Jayla: A Black Printable Paper Doll with Florals!

Link to Jayla, printable paper doll in color and black and white I have had a deeply frustrating month of February. My car was in the shop for a week and I got sick. I’m getting over it, but I haven’t been as productive as I would have hoped. We has a snow day on Wednesday and I was hopeful that I would get a bunch done.

Of course, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped.

Jayla is an older paper doll. I showed a preview of her with this set of Pixie preview posts. I think of her has being kin to my floral set for Monica. Both paper dolls have a girly style with lots of floral pattern.

Link to Jayla, a printable paper doll in black and white for coloring with a contemporary wardrobe
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

I knew I wanted a “dark” background for my florals, but I didn’t want to incorporate too much pink. I tend towards pinks and reds naturally, so sometimes I have to fight that urge. Instead, I chose green, purple and blue as my color scheme. I really wanted to use the lime green with a warm purple, as I love lime and purple.

Link to Jayla, a black paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe. Part of the Pixie series, Jayla can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Jayla’s wardrobe is not the most mix and match friendly. I think she really has about 11 or 12 outfit combinations that make sense and then 13, if you don’t care if things match. Personally, I think she could borrow some shoes from Adannaya who has the same skintone or some pants and skirts from Clarisa or a dress from Fiona. There’s plenty of paper dolls around I’m sure who would be happy to share.

Dragon Queen: Fantasy Printable Paper Doll

Dragon Queen fantasy printable paper doll I had grand plans to get my 1300s Marisole Monday & Friends set done yesterday, but obviously that didn’t happen. So, we have Bodacious and Buxom instead and dragons! (Sort of.)

So, when I posted my blog goals for 2015, I didn’t mention in my ten posts for Bodacious and Buxom that I had this post waiting quietly in the wings. Technically, I finished it when I finished the 1940s paper doll set, but I saved it as I don’t like to post two of the same series in a row.

I also have a nearly finished regency combined with steampunk set and a weird sort of farm girl thing in the works.

But today there are dragons, or at least humanoids who have some reptilian features. One of the things that my alchemist paper doll taught me is how many long dresses I can fit on a single page of the B&B series. The answer seems to be two dresses with a pair of shoes and some accessories. As a result, our Dragon Queen has two gowns, a sword, a mirror, a book and some shoes. Somehow I always imagine dragons as very vain creatures.

Dragon Queen Fantasy Paper Doll in Black and White for Coloring
{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}
In my mind, today’s paper doll is either a dragon in humanoid form or from a species that believes they are descended from dragons. Her homeland is mountainous and rich in minerals. I imagine her people are sophisticated and tend to rely on their innate magic rather than technological accumen to solve their problems. Isolationists, they are uninterested in contact with other humanoid species, but maintain slight contact with the Dwarfs, for their technology and metalworking skills, and minor contact with the Elves, for their magic. Humans are, well, beneath them.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
{Download a PDF of this paper doll in Full Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Full Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}

I chose a rich jewel toned color scheme for this paper doll set. I knew I wanted some sort of green skin, but I didn’t want it to feel too “lizard” like. I went with a rich teal. I also wanted her dresses to coordinate with her skin, as though they were chosen specifically to do so. I imagine she is wealthy enough to have her clothing tailored to match her coloring.

Blog Goals 2015

Blog Goals for 2015

I’ve been hesitant to post blog goals this year. I don’t want to be too ambitious, so I am going to keep these fairly simple. Ideally also concrete, so that when I check back on them mid-year, as I usually do, I have some idea how I have done.

1. More Historical Paper Dolls. I want to create ten historical paper doll sets in 2015.

Ideally, I want to work in periods that I have done in the past, but also some periods that will requite lots of research. Right now, I am planning on a Tudor set, a Viking set (they won my poll), a 1300s set, and a new 1920s set for Marisole Monday & Friends. I also want to do some historical guys, so I am thinking a Victorian guy and an 18th century guy (probably Marcus, but maybe Puck… Puck needs a redraw.) I’m also planning on some historical children’s clothing for the Poppets, likely from the 1920s to 1930s, as those are one of my favorite periods for children’s clothes.

