My Artistic Process

My Process

  1. Powders  I use Coastal Scents powders as well as Pan Pastels for different dolls.  I use Nail Art brushes, and toothpicks with cotton on the end** for the tiny places. 
    1. Creases—There are numerous thoughts on how to do creases.  My process is two fold.  For very deep creases, I put down a layer of blue
    1. Veins
    1. Blue and Yellow Undertones Don’t forget the inside of the nose, under the chin, anywhere the skin is closer to the bone or cartilage.  Areas like the temples, bridge of the nose, forehead are basically skin over bone and should have blue undertones.  Places that are like the inner, upper ear are skin over cartilage and should have yellow undertones. (Link to Short Video)
  2. Seal IF I use powders, and I’m going to continue on with air dry paint, I have sealed with Ultimate Fusion Sealer at this point; however, I’ve found it’s not 100% necessary if using the Pan Pastel Powders. The powders can lighten up if they aren’t sealed, but you can just re-apply them later. However, you CAN seal the powders by applying a light coat of UF sealer at this point.
  3. Wash is very very thin paint (you really can’t see the color, just the wet) that you brush on and pounce off with a cosmetic sponge or a Kabuki brush***** I use primary colors, so I count my washes (and everything else) in Rounds. A round is all three colors.. On a very fair baby, I often skip the washes entirely, the darker the baby, the more washes I use…..the washes just really get the base color of the baby (Link To Short video)
  4. Texture layer. These are basically the same paint as washes (can be a LITTLE less watery, but not much) but they are applied with a kitchen sponge cut into a round shape (human skin doesn’t have straight lines). These layers are what will give you the realistic, deep looking SKIN on your baby. I usually do more texture layers than anything…..sometimes 10-14 rounds. BUT, if a baby is getting too dark, I stop using blue, or use it in fewer rounds…..and if a baby is too yellow or red, I just skip that color on the next round or two. Then, once the base deep layers of skin are what you want, comes the mottling layers. (Link to Short Video)
  5. Mottling layers CAN be applied with a cosmetic wedge plucked with holes of various sizes, Sea Sponges, honeycomb/tack sponges *******, or with a makeup blending sponge plucked with holes. Brush the paint on the sponge, and pounce. The paint should STILL be very thin, but not as thin as washes and texture layers. This is also the ONLY time I use any color other than pure primaries. I make up three or four colors with my primaries to use as mottling colors along with primaries. I have a deep purple, a sort of magenta and sometimes I use a soft green color. So my mottling rounds are between 3 and 6 colors. You don’t NEED that many, but I think it makes more realistic in my opinion.  Make sure you turn the sponge as you pounce to prevent creating a pattern.  Some people say not to put mottling on the face, I do mottle the face, but I make it lighter than on the body.  I also make the chest tummy, back and limbs a bit heavier than the sides, shoulders, etc.  Like always, go online and look at pictures of real babies and well don’t reborn babies to get more idea.  
  6. Once you have the skin done to the point you’re happy, it’s time to give the baby the things that make it come to life.  Blushing, Shading, doing OR re-doing Creases, veins, and details. If you’ve already done the creases and veins, check to make sure they are not covered by the skin layers.  If you can’t see them, redo them with either powders or paint.  Again, go look at real babies and noticer where they are redder, see some of the places that look almost blue (the deeper areas like the inner corders of the eyes, around the nose Nails can be done here, or wait until ready to do the finishing touches.  IF you’re going to use paint, you can mix the air dry with some blend flow or whatever your brand recommends;  for Genesis, I usually combine the color with some thinning medium to make it easy to blend. 
    1. Blushing—You can either do blushing with paint of powder.  I prefer powders because I have more control, or at least I feel I do.  But whichever, it’s about the same process.  Find where the you want the blushing, on this image, the blushing is represented in orange/red.  (THANK YOU Aurora De Giovanna Lucus).  I usually put a bit of color on the area, and then work it in.    One way I like to do things is look at baby pictures where the baby is crying…..it’s easier to see WHERE the blushing goes, though you don’t want it that deep a color if the baby isn’t crying. 
  • Shading, on the picture is shown by blue.  As mentioned above, blue undertones, which is part of what I use for shading, go on places where the skin is directly on the bone without too much fat, muscle or other anatomical parts.   It is also used on places with depth….the inner corner of the eye…..etc.  If you want something in addition to the blue undertones, you can use a paint one shade darker than your baby on places with shadows like the philtrum (that little dent beneath the nose and above the upper lip) or the inner corner of the eye, etc.    
    • Yellow Undertone shading the yellow on the pictures is where you would put a bit of yellow.  Yellow is used on the skin above cartiledge…..like the nose, the whorl of the ear, etc.    
    • Creasing  Some kits have a ton of creases and for the most part I try to get them all. Though some artists say you don’t NEED to get every crease, I usually try.  On the really super deep ones (some kits have a few creases that are just REALLY deep!) I do them in blue to give an indication of the depth.  Though I often do that in the first step with the powders and if I need do it again, I’ll usually use my normal colors.                                                                                                               LINK TO VIDEO ON MIXING PAINT #1
      LINK TO VIDEO ON MIXIN PAINT #2          
             
