Vynil Fashion Doll Repainting Series
By artist Svetla Vavova-Clifford
Our facial expressions can convey volumes of meaning to those around us. An eyebrow raised in disapproval, can make people doubt themselves, while a brilliant smile can encourage. As a result, the shape of both the eyebrows and the lips on a repaint are quite important. With practice and some careful planning, you will be able to give a doll any expression you like. This article is meant as a starting point - to get you thinking how to achieve the desired expression for your doll or for that matter how to avoid the wrong one.
Most fashion doll makeover artists have at some point had trouble keeping both eyebrows well balanced. As a result, you might see some dolls with attitude - one eyebrow raised much higher then the other on purpose. This is a wonderful technique for a character such as Morgan Le Fay.
The majority of dolls however should have balanced eyebrows or in other words each eyebrow should be a mirror image of the other. There are several techniques you can use: freehand, template, pencil outline or a combination thereof.
I originally started by drawing them in freehand, then went to penciling them in and finally settled back on freehand. I have also tried using template but I could never position it correctly. You will have to find out what works best for you as various artists have used all of the above with great success. Remember the doll is your creation so do what's comes natural to you.
I would suggest you practice eyebrows and lips on the softer vinyl dolls (Barbie®, Candie® or Charice®) as their faces can be cleaned repeatedly without ruining the doll.
Drawing eyebrows freehand can be a challenge, but it is far from impossible. As this is my personal favorite I would encourage you to try it from time to time - even if it does not work for you the first time
Once I've drawn one of the eyebrows in, I put three dots to guide me as I draw in the other. I like eyebrows with a distinct arch right over the outer ridge of the doll's iris. If you prefer straight line ones, then you will need only two dots. The first dot is where the eyebrow starts in relationship to the doll's nose. On the eye without the eyebrow, place a dot, which mirrors the starting point of the drawn in eyebrow. The second dot (optional) should mark where the highest point of the eyebrow lies. The last dot marks the outer edge of he eyebrow. Once all three dots are in place, you only need to connect them.
When painting the eyebrows freehand, I usually start with a lighter color acrylic paint then I intend for the final look of the doll. A light brown diluted with water so it flows easily is perfect for outlining. It is easier to remove if you are unhappy with shape or placement. I have even wiped it off with a wet q-tip - no non-acetone remover just water. This is of course easier done on Barbie's® vinyl, then on Gene's® or Tyler's®.
As you are drawing in the second eyebrow please remember to use the mirror technique discussed in the Eye article to double-check your work.
Another good practice is turning the doll upside down as that makes mistakes jump out at you. Sometimes, I even paint the eyebrows upside down. Basically, you will have to experiment with that one too
If you use a pencil, please make sure that it's on the dull side. A freshly sharpened on is sure to have a good point to it, which may scratch the harder vinyl such as Gene's® or Tyler's®. The more pliable vinyl dolls (Barbie®, Candie® or Charice®) are much harder to scratch, but it's always a good idea to be careful. Further more you might want to choose a soft led pencil for the task. A number 2B pencil will draw easier onto vinyl as its softer led will deposit easier. As the number before the B gets higher, the lead gets softer. Keep in mind though that too strong of a led outline might show through lighter colored eyebrows. Pick you pencil accordingly.
Regardless of which method you use, one eyebrow is always easier to draw in then the other. Find out which eyebrow that is for you and always start from it. Matching shapes is infinitely easier when your hand is at it's most comfortable. I am right handed so the doll's right eyebrow is my starting point. Once I am satisfied with its shape, I go to the doll's left.
Finally, there is the template technique. As I mentioned before you may use one to draw in the eyebrows. You may make a template yourselves or use a ready make one. Got to a craft store, an art supply store or one that sells drafting supplies. Look at what templates they have readily available, which might be good to use on the dolls.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
E-mail the artist at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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