I deplore the divergent trends in male and female action figs. Basically, the male figs have craggy faces with a variety of ages, expressions and personalities [go to War Toys and look at the nudes if you need examples], while the female figs have stylized, generic faces with a tendency toward bland neoteny. I myself am not free from this bias, at least for female figs, but I actively fight it by scribbling on my dolls’ faces!!
Even though male figs may, on the whole, have more detailed sculpts than female figs, all default 1:6 figs are usually flat, lacking the idiosyncratic signs of weathering and aging that give people character and interest. To remedy this problem, I add "noise" to almost all my figs’ heads with my trusty Prismacolors and pastel chalks.
There are two types of noise that I add to almost everyone: under-eye shadows and forehead wrinkles. Everyone has under-eye shadows and wrinkles, unless they’re wearing pancake makeup, and the specific darkness and depth of these shadows and lines gives some clue as to approximately how old/tired/anxious someone is. And almost everyone past the age of 12 has forehead wrinkles, an inevitable result of years spent making expressions. I use these lines to indicate age and/or a stern, anxious bent of character.
Some dolls do escape my additions of noise. They are usually character dolls, who come with a very specific combination of headsculpt and default paint apps that I do not wish to alter because I like the attitude that they present. Velvette, Baozha, Zinnia Pascale, Gemini, Michaela, Absinthe and Little Will are in this category. But everyone else is fair game for my pen.
For example, I recently added darker shadows under Anneka’s eyes. Beforehand, she looked like this:
After I marked her up with Prismacolor, she looked like this:
Her wearier appearance accurately reflects that of someone entering her 30s, as well as someone who’s dealt with a lot of crap in the past 5 years, most notably her own death and the death of her beloved grandma.