Dollfie Dream

Painting Dollfie Dreams

This blog is terribly backlogged, I’m really sorry about that. ヽ(´・д・`)ノ I’ve been busy with real life things and also visited Tracon and Korkeasaari Zoo so I’ve been travelling all over the place again, too. I’ll try to get things organised soon, please bear with me in the mean time! ((´∀`;))

But anyway, onto today’s blog post… I was asked on flickr about how I paint my DDs, but I only had some crappy instagram WIPs to show. So, now that I painted Megumi, I tried snapping some WIP shots with an actual camera to show a bit about my progress… I don’t really know how to give advice on painting dolls, I barely know what I’m doing half the time… basically I just paint lines and hope for the best, lol! But I guess seeing photos might give some tips, at least, even if I suck at explaining. (・∀・;) 
My tools for painting both my resin BJDs and Dollfie Dreams are MSC for coating, soft pastels for blushing & lines. And I of course have brushes, too. Here’s a photo of my trusted set of brushes, sometimes I use other miscelanneous brushes too if needed:

I think the line brush with the brown handle was from LeekeWorld, as are the blue lip detail & eyebrow brushes. The clear handled lip brush is from Thailand and the eyeshadow & cheeck blushing are make up brushes brought within Finland. White handled one is Ibero’s and blue Lumene’s.

The pastels that I use are these cheap Mungyo pastels from LeekeWorld. It’s probably true that if you use better quality pastels (that cost like 80€+), you’ll get a much smoother result… but for now I find that these are enough for me since I’m not a professional face up artist or anything. (-∀-`; )

I use different gloss for resin BJDs and DDs. In the past I only had this Tamiya X-22 Clear enamel that I used for resin dolls with no problems… but it does not work for vinyl at all. It never dries and remains sticky and collects all the dust, ugh… not recommended. So, I bought this Tamiya X-22 Clear ACRYLIC that is water-based and works for vinyl nicely.

You can use the acrylic gloss for resin, too, but I labeled them like this from a vinyl dolls customiser’s viewpoint. Also, I find that the Enamel gives a really nice glossy finish for resin dolls, while this acrylic is quite lame in comparison… but that’s my personal preference.
Usually I do the coating like this:
DD: base coat to protect the head → first layer of lines and light lip & cheek blushing → MSC coat → darkening the lines & blushing → finishing coat → glossing the lips

BJD: base coat to protect the head → base blushing around the eyes, lips & eyebrow shape → MSC coat → possible eyeliner, eyebrow hairs, lip lines & lashes → MSC coat → darkening the blushing & lines → MSC coat → more darkening the blushing & lines [ → optional: MSC coat → possible fantasy themed patterns ] → finishing coat [ → optional: for girls: adding shimmer on the eyeshadow and/or lips -> a very light coat of MSC to attach it ] → glossing the lips

So generally for DDs I do only 1-2 coats in between, depending on how successful I am and if I need to fix some things.
For BJDs I need more ’cause they have more blushing & lines, so the coats in between are anywhere from 2 to 4. But I try to keep the coatings to minimum. Especially with tan skinned dolls, MSC UV-cut tends to lighten them, so the less coats the better.

Also, if you use a lot of coats, the face up is more likely to chip. Even more so if you paint with acrylics. Pastels are a little more forgiving, but they can chip as well. Σ(゚ロ゚」)」 
Anyway, here are photos that I took while I was painting Megu:

I thought that I’d photograph her head blank for reference. I couldn’t get all of the brown acrylic out of her mouth (as it’s pretty deep) and decided to just leave it ’cause I’d be painting on top of it anyway… ヽ(;´Д`)ノ

And then the actual face up WIPs:

For the first layer I sketch the shape of the lashes with a light brown pastel. Oh, and note that the pastels have to be wet for you to be able to paint lines: scrape off some pastel dust on a piece of paper, dip your brush in it and dip the brush in water: make some test lines on the paper (or your hand) and take the brush to the doll’s face when you feel you’ve got enough pigment on your brush.
I also usually have the eyebrow shape here, but I screwed up too many times so I had to leave that for the next layer completely. The lines look quite ugly at this point, haha…( ´∀`)The lighter coloured pastels are hard to spread smoothly. I also blush the cheeks and lips lightly at this point.
Once you’re happy with the base lines, do a protective coat in between. Then, it’s time to darken the lines with a dark brown pastel. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look smooth at first, just keep adding more pigment as you paint the details and…
… the pastel will smooth itself out eventually, ahah. (;´∀`) After I get the lashes darkened, I finish the eyebrows and add more blushing on the cheeks & lips and also blush the eyebrows & lashes lightly to soften the lines a bit more.
So the end result ends up being something like this. I also do those blushing lines //// on the cheeks and the white dots on the same layer as the darkened lashes & blushing. Then I do the final coating with MSC.
As a result, we have a cute custom dolly, yay! Megu’s face up is a bad example ’cause I screwed up her eyebrows and lips… .( ̵˃﹏˂̵ ) Shows I still have a lot to learn.

I don’t know if this was helpful on any level, but… at least I’ve made a post about it, lol! ( ´∀`)

Here are the twins’ face ups, although you’ve most likely seen them before:


  • Fantasywoods

    I found it helpful, thanks for sharing!!

    I never saw a DD paint job before, so I’m glad to see the differences with this and BJDs.

    I’m still a beginner doing face ups for my dolls, so thanks :)

    • mizya

      You’re welcome! :D This is a bit of a mess of a post, but I’m glad if it was helpful on some level~

      Practise is the key with face ups, I’ve noticed… and also having good tools helps. I think in the beginning, in like, 2007 when I first tried doing face ups, I had these really hard pastels that barely had any pigment… my face ups were always so messy and grainy. =A=;; These Mungyo pastels are pretty good quality for their price, although some of the colours don’t seem to work as well as the others… but I definitely can get them to look much smoother than those awful pastels that I used in the beginning. :3 I think they’re a great alternative if you can’t afford to invest a lot of money in those super expensive high-end pastels.

