Painting Tips

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Is it better to paint one doll at a time?

More is Good

When you are painting several of the same part, you get into a rhythm and you painting
gets better

Why did my cheeks fade out?

Painting Problems

Faded out check color? There could be several different reasons. Reds tend to burn off when fired, so you need to try putting it on a little darker. Too much flux mixed into the paint will also cause the color to be lighter. One of my biggest problems was too much area medium on the cheek, causing the red to burn off, leaving the cheeks a little blotchy. You can redo the blush. Blushing should be saved for the last area to be painted to avoid color fading by repeated firing.

Do I have to put the over-all wash in the hair area?

Prepare More Than You Need

When preparing an area for an over-all wash, cover everything. Don't stop because the wig will cover the area.

How do I paint brows to look the same on both sides?


Have you tried most tricks and still can't get that brow right? Try painting with your other hand. If you are left handed, paint one brow. Switch to your right hand and paint the other brow. This allows you to use the same type of stroke. Either hand will move from the center of your body toward the outside of your body.

Where can I find a picture of the doll I´m painting?


When you need a color picture of a doll you are painting, find the company online. Look for a thumbprint picture, then click on that picture and the enlarged picture will usually be large enough to see how the brows are painted, etc. This way you have a guide at the tip of your mouse.

How to I keep the china paints from separating when I paint my doll?

Painted Strokes Separating

If you are painting and the strokes are separating into smaller sections, it is because your porcelain needs to be cleaned. You can use the area medium or painters glycerin and a lint free cloth to clean the area before repainting.

What is antique reproduction mean to me?

Antique Reproductions

Antique reproduction is the painting of an antique doll - exactly the way it was painted, right down to the lip lines or eye dots. If you are painting the doll for competition, you are competing against the doll you are trying to copy. If the original doll artist had a bad brow day, you must paint bad brows. The judges may accept or require a picture of the doll you have reproduced.

How do I load my brow brush?


When painting the fine lines needed for brows, load your brush with a lot of paint. A few practice strokes will help you decide if you need more paint. You should be able to draw the line without the line fading. Usually the brush should have many bristles, with one longer one. It is this one bristle that will actually be painting. The other bristles are there to hold the paint.

How do I load my brush?

Loading Your Brush

I used to twist my brush in the paint to get as much as I could on it. After taking my first class from Jean Nordquist, I learned to keep the bristles straight, pulling the brush through the painters medium and then the China paint.

How do I keep the brow hairs looking the same on both sides?


After painting one brow, turn the head upside down and paint the other brow. This allows you to continue the same motion and direction you used with the first brow. Even better, turn the head without moving your painting hand. This keeps your hand at the same angle also.

How do I decide on the color of the doll?

Color Choices

Pick out your wig before you paint. It will make your painting choices easier.

How can I make brows look real?

Making Brows Look Real

When painting eyebrows, use several shades of brown. When I am mixing the different shades, I usually start with the lighter shade to help form the shape of the brow. Then I add a few scattered dark and medium strokes. After topping off with a few more light brown strokes, I put them in the kiln.

How do I know if I have enough paint on my brush?

Preparing to Paint Brows

When loading your brow brush, first draw it through the line medium. Don't twist the brush, but turn it and draw it through again. Then draw it through the china paint, turning several times until it is well loaded with paint. In a clean area, make a stroke with your brush to make sure the paint will flow smoothly. If it drags you don't have enough paint on the brush. Repeat until you can make a smooth flowing line. If it makes a blob, you have too much paint. Keep making the lines until it flows evenly.

How do you get ready to do an over-all wash?

Over-all Wash

Prepare your bisque for an over-all wash by applying blush medium. Using a link free rag, (old white tee shirt) wipe away most of the medium, leaving a light coating. Don't forget the hard to reach areas.

How many times can I china fire?

China Firing

Check with your instructor. Usually you pay half the cost of your greenware to bisque fire, and then half of the cost of your greenware to china fire, no matter how many firings. My thoughts are to fire as many times as you feel comfortable. If you are having a bad brow day and finally get one side really good, fire it on. Or do just a few basic strokes to get you started, fire it, and then fill in the extra hairs. This also allows you to change shades in the brow hairs to give it a realistic look.

How do I make the teeth white and shiny?

Painting Teeth

Making teeth white and shiny is just a stroke away. Whenever I want really white teeth in modern dolls, I use One Stroke white. Brush the white on the teeth only, just beore bisque firing the head. If I make a mistake, I wait for it to dry; then, using a knife blade, flake it off. When it is totally dry, I use clear glaze (you can purchase both One Stroke and clear glase from a ceramic shop), and dab it on over the white. If you try to paint it on, you might smear the One Stoke. Once you bisque fire, it is there to stay. The glaze makes the bisque shiny. The reason I said modern dolls is because this was not used on antique dolls and it would not be appropriate on them.

What do I do when my china mop drags?


When blushing you may notice the mop (brush) starting to drag the paint and leaving lines. It appears that the area medium has dried and you may want to put on more. Don't do it. First thing you should do is breathe on the area the same way your breathe on a windowpane to fog it up. This is enough moisture to correct the problem. This is also true if you leave the piece and come back later.

Is it better to paint one doll at a time?

More is Good

When you are painting several of the same part, you get into a rhythm and your painting
gets better.

What is a good way to identify myself as the dollmaker?

Signing Your Doll

Use a sharp tool to write your name - or any message - on a doll before bisque firing. When painting, rub a color into the lettering, wiping off the excess. China fire. Results in a good looking visible signed doll.

Is there another way to apply blush?

Blush with Dry China Paint

When attending a class recently I learned to apply dry paint when blushing. Use a flat edged brush dipped in medium and dry china paint, first run the brush lightly through the paint and then the cheeks, stroking from the center, out. The brush should have enough medium not to drag over the greenware but not dripping.

How to I load the brush to paint lashes?


When painting the fine lines needed for lashes, load your brush with a lot of paint. A few practice strokes will help you decide if you need more. You should be able to draw the line without the line fading. Usually the brush should have many bristles, with one longer one. It is this one bristle that will actually be painting. The other bristles are to hold the paint.

What can I use to spread the blush medium?


Not sure what to use when preparing an area for blushing? I use old tee shirts. Cut or tear the cloth into manageable sizes. Put area medium on the piece and spread it around. Real shiny is too much. You should have a duller shine. When you put the blush on, it should move where you want it easily.

How can I keep track of the colors I used to get that perfect shade?


Forgetting how you combined colors to achieve the perfect shade can be a thing of the past. If you use a paint pallet box, write the directions in the square you marked on the sheet of paper you have under the glass. I do that when mixing flux or if I want a certain brown for eyebrows.

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