These are the paints and other supplies I use for all of my doll painting. I purchase most of these at http://www.dickblick.com, and occasionally at local art or craft stores. I find it difficult to find the lip and eye colors in art or craft stores, but you can usually find the mediums and varnishes and the more typical colors. You can often find a suitably tiny brush at a store, where you can look them over in person, even if they don’t have the exact ones I list here. However, the brushes I list are much more affordable at Dick Blick than in any brick and mortar store I’ve visited. One bottle of paint will last you for years of painting small dolls. Even with Mars Black, for boots and hair, a two ounce bottle or tube can paint hundreds of Hitty-size dolls. But you might need to replace your brushes more often, so the discount really helps. I order my brushes in bulk.
If you buy the varnish or mediums in a store, make sure to tip them up and check for sediment on the bottom. Satin varnish may have a little settling, which should mix back in easily and quickly when the bottle is tipped up. None of the others should have any sediment. If they do, or if the sediment in a bottle of satin varnish sticks to the bottom, they are too old. Whenever you use any of these mediums or varnishes, remember to mix gently by rolling and tipping the bottle. Shaking will introduce bubbles of all sizes into acrylic varnishes, which will cloud the finish or leave flaws.
I do shake the paints to remix before use.
All the paints, varnishes, and mediums I use are Liquitex acrylics, and are water-based, non-toxic, and require only soap and water cleanup.
I know these materials are not cheap, so I will give you a list of absolute essentials, followed by a list of materials that are extremely useful.
All of my paints are Liquitex Soft Body Acrylics.
At a minimum, you will need:
*French Gray/Blue for Eyes
*Venetian Rose for Lips and Face Color
*Glazing Medium – mix with the paint to thin the color and to improve adhesion and flow.
It is really nice to have:
*Deep Portrait Pink
*Burnt Umber (for brown eyes and hair)
* Neutral Gray Value 5 (for gray eyes)
*Olive (for green eyes)
*High Gloss Varnish
*Palette Wetting Spray – use in place of water to thin paint. I don’t spray it, I just drip it into the paint on my pallete to thin it. Sometimes I put a bit on my pallete, and wet my brush with it before loading the brush with paint.
You will need at least one tiny brush for details, and one larger brush for broad areas like hair and shoes. My favorite tiny brushes are:
*Princeton Art & Brush Co. 20/0 Liner – 3050L
*Princeton Select Petite – 20/0 Liner Petite – 3750ML.
These are both excellent brushes. I use both. I couldn’t choose between the two if I had to, and you can’t go wrong with either one.
You will need at least one larger brush. Exact size doesn’t matter as much here, but it should be an angular or flat shader between 1/4-inches and 3/8-inches wide. I like to use the Princeton Select 3/8-inch Angular Shader – 3750AS-037, but there are a lot of brushes that would work just as well. Brushes in this size range are much more common than the tiny brushes.
Your palette is the easiest problem to solve. I recommend using some disposable materials to save yourself the time of scraping, scrubbing, and otherwise cleaning up leftover paint.
Most often, I use aluminum foil. I keep a roll in my art studio, and break off small pieces as needed, usually 2-3 inches square, fold up the sides a bit to keep the paint inside, and throw away when I’m done. Acrylic paint dries quickly, but foil has the advantage that you may be able to fold it and seal it around your wet paint if you’re suddenly called way for a moment, or if you want to save it to use within the next hour.
Another good option is to use an old dish, such as a saucer or small plate, and cover it with a bit of plastic wrap. You can put your paint directly on the dish, but then you’ll need to wash it later and make sure all the paint is scraped away. With acrylic paints, if you mix new paint on top of old dried paint, the old paint will lift and shred into tiny bits that will mix into your new paint and spoil it. If you use plastic wrap to cover your palette, whether it’s a real art store palette or an old plastic butter lid, you have instant cleanup.