    • Veins and Details  I make sure the veins are viewable, but look like they are VERY deep under the skin.    If you look at the picture, I’m sure you’ll noticed that the eyes have black on the crease.  That was something I’d never thought of, but a wonderful artist showed me that and I have to admit I LOVE the look it gives.  You just have to be VERY careful to just get the black in the crease and NOT on the outside.  When I use Genesis, I use mars black with thinning medium, so it’s thin, but not runny.  You can do the same thing with air dry, just watch how much medium you use. If you use Ultimate Fusion, some Blending Fluid works.   Either way, I use a very thin brush and put the line down starting about a away from the corners and make it nicely dark.  Then squeeze the eyes together and wipe off the excess outside the crease.   Get a magnifier if you need to, this is the one I use ********; and get REALLY close to make sure ALL the paint is inside the crease.  Once you get ready to root the eyelashes, it REALLY looks good.   If you’re using an open eyed kit, use some red on the inside corner of the eye and over the flat part where the eyelids meet.  You can also do some pinkish/red on the top eyelid.  Just don’t make it too dark, some red mixed with thinning medium for Genesis or several layers of thin (think washes) of red build to a translucent red color.  Try it, especially the black….I think it works REALLY well.
  • Finishing, sealing and varnishing.
    • GENESIS—Varnishing Recipe Application, Applied with Stencil Sponges***** The recipe is 2 parts Matte Varnish, 2 parts Thinning Medium, 1 part Gloss Varnish and 1 part Thickening Medium.  Put it on the stencil sponge either by painting it on, or dipping it in the concoction.  One hint, when it’s going on the doll, MAKE IT THIN.  You don’t want to put it on thick because it will take forever to cure.  Pounce it on in small area at a time, thoroughly.  Bake it like you normally would, let it cool, then bake it again after turning it over.  You want to do it FOUR TIMES on each side, or until you can scratch it with a pin and there is no white.  Make sure you cool it COMPLETELY between bakes.  If you intend to use air dry paints, you can use air dry sealer to protect the Genesis paint and prepare for using other materials. 
    • AIR DRY—Sealing/Varnishing  Let your paint cure for at least 24 hours, then apply sealer following the directions on what ever sealer you use.
  • Eyebrows, Eyelashes, Finger and Toe Nails, Non-Rooted Hair
    • Eyebrows I use prisma pencil to draw on the eyebrows.  I’m not going to go through how to use do the eyebrows, you can find that information online.  Placement is my biggest hurdle, but the entire process is really hard on me.  That’s why I seal and let cure before I work on them.  I erase a LOT…  But eventually I get there, and so will you. 
    • Eyelashes  I always root eyelashes, no matter what.   Fake eyelashes just don’t look right.  A few hints, make sure you’re rooting the eyelashes in the UNDERSIDE of the eyelids.  Look at your own eyelashes and see where they come from .  To do the top eyelashes, turn the head upside down.  For a sleeping baby, the eyelashes should point down toward the chin.  For an open eye baby the upper lashes point up toward the forehead and the bottom lashes point down toward the chin. 
    • Nails Like with Eyelashes, I’m not going to go through the process. You can find it in multiple places.  If you want to use Powders, Sue Ellen Taormina has a WONDERFUL tutorial on how to use powders to do the nails.  She has TONS of tutorials on her Patreon for $10 a month.  It’s SO worth it.  You can do as simple as a white-ish line on the nail tips…or as much as making the half moons, then the nail base, then the nail tips.  And don’t use pure white for the nail tips, mix a bit of flesh with your white (the only time I use Flesh) so the color is not so stark. 
    • Non-Rooted Hair This includes prisma pencil, paint, etc.    I’m not very good with any of these, nor with rooting, but  I try.
    • FINAL LOOKS—Go through everything, just like you would before baking.  Look at everything from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, back to front.  Look at it in different lighting…outside, inside, half in, half out….yellow light, white light, blue light.  Take photos of it and look at them.  It’s not JUST how it looks in person, it has to look right in photos too.  And at least for me, seeing it in photos gives me a unique outlook.
    • DON’T FORGET TO SEAL EVERYTHING YOU DID.  DO NOT BAKE ONCE YOU’VE USED PRISMA OR AIR DRY PAINT. 
  • Matte Varnish If the baby is at all shiney, use ultra matte varnish to take the shine away.  I usually put a coat on no matter what, just to give it a bit of extra protection and make it nice and matte. 
