Ninique's Minidollz

Tutorials - Bases in MS Paint

Basemaking is an integral part of dolling, and after you've dolled a while, you might feel compelled to create a base. Many dollers use fancy programs and graphic tablets to create bases, but it's very possible to make a base with just MS Paint and a scanner. Here's how:

Here are the palettes I'll be using over the course of this tutorial.


The Outline

  1. Base_a1

    First you need to come up with a pose and make a sketch. Some people like to draw directly on the computer, but I find drawing on paper is easier for me, so I'll be explaining it this way. It's usually a good idea to start your drawing by making a stick figure or "skeleton" to define your pose and make sure your proportions are right first, then go ahead and draw an outline. In real life, the human body should be 7.5 to 8 heads tall, but doll bases tend to have larger heads than real people so in this example, the body is actually 6.5 heads tall.

    After making a first pose, you can use tracing paper to make limbs for additional poses, while keeping the same head and/or torso. This helps keep your base set unified.

    Now I'm hearing some of you saying "But I can't draw!" Well, for one it's not very hard to learn to draw: There are plenty of tutorials all over the internet that explain human anatomy and how to draw people. If however you feel this really is not for you, know that some dollers like to use a photograph as a starting point for a base. Your best bet if you want to go that route is to take a picture of yourself (or a friend, if they agree to it) in tight fitting clothing or a bathing suit.


    Remember though, it is always better to use your own original material as a starting guide. This will make your bases more unique and it guarantees that you won't get into legal troubles. If you want to use stock photography or drawings made by another person, be sure to have the written permission of the original artist or photographer (make sure you explain to them what bases are if they don't know.) And don't forget to give them credit!

  2. Base_a3

    Like I said before, I'll be using a drawn sketch for this tutorial. So you'll need to scan your drawing and get it into MS paint. To do this, fire up Paint, and go into File>From Scanner or Camera and choose your scanner.

    Press Preview and draw a box around the base. Click on "Adjust the Quality of the scanned picture" (at the bottom). Choose 72 DPI and Color picture. There shouldn't be any need to play with the brightness and contrast settings unless you're not getting a clear image in the preview. Press Scan to finalize the scan.

    If you don't have a scanner, you could get away with using a digital camera, but it will be harder to get a clear image. Make sure if you choose to use a camera, that you take your photo in a well-lit area and turn off the flash, and set your camera to take pictures in the smallest setting.

  3. Base_a4

    Now you have to resize the image to the size you want for your base. Go to Image> Stretch/Skew and enter a percentage value of your choice in the horizontal and vertical boxes (enter the same value in each box.) You can undo and try different percentages until you get something that you like.

  4. Base_a5

    It's now time to start tracing over your drawing. Use the colour black to do this (this will become important in the next step) I like to use the curve tool to trace over my drawings because it gives me a smoother line. Some people like to do it freehand instead.

  5. Base_a6

    Once you've traced over your drawing, you'll need to get rid of it, since you don't need it anymore, and keep only your pixel outline. Now you *could* use the eraser and erase all around your outline, but there is a faster way:

    1. Go to image > invert colors
    2. Go to image > attributes. At the bottom, select "black and white". Ignore the warning message.
    3. Go to image > attributes again. Now select "color".
    4. Go to image > invert colors again

    What this does basically is it changes the color mode of the image to black and white, so every pixel that is not white becomes black. Inverting the image is neccesary because it allows the outline you have drawn to become 100% white (since you traced it in black) Tracing in white would also work. . . but then it's hard to see what you are doing.

  6. Base_a7

    At this point you can make neccessary adjustments to the outline and fix problems that were hard to see while the drawing was still there. Here I have made changes mainly in the legs and hips, and reoutlined the hands (I kind of suck at hands though, so I'm leaving them without fingers for now).

    In the image, you can see my original trace in blue and the fixed version in black.

    Also, you can start compositing the pieces that you made on tracing paper into various poses. The rest of this tutorial will focus on one pose though.

The Shading

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    Now that you've got your outline ready, change it's colour to color A in your palette, and fill it with color D

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    Apply the darkest shading with color B. Start with under the breasts where the dark shading is most present. Move up a bit between the breasts too. Start to make some lines that go from the crotch to the waist to define the hips and belly. The arms and legs should be shaded as tubes. However, be sure not to simply shade around the outline.

    Pay attention to your light source and put larger amounts of shading where it seems appropriate. At this stage you can also start putting in details like toes.

  3. Base_8

    Apply the lighter shading with color C. Continue to define the breasts and hips by extending the lines that you made in the previous step. Define the belly by putting rounded shading around it. Also, use this colour to further define the neck and collarbone. In some instances (like here with the left arm and leg) you may have put too much of the dark shading, so you can erase it and replace it with color C.

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    Finally, apply the highlights. These aren't always necessary, it depends upon the size of your base. Here I've put some on the breasts, under the collarbones, on the lower abdomen and a little bit on the thighs.

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    Once all the shading is applied, you can work on the details. For the nipples, just shade them using various shades of pink. Also, put some shading around the bellybutton, and remove the bits of outline colour that aren't actually outlines, like under the knees and at the toes. I also refined the toes and fingers at this stage.

The Face

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    Now for the face. We start by planning out where the facial features are going to be, with a colour that is close to black but not quite, and the outline colour for the nose and mouth. Usually the eyes are more or less at the top of the ear, the nose is right under the ear, and the mouth is centered in the remaining space. (I guess that doesn't help if your ears weren't positioned right in the first place though...)

    If you have trouble placing the facial features, try reading this tutorial at Deviantart (there are many more face proportions tutorials you can find online too).

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    Start filling the eyes with the eye colour you want (here, I'm using blue). Leave a white pixel at the top of each eye on the side where your light source is comming from. Also, start shading around the eyes in a dark brownish colour. You can erase some black pixels and shade them brown if you see fit.

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    Add some small L shapes inside the eye for the irises. Pay good attention as to where you put them. The eyes should look somewhat symetrical, even though the light comes from the same side on both eyes.

    Shade around the eyes with a colour that is close to the outline colour, but more muted. Make sure to look often in the thumbnail view to make sure everything looks right.

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    Finish shading the inside of the eyes with various shades. Use lighter shades near the white of the eyes and next to the light reflection at the top, and darker shades near the bottom center of the eyes. Again, look at the thumnnail view and make sure that the eyes look somewhat symmetrical.

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    Shade the eyebrows, and refine their shape if necessary. Use the two shades of brown we used around the eyes.

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    Now the mouth. Draw the general shape of the lips in red. Put a row of pixels in a darker shade of red where the lips close.

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    Add some lighter red at the center of the bottom lips, and on at the center and sides of the top lip.

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    Add some more highlights on the bottom lip. Blend in the lips with a shade of light pink.

  9. Base_19

    Now we'll actually shade the head. Start with colour B. Put it around the head and around the eyes. Also, start to work on shading the nose.

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    Continue shading with colour C to blend it in. Define the nose with this colour by shading under it and on the sides, and close up the arch of the nose between the eyes.

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    Finally, add the highlights in colour E. Put it on the nose, and large areas such as the cheeks and forehead.

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    At this point, I realised that the shape of the head was not quite right, so I squished the sides a bit, and made the head longer. I also brought it down on the neck (which I reshaded) because the original neck was too long.

  13. Base_23

    That's pretty much it! In the end, I decided to change the lips a bit to give her a smile, since I didn't like her looking so serious. It's not very hard to do, just add some white above the lower lip, and extend the top lip towards the top to compensate.

Final Result:


Here's my final base. You can find more poses in the Tulia page of the bases section.