2. Focus a little more on Poppets, Ms. Mannequinn and Buxom and Bodacious.

These three series are my most neglected. I have a bunch of unfinished Poppet sets and a bunch of unfinished Ms. Mannequin sets. I want to really buckle down and get some of those sets done. So, my goal is to add at least ten sets to each of these series by the end of 2015.

3. Do more Featured Artists.

Okay, this is totally a goal from last year, but I want to keep it up this year. I think that it is really important to see what people say about paper dolls and there aren’t a lot of us around and I want to try to build some community among us.

4. Actually send something into OPDAG Newsletter.

I am SO BAD at this. I always promise myself I will and then I don’t and then I feel guilty. Anyway, this year I am going to buckle down and even if I don’t like the theme, I am going to make something for the newsletter, darn it! I am! The next two themes are Favorite Mysteries and Chanel. I can do something for those. I know I can… I just have to not procrastinate.

5. Have another Mini-Series set.

Last year, I spent ten weeks posting my Her Ladyship paper doll set. It was so much fun to get away from my series for a while and play. She also got a great response, so I want to do another mini-series this year. I have no idea what the theme will be. I have to think about it.

6. Upgrade the images on the blog to larger format images.

Back when the blog started, I used smaller images (350 pixels wide- to be precise) for my post images. One of the things, I want to do is update these to larger images for the blog, since I think the larger images look nicer and since the internet is no longer quite so slow for most of us. This is going to be a very long, rather painful, slow process.

And those are my goals for 2015! Wish me luck!

Weekend Denim: A Paper Doll for Morgan

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll One of the things I really love to do is hold drawings where the winner gets a custom paper doll. Part of the fun of these contests is that I never know what people are going to ask for and sometimes I am really surprised.

Over the years, I have done everything from a 10th-century Anglo-Saxon paper doll to a pair of Puck paper dolls ready for a date. I’m always fascinated at what people ask for, though usually it’s a Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll.

As always when I create one of these paper doll sets, a part of me is very nervous. I always worry that I am not going to “get it right” for the person who asked for the paper doll set.

Morgan asked “For the clothes something comfy but still sort of dressy, tomboyish but still girly, if that makes any sense. For the hair color and style, curly long orangish red hair, blue eyes, and freckles. But if possible I would love to have the color theme be turquoise.” And she was kind enough to send me some great reference images.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

As I usually do with drawing winners, I wanted to post both of these sets at once, as I don’t think it is nice to make my winners wait when they have been so kind to wait a few weeks anyway.

Color scheme wise, I was asked for turquoise which is one of my favorite colors (well, teal really). Beyond being really hard to spell, it’s also a color with lots of variation. Since it can be a fairly green color or a fairly blue color, I wanted to use several shades. Now, I tend to stay away from monochromatic schemes, so I also used a bright yellow and a bright green as accent colors.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Anyway, I hope you like your paper doll set Morgan and if the color scheme isn’t quite what you imagined, let me know. I can recolor her. I always worry about color schemes. Meanwhile, to my other winner, I promise your paper doll will be up in a few weeks.

By the way, I think this is the first contemporary paper doll I’ve ever done with just pants and no skirts or dresses. I haven’t been through all the archives to confirm that, but I think it’s true.

Victoria: A Valentine’s Day Paper Doll

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in color and black and white Over the years, I have done a lot of Valentine’s Day paper dolls. I think it might be the only holiday that I reliably get a paper doll posted for.

My first Valentine’s Day paper doll was back in 2011. Then in 2013, I did this black and white Valentine’s Day paper doll. In 2014, the Poppets got a Valentine’s Day themed outfit. This year, I wanted to do something a little different.

Inspired by Victorian and Art Deco valentines, I designed two 18th century inspired gowns with a Valentines Day theme. Hearts, of course, but also stripes and polka-dots. Plus ruffles. Ruffles are very important. Our paper doll got a wild up-do and a heart encrusted bodysuit to wear under her gowns.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Originally, I planned on using a traditional red, pink and white color scheme. However, I just didn’t like how bright that made the dresses. So, I went to ColourLovers and searched for a scheme that was a little more subdued. I ended up using Happy Valentines color scheme. I often use ColourLovers both to find inspiration for color palettes and to build my own color palettes using their tools.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in color
{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day. I am making stew for me and my boyfriend and we’ll be eating it while watching Box Trolls. I am very excited about both the stew and the movie.

