Sunday, October 28, 2012

Painting Your Doll

The Physics of Doll Painting

Physics can be fun.  Really.  And interesting.  Honestly.

This is Ginger.  I am getting ready to paint her. 
Her hair is in and her face is clean.

A fellow Monster High dolly friend wrote to me about having troubles with painting her dark skinned doll.  The trouble was, when she sprayed her doll with the flat sealer, she lost color. 
What she is up against is literally how color works-  what it actually is.  What we see as color is actually light waves. Most of what we see is reflected color waves. 

Colors are frequencies.  They are either absorbed by an object or reflected.  If they are reflected, that is the color we see.  Every color wave in the spectrum may be hitting an object like say, an apple, but all we see are reds and yellows.  The apple is not actually red- it is simply absorbing all of the other color frequencies- and reflecting the reds and yellows. 

A white piece of paper is busy reflecting all of the light spectrum colors- and appears white.  While something that appears black absorbs all of the color spectrum light and appears very dark. 

When you paint something with flat color, it appears dull or soft.  It cuts down what is reflected and refracted from the object.  If you put a clear shine on an object, it appears much brighter and can even appear harsh looking.  This is why we use a flat sealer on our dolls faces. 

Our skin (typically) is not shiny - it is soft in appearance. We are cutting what is reflected and refracted by the paint we have applied when we use the flat sealer.  What escapes and bounces back to our eyes is less distinct- because the reflection has been manipulated.  It is being diffused by the sealer.  It lets out less light.

This is also why we add something glossy to the eyes.  Our eyes shine.  They are wet.  We amplify that reflection using the gloss. Gloss lets out more light.

I am not going into deep detail here- that would be a bit of a snooze for most of us.  My intention is to help you understand what you are doing when you paint and use different sealers. 

Paint is used to create an illusion- and how we manipulate the paint determines what it will look like.  If you think you have lost color after applying flat sealer- you have not.  You have cut down the ability to see that color. 

The next question is, how do we solve this problem? 

>>>Add more color.  Make it much brighter than what you are actually going for.
Try it in a place you won't see.  Sometimes I will try a color out on the head where the hair is going to be.

>>>Put white paint down first- and your color on top. 
I often use this technique for lips.
If you want to use translucent colors, and you are painting on a dark surface, you won't see much of the color you use- because the color of the object will reflect through the translucent color.  The objects color will cancel out the applied translucent color(s). 
Example: Violet may appear muddy on a brown object if you spray it with flat sealer. 

>>>Keep adding color between sprayings of the flat sealer.
Adding color in thin layers gives you greater control of how it will look. 

Remember:  Leave a comment and get an entry for the October Drawing :)


  1. Hello from Spain, thanks for the information. Keep in touch

  2. I'm glad you posted this. . . I'm Glad _Someone_ is posting things like this.
    And I think you managed to bring it down to an understandable level rather well. :)
    (Not going too far into Colour Theory and all)

    In fact, I'm surprised more people aren't commenting. *shrugs*

    Thanks for continuing to post useful information!

    1. You are welcome. Sometimes it helps to understand why something happens the way it does-- for myself, I am curious about nearly everything :)

    2. Me too actually. I'm a long practiced Visual artist and Photographer.
      And even with all the understanding I carry around. I still love to see how other people encounter things, both artistically, and not.

  3. Thanks for the information, I want to do my first repaint but I don't dare, I'm so afraid of spoiling it...

    1. Get an old doll- from a thrift store or a new inexpensive doll to practice on. Paint and re-paint on that doll until you feel comfortable about your painting. My first practice doll was a baby doll I bought at a thrift store for 1.00. She had a big face-- lots of room to practice.

  4. great tips! I hope we'll get to see some more of Ginger soon too, I love your customs! :D

  5. super good tips pb! thanks so much. im going to tackle clawdeen next week i think.

  6. Wow, thank you! I needed this haha. I am going to try painting soon, let's hope they look as good as yours!

  7. Thanks for this! I really appreciate it!

  8. thanks, your tips are so helpful. there helping me with my custom!