the lips; be wary though! You need to put it on evenly or it will look uneven since there's color in there, and don't put too much paint into the gloss, a little goes a long way.
-Forgot to put red in the tear ducts? Use some red tinted gloss and it'll give the same effect.
-Cleanliness is next to godliness. Keep your brushes clean, I hate to see one with paint dried in it :C If you have some Windsor & Newton brush cleaner handy for face ups anyways, cut your brushes some slack and use it on them!
-Q-tips? I hate 'em, never been able to get them to be even with pastels. Maybe it's just that I'm used to using brushes for make up too(I've kicked the habit of those nasty little sponge applicators) but I think that if you can learn to blush with a brush you'll get better results with more precision.
Guh, bed time x_x