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~Face Up Handbook~ a Review

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Face Up Hand Book by Elisabeth “Iza” Suelli

There are now many video tutorials online which are a handy way to learn about creating a “face-up” on a doll head.  While it is wonderful to see the techniques and approaches of many artists, sometimes they can be difficult to follow while working on your own doll.  It is easier to have a book by your side as a reference than clicking on a video to find needed information when you are painting your face-up.  Elizabth Suelli’s Face Up Handbook allows a beginner to have all of the information immediately available for facing up vinyl and resin doll heads with very little searching.  Lists of materials, step by step coloring, all is included in a 68 page paperback book.

FaceUpHandbook-LogoSuelli, who creates face-ups for her own dolls and takes face-up commissions, has divided the book into five sections; Materials, Cleaning Your Doll, Sealing, Color Set Up, and Painting Your Doll’s Face. The first section includes recommended materials as well as those that should be avoided.  Sealing the head also touches on safety issues with spraying lacquers.  The color section includes some basic color theory and how this can be used to create a palette for coloring the doll. The final section is a step-by-step pictorial tutorial with captions describing each step the artist took to complete a doll head. Mixed in the book are fun facts and tips labelled “Did you know…?”

While there is much useful information, , the section on creating a palette and deciding on how to paint a head to bring out the intended personality of a sculpt was to me the most interesting.  It is useful to not only learn to select colors that will enhance the head, but also to convey a certain personality. While most experienced artists are used to considering these details, a beginner is worried more about getting the head “right” rather than making it come alive. The author includes not only her own work in this section, but also heads painted by other artists along with descriptions of  some of the decisions each person made to make the doll look a certain way.

The step by step face-up portion moves slowly through each step to thoroughly cover what would take very little time in a video.  For those nervous about the process, this approach is reassuring at it breaks down everything into ‘baby-steps’. The pictures, while clear, are a little small, so some of the artist’s work is a little hard to see. Nonetheless, the photos and captions as a whole convey the information needed. While each artist tends to find their own approach to a project, following the steps shown should help in learning the fundamentals of face-ups.

For a beginner, this book is very handy. It can be useful alone or in conjunction with online videos. It is a small book, easily carried to the hobby or art supply store when buying materials for projects.

Face Up Handbook at Amazon

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Fairyland MiniFee Carl face-up by Holly Collins

Fairyland MiniFee Carl face-up by Holly Collins

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