ball-jointed dolls & accessories

Ox Gall usage for watercolor on BJD + blushing with acrylics


I just made a very important discovery, and I want to share it with you!

BJD faceup artists strive to make their brush strokes as thin as possible: they buy top quality brushes or modify existing ones cutting an extra hairs, practicing a lot, etc.


When I used acrylic paints I was able to dilute them to make a very thin strokes.

But acrylic paints have two main disadvantages:
- they dry crazy fast, in a matter of seconds, and they dry pretty fast on your palette, so you have to add water every 5-10 minutes to keep the right thickness of paint. Too much water - and the paint is too transparent, otherwise your drop of paint would dry out or will be too thick.
- after the paint is dried on a doll face you can remove it with ethanol alcohol or isopropyl alcohol only, with a risk of ruining a sealing layer of MSC underneath. You have to rub pretty hard to remove all the paint. So if you made a mistake you have to try hard to remove it.

Watercolors can be removed completely with water, so you have a much more creative freedom. One of the examples is how I paint wrinkles:
- I paint an irregular, wobbly line,
- then I use a toothpick with a tiny bit of cotton wool wrapped around its tip and slightly moistened with water,
- and I touch the line here and there making it even more irregular, almost invisible in some places and intact in other places.



So, watercolor is more forgiving.

But it also has a downside: being diluted with water only, it gathers in tiny droplets on the doll's face, because originally it was designed to work on paper which is porous, so excess water should soak into it. 


Ox gall is used to improve the flow of watercolor and other water diluted paints like gouache. Here is a very thorough article on its usage. Article says: "Try 3 - 8 drops per cup of water (read: 8 drops is the totally excessive high-end.)"


The one I use:


I was adding about one drop to my diluted supply of watercolor paint, and as it was a very tiny amount of paint, I believe I was adding much much more ox gall than recommended.


But yesterday I accidentally added too much ox gall. And I tried it on paper first, and then on a doll. I could do a very thin strokes now!


So, what happens if you dilute your paint with water just to take some paint on your brush and transfer it to your palette, and then use ONLY ox gall to get the right paint thickness:
- it takes much longer for the paint to dry, like 3-4 times longer at least,
- thus it allows you to get more strokes from the same brush dip, so it saves both paint and time,
- it's easier to get a thicker paint mix to have the brighter colors,
- the flow improves significantly, so the strokes are extremely thin. 



I also tried an irregular blushing on her cheeks made not with pastels but with acrylic paints. 


Why acrylics and not watercolors, regarding the fact that watercolors are way more forgiving?

Because I build the blushing layer by layer, applying a drop of paint and spreading it around the cheeks with light touches. I remove the excess paint with a Q-tip. As acrylics dry almost immediately I can work in layers not needing to seal my paint each time. If you used a watercolor paint instead the next layers of wet paint would ruin the previous layers smearing them.

So, each part of faceup needs its paints and its techniques.


Just compare the result above with the eyebrows I painted not so long ago, and see the difference. Please see how the eyebrow strokes gather into tiny droplets here and there, also the ends of some of my eyelash strokes have those tiny blotches, because watercolor paint gathers there.



I want to repaint her now >_<

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