Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Custom Face Paint

Hello hello! So I am back briefly to share some recent work. More recently I've been focusing on life in general and other personal projects than my dolls. However I did decide to try my hand with custom face paint on an American Girl doll.

Other "face-up" repaint doll artists' work I stumbled upon has inspired me to give it a go. For my project I selected a classic face mold doll, Isabelle, because I have way way too many of those floating around, Ruthie's grey eyes, and Julie's wig. I then used acrylic paints, which I have mixed feelings about using.

The other Face-up artist seem to use chalk pastels and air brushing techniques. This posed as a problem for me seeing how I do not have airbrush tools and with chalk pastels you need to fixate/seal the pastel dust with a a matte, spray on fixative for example. The issue for me would be protecting the eyes from a spray since I wanted the eyes in the head BEFORE doing the paint job.

So acrylic paint was the choice this time and I chose to leave the original lip and eyebrow paint in place.  My issue is that you can see the brush strokes rather than having a smooth finish.  In and of itself it is very interesting to look at but the style of that on the doll's face doesn't seem quite right.  It was also difficult finding the right balance of water to paint ratio when mixing colors because acrylic dries quickly and is difficult to remove.

  • Too much water cause the paint on the dolls face to separate and pool (like speckles).
  • Too little water left the paint thick so it looked flat and unreal on the doll's face.

All in all, I am pleased but feel that my doll could use some touch up work done; however, I need to decide how to best go about it.
If you'd like to learn more about Face-up artist who really know what they are doing, I recommend checking out the Nicolle's Dreams youtube videos.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Oops" Happens

I was cleaning house on my computer and found this picture from a set I took last year.  Its a nice reminder of how easily and often these dolls just tip over when trying to take pictures.  I know it can be frustrating when you have them "just right and your camera is in focus!" and BOOM.  Face-plant.

But thats ok!  This happens to everyone and takes some practice to find the best ways to balance your doll. It is an experience and theres something to be gained from that.

***sorry Cece!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Introducing Valour

Valour is my second custom doll and a very simple one at that.  The base doll I used was Marie Grace and she left over from my first custom doll project, Fable [1].  My original intention was to give my Marie Grace Doll Ruthie's dark, curly wig but once I had it on MG that wig did not feel just right to me. Also, I quickly realized that I already had mostly dark haired dolls in my current group [2].

Original Marie Grace and Ruthie

None of the dolls currently offered by American Girl had wigs that really excited me so I scoured the internet for "the perfect wig". I found many many beautiful wigs I would have loved to use that were offered for Ball Jointed Dolls (BJD) but unfortunately they were too small [3]. Most of the wigs I found in the correct size felt highly dated or were not in a style I liked.  That is until I found this beauty.

So much puff!
It has this awesome 80's vibe to it and the style and color gives my collection a wider balance and variety. Plus I just love the voluminous, craziness of all those curls!

You might have noticed that this post lacks *ahem* variety in the angles used to photograph Valour.  I am finding the Marie Grace face mold difficult to photograph in a flattering manner, which is a shame since it really is a beautiful mold to see in person [4]. I am not too worried though. With practice I will learn.

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Foot notes:

[1] Fable is a Ruthie doll with Marie Grace's wig and hand painted freckles.

[2] Currently 3/4 of my dolls have black/brown hair.

[3] I needed at least a size 11 wig and most BJD wigs I was finding were a maximum of about size 9.

[4] Finding a flattering hairstyle was a big issue when choosing a wig for Valour. A lot of the wigs I considered would not be doing that face mold many favors. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ikat Accordion Pleat Dress

On July 4th I went thrift shopping with a friend and found this awesome accordion pleated skirt originally from The Gap [1]. After a few days, though, I decided that this cotton, silk blend skirt was not for me and it ended up as sewing scraps.

Originally I was intending to use the Lisianthus Dress pattern by Melody Valerie Couture but it took a life of its own when I encountered issues due to my inexperience working with this type of fabric. But in the end I won.



Side detail
All in all, this dress made a great learning experience for me. There are some things I now know to look out for with fabrics that are light and fray very easily.


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Foot Notes

[1] I forgot to photograph the skirt before I took it apart but was able to find a picture of it through the magic of Google:

Image soure

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fable and her new Kaya doll

Fable is wearing... American Girl's Plaid Party Dress in the first set of pictures. In the last two pictures Fable is wearing a blue dress created by me, the shoes from Caroline's Birthday Dress, and the shirt from American Girl's retired Picnic Outfit (1998).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Introducing Fable

Here she is! My first custom AG doll, Fable. 

Before starting this project I made a promise to myself.  I would not alter or post pictures of my new doll until I had successfully launched my Etsy store, Pip & Twitch. As of May 9th, my store has been open!  I sell prints of my original paintings and paper cut art. Check it out  =]


My original intention was to put Ruthie's wig onto Marie Grace but in the end the combo did not seem just right to me. BUT…. I fell in LOVE with Marie Grace's wig on Ruthie.

I had the idea months ago but was too nervous to take the plunge, make the purchase, and then to actually modify a doll. However once I heard about the potential, impending retirement of these two I decided to get on it.


Fable has the classic face mold with light lip coloring and grey eyes. Her hair is a light reddish brown color with blonde highlights only in the top layer of her wig. It reaches down to her hips in soft waves. I also gave her custom, hand-painted freckles which I think suit her beautifully. 

Plus I am AMAZED as to how well MG's hair color matches Ruthie's eyebrows considering how dark Ruthie's hair is in comparison.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Good and the Bad

The good news is that both Marie Grace and my mystery doll arrived.  The bad news is I need to delay my project due to the fact I need to have the mystery doll exchanged! She arrived with a giant glob of glue in her wig so for now I took some pictures of Miss Cecile showing off her new parasol.

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Foot notes:

Cecile is wearing Addy's Plaid Summer Set and carrying the Lacy Parasol from Marie Grace's and Cecile's collection