While I was browsing the grocery store toy aisle the other day, I came across something that made me gasp out loud. A Wonder Woman Barbie! I’m not really a big fan of Barbies, but this was something I had to splurge on, because I am a responsible adult, and sometimes you just need a really awesome Wonder Woman doll in your life.
I’ve had a love of Wonder Woman for awhile, shared mostly between me and my roller derby friend–we even used to wear matching WW derby shorts! (Here’s me on the right as Captain Wonderpants, and her wearing our team shirt–from North Pole, Alaska.)
So back to the doll…Since I couldn’t just leave her with a factory paint, I was thrilled to learn of the amazing custom repaints people do online! I’m nowhere near that level of detail and professionalism, but I always love the idea of painting everything and making it my own.
The first step: taking off the factory face paint. This can be done easily with acetone-based nail polish remover and a washcloth. I used a little tiny paintbrush to get the hard-to-reach places in her eyes and mouth.
I printed some photos of the new Wonder Woman actress, Gal Gadot, to look at as reference, but I didn’t really follow them too closely. And I wanted her eyes staring to the side, instead of just straight ahead. I used acrylic paint, and started out with a soft dark pinkish color to find the shapes I wanted, remembering that if I absolutely hated it, I could always wipe it away with the acetone.
There were several moments I did actually consider wiping her away completely–it’s so difficult to paint a three-dimensional figure that small! But I kept working with it wiping small areas here and there and starting over again, and finally got it where I liked it. I’ve read that most of the pro doll painters use chalks and blushes, but I sort of enjoyed the painted look for some of the shading, and since it’s mine and I’m the boss of it, that’s what I did.
I also added quite a lot of shading and highlight detail on her headpiece and uniform to make it pop out more, and not look so plasticky.
And lastly, I decided she needed a chest tattoo of a big ol’ eagle because Wonder Woman is awesome like that. I might fill her up with more. In fact I’m pretty sure I will…those legs look a little bare for my taste. 🙂 And I debated on it with myself a bit, but finally decided she needed a few freckles, because…why not? And to finish her up, I gave her a good spray-down with Testors varnish, which works well on dolls, and dries to a matte finish.
And there she is! Someone on Instagram already commented that they didn’t like her eyebrows, but since I didn’t really ask for her opinion and I didn’t paint it for her, I don’t care. I like how she turned out.
She’s really mine now, and she’ll protect our house as well as a Barbie-sized Wonder Woman can, maybe on the fireplace mantle.
Have you ever had to have a kid doll, and made it your own somehow? I’m pretty positive I’m not the only one (I’ve got my eye on some Dark Crystal and Labyrinth Funko toys, too)…. So have fun and have a WONDERful day!
Call me old fashioned, call me overprotective, but I’m a little weird about having my daughter’s face all over the internet. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the internet, while a wonderful and amazing resource, can be quite creepy.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned from the “Collaborations” post going viral is that nothing is sacred. People are free to say and do anything from behind the protective shield of a computer screen. And they do.
I am reminded of an installation piece by Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal, who lived in a room for a month with an internet-controlled paint gun. Anyone at all could log on and shoot him, with no repercussions, no consequences. And they did. A LOT. SO much so that he was haunted and traumatized by it. As this article states, “…when people no longer fear reprisal from their actions then they will become monsters with little regard for other human beings.”
So if I’m so protective of her, why post anything at all about my daughter? Simply put: she is an enormous part of my life. I know the things I do with and for her are things another mother or father might like to know, or might feel better for having read. People can be nasty, and while I’m a big girl and can handle it, I feel there’s no real reason (other than the fact that she is, in fact, super adorable) to show her face. Cropping and sideshots, folks. That’s just how it goes.
But since my artistic likenesses aren’t exactly photorealistic, I feel fairly comfortable sharing a painting I did of her. My first one of her, actually–and it was pretty intimidating. Photos rarely capture someone’s personality, and I find with portraits, I will sometimes paint it as closely as I can to the photo, and yet there is something always missing: the personality, which (unless you know the person) is difficult to grasp and (even if you do know them) is difficult to separate from.
One time, my daughter told me she wanted a “gown” to play dressup, so we got some pink thing (a dress? A nightgown?) at my friend’s vintage clothing sale for $3. At the time, her kid-drawings were nothing more than circles with faces, and lines for arms and legs. She called them “monsters,” so I recreated them in acrylic in the background.
When she saw the final piece, she looked for a minute with a critical eye and said, “…is that me?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Is that mine drawings?”
“Yes,” I said. “I put them on the painting. Do you like it?”
She paused for a long time. “I think it is beautiful.” She said.
And that’s pretty cool.