  • Rooting  You can skip this if you did a different hair method or you want a bald baby.  As with some of the other things, I’m not going to get into how to do this…go watch YouTubes.  Or join Sue-Ellen’s Patreon.  Just look up “reborn rooting” or “reborn hair mapping”.  I can’t’ teach what I don’t understand and can’t do myself, LOL. 
  • Magnets (Optional)  These are optional, but I love the flexibility.  Since I’m sealing the hair and eye [lashes in anyway, I put a magnet behind the lips and one on the top, side of the head for a magnetic hair bow.  I just use the glue I’m already using to seal the rooted hair and set the magnets in it.  Make sure you let it dry the time the glue says.  Some people use E6000, but I prefer Tacky Glue…it takes a bit longer to dry, but for me it’s easier to work with. 
  • Assembly, Weighting and putting together. 
    • Limbs
      • I fill the limbs to about the elbow or knee, then gently shake the limb so the glass beads work all the way down.  I will also squeeze the hand and foot and make sure there are no evident air pockets.  Once the beads are filling the hand and foot and lower leg/lower arm, I fil the rest of the limb with regular poli-fill making sure to keep the top firm but not misshapen.   Then I cut a felt circle to about the size of the limb, put a ring of Glue on the top of the limb and press the felt circle firmly over the hole and set it aside  to cure.  Once the limbs are done, I attach them to the body.
  • Body
    • My first step is usually to attach the limbs to the body.  For ¾ limb babies, I add poly-fill to the top of the limb and make sure it is well stuffed but not too tight and that no stuffing shows around the zip ties.
    • If I’m using silicone for the bottom, I out that in the general location first, then holding that with my one hand, I add some regular poly-fill between and around the cheeks making sure not to move the silicone pieces away from the cheek area.  Once I have that settled and stuffed where I’m happy, I move on to adding the Tummy.
    • Tummy—I take some super soft poly-fill and a nylon and wrap the soft polyfill in a nice, rounded soft mound. If I’m using silicone pads, I go ahead and place that in the center of the tummy and make sure it’s secure.   I put that in the body where the tummy goes and use some regular poly-fill to secure it in place.  Once I have everything set, I move on to the weighting.
    • When adding glass beads for weight, many people just use a pair of nylons tied in a knot.  I prefer to use a  Microfiber Sunglass Case for my glass beads**** I put the pouch in the body, then put a funnel in the bag, and take a cup of glass beads and pour them into the bag.  I do that until the baby feel “right” to me.   Some people weigh the beads first, but I just do it by feel.  My bag usually weigh about 1-1.5 pounds when finished.  Once I’m happy with the glass beads, I use the ties to wrap and tie the top; then add a zip tie and pull it TIGHT before cutting off the excess.  Poke the bag down and add regular poly fill, or soft polyfill, around the bag of beads, tummy and bottom until I have the body feeling “right” to me.   I can’t be more specific on this, I just do what feels right.    Make sure there is enough polyfill around the neck to feel firm, but not enough to stop the head from flopping like a real newborn.
    • Because I put my heart and soul into my babies, I add a crocheted Heart to the body in the poly-fill. I’ve only started doing this since Ricki, but it will be something every future baby has.   
    • Head– Like the body, I add glass beads to the Microfiber Sun Glass Case****.  First thing I do is add some polyfill in the top of the head and around the face, I don’t want the bag of beads to show through, even if I use Nylons.  Then I put the bag into the head, and fill the bag with a funnel, just like the body.  I stop periodically to shake the bag a bit and work the glass down and get rid of air pockets.  Once I have the head the weight I want (and remember, a babies head is a MUCH higher percentage of body weight than an adult) I tie and zip tie the bag as I did the body and tuck it into the head, then fill around  and between the bag and hole with poly-fill.  Then I cut a felt circle about the size of the hole and glue it on the neck flange.  After letting it set, I put it on they body and tighten the zip tie. 
    • BIRTH—Usually my last step is putting the head on the body, at that point I look at the clock and write down the time.  Then I take out the scale, I use a food scale, and weigh the baby and write that down.  Then I check the zip ties for tightness and adjust as needed and then I use a pair of nail clippers to clip off the excess all on the limbs and the head.  Make sure you record all the specifics (Time of “birth”, weight, etc) Sign the baby if desired .  Diaper and dress baby …….then PHOTOSHOOT TIME! 

