Custom Designer Vinyl Toys, Paper Toys & Plush Toys
Please note: Pictures are provided on the bottom of each description.
1. STRIP: Here is an Eggy Dunny about to get its existence wiped out. I take a paper towel dipped in acetone and rub away the current paint job. I hear Goof-Off works too, geriatrician but when I saw that the acetone packaging matched Eggy, ampoule I knew it was meant to be.
2. SAND: Now in his birthday suit, Eggy is a brand spanking eight inches of vinyl. I recently painted alongside Lou Pimentel and he stressed the importance of sanding. Lou says:
“Vinyl toys have traces of demolding grease that is applied to help remove the figures from the molds. Sand the toy with a fine grit sand paper. I use 320 grit. Wash the toy with warm water to remove the particles from the sanding.”
And so I waxed off like Daniel-san on a filthy car.
3. PRIME: Realizing that I’m probably still zooted from the acetone, I resist my sudden urge to write Paul Budnitz pleading for the sale of blank dunnies. Instead, I prime the dunny at hand with Liquitex gesso, which has a nice consistency. It covers well and is fluid without having to add water. One coat provides good coverage but I add a second for good measure. I use a synthetic brush for this because a bristle one would be too rough and a sable one would be too much of an investment to have acrylic or gesso dry on. I use black gesso to save time since my character is mostly black anyway.
4. SKETCH: I draw directly on the dunny with a colored pencil – the one used here is a Prismacolor Warm Grey. Even though this erases easily when necessary, I don’t worry about having a finished drawing at this point. I want to establish the drawing further as I paint so just a general placement of shapes in the sketch is ideal.
5. ACRYLIC: As a timesaver, I use acrylic for my first layer of paint. I continue to sketch with the acrylic and add water to keep the surface flat. I don’t mind brush-marks in the end product, but I prefer to do that with the oil paint. I continue to refine the drawing, but don’t go crazy with it since it will be covered in oil soon. I actually spill over the borders defined by the pencil drawing to set up the overlapping that will take place in these areas.
6. OIL: I tend to start with the least important parts or the parts I know I can finish quickly. I almost never paint the face first – I procrastinate everything. I painted the grey areas of the arms and legs a little high in the acrylic stage so I can come down with the oil and draw the hairs as I go along. As much as possible I want to run the paint together rather than paint up to an edge and stop. Where the chest and stomach meet the hair on the sides is a good example. I also repaint the black areas in oil – this time with thicker amounts of paint to leave brush marks. Those large areas deserve some sort of attention too (hard to see in these pics).
I start the head by painting black in the areas that I know will make contact with greys. This way, when I define the grey features, I am not left with a hard edged line separating the shapes. If I do end up with a hard line, I brush over it with and empty brush slightly soaked in Liquin Light. I end up doing a lot of back and forth until I find the edge and border definition I want. The same with the rest – a lot of pushing and pulling starting with darks and building up to middle and light tones. Last, I take a toothbrush loaded with red paint and flick splatter where I think they are needed.
I usually plan which area of the toy to leave unpainted so I can hold on to it while working on everything else. In this case, it is the lower back and bottom of the head. This ‘handle’ gets painted when everything else is done and I can work on it as the toy stands on its own. I actually end up smudging some of the paint when I reattached the head so I had to repaint the damaged areas. If you have more patience than I do, waiting for the paint to dry so the toy can be handled is probably a better idea.
7. OIL SUPPLIES: For the most part, I used a round watercolor brush. The short handle of a watercolor brush makes toy painting easier and the round shape is great for varying stroke weights. For larger areas I used a bright sable. I like Liquin Light as a medium and I love that it quickly (about two hours) makes oil paint tacky enough to easily pile more paint on. When I finish a toy and the paint is completely dry, I add a layer of Liquin Light to revive the painting.
8. RESULT: The most important part, the result!