Painting dolls from drawing?
November 10, 2009 10:13 PM   Subscribe

I had an idea for my sisters Christmas present, help me make it...

I want to paint some nesting dolls to look like my nephew, from age 1 to 8. I have plenty of pictures, but going from 2-dimension photos to 3-dimension painting seems to be a bit over my skill level. I've faked sketching by drawing "over" photos in Photoshop, but I don't think that would work here. I don't need photo quality, I just would like the dolls to be recognizably him.
posted by Marky to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
can you print the pictures of him and then lacquer them to the dolls?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:23 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would recommend Etsy's Alchemy.

Post your request, price, and deadline and people bid on the project.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 10:23 PM on November 10, 2009

Depending on your own artistic skills, you could buy nesting dolls that are already painted and just pain nephew-like features over the already painted ones. That way, ideally, the features will be in roughly the places that they should be. For the nesting dolls when he was younger, you might need to play with moving the features together a bit to make the smaller nesting doll faces look more baby-like. Also, I would assume that recognisably-his outfits would go a long way ('Ah! the dinosaur t-shirt he refused to take off when he was three!').

It's a really cool idea and I hope it works out well for you!
posted by brambory at 10:45 PM on November 10, 2009

I've faked sketching by drawing "over" photos in Photoshop, but I don't think that would work here.

It might. Do you have access to an inkjet printer? Read the comments for tips. And if the image smudges -- let dry and lightly erase with sandpaper.
posted by moonshine at 12:39 AM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

There are various online tutorials and software programs available for the Googling that will tell you how to transform a photo into a "paint-by-numbers" painting or into a sketch for a colouring book. Then, they could be sized appropriately onto a paper that could be decoupaged onto the dolls and painted over, or you could use transfer paper? Fiddly, but possible.

Or, you could use a simple folk-art style that gives the impression of your nephew rather than attempting a realistic quality, or be inspired by a cartoon style that you admire. I'm thinking of Laura Levine's style, but you could model it on anyone from Charles Schulz to Lynda Barry to Matt Groening (or even Bill Keane, if that's your thing).
posted by peagood at 7:40 AM on November 11, 2009
Copy and paste this into your browser for a good link on how to print on fabric. I suggest using white cotton t-shirt material. Crop your image before printing it and remember to print a couple of experimental images to get your sizing right. Cut your freezer paper to 8x11 and iron it on the fabric. Now you can feed this into your printer and print away. Do your final trimming before you remove from the freezer paper. The knit fabric should allow you to decoupage the image onto a curved surface. You may have to spray a fixative (sometimes simple hairspray works fine) before you decoupage to prevent smearing of the ink. Have fun with this project, it sounds like it will be a very nice gift for your sister!
posted by yankee named dixie at 9:00 AM on November 11, 2009

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