Tutorial: Blushing parts to match

After much practice, trial and error, I feel I can offer a few tips for people who want to blush resins from different dolls to match. I've had lots of failures before figuring out a few things unfortunately T_T So hopefully my experiences can help other people avoid some of the frustrations I've been through.

Before starting, 2 things to think about:

1. It goes without saying that it's easiest to blush heads, hands or feet to match a body than it would be to blush a whole body to match any other body part.

2. Unless you calculate in the whitening factor of MSC, you cannot use pastels to blush a piece lighter. You'd have to airbrush with acrylic paints or some other method to lighten.

Now for a tool list. Not everything is in the picture, but it's good to have at least:
- color pastels (you'll need at least the basic primary and secondary colors)
- white chalk or pastel
- Xacto blade or other tool for grating the pastels and chalk
- mixing container or surface (I like to use dixie cups with the tops torn off)
- brushes (whatever sizes you feel are appropriate for the job)
- water
- paper towels
- Purity Seal, MSC, or other sealant (I do not recommend MSC unless you need a piece to be lighter, because the whitening factor can be unpredictable)

I highly recommend Purity Seal because it's a bit tougher than MSC and dries completely clear as long as you follow instructions. It's also a little more versatile as you can use it in a greater range of temperatures and humidity doesn't effect it quite as much. It is also cheaper and seems to be more readily available in more places around the world. At the time I am writing this, you can order it online from Games Workshop, but it is listed as Matt Varnish Spray at the moment. They still have not changed name but I can confirm that at least right now and for the last year, when you ordere(d) Matt Varnish Spray from Games Workshop, you're ordering Purity Seal. You might have to choose your country first and then click the link again, but hopefully this link will work: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat1491306&prodId=prod1200065

If you are going to be using MSC, you have to calculate in the whitening factor. Here are some examples from one of my own, and with permission of two other DOA members here:

Iplehouse Arvid in Real Skin on the left below is mine and the body has 2 layers of MSC on it.

Ok, now for steps:

Step 1: Spray base seal
A single layer should be sufficient to seal the piece you're working on before you begin blushing. This is to protect the resin itself from being permanently stained, so you can remove the blushing later if you wish.

Step 2: Mix your color
This is the hard part and where all the work is really. I'm not confident that I can explain this well, but I'll do my best. The formula isn't always what you initially think it should be so this is where that water and paper towels comes into play. You'll probably have to wipe the spot you test on several times before you come up with the right color. Some things are rather straight though, like if you have a pink body but a lighter pink head, just blush with some more pink.

Most of you will probably be trying to make a subtle change in color, like changing a pink head to match a peachier body or some such. This is why you need to white pastels or chalk. If you use a straight color, most of the time it will be too dark so you mix in white chalk or pastel to thin it. Keep in mind that the white will dissolve somewhat when you spray the sealant on, so you should ideally go for a shade lighter than what you want. It's like if you get white powder wet, it turns translucent.

If your pieces are about the same level and you just need to tint, then you'll only need a primary or secondary color with white chalk to make them match. It may be counter intuitive, but it works. For instance, if your body is a perfectly neutral tone, but your head is pink, to neutralize the pink, you will need it's opposite on the color wheel: green. To neutralize a pink tone, just mix some green pastel with white chalk or pastel.

Most of you know, but for those who may not, the opposing colors of the color wheel that neutralize each other are:
red - green
blue - orange
yellow - purple

Mix any 2 of those and you get brown.

Then there are secondary mixes, like if you have a peachy colored body, but a yellow head: yellow+red=orange, so blush the yellow head with some pink to match it. Again most people reading probably already know, but for the sake of completeness:
red+yellow=orange
red+blue=purple
blue+yellow=green

You probably wouldn't really think of green and purple in terms of skin much usually, but some tan resins actually have a pretty green base (possibly the reason for greening instead of yellowing?). I found that was the case with my Iplehouse Lee.

Anyway, here's my working example for this thread. I'm blushing some normal pink Doll Zone jointed hands to mach my IOS 80 normal colored boy. For this I used the headcap for comparison because even though a blushed body's lightest parts show the original color, it creates an optical illusion and I've blushed a number of jointed hands too dark in the past because of this T_T And I just can't bring myself to unstring and clean off the jointed hands... But back to things... You can see the headcap is an overall darker tone and has base somewhere between pink and peach:

Since it's a darker tone, I use a bit of brown. The brown that I am using here is reddish, so I added some orange to tint it in that direction. I added quite a bit of white chalk to the mix because although I'm going for a shade darker, a little goes a long way so it the color had to be thinned. I didn't realize the brown was THAT red till after I tested it though so I ended up having to mix a bit of green in to tone that down. The mix doesn't always look the same when you apply it, so you may have to wipe and adjust the mix several times before finding the right tone.

Color testing:

Step 3: Apply the color
No real trick to this. Just use any brush that feels right to brush the color onto/into the resin evenly.

Oh actually, there is a trick if you're doing jointed hands and you want to make sure the joints are the same color as the rest of the hands. You'll have to do the first coat on the hands with the palm flat, fingers straight out. Then once you've blushed and sealed the hands, you'll need to curl each joint, blush each joint, then spray the hands in that curled position so that you don't have different colored joints in your hands.

Step 4: Seal
Using whatever sealant you chose, just spray the sealant over the piece as directed. I recommend at least 2 coats. If you find that the color is still too light after the first coat, you may want to add additional blushing and seal again. It's better to err on the side of lighter because it's hard to correct without completely starting over if you accidentally go too dark. I have lots of dolls with jointed hands that are too dark to attest to that T_T

Here's a 2nd example blushing Sprit Doll normal jointed hands to match Iplehouse's Real Skin:

When going darker you don't use as much white so you don't have to balance that out as much with the sealant, but you may still see the subtle difference:

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