This hobby found me in the weirdest way.
I’ve never learned to paint with watercolours. For a control freak like me, watercolour is a difficult medium – it’s got a mind of its own. I’ve always preferred pencils, oil and acrylics, because I can decide exactly where each brushstroke will go on the canvas. And by extension, where it will stay. 🙂
Watercolour is more fluid and less easy to control. Still, I wanted to learn, so I went to YouTube, the Knower of All. (And the Keeper of Tutorials.)
As you can imagine, YouTube started to meet my demand of watercolour tutorials with a million suggested videos. At one stage, a suggestion was for a doll repaint video on Andreja’s channel.
I still don’t know what moved me to click the link, but I did. I frowned at the first few minutes of the video, wondering why the hell someone would go through all the trouble of removing a doll’s factory paint, just to spend hours repainting the doll. Yet, I watched the next video. And the next.
The more I watched, the more intrigued I became. My husband made a comment about my weird new obsession, but I laughed it off. I wasn’t going to repaint any dolls of my own, thank you very much.
Until I did, about three months later. There’s something oddly satisfying about this hobby. That feeling of achievement when the doll (who quite frankly used to be ugly as hell) is looking back at you with the dainty expression you gave her.
I’m convinced I like this because I miss doing makeup on real people. Still, repainting dolls scratches the itch. Also, I had most of the tools used to repaint the dolls already, and I love spending hours on fine detail.
Most repainters use a sealant called Mister Super Clear. I don’t, because it’s highly toxic. You need a respirator and a well-ventilated area before you can use MSC, and with our tiny apartment and tiny toddler, a toxic spray isn’t something I’m willing to risk. Instead, I use Liquitex matte varnish, something I saw Andreja do.
I love the results and Liquitex is a much faster drying varnish than MSC. One thing I will say, though, on humid days, the Liquitex does tend to be shiny.
For the rest, I use my watercolour pencils, soft pastels and acrylic paints. I do prefer to paint some of the finest details with a slim paintbrush, dipped in water and dragged over the tip of the pencil for colour. Personally, the paintbrush is easier to control than the tip of the pencil, no matter how sharp.
OK. Here are the dolls I’ve painted up to now. Just a quick apology for the change in colour in the photos. It’s a partially cloudy day here, dark one moment and super sunny the next. I tried to take all of the photos in natural light, but couldn’t always avoid using flash.
The first is a Catrine Demew doll. I repainted her as a gift for my cousin, and I’m super proud of her outfit. I’m not the best with a needle and thread, but I think she came out nicely. Her hair is brushed out acrylic yarn, attached directly to her scalp.
Catrine has an exquisite mould. I definitely want to paint the other cats in the Monster High range too.
This is Lagoona Blue, and is a gift for my bestie. Of all the MH dolls, Lagoona is my favourite. Her mould is the best by far, with so much potential in repaint-terms. I adore her.
This repaint was the most labour intensive. I changed her colouring from the bottom up, made tiny clay accessories for her and also replaced her hair with acrylic yarn. I’m not too happy with the hair, though. I’ve learned a lot since then, and will probably make her something better.
The third repaint I completed as a gift for Lizanne. That doll is a Draculaura, and is in South Africa at the moment. I don’t have a proper photo of her, but here’s a snap that’s not too bad. She has the same kind of hair as Lagoona, and Lizanne doesn’t know I’m going to fix this doll when I get the chance. 😀
I customised her clothing – all of it is a part of her original outfit.
My first repaint was Cerise Hood from the Ever After High range. I’ve repainted her three times to date, but I’m happy with her face as it is now. I repainted her so many times, because I figured the first doll I got could serve as my practice doll. I love her outfit too, which was the main reason I chose her as my first doll.
She has her original hair and clothing, though the boots and belt have been painted.
This is a Gigi Grant doll, but her wrists, elbows and shoulders don’t have joints. I didn’t realise this when I bought her, or I probably wouldn’t have picked her up. While she’s one of my favourite repaints, she’s not so easily posable.
Her outfit is completely hand-made. I was going for something kind of postapocalyptic, so she looks a little scruffy. I figured the bright pink hair and factory tattoo needed some piercings and grungy makeup to round off the look. A plasma gun is in the works for her, I’ll share that as soon as it’s done.
The last two dolls are works in progress. I’ll share some shots of them on Instagram once they’re done. 🙂
The first is a Kjersti Trollson doll, with the cutest button nose!
Her wig is halfway made, though I have no clue what to do in terms of clothing. Maybe something tribal? I don’t know. I’m also repainting her Viking helm, but I might use that for another doll. Thoughts and suggestions are welcome!
Work in progress:
Lastly, this is Raven Queen. She’s wearing the first wig I ever made, ironically for Kjersti! But the colour suited this doll so well that I decided to keep it on her.
I’ve been playing around with various outfits for her, but I’m not convinced any of the stuff I made works. So, I’ll continue crafting until I find the right fit. Again, hit me with ideas. I’m considering a steampunk tinkerer.
Work in progress:
If you’d like to learn more about doll repainting, I did a roundup of my favourite artists the other day. Links to all their channels and tutorials from this post.
I’m also planning to sell some of these dolls soon. If you’d be interested, please let me know.
That’s it from me for now. Hope you have an awesome weekend!