One of my favourite things in painting dolls is to use layers to create lifelike skin so translucent and textured that it is almost as if the doll is just holding their breath, ready to gasp to life at any moment.
This means multi hue base. To give Milk skin that exquisite translucence I use pale copper oxide green, powder pink and faint lavender. Between the layers I might draw blue blood vessels, on top freckles, moles, scars and tattoos. It’s a mixed media of aquarelles, pencils, acrylics, pastels and other pigments. I often use loose pigment powders made for human makeup such as the ones from Make Up Store and MAC. Each layer is sealed with thin spray of Mr. Super Clear UV Cut Flat sealant and each doll has 5-10 layers depending on the level of detail. I also love deep dark skin tone, although dark resin is always harder to work with, but there is something so stunning about the paler palms and soles of African skin.
For tattoos I often use aquarelle pencils, simply free hand drawing the designs on the dolls skin, designing the patterns dancing over the three dimensional shapes as I go along. If the tattoo is meant to look fresh I use darker, more vibrant colours over a base layer of blushing pink. If the tattoo is worn and old, the colours are faded and I do the body blushing over them for a more authentic feel.
I’ve always loved tattoos, although my own even evolving taste has never allowed me to have one. I would be bored with any design I would make before it was finished. Dolls offer an ideal medium for exploring the world of body art. For two years I have been planning a collection of tattooed dolls, each OOAK representing a tradition of body art. My favourite has always been the Japanese Irezumi. An aesthetic heavily influenced by the ukiyo-e wood prints of Hokusai and his contemporaries, and donned by the yakuza. The other tattoo traditions represented will be Russian Bratva prison tattoos, American biker gangs, Indian henna, and Viking warrior.
I am also interested in exploring bruises, scars, piercing and other body modifications in dolls. I was a tomboy of a child with constantly scraped knees, that grew into martial artist naming her bruises after the person who gave them to me. I consider scars and wrinkles as a part of a person’s life story written on their skin and all of it is beautiful, even if painful, because it is scars that carve depth into our souls. Hence, making dolls that show aging, bruises and scars is a wonderful way to tell story. It is what makes the dolls, and this work, interesting.
You can find examples of commission prices for OOAK Inamorata dolls and other doll commissions here. Hyper realistic body blushing is 100usd. Tattoo work depends much on the scale and detail, but estimate for a small individual tattoo is 50usd, and larger sleeves or full body tattoos need to be priced case by case. Same for leaf “gold” gilding. A detailed full body Irezumi style tattoo is 500usd.