Meanwhile, there’s supposed to be snow on Monday and I have become a true Southerner, buying milk and eggs, just in case. I certainly wouldn’t mind an unexpected day off work, since I don’t get President’s Day off.

Rachel’s Five Rules of Scanning

Rachel's Scanning Rules After I wrote my tutorial on how to clean up line-work, it occurred to me that I should talk a little about scanning. I didn’t have space to do it in the linework tutorial, but I do have a few thoughts on scanning. Here’s some advice from someone who scans a lot both for my hobbies and for my job where I usually am the one digitizing historical materials.

Scan in High Resolution.

When I was first learning how to cut wood, I was taught- You can make a piece of wood shorter, but you can’t make it longer. In other words, cut a little bigger if you have to choose. Since slicing off an inch is easier than realizing you’re short an inch.

You can always reduce the resolution of an image, but increasing it will result in loss of clarity.

Resolution is something people seem to get confused about, so let me try to explain. Resolution is always measured by the number of dots per one linear inch (in the US, other places use the centimeter). This is shortened to DPI (Dots Per Inch) for as most printers or Pixels Per Inch (PPI) for digital media.

No matter how high PPI (Pixels Per Inch) your image is, the internet has a resolution of 72 PPI. Meaning, if you create an image that is 200 PPI and measures two inches tall, when you post it on the internet it will appear to be 5.5 inches tall. ((22 PPI * 2)/72PPI = 5.5)

Some professionals work as high as 1200 DPI, but I think that’s a bit much. Bare in mind that professional publications are usually printed between 300 and 400 dpi.

Choose your File Format Carefully.

There are many digital file types. I’m going to talk about a few common ones here.

“JPEG” stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group- a fact mostly useful to show off your knowledge, but won’t really matter much. It is sometimes also called a .jpg or a jpeg. JPEGs are always compressed files. JPEG is designed for compressing either full-color (24 bit) or grey-scale digital images of complicated real world images (photographs). It is a great format when there is subtle color change in an image, but using a high compression rate can result in loss of quality.

“GIF” stands for Graphics Interface Format. It is an 8 bit format meaning that maximum number of colors supported is 256. GIFs are always compressed and rarely used these days.

“PNG” stands for Portable Network Graphics format. This was an updated version of the “GIF” format and literally supports millions of colors. It is the format I usually use for my web posts as it tends to compress to a small size without loss of detail and my paper dolls are full color without a lot of subtle shades. PNG has largely replaced GIF on the internet.

“TIFF” stands for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF was originally designed for scanners as a universally acceptable format in a time when scanning companies all had different formats they were using. TIFF images are not compressed as a default setting. This is the preferred format for archival scanning, because there is no compression. However, the lack of compression results in very large sized files. Therefore, TIFF files are rarely posted or shared on the internet or printed from. TIFF files can handle bi-level (black and white), grayscale, palette-color and RGB full-color images.

When I scan, I scan at 600 dpi as an uncompressed TIFF files in greyscale, since I work in black and white.

Save your raw files.

I call my rough scans “raw files”. Theses are my 600dpi uncompressed TIFF files, usually in greyscale. They are very large files.

I keep them in a folder called “Raw Files” it contains all the raw scans dating back a long long way. Sometimes, you have to go back to the very beginning, so keep a copy of the unaltered scan in case you need it.

Hopefully you won’t, but if you do than you’ve got it. I have only had to go back to these files once or twice over the years, but I have been grateful I had them if I needed them. (Usually, because I accidentally deleted something.)

Know you Scanner and Choose it Well.

I have used HP scanners, Epson scanners and Canon scanners. They are all a little different. Learn your scanner settings. Read the manual. Get comfortable using it.

If you are scanning full color art work, than carefully check how many colors the scanner can read. A colored pencil drawing, for example, can literally have millions of subtle shades. If your scans are coming out poorly, than is it your scanner? Your scan settings? Or can your scanner just not handle the color depth.

I don’t own an expensive scanner. I use an all in one printer with a cheap scanning bed. I work in black and white, so I don’t worry about color loss. If you do worry about color loss, invest in a good quality scanner. If you do invest in a good scanner, avoid letting it get bumped or knocked around.

Prep your Image.

Before I scan, I erase all my line-work carefully, than I correct any problems I see.

