Friday, October 19, 2007

Making Faces By Arlee Barr of Albedo Designs

Making Faces, part one

As many of you know, there are a plethora of doll sites now and lots of eye candy to look at for inspiration. There are some wonderful "lessons" in magazines as varied as Cloth/Paper/Scissors and Quilting Arts to Belle Armoire and all the other craft mags, on line and IRL. The hardest part often is making the object *yours*, especially if you have a limited budget, or if you don't have access to the "technology" or the "specialized" supplies. Painting faces to create your own touch is easy. Really. Really!!!!! Here's an easy tutorial with a minimum of supplies and costs. You can personalize to your heart's content. When you're done, you'll have a "library" of faces to work with later!

Read the instructions all the way through first! Then assemble your supplies. For the basepainting, you can use cheap acrylic, or do as i do----i bought a "mistint" in a neutral colour from a chainstore--a blued greywhite that cost me 7 bucks for 925 ml (almost a litre, i'm Canadian!)--it's a semi gloss latex housepaint! You also need an assortment of other colours--i use dollar store acylics and name brand fabric paints. Find 2 black markers, one a fine point, one slightly larger--i used Sharpie permanents. Cheap tiny brushes--dollar store again, and one slightly larger, say a half inch. A piece of cloth, something with a smooth finish--poly/cotton or pure cotton, same difference.Don't use the "good" fabrics--you're covering them with paint and nobody cares if it's silk or a vintage piece underneath!If you have already been painting things, use the groundcloth/sopcloth you've been wiping your brushes on--*no-one* else is going to have that "pattern"! I start with a chunk big enough that i'm not constantly leaning on wet paint. An iron and a presscloth. Clothes you don't mind wiping your hands on. Patience.

Okay. Start by painting with the base paint, circles, ovals, squares, heck whatever shape ya want. I do a dozen at a time depending on the size of fabric i'm using. If you are using a sopcloth, you may find colours bleeding through--let them!!!!

Lather it on--not so thick that it's globby and messy, but thick enough that you can now go to step two and paint on top of the wet basepaint with your colours. Blend, blend, blend--or don't, as you like.

Note, you are using TEENY globs of the colour to create the "skintones". And they don't have to be "real" skintones, either; allow yourself to use your flavourite colours! You can then on top while still wet, *lightly* highlight areas of eyes, nose or mouths--or not. No hard rules here!

While all the paint is still wet, though getting tacky, use the point of a pen or needle to draw features in---don't worry about perfection, don't do all of them, leave several as "blanks". You're building your library, remember? You might want to do something totally different down the road.

(The lines you have drawn will also make it easier to use the markers in defined areas; i have found though that once the paints are dry, most markers will draw smoothly on top. TEST first if you're not sure!!!)

Let this dry completely now. That's where the patience comes in.

Note--you could also do this whole process on a commercially printed fabric, leaving room for the rest of the figure. Leaving out the step of the base coat *might* allow some of the patern to come through---TEST again.

Making Faces, part two

Ready for the next, most exciting part?

Draw faces now with the fine marker. Don't worry about perfection--these aren't mechanically produced and you don't want them cookie cutter same. Again, leave some of them blank for future use if you want!

For the sake of demonstration and to save space, i'm going to concentrate on the green face in the upper left corner.

With the tip of your finest brush, add dabs of white to the eyes. Don't worry if it goes over the lines, as long as it's not extreme.

Now WITHOUT CLEANING YOUR BRUSH, load the tip again with a dark colour. Dot it in the middle; it will blur and blend a wee bit--don't mix it up!

Do the same again with a lighter colour in the same family:

Now a dot of black(make sure these are both on the same side of the eyes or you'll get a crosseyed effect) You can also add a TINY dit of white again for a highlight:

Clean your brush now. (Start another sopcloth :}) Lips next, small amount of the darkest colour:

Second colour, WITHOUT cleaning your brush--blend lightly, don't mix!

Clean your brush again. Now take your fine marker and do the teeniest bits of touch up where necessary, and to lightly delineate the iris.

You can also use your thicker marker to accent more heavily if needed. Use a light, careful, steady hand!

Paint some hair now, or draw on with the markers. This one got metallic green, russet and gold, "combed" through with a pin in squiggles:

She looks rather "Pan" ish! (By the way, this face is only 2x3 inches)

Now wasn't that easy??? Email me some of your efforts--i'd love to see them. And if i've made any mistakes or you need clarification, let me know too!

And a PS--these don't have to just go on dolls---put em on ATC's, postcards, clothing, bags, etc--BUT CREDIT ME!

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved — Written By Arlee Barr of Albedo Design - Arlee is a textile artist, fashion designer, seamstress, published poet, book critic, illustrator, artist and floral designer. According to Arlee: "Texture and shadow and illusion draw me: the more lush and luxurious, the more alluring and seductive. My passion manifests itself in one of a kind and limited edition garments. These pieces are wearable art fashioned using a variety of hand and machine techniques. My designs appeal to the adventurous, the non-conformist and the unique. Design shapes are simple, allowing the fabric and detailing to tell the story. Whether your taste is gothic, flamboyant, outrĂ©, avant-garde or just ready for something different, you can explore your closet dreams."

1 comment:

  1. Love the tutorial, faces is one of my biggest scare to do. I do mixed media and fiber art, but do not have a art background. This was soooooo helpful..thanks!!!