Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tribute To Marvellini

Foto Marvellini is an art workshop founded in 2011 by the Marvellini Bros. in Milan Italy. 
Little is known of the brothers other than they were twins "seperated at birth."
Their old turn of the century photos made into hangable art depict supposed ancestors of comic's Marvel characters such as Spiderman, SpiderWoman, Captain America and, even what looks to me, the Green Hornet;

 Below is my tribute to these awesome artists. Hope you enjoy.
Foto Marvellini can be found on Facebook or visit www.fotomarvellini.com

And once again, my "Creepy Doll of the Month";
                    Well c'mon, Thanksgiving IS coming!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Anatomy of a Remake

People ask me where I come up with my ideas for my doll make-overs.
Usually, it's about the same as when I create my miniatures; I get a picture in my mind and it just comes down into my hands.

With doll repaints, it's a bit different.
I have so many ideas floating around in my head I have to jot down ideas on scrap paper first, then draw the doll out with the ideas.
Inspiration also plays a big role in the dolls I create.
Other artist's work, art works, watching Project Runway, sci-fi shows, comic books and the list goes on.

For example, the theme for the 2013 IFDC this year is "Horror High" and the category I chose to compete in is "King of the Prom."
Now think about it; the only "King" in Las Vegas of course is Elvis who has been done to death (pardon the bad pun) in dollyville and would be expected.
I never liked what was "expected," nor artists who create what is expected, i.e. the overkill of "OOAK" Madonna dolls, Edward from Twilight dolls or Angelina Jolie dolls I see on EPay.
One of a kind? Hardly.

So I went the opposite direction and thought of a famous woman-loving monster. 
First came to mind- Jack the Ripper...but...
too gory, not particularly handsome and not as well known.

Then I was watching "Teen Wolf" and #WHAM#, it hit me.
So I Googled "wolf man" images and there were tons.
Some classic, some older wolf and some newer.
I wanted a classic look, but more appealing.
So I decided on a mix of Michael Landon from "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" and the old classic "The Wolf Man."

Of course I wanted to twist him a bit and give him long hair and maybe a few other tidbits.

Since most Wolf-men are classicly dark, I chose a AA Fashion Royalty Remi doll.
He does look a bit like Landon?

Then I had to draw out all the ideas floating around in my head;
Fast and bad drawing, but you get the idea.

I didn't want him to be too hairy. Too hairy would cover up a lot of features of the doll and make him look more "action figure-ish."
So I re-rooted Remi with Katsilk Noire and Grey Mist, giving him a rather elongated widow's peak hairline.
I try to keep a picture of my idea behind what I'm doing. I tend to stray off my original path, so this helps.
Sometimes straying is a good thing, while other times it leads to a doll looking like Cher. 
Don't ask.

My next task was the ears. Wolf Men do not have ears like Remi, so I had to enhance them.
I turned to my Magic-Sculpt resin rather than my regular polymer clay. Magic-Sculpt is a two-parter; One part resin, one part hardener.
It has to be in equal 1:1 portions when mixing or it won't firm up and it firms up to a sandable consistency in 3 hours.

The pros: no need to bake it, thus ruining the doll hair and head.
The cons: it's sticky, it smells awful and it's not easy to shape smaller items.

After mixing, I place the almost formed ears on Remi;
Then I shape them, let them harden overnight, sand, wipe with damp rag and paint them matching the skin tone.
I had promised an eye tutorial, so since I am in that area;
You start by filling in the whites. I use a white and gray mix.
If you look at pictures of eyes, most have a gray hue to them.
Then get your best black paint for the outer rim of the iris. At this point you can choose to have side-glancing eyes, sleepy eyes, sexy eyes or shocked eyes.
It all depends on where you place the inner circles. I chose just regular, if not somewhat menacing/surprised eyes.

Don't worry about them not being perfect. The iris will cover any imperfections.
Next I chose to go with a mix of mustard yellow and a dot of orange done in layers, meaing watered down colors (not too watery!) done in ascending drying layers for the iris.
I always make sure to paint outwards from the center of the eye.
It gives it that sunburst effect you see in many irises.