And that is my process.  Forgive any mistakes, but a lot of people have been asking for other artists way of doing things.   This is not right or wrong, it’s just my process and everyone has their own process.  I’ve learned thing from so many wonderful artists and incorporated their lessons into my Process and I know I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my artistic career….  These aren’t rules…..they’re more like, Guidelines, or Suggestions!

NOTES

* Toothpick with cotton https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N8ZPNF3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

**AK Interactive Matte Varnish  https://www.amazon.com/AK-Interactive-ultra-matte-varnish/dp/B00KARY7QG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ak+interactive+matte+varnish&qid=1638849286&sr=8-1

***Silicone Breast Bra inserts.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JXDPA1Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

****Microfiber Bags https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B092V9LB4B/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

*****Stencil Pouncers https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083S915CT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

******Kabuki Brush  https://www.dollsbysandie.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=13029

*******Tack Sponge https://bountifulbaby.com/products/1400?_pos=4&_sid=c82aadc02&_ss=r

******** Lighted Magnifier https://www.hobbylobby.com/Art-Supplies/Art-Fixtures/Lamps/OttLite-LED-Clip-Freestanding-Dual-Magnifier/p/80790890?gclid=CjwKCAiA-9uNBhBTEiwAN3IlNB8Jx6FCqhLK9aZVdNBGPR4IIyInaETviKWomjALHdMH2-rew9wjvRoCnacQAvD_BwE

8 Comments

  1. Gail Carter says:

    Thank you, i so enjoyed reading this. I’ve learned a lot. Wishing you many more Happy babies.

    Like

    1. Thanks, to you as well! I really enjoy making babies…..

      Like

  2. Cathy says:

    Thank you so much. Great information

    Like

    1. You’re welcome, glad it was helpful.

      Like

    2. You’re welcome! I hope it helped or will help.

      Like

  3. Jacqui says:

    Great tips reading this. Do you have any videos of mixing air dry paint or just genesis ?

    Like

    1. Right now just Genesis, when I get around to doing another air dry baby, I’ll make some videos of that…….though it’s mostly the same except using distilled water instead of thinner. YOu want the paint the exact same thinness for air dry as you do for Genesis. So just substitute distilled water for Thinner and don’t bake it, otherwise, exactly the same thing. But I’m sure eventually I”ll decide to do another air dry baby, and I’ll video that too. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  4. CFinnellParker says:

    Thank you for sharing. I really appreciated the information 💕

    Like

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