I tend to gradually make the features bigger and bigger and then I lose that 'baby' look. I've tried a few out and drawn up the ones I like best. I want to produce a face that makes you want to smile back. Also, I thought it would be nice to have two or three different expressions.
I tried to get a couple of smiley faces, a laughing face and a naughty face.
Then made a colour map:
Part of the problem was transferring the design onto the blank doll face. I tried drawing each one by marking a grid and lightly drawing in with a colouring pencil, but it wasn't successful because apart from the time it took, I still kept making the features too big, I was finishing up with 'scary' not 'smiley'. I solved that with the 'prick and pounce' method. I traced the faces onto card 'masks' and pricked out the features with a needle, placed it on the doll face (before stuffing it) and rubbed over with a chalk pencil, then joined up the dots. That works quite well.
Of course, stuffing distorts the features a little and I hadn't taken that into account.
I've tried several methods for colouring in. Because these are intended for babies they must above all be safe, and that restricts the materials I can use. Non-toxic watercolour dyes work well for colouring in the eyes, and so does non-toxic gouache mixed with a little fabric medium. Non-toxic colouring pencils produced for children to use work well too for colouring in the cheeks and noses and can be heat fixed with a light coat of fabric medium dabbed over. I thought maybe I could make it easier by using permanent pens to draw with. I tried gel pens but they bled too much. A black laundry marker is good for the pupils in the eyes. Faber-castell permanent pens only bleed a little and dry quickly but the colours come out a little too dark. I ordered some Pigma Micron pens as recommended by many doll makers, but I have found that although the colours are really good and they are permanent and waterproof they take a very long time to dry. This may be partly due to the fabric I am using, which is a kind of doe suede. The pigma pens are fine for drawing lines around the features, but not good at all for colouring in.
It's all been a bit trying!
I think maybe I've been trying to do something too complicated and maybe I should just use one face with very simple features and minimal needle sculpting.
So now it's back to the original!