Monday, March 25, 2013

Varnish Test #1

Since I started offering body blushing, I've been worried about varnish strengths because I know that body blushing often rubs off. I don't think it's fair for me to offer a service if I cannot provide customers with something that is as durable as possible. I still don't recommend full body blushing because torso joints are especially prone to rubbing and flaking but I think that chest blushing, manicures and pedicures will last reasonably well.


  1. MSC (Mr.Super Clear) UV Cut Matte
  2. ZM (Zoukei-Mura) Powder Spray UV Cut
  3. Future floor wax. This is high gloss, plain acrylic gloss. Don't freak out.
  4. Golden Matte Varnish with UVLS
  5. Golden Matte Varnish with UVLS layered on Future
  6. Liquitex Matte Varnish
  7. Liquitex Matte Varnish layered on Future
  8. Liquitex Ultra Gloss Varnish

Airbrushing vs. Pastels from my POV

I got my first airbrush about a year ago because I was tired of limitations set by pastels. I didn't like how the colors of the pastels would wash out when it was fixed or not being able to get bright opaque colors or white to show up. I was also interested in trying alternatives to toxic sprays since I have a little cat that likes to follow me around wherever I go. Before I bought my airbrush and when I was very low on income, I tried mixing an acrylic solution and spraying it with a spray bottle with a fine mist. It didn't work very well because the amount of solution it sprayed out was very heavy and would cause things to run. Trying a small misting bottle also didn't work well because it would clog and there was no good way to clean it.

I purchased Golden brand matte acrylic varnish with UVLS along with my first airbrush supplies so I started using that as I began airbrushing. My experience with airbrushing acrylics and matt varnish has been very good.

The pros of airbrushing:
- Smooth color gradations.
- Ease of applying dark/intense colors compared to blushing with pastels.
- Ability to apply colors lighter than resin color. (impossible with pastels)
- Resin matching mods.
- Ability to mask and airbrush areas of color for tattoo work.
- Switching to less toxic materials.

The cons of airbrushing:
- Lint is more likely due to longer dry time of mediums and varnish.
- Cleaning time required during and after work.
- Switching colors is not as quick and easy as switching colors with pastels.
- Materials are more expensive.
- For some ppl during the learning phase, there might be issues with applying something and not being able to erase it.

Example of pastel vs airbrushed faceup shows that results are comparable although it is a lot easier to get nice large areas of soft blushing with airbrush than with pastels.


Pastel + MSC/ZM spray:

Although is more time consuming (as Xhanthi can attest) to airbrush a faceup than to use pastels, I like the overall results and the lower toxicity of using airbrushed colors and fixatives. I can wear safety gear and spray outside but this is difficult when it is cold out or when it is windy. I don't have to worry as much about pigments losing intensity when the pastels are sprayed and I can mix my own colors much more easily than with pastels. On the other hand, picking lint out is a very annoying procedure. I currently wear cotton gloves that can leave lint so I am considering switching to nitrile gloves.

In regards to acrylic brands, I know the famous Andreja was also trying out alternatives to MSC around the same time. She uses Liquitex which I have also tried after I finished using my bottle of Golden because it turned out to be slightly cheaper. In the end, I actually prefer Golden Matte Medium. The reason is that it does not shine up as much as Liquitex can if I accidentally spray too thick a layer. However, this shininess shouldn't really be an issue if you remember to spray light coats 4-6 inches away from the resin surface with the Liquitex.

While I like Golden mediums better, the Liquitex varnish performs better than the Golden varnish. I will do another post on varnishes in a few hours.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekend update

I'm finally catching up a little on outstanding commissions but I still have a lot on my plate.

I have mailed out JanetT's heads! She makes great costumes so I'm interested to see how Pet and Maddy turn out.

I need to do final touch-ups to MayWong's heads as well as sand and prep some action figure heads. (sanding and prepping are terrible but necessary chores if I want a good canvas to work on.)

On Thursday I was stuck in Chinatown since my sister was really worked about the 20 yo cat. He's actually not so bad but since he is having a not so good reaction to the penicillin for his UTI he's been having some issues. (I've had him since I was super little so he's impt to me.) I have to take him to the vet again tomorrow for some follow up on the UTI. I've spent a ton of money the last two weeks on vet bills. My sister has no income and she is paying for her alternative medicine school and her mortgage from whatever savings she has so I can't really ask her to handle any of the expenses.

At any rate since I was stuck there I brought the watercolor pencils I had lying around to try them once again. I initially really didn't like them because of the graininess of the lines but on the soft vinyl the grainy look is not there. I think it is because the point sinks in more. However that also means getting fine and dark lines is harder. Overall I like them a lot more and will be adding them to my arsenal. I still finish with paint tho.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Petrucchio for JanetT

He took forever. Hah...That's what comes to my mind when I look at him. Mainly it's because there were many thin layers of paint and because of the facial hair and wrinkles. It's easy to paint a pretty face. It's much harder to paint a not so pretty face. Overall I'm pretty happy with him. It was hard because the face sculpt is for a child but he is in his late 30s to early 40s and has led a hard life.

Well, here he is....the one concern is that Maddy's  huge eyes and makeup overpowers him a bit.  We'll see what JanetT wants me to do.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Finished a bunch of commissions - updates

I have glossed and finished up maywong's last head but there were some small changes needed on one that I need to address before I send them back.

I will be working on JanetT's Petrucchio soon. I made a sketch that I think will work for him.

Here are the March commissions all done, as well as some from April.

I am clearing off my plate as fast as I can. I tend to be slower on the 1/6 heads because they take a lot of concentration and cramped work considering the size. I will be keeping everyone posted.

For now other March commissions will be on hold for a bit. L.K. has a slot in March but the schedule is relaxed so I will be working on her two Mir heads at the same time as well as her two pandas. 

For the Ada commission, I am currently testing final sealants to see which ones are the hardiest. Some of them scare me a bit with how toxic they are so if the non-toxic version holds up well, I can rest assured that I am offering my clients durable work on body blushing. Since the test will not be done for another two weeks (cure time) I have told Medusa's (Impldoll Ada) owner to hold off on sending her.

As such I have cleared the March commissions that I can work on now and have set aside a small amount of time to finish off the 1/6 vinyl heads and to work on some personal things until 3/21 or thereabouts ^____^!

I hope everyone has been having a good year so far. In terms of my dad's estate, things are still unsettled due to internal family rifts (with cousins and shared property). The 20 yo cat is fairly stable but has a UTI so he is on Clavamox and needs to go to the vet again in about 10 days. So....I'm not great but it's doable for now. Vet bills are super high so I'll see what I can do. I'm handling things right now but I do wish things were a teeny bit lets say getting my LLC established so I can get paid for my freelance gig in January.

Alright...That's about it...Sorry for a bit of whining. I really do hope everyone is doing well in 2013 and that you have time for yourself. I will be posting again at least in the next two weeks.