Doll Rescuing, Part 2: Moxie
Way back in December, I had the pleasure of introducing "Elizabeth" and my first Moxie doll! The time has finally come to continue their stories. XD

We left off with the dolls faces all wiped clean and ready for painting. Now comes the fun part and there's no magic to it. I just pick up the doll, make sure her hair is out of the way, and paint. 

There are many fantastic doll painting tutorials out there, so I'll share some of my tips, but I'd encourage you to see how others do it as well. I have just one style and there are so many different ways you can do this.

1. "Closed Eyes"

Some dolls are made with the shape of their eyes already set into their faces, but not Moxies. XD  They don't really have protruding brows/foreheads either, so it can be hard to find where their eyes should go. To start, I just sketched two lines onto her face and asked myself, "If she was sleeping, where would her eyes close?" Looking back at this shot, I think I should have brought the lines a smidgen lower...

Note: The color on her lips and face is from that red sharpie. *shakes fist at permanent markers*

2. Eye Sketch

Next I did a very rough sketch of the eye shape and eyebrows. People who are good at this usually don't make any pencil marks, but... I'm still in the "feel it out" phase.

3. Gather Paint Supplies

Since I'm a scavenger, I just collect random, non-special, free acrylic paint. Other doll rescuers advise NOT to use anything oil based paints on dolls. Supposedly, oil based paints damage the plastic...I have not tried it, so I cannot say for sure! XD I know water based paints are fine.

And yes. I have an antique wrench in my paint tin. *clears throat*

Notice I have out on the lid of the tin some brown paint and "Soft Touch" Varnish. That varnish is going to be extremely important later on...

4. "White" Eyes

You will notice that our eyes are not actually pure white, so it should be the same with dolls. ;-) I personally think pure white eyes "glow" a little too much and give more of a cartoon-ish look, so I always add a hint of brown and rose (or majenta) to the white. This makes more of an ivory.

5. Eyes, Coat one

Water down the paint just a little bit so that it's smooth (no lumps) and just put it on. If the consistency isn't quite right it will leave brush marks like the ones above, but that's all right. You can go over it as many times as you need to.

6. Eyes, Coat Number 2

I decided to widen the eye shape a little on coat number 2...

7. Fine lines

I'm now ready to start adding some lines and these are the only two brushes I'm going to use. I have cut the brush on the right down myself since its very hard for me to find paint brushes that are fine enough. It's a little fanned out when its dry (like in the picture), but once I dip it in water, it turns into the point about the size of a pin. *thumbs up*

8. Skin inside eyes (Tear ducts)

I mixed up some skin color with a very yellow brown and majenta, then used it to shape the eyes a little more. I also put a base layer down in the inner corners of her eyes to make the framework for her tear ducts.

9. Eyelash Base Line

I should technically use black mixed with brown for this...but I didn't. XD I wanted it to match her hair, so I went with pure black. 

10. Eyebrows

I went ahead and added the eyebrows early on because it helps me get a feel for her expression. Later on if I want to change them, I can always go back, apply some water, and scrub at it with a brush. Until you put the varnish on, the paint can come off. ;-)

11. Outlines

Added some lower eyelashes and a basic outline for the pupils. I REALLY want the gaze of the pupils to "lock together" so that it looks like she's actually focusing on something.

12. Fill in the pupils

13. Thicken the eyelashes

14. Add actual lashes and shading over eyes.

Note the bit of gray over her eyelids. This makes it look like she has a little bit of a brow...XP

15. Shade inside eyes

I added a little bit of gray inside the eyes--on the top as if the eyelashes are casting a shadow, and on the bottom, right above the bottom lashes.

16. Iris color

I played around with purple, yellow and brown and came up with this brownish-plum color for her eyes. Sometimes I paint the color around the rim of the pupil, other times I paint over the pupil. This time I painted over because I liked the eye size.

17. Put light in the iris

At the bottom of her iris, I added a little bit of soft white/grey/violet

18. Shading and Mouth Line

Notice there are  more shadows around her eyes and a line across her lips now. One of the most important tips I have ever learned on drawing mouths is put a little dot-crease at the corners of the mouth. I tried to do that here. Its amazing how just the tiniest difference in shape completely alters the feel of an expression...


When I feel like I'm getting close to the end, then I put a little streak of light in her eyes. I always pretend this is the point when the dolls officially wake up and become new characters. 

20. Finishing Touches

I just added a little more shading to her lips (beneath her lower lip, beneath her nose, and around her nostrils especially)...and then I put her down.... I was really, really pleased with her. She had a softer, watercolor look that I'd never managed to get before. 

However, her repaint had really just begun.

Unfortunately, with anything you create, it's easy to get too zeroed in on it and focus so hard on the details that you lose sight of the overall picture.

By the end of this repaint, I was thrilled. I had been planning to give her as a Christmas gift, but since she /was/ my first Moxie, I decided to keep her instead. (Selfish...*hides*) I showed her off to my family. I officially named her "Roxie," I already had a feel for her personality and I was all ready to make her an official Shanakey character doll--

Then, I came back to her several hours later. I'm not sure if you can see it because of the angle of the camera in most of these shots...but when I returned to look at her, it became painfully apparent that her right eye was scooted farther from her nose than her left eye.

It was kinda devastating.

I'm a perfectionist. So, Roxie went through a Goth phase (Aka, April trying to fudge things and make-mistakes-okay phase):

She lost all the delicacy in her lines and she just wasn't Roxie anymore. So I fudged on.

And on...

And finally I just took off all the paint and redid the entire thing:

And this is what I ended on...I still don't like it as much as the first try. As you can see, the paint is blotchier and thinker. One eye shape is narrower. Also, I made her eye color lighter. 

She spent Christmas in this face. XD

It's not a terrible face, especially from a distance, but I am very tempted to try to get her old look back one more time....what do you think? Should I give her another go? Or do you like this look more?

At the end of it all, I learned two important lessons--

1) Take breaks during the process so you can correct as you go instead of waiting until the the end.

2) Do not overwork a project. Sometimes if you're attached to something as is, its better to leave it imperfect than to try fixing it. I could have just left her original face and just made up a backstory as to why one of her eyes was farther from the nose than the other. I probably would not have sold her, so the only person that needed to focus on her eye was me.

Whether I give her another try or not, she'll still be my Roxie. <3 She'll have to have an interesting Shanakey tale to go with all her revisions! XD

That's all for now. Elizabeth's repaint was thankfully a lot less stressful. I'll share hers in part 3. ;-)

God bless!