Return of the Repaint! (aka a bunch of WIPs)

It must be spring, because I suddenly found the energy to work on my repaints again. One of my two Bratz practice heads now has a finished face that I'm planning to keep at least for the time being. I sealed it with two coats of Liquitex Matte Varnish (brush-on, but I'm getting a bit better at avoiding leaving brushmarks) and then Gloss Varnish on the eyes and lips. I think I overdid it a bit - maybe the entire eye doesn't need to be completely shiny? Next time I'll either try to lay it on a bit thinner, or buy a bottle of semi-matte (semi-gloss?) varnish instead.

gloss varnish
Guess who's got painted AND real highlights??

There's a long list of stuff I'm not happy with here (and I agree that this kind of semi-realistic style doesn't suit the Bratz mold very well, but this is just for practice), but I'm saving them for the next attempt. It still feels good to actually finish something instead of just starting over halfway through over and over again.

Yellow staining
Yellow stains!
 Yesterday I wiped my other practice head and discovered some yellow staining on cheeks and lips, and now I'm trying to figure out exactly what happened. I have a feeling I may have neglected coating the entire face with varnish because I originally planned to only do the eyes, but I'm not sure and of course I didn't think to check that when I wiped it. The thing is, the eyes were pretty heavily painted with lots of black, blue and purple, but I couldn't see any staining there. Hopefully it's the lack of sealer that did it, but I'm still eyeing my bottles of magenta and yellow with suspicion right now.

Art Police Lineup
These are our prime suspects: Quinacridone Magenta (Liquitex Ink! - I'm not yelling, the exclamation mark is part of the name) and 39k Bright Yellow (Dr. Ph. Martin's Spectralite). It's possible they're completely innocent (or at least no more staining-prone than my other paints), but I still feel a bit anxious using them. To be on the safe side I'm going to paint a few test swatches on the back of a head and see what stains develop, but it'll take a few weeks to see a reaction.

Yeah, I know - bright yellow isn't the most useful color for painting faceups. Most of my liquid paints are Liquitex Ink! (which is a liquid acrylic paint, i.e. don't put it in a fountain pen because it will clog like whoa), but a few colors are other brands because they were on sale or whatever. Also, when I first decided to try liquid acrylics I had an idea I wanted to experiment the CMYK model and learn to mix everything from cyan, magenta and yellow (which isn't a great idea since that color model is most suitable for printing ink and not paint pigments, but it sounded like fun at the time). Well, unless you're repainting Monster High dolls in bright neon colors, that's a really inconvenient palette for doll repaints. Having to mix a basic lipstick red from scratch every time gets old really fast! Earth tones like umbers and siennas are much more useful, and I'm extending my palette one bottle at a time, but there's still a few missing. The upside is I'm getting very aware of what colors I need, and that's always something.

Oh, and while I'm complaining about paints: I'm not a fan of the Schmincke Aero Color (the white bottle in the middle above). I love Schmincke's water color pans, but this airbrush paint always separates in the bottle and all the pigment clogs up the eyedropper. Ew. Not a fatal flaw, but annoying. It does make me wonder how it would perform with an actual airbrush where clogging, even intermittent, is probably the last thing you want. Maybe I just got a bad batch?

Steffi repaint WIP 2
Brown lipstick again!??
Anyway, I'm trying to get a couple of smaller heads done too. Here's another surplus Steffi Love head. I'm not a fan of the sculpt, but I've seen at least one really well done repaint on Flickr. Also afaikt it's the same mold used for the Mystic Girlz, and I really like that version for some reason, so it definitely has hidden potential.

I really wish I could use watercolor pencils for this because it seems a lot easier, but it doesn't work very well with brush-on sealer because no matter how careful you are there will always be some brushstrokes left. It's really tricky to get a straight line when the pen feels like it's sticking and skipping over the tiny ridges of varnish left by the brush. This time I still tried to sketch the eyebrows with a pen at first, but I just got lumps of watercolor pigment everywhere. Unfortunately it seems like a spray sealer is necessary for that technique, at least until I learn to apply the varnish better.

Clone repaint WIP 1
Stage 1
Clone repaint WIP 2
Stage 2

Clone guy is getting a repaint too. I really like this sculpt (Groom Ken), and his original boring print didn't do it justice at all. He wasn't supposed to look quite this cartoony, but whatever. I started with a light blush around the eyes, nose and mouth and thought it came out pretty well, but then I realized I should have gone with a darker shade around the eyes. Painting the eyelids didn't work very well - it might have, if I had concentrated a bit on my brushwork. Oh well. The brushwork in general is pretty awful here and the paint is really lumpy and uneven, but I've decided to concentrate on getting a good overall look for now and leave the details and technique for later.

I originally thought his little smirk was just a wonky faceprint, but it's actually in the mold. Whether it's just the clone or the original has it too I don't know, but it makes me like him even more.


  1. Thanks for sharing these photos. I love seeing other people's processes for doing custom work!

    1. Thanks! I love seeing reading about other people's processes too, that's why I have no qualms about posting endless rants about my own. :)

  2. Feeling wistful about wanting to do repaints when I can't now ... waaahhh!

    I know where to return once I get settled ;-) Thanks for the tips AND the Steffie Love repaint photo. Inspiring!