Then I add pupils using the least sharp end of a toothpick dipped in my black paint and stabbed a few times on paper to take off excess paint.
Don't set the pupils directly in the center unless you want a "I just sat on a nail" look.
Now, if you make a mess, don't worry.
You can always take a Q-tip (pointy type) and some acetone and wipe the mess away!
I had to (see the left eye tragedy below left and my finished  remake below that.

You can add a semi-circle of a lighter mix around the iris to give it a sheen and add a little darker mix around the pupil as well.
All eyes are different so don't be afraid to experiment!

I will leave you for now with Creepy Doll of the Month!
                                    My Mom told me not to open chip bags with my teeth

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Is Here!

Spring is in the air today as Integrity Toys/Fashion Royalty announced their new doll  line in three (OMG, yes THREE!) different categories;
Poppy Parker at the 1965 International Fair(?), Jem's arch-rivals The Misfits and Fashion Royalty Classic!

I won't bore you with all the pics of the dolls, but I will show you one or two from each.

I'm not made of money and have limited space in my den (HOARDER) so I have to be very choosy what dolls I pick (yah, right).

Here from the Poppy Parker 1965 International Fair is Switzerland;

Very cool...pun intended.
There are also Poppy India, Spain, Japan and Polynesia (who is wayyy cute and I might have to nab her up!)

Not sure why "1965 International Fair"
There was a 1964-1965 World's Fair held in New York City that I actually attended with my parents.  I was only 4, but I remember it extremely well  for two reasons;
1) I got to drive a futuristic Cadillac convertible (take a breath, it was on railroad-like tracks)
2) I peed the bed in the hotel room

That's all I remember...and I'm quite sorry to have remembered the second thingy.

I digress....

Next up are the two Dania Zarr dolls  from the "Classic" FR collection
Dania Irresistible and Dania Nostalgia respectively;

Irresistible is HOT but alas, couldn't be found anywhere.
I will have to wait for a good Ebay sniper-rooni (see in my blog "How to snipe on Ebay")
Nostalgia is so elegant, and the clothes on both are exquisitely made.

Last up is the Yang to the Ying of Jen and the Hollograms;
The Misfits.
The Misfits were the band from the TV cartoon who were always trying to upstage Jem and her group. 
In the last episode of the TV show, Jem and The Misfits declared a truce.

The second rival band were "The Stingers" who we may see from Integrity in the future?

Here is my favorite, Roxy Pellegrini from The Misfits...very awesome!

These dolls are flying off the cyber shelves and most websites were hit hard.
In most web-stores, all that could be found were strands of loose doll hair and a cracked rhinestone.
However, since I have a limited following, I am going to share the secret place I go to for my "Integrity Fix";


Since it has "toy" in the name, most doll snatchers bypass this gem of a site. 
Who knows why? 
Maybe they affiliate "toys" with G.I. Joes and wouldn't dream of their precious doll in cahoots with a rough army type who is "reporting for duty!"?
Maybe they think they won't find any dolls here and it is just a flash in the pan like many websites these days?

Trust me, I'm not complaining.

This great webstore had them ALL,  and I took total advantage of that fact.
They also have a flat rate 5 dollar and some change domestic shipping. Can't beat that, especially when you pay 12-15 bucks (ripoff ) at other webstores that shall remain nameless. 
There are still many dolls left, so hop on over and have a look-see, but shhhhhhhhh!

I leave you with Creepy Doll of the Month;

                                                                why I don't have a cat

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Dynamite Boys

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted!
You know how the holidays go and then the cement-like quality of the long month called January.
Finally, the long awaited pre-release of Integrity's 2013 Dynamite Girls collection has arrived. Of course for me this means the new Fashion Royalty line is just around the corner!
I just want to get out of the way that I am not a huge fan of the Dynamite Girls.
Some are OK, some are boring and some just have cute outfits.

The introduction a few years back of the first Dynamite Boy was a BIG thing.
He flew off the computerized shelves within 20 minutes. I was one of the 300 lucky ones to nab him and I was suddenly a FAN.
It started with Kyu Summer Daze of The Checkmate Collection;
He was a new sculpt with a great new hairstyle.

