Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kyou's Face Up, A - Z

After over a week of rainy weather and clearing my backlogged sewing projects off the list, I decided today is the day.  I can have the windows open, the air is dry enough to dry the paint and spray fast with out it drying too fast and I have been sorting out the layers in my mind.

Here is Kyou blank, with a wig on. I sprayed him over a week ago with Mr. Super Clear to prep him.


Click the read more link for the extremely long photo spam




 And this is the Spirit Doll Celtis I'm taking inspiration from.  A very soft mushroom toned palette, and the company funny business with the photo sort of makes it look even softer.  But I like it!  Since Kyou is mostly in black or auburn hair, I think this will do.


I'm not an artist or a professional face up person, I just do it.  My technique book is a make up book by Kevin Aucoin called 'Making Faces'.  Going with the flow, I switched from artist's brushes and paints to water color pencils and make up applying equipment.  I buy cheap make up sponges, the triangular kind, and the eye make up disposable tools, the little rounded sponges on sticks and brushes you can get in cheap kits.  I also buy human false eyelashes and cut one in half and reshape it with a pair of embroidery scissors.  Usually around Halloween, you can get fantastic lashes for $1 a set.

Always wash hands before working with dolls.  The oil or left over hand cream or even moisturizing soap can leave a thin film on the doll and do weird things later.

With his default wig on for reference, I lightly sketched in the water color pencils where I want them.  Because he's a very bright white, I photographed in natural light and still had to tone down the 'brilliance'.  Messy, no?  I chose a dusty rose based palette for porcelain skin. I put his eyebrows in with the grey pencil knowing that it's going to get smudged around a lot.  The grey will blend in with the other colors, and I just replace it as it gets wrecked.

 Blending in the pencil with a damp and wrung out wedge sponge, I worked the pink in, adding more, until I liked how it looked.  The water color pencil spreads thin, so just layer it until you have the right amount.  If it looks a little too pale, you can always add more later.  I guess the thing to remember is, you're making the 'natural' face first.  Then you can add the special effects after a few clear coats.  For now I'm just blocking in the basic skin tone changes.



When I was comfortable with the way the paint went on, I added another batch of the dark brown around his eyes.  It took me a while to realize that while I thought it was overload on some dolls up close, if you don't do some serious shadow work, a doll will look pretty blank.  Make up for photography is always more emphasized, so think that way about dolls.


Using a damp wedge sponge, I started working the color over the eye frame area.  Because he's got a good coat of clear spray, the color sits on top and doesn't stain, so you can just relax and not bother to scream when something goes wrong.  I have a trick for "how much is too much". 

Set the doll where you can see it and walk a few feet away and look at it.  If it doesn't look 'defined', put more on. 



At this point, I have a damp wedge sponge I'm simply wiping the color pencil lead on and then sponging the color onto the doll.  Comparing him to the photo of Celtis, I like what I see.  A clean damp sponge to clean up the eye socket frame, and a little more color on the cheeks blended up into the under eye shadow and he's ready for another clear coat.  You'll notice now his eyebrows are completely gone, because I've blended the grey in. I don't want super defined lines for eyebrows at this point.  That's another layer later. 



So now his basic skin tones are blocked in.  I try not to use too many coats of spray because when it discolors, it takes everything with it.  The new formula Mr. Super Clear is not supposed to discolor so much, but I've only had it 2 years now and we'll see.  

After the spray dried I got started on finishing the lips.  First off, the under tone, sketching in the shape and blending it inward.  He still has paint sort of gouged into the corner of his mouth on one side that I just could not remove, so I put a little white and beige over it to tone it down.  


Peach and then white lines over the lips to soften them and put in the little crinkles.  Because I want the lines, I used a very dry but still damp sponge to just pat the lips until the hardest part of the lines was gone.  That blasted black paint is driving me crazy at this point.  I put in the brown shadow points over it and the other side.  If you look close, the shadows for the eyelashes are on now.  I'm losing daylight and the flash is taking over more of the work, reflecting off the white resin so it's getting difficult to show the amount of real color on the doll.  I've also lightly tinted the inside of his nostrils with a bit darker spot on the inside center that you can't see from this angle.  Nothing too serious, just enough to define the fact that he does have nostrils.  



More eye brown shaping.  I sketched them in and then blended with the damp sponge to make the shadow the eyebrow hairs cast.  They look a bit over dramatic right now, but when the hair's are drawn on, it will just form another 'frame' for the part.  Even with spray on, if something goes wrong, you can erase it lightly with an art eraser or use a doll cleaning sponge to remove excess paint.  I'm thinking I need to go over the lips with a wash of grey brown to get that old rose effect I'm after before the final gloss.  Time for another spray. So far, I'm getting the reasonably healthy porcelain skin tone look I was after.  I've been holding his black and auburn wigs up next to him to make sure I was getting the right effect for both hair colors.  At this point, I'm losing daylight really fast (it's winter here and in the shortest days) and it's a good thing I'm down to the darkest colors to work with now, because it will be easier to deal with them under a lamp.  The more delicate colors I needed full day light for are done and sealed.  


So, now the final coat of clear spray is on, and I'm stuck with artificial light for the last photographs.  

The eyebrows are done in three layers.  The grey shadow, a dark brown and then black feathered in.  If he were going to be blonde most of the time, I would be using grey, yellow/ochre and then a light brown or dark brown done very finely for the contrast.  

You can compare the lip color. The cherry pink has been toned down with a combination of brown and grey sponged over it.  



The last step is to put a clear medium gloss where the face would naturally have more moisture.  As you can see in the above photo, Kyou is pretty matte. Gloss the lips, doesn't matter what sex the doll is, glossy lips look alive. Then just a tiny dab in each nostril. Then a fine line, just on the edge of both upper and lower eyelid, and the inner corner.  

Under flash.


Under just plain room light, no flash.


So with his eyelashes and eyes back in and his wigs on, I'm pretty happy with him.  I'm looking forward to taking photos of him in natural lighting, though.  

With flash.



Under room lighting, which always comes out a funny yellow. 


Dream Realm Black Crow BJD

Update: Natural light shots here. 


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