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Tips for Newbies?

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Chisai

Hello!!

I received my first Dollfie today!!

I got a DDH-08 head with a DD-f3 body, and I'm making a custom Miku doll!

 

The thing is, I am terrified.

I was super excited for the past couple weeks, looking up all the tutorials I could find, planning out the design, etc.

I've done a couple custom Monster High dolls and a Pullip, but I've never even seen a Dollfie in person until this afternoon.

 

I'd be curious as to everyone else's experiences customizing a doll, whether it be your first or a full time hobby.

What are things you wish you had known? Any recommendations or uncommon tricks that have helped you in the past? What about warnings?

 

Thank you so much in advance!!

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Veravey

I'm starting face-ups this year as well and I think my favorite things I've learned from hours and hours of watching others work are:

- you can fix face-up and body blushing mistakes; it may take time but no pressure there

- use good quality pigments and sharp pencils; makeup brushes work well for pastels! (Not surprising since we're kind of doing makeup right?)

- layer layer layer and practice patience 

You probably know most of this since you've done other customs but I figured I'd share my big take-aways. Good luck! Looking forward to see what you decide to make.

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RikunFrances

Make sure to at least have 2-3 layers down before even starting, because such light coloured vinyl is easy to stain and some pigments will discolour the vinyl (there are examples of this in other threads on this forum, actually!)

Watercolours and gouaches are easier to fix mistakes with, you can just use a little water to wipe it away.

Kneaded erasers are great for erasing finer details or mistakes with pastels.

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weslie

Agree on the good quality materials!!

Also tip, seal her head cap as well and if you are uncertain of a color of pencil or pastel, test it on the headcap first (like testing a lipstick or eyeshadow on your hand). You can easily wipe them away with water, and if you seal first, no worries about staining!

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babybluebunnyboy

@weslie I have to thank you for this, as I've been reading through forum after forum to prepare myself for my own MDD's face ups, and THIS
THIS advice is the best I have seen in nearly 10 years of my doll hobby
Thank you!!

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Sarah

Does anyone airbrush? If so, do you use any stencils/stickers to help guide? I used to airbrush freehand before I took a long hiatus, and it really made a big difference compared to pastels. These anime sculpts are killing me though haha the realistic faces like on typical resin seem so much easier. 

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condogenate

Behold! The nekomancer!

I just wanted to give this advice to anyone who's considering starting out with Dollfie Dream faceups in particular, though it may work for Smart Dolls as well (we just don't know because we never worked on one): a lot of people say paint is the way to go, but paint is also very tricky. You have to be very, very steady and light when applying these layers, and a lot of n00bs honestly aren't capable of obtaining this kind of skill level yet. You will still have a little ways to go before you get there. My best advice is to read up on faceups, learn how others do their own, research techniques, and obviously do a couple tests. Your first one will never be your best. But if you do not have the skill level to apply paint, or you're admittedly a little heavy-handed (which is a no-go for paint), your best bet is watercolor pencils. And Mr. Super Clear (preferably Matte).

NEVER APPLY MR. SUPER CLEAR IN YOUR REGULAR ROOM, OR WITHOUT A RESPIRATOR. IT IS A DANGEROUS CHEMICAL. Outside, if you have no danger of animals getting out, or (as we do, because we have fifty million cats and live in a highly populated area), use the bathroom with the fan on. But no matter where you do it, always, ALWAYS use the respirator, because the chemical will damage your lungs. Three coats should do it, thirty minutes in between. You do not have to spray heavily; just a quick once-over is suffice. Too heavy, and the Mr. Super Clear may cause some problems.

Then, apply a light layer of watercolor so you know where you want everything situated. Make sure everything's to your specifications, then seal with another layer of Mr. Super Clear and wait another thirty minutes. PLEASE REMEMBER PRECAUTIONS.

Go over the light layer with a heavier hand, darkening each layer as you go. Remember, once you can't go any further with the color, spray with Mr. Super Clear, wait thirty minutes, and never forget precautions when doing so. Finally, when the layers are darkened enough to your specifications, spray with Mr. Super Clear two more times, waiting thirty minutes in between, and thirty minutes after the second spray, your doll should be completely sealed. Congratulations! If it's not perfect, don't be disheartened, especially if it's your first try. Try, and try again. You'll eventually get it.

I will end this with one last note: although paint is always said to be the most preferred method, watercolor pencils are easier to control, and if you darken the lines enough, sometimes it may be indistinguishable. So, go for it!

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condogenate

Sorry for the double-post, but I lost the ability to edit my post.

I wanted to add something that I forgot in the original post: Mr. Super Clear is very, very picky about humidity. If it's rainy or anything like that, it's not going to work well. You practically need near perfect, dry weather, and I know that's difficult in some climates. In my personal opinion, if you have somewhere in your house or apartment that has good ventilation (like our bathroom, for instance, with the fan), and you make sure you keep your respirator on during the procedure, that's probably the best way to go. While outside is the most ventilation you can get, weather can be a tricky son of a b*tch, and you have to be careful. With humidity, it won't dry well.

One more thing I want to point out is, try to avoid student-grade watercolor pencils. Their pigmentation isn't as great as what you want it to be. Try to aim for artist-grade watercolor pencils—if you want a recommendation, my partner has had great results with Caran D'Ache Supracolor Soft. You don't need a large set, just what colors you intend to use.


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PlasticJester

Really emphasizing the materials thing! Good materials don't have to be expensive either: I bought some tiny nail art brushes on aliexpress that have seriously made my faceups jump up in quality, since I can make finer lines. If you can't afford a whole big set of, say, paints, for acrylics at least you can usually buy small tubes of basic colors and mix what you need. I tend to buy vallejo or citadel paints in the basics and add on colors as I need/want them, like I recently bought a brown so I didn't have to constantly mix my own.

On paints: watercolor and gouache give great results and are easy to wipe as needed in the working process, but the resulting faceup will be more delicate. Acrylic needs to be watered down some for best results or it'll turn out kinda heavy-handed and chunky looking, but it's a bit more durable. Never use oil paints on dolls! Oil products in general do not play nice with plastic and vinyl! (If you wanna style doll hair in the future, make sure to use water-based products!)


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