Kyu was so popular that of Intergity Toy's next wave, The Plastic Inevitable Collection, they introduced TWO new guys who were even more awesome than Kyu;
Radiant Child Remi and Most Beautiful Boy Auden, both of which were gone just as quickly, at only 300 of each made;

In 2011, Integrity introduced us to the next wave of Dynamite Girls In The City Collection and yet another Dynamite Boy aptly named "Hot Stuff Cruz";
Mr. Cruz was my inspiration and muse for my "Saturday Night Fever" tribute that won me the IFDC makeover sweep last year.
His face sculpt is probably the best of all the FR dolls, in my opinion, other than the Nu-Face line (and in particular) Rock Ringmaster Lukas Maverick seen below;

2012 brought is the next wave of Dynamite boys (Remi and Auden<now a redhead>) in the Back To Brooklyn Collection.

 I feel Integrity was  starting to run low on ideas, and it seemed that this next set of guys was just a re-hash of previous dolls.
However, it sure didn't make them less wanted by any means. Their clothes were impeccably made, especially Remi's leather set with the long sleeve Brooklyn shirt...wow.

2013 January 28 (omg...that's today!!!!) ushers in the next wave of Dynamite boys!
London Calling Collection had its debut today on my favorite and best run doll site in the world; AngelicDreamz.com
The first guy looks like Auden, but I am not totally sure because I soooooo didn't manage to get him before the buzzards...er buzzer went off for the pre-sale.
I did however manage to grab Mr Kyu and he looks fantastic;

He has that Lukas Maverick "Nu Face" look while his hair is pretty cool and fashion foward.
I love the jacket which has an Asian-esque influence appeal.
Not sure about the sweater, but the new high tops are amazing and quite realistic.

That's all for now.
I will be posting again soon once I start working on my next creation (I have two that I am grazing over) for the 2013 IFDC Monster High gala the first week of July.
In view of the monster theme and my total adoration of monsters and B movies, let me say that my competition entry will be a HOWLING great time!

I leave you with Creepy Doll of the Month;

                     Obviously got a 5 dollar foot long at Subway or is just bragging

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Part 2: How To Repaint a Fashion Royalty Male

In this section I will show you mostly tips and tricks of a repaint.
It will focus mainly on facial features excluding the inner eyes and touch-ups, which will be in Part 4.
The eyes are probably the most difficult to get correct. They are the "soul" of the doll and can make him/her either come alive or look like a deranged psychopath escapee high on sugar cookies;

I am not the best at repaints, there are many much better than I. 
Then again who  is  the "best" at anything?
This is merely an easier and less expensive alternative to buying a $30 or $40 CD/DVD.
My Mom always taught me to share.

Some do's and don'ts to begin:

1) Do wrap your doll if you have not detached the head;

2) Do take lots of breaks between drying times. Painting on top of wet paint will make it clump.
Breaks will also give you a better perspective of your work.

3) Do not fret when you mess up or see something you don't like. Everything is fixable with either a toothpick and/or acetone.
In Part 4 I will show you how to make corrections.

4) Do have fun! 

So let's get started!

First you want to remove your old paint with a cotton swab dipped in acetone;

You will go through a few swabs but the paint will come off easily.
Use the pointy tipped swabs for tight corners.
After this step, clean the face with warm water and some gentle soap. Allow to dry.

Paint in the whites of the eyes. I mix Golden's Titan Buff with a toothpick end-full of Dove Grey. 

If you look at people's eyes in pictures or magazines you will see their eyes aren't really white-white. They are shaded around the edges to the center.
It will make the eyes look 3-D in a way.

Next I do what is called "outlining the features."
It entails outlining and shading:
1) lips (inner and outer)
2) around the eyes
3) nostrils

 I use 4 different paints; 
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
***note that I do not use black since it is a very strong color for my doll's complexion. Black is a better color for goth repaints or if you're going for a dark complected guy or gal.

You can mix or use the siennas and umbers any way you like.
I cannot teach you to mix paints, you will have to experiment.
I constantly do.

1) Always mix darker paint into lighter paint or you will have mud.
2) Always make sure your paints are thinned with water or you will have clumps. Mix them to the consistency of almost  water colors.
You will need to apply more than 1 coat.
3) Experiment with some acrylic medium flow improver and a drop of water.

Outline the eyes and paint in the eye crease above the eyes;
It allows you to shape/reshape them to your desire.
You can also use Prismacolor pencils, but they don't have the same kick  acrylic paint has.