I stick a piece of white paper between my sketchbook page and the next page, so the image on the page behind won’t bleed through.

These things make sure my scan comes out pretty good the first time. Re-scanning at the high resolution I want in takes time and I don’t always have that time.

So, these are my rules of scanning. What are your rules? Anything important that I missed? Let me know in a comment.

Lady in a Castle: A Printable Paper Doll

Printable paper doll of a fantasy princess with four dresses One of my pet peeves is that fantasy movies always default to the assumption that the characters involved are white-skinned. I just saw Into the Woods which I recommend highly- I am a huge Sondheim fan- and I noticed they had some brown-skinned extras which is great, but all of the main characters were white skinned.

I know one of the common arguments against skin-tone diversity in classic fantasy or fairytales is that they are often European in origin and it wouldn’t be accurate to have brown skinned characters; however, I’m not sure the argument for “accuracy” really holds up. First of all, there was a lot more diversity in Europe a lot earlier than most people realize. Secondly, if there are going to be giants and magic, can’t we accept the idea that some of the characters might be darker skinned? Does that really deeply violate suspension of disbelief? We are talking about a genre of story with singing harps, talking animals, and pumpkin coaches.

This is all a really complicated way of saying that I try to give my fantasy paper dolls a variety of skin tones, including weird ones like green, more green and orange. Um… Is it bad I just noticed I have two green skinned paper dolls? I could have sworn one of those had blue skin. I should keep better track of these things.

A printable fantasy paper doll coloring page.
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Moving on from her skin tone, I stuck with the pale scheme I had planned and tried to focus on greens, blues and purples while using yellow and pink as accent colors. I think it came out pretty well, though coloring those detailed patterns took forever. Every time I add a bunch of pattern, I promise myself that it is the “last time” and then I do it again- because I really do like pattern.

Changing topic a bit, one of the most common questions I get is “Why don’t you sell your paper dolls?” I decided to answer this question for Abby of While She Naps. Abby took my thoughts about hobby and business, combined them with those of some other very talented crafters, and created a really great post about business, craft, and why we do what we do. I recommend going and reading it post-haste.

Meanwhile, Vikings are winning my “What historical period should B&B visit” poll which means, I suppose, I should go learn something about Viking dress. If you have not voted, please do. It is highly likely that I will not totally ignore the outcome. It is also highly likely it will take forever for me to get it done, because I am me.

An Interview with my Featured Paper Doll Artist: Lina of Lina’s Paper Dolls

A paper doll page drawn by Lina For my first paper doll artist to feature in 2015, I knew I wanted to feature a newer artist on the scene, so I interviewed Lina. Lina, of Lina’s Paper Dolls, has been posting her paper dolls for just about a year and ahalf, but her work is wonderful. She focuses on historical paper dolls based on various periods throughout history. Her paper dolls all share the same basic body and are in black and white for coloring.

In Lina’s black and white paper dolls, there is clearly a love of history. Her each of her paper dolls has one to five outfits relating to the story of the paper doll and their stories span the globe and time.

There’s Carolyn Collins who is in DC during Watergate and Elizabeth Tanner, who lives in Maryland, or Susanne Merritt, who lives in Canada, both during the War of 1812. Simone Spencer is a telephone operator during World War 1. Kalani Hikaru witnesses Hawaiian statehood in 1959. Basia Sienkiewicz survives the Swedish invasion of Poland in 1655. I could go on and on with more of the fascinating historical events Lina ties to her paper dolls.

For more information about her paper dolls and our interview go to my Featured Artist Page and you can read about Other Featured Paper Doll Artists as well.

1940’s Vixen: Vintage Printable Paper Doll

1940's vintage historical printable paper doll There are some periods of fashion I’m naturally drawn too. I love the regency era and the 1870s. I have a strange soft spot for the 1920s and the mod looks of the 1960s. However, the 1940s just doesn’t do so much for me. Still, one of my goals for my paper dolls in 2015 is to do more historical paper doll sets and to stretch myself into eras that I’m not naturally interested in.

As a result, today’s paper doll is clad in 1940s finery.

Truly, the 1940s is a fascinating time in fashion history. World War Two interrupts the middle of the decade and the end of the war welcomes in a whole new style of clothes thanks to Dior