      • The Anime Fan

        Hey! I was wondering. Do u have to use the gloss for the vinyl? And the base coat. What is that? I have a lot of questions. And what do u suggest for the make up for Juvia Lockser from Fairy Tail?

    • mizya

      I’m glad to hear that! ^^

      I was afraid of painting face ups at one point so I had a 3-4 year break from them… in the beginning I never seemed to be able to do them as nicely as I envisioned in my head so I quit altogether. But now I’ve been trying to practise again for the past few years and I’m definitely starting to see some improvement. :3 Although, there is always room for more improvement when you’re a perfectionist like me… XD

  • Irene

    Thanks for these pictures, they’re helpful to me because I might want to paint a DD one day, but the process and style is quite different from regular BJDs, isn’t it? :D

    • mizya

      Oohh, you should definitely try! :D I’d love to see what you can do with DDs, I love the face ups that you paint for your resin dolls! ♥

      Haha, yeah, it’s a bit different… vinyl as a material is already different from resin. I feel that when I paint on vinyl, the brush just glides and blushing spreads super smoothly, too… some resins that I have (especially the whites that have no colour added to them) are quite rough and uneven so I sometimes need to sand the surface before I can paint them well… and some are soooo smooth and shiny that in turn I have to sand them a bit rougher for the surface to have more tooth. >A>;; It’s definitely a more time-consuming process to paint resin…

      My favourite thing about face ups is painting lines, especially eyelashes. With my resin dolls I have to do lots of blushing first before I even get to the lines, so sometimes I get impatient and screw up the base blushing, lol… with DDs I can just start painting lashes right away and only at the end add some light blushing and there – done! I have so much more fun painting my DDs than the resin dolls, ahah! :’D

  • Alasse Carnesir

    Thanks for posting your progress. I am a huge admirer of people who can paint their dolls. I have only tried once or twice but I made a mess of things and decided to just send out heads for repaints to people much better than me at doing that sort of thing.

    I love the addition of the III and the white dots. It gives her this really cute school – girl look.

    • mizya

      No problem! I’ve found it helpful reading tips from others, so I thought that I’d share some of mine in case it might be of help to someone. :3

      When I originally tried painting my resin dolls in 2007, their face ups were really hideous. :’D I got so discouraged that I couldn’t paint the way I wanted that I stopped painting altogether for several years… I suppose it was in 2009 or 2010 that I tried my hand at doing some temporary face ups… like when I got my MNF Chloe, I painted half of her face really quickly to get an idea if she worked for her character or not before I took her to my friend for her actual face up… and then later when I got my second Narin, I painted his face up myself and it turned out okay enough, and slowly I was encouraged to paint more. And now I paint most of my dolls. It’s mostly do with the fact that I can’t really afford to send them to be painted by professionals, since a couple of years ago I moved to a bigger apartment that has a more expensive rent so I have less funds to use on my hobbies, haha. :’D

    • mizya

      You’re welcome! :3 Pastels work pretty nicely for linework, as long as you can find ones that have enough pigment. Most face up artists either use acrylics or watercolour pencils, but I don’t really care for either of those… watercolour pencils tend to look grainy and rough and acrylics are a bit more challenging to work with – and especially if you make a lot of mistakes like me, it’s more difficult to fix those mistakes without having to scrub the whole face up off.

      There has been only one time when I had to use acrylics for painting lashes and eyeliners for a doll, it was because Withdoll’s Rosy Brown is a very, very, dark gray… even black pastel didn’t show up too well. So I had to paint with black acrylic on top of the pastel lines… it was really nerve-wrecking. xD

  • Miyuki96

    Cool tutorial you posted. I have a few questions about it,
    Did you use Tamiya clear acrylic paint for the base and the gloss?
    Is this right?
    Tamiya clear acrylic(base coat)>Tamiya pink color(actual)>Tamiya clear acrylic(final coat n gloss)

    I searched up a lot on the net but haven’t found much helpful information yet and i really wanted to try painting my dd nails
    Thank you in advance ^-^
    Sorry for my terrible english


    Hi! I would like to ask what method you used to remove faceup on DD Mariko? is she the White Skin variant or the Semi White one?

    • mizya


      I use acetone free nailpolish remover by Maybelline (photo) to remove face ups from both my resin and vinyl dolls. Winsor & Newton brush cleaner is not available in my country and I don’t have the patience to use rubbing alcohol, as nailpolish remover does the work much faster. It’s completely safe as long as you don’t submerge the head in it, but instead use a cotton pad to gently rub the surface with it, and then carefully remove any possible residue with dishwashing soap & lukewarm water. I’ve not had nailpolish remover damage any of my dolls in the 12+ years that I’ve been in this hobby.

      And my Mariko is the Summer Festival edition released in 2015, so she is Semi-White skin. ^^ I’d love to get a White skin Mariko someday, as well, because I adore White skin DDs, haha~ xD

  • Kazuki933

    Thank you for posting this (even if this was written years ago). I got into the hobby around 2012 and even started my faceups around then. I’m not the best at them but I’m not the worst either and have come a long way since the beginning. I recently bought a DDH-04 head from Volks and was looking around for reference material. I have good brushes and mungyo pastels that will work well for the head. I have a few Dollfie Dreams myself but have never painted one and since I want to change out my MDD’s head since I’m not satisfied with it I decided to paint it myself (I can’t afford to buy the head and then send it off to someone else…money lol). Thanks again!

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