So they look a little funky? Not to worry...let em' dry.You can then take a toothpick and reshape them or some acetone on a pointy tip swab to remove the overkill.

You can also add more titan buff/dove mix to make the eyes fuller OR add more sienna/umber mix to make them narrower.


I get excess paint off my brush by "dotting my thumb" until I feel there is  juuuuust  enough paint to get the job done;

Next take a toothpick dragged through some burnt sienna or burnt umber and drag it between the lips a few times.
I'm sadistic...er...actually it helps separate the lips.
                         THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next dab a toothpick in the same mix and paint inside the nostrils OR take a brown Prismacolor pencil and do the same.


Also add some light brown wash (very thin paint) to the space between the tip of the nose and top of the lip.

Last, I outline the eyebrows with a charcoal pencil. Go very lightly to make an outline shape of your choice.

                      How did those eyes get done so fast!?

Hope you enjoyed Part 2. 
Come back for Part 3: Facial/Body shading! 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How To Repaint A Fashion Royalty Male Doll

Part 1:     Getting Started

I always find repainting a male much more difficult than a female.
Why? I don't know, but I'll guess it is due to all the shadowing and rougher facial features of a male.
If you paint a male the same way you would paint a female doll, you will end up with a very feminine male doll, which is fine if that's the look you want. 
Repainting is a lot like life, there are so many different looks in the world, and that's a good thing.

You want to choose a guy doll who would be fun to change.
I chose Euphoric Pierre Devries;
Not sure why they called him "Euphoric" 
He doesn't look intensely happy...maybe it's the shirt?

He's a nice looking one to start, so you really want to be sure you want to change him, because there's no going back once you take off his facial paint.

His hair is cool, so this time no re-root in my plans. 
His hair will come off with some heat and rubbing alcohol if you're in the mood for an entire makeover.

Paints and other tools vary. I use all kinds of paints, chalks, pencils, mediums, brushes, etc..
Here's what you will need;

Nope, Pierre isn't feeling it today.

1) Brushes: I use a 18/0 blotter and liner and a 0000 size liner. Both hard to find but  www.dickblick.com  art supply has both. I have also found them at Michaels, and that will save you the $8.00 plus WAY overpriced shipping charge of DickBlick's. 
I also found a small "stippling" brush for beard dots (we'll talk more about facial hair next blog).

2) Acrylic Paints: I use Liquitex and Golden paints as well as some acrylic thin inks/paints from France and Folk Art paint. Stay away from anything labeled "heavy body", they are too thick and lump up easily.

3) Chalks/Pencils: I use Prismacolor watercolor pencils and chalk. Nice array of colors.

4) Acrylic Medium Flow Improver: I use it to make my paints have an even flow that lasts a bit longer without drying too quickly. It also will not change the color of the paint and gives the paint a nice smooth quality.

5) Q-tips: Both fine point (Target) and regular. I use them to take off old paint, remove mistakes, refine lines and add chalk color to the doll.

6) Acetone: Any nail polish remover works great. One site said use Non-acetone...don't, you'll be scrubbing paint off for an hour.
Note: Acetone will not harm plastic unless left on for long periods. 

7) Palette and mixing sticks: Some use aluminum foil over ice as a palette to slow the drying process of paint after mixing. It's a good idea, but it's hard to see true color on aluminum.

8) Toothpicks: These come in handy for many tight little spots like adding pupils to eyes, nostril painting ( not your own ) and removing tiny flaws on your eyes (not your own). 
I've been known to paint with a pushpin before. If you're gentle, it works!

9) Water: For thinning paints and cleaning brushes.

10) Magnifying Lamp: I really can't work without this piece. When doing eyes on a 13 inch or less  doll it's a must-have, unless you're a rabbit.
You can find them on EBay for about $18.

Pick a nice desk or table to work on, cover it with some old newspaper and place a piece of  cardboard box on it. 
You'll thank me when you won't have to rub headlines off your doll's butt.

Grab a comfortable chair with a cushion and a nice drink...you might want some music and  alcohol...and not to remove paint. 


Here's the finished and now much more euphoric Pierre:

This coming weekend I will be starting Part 2, so grab up your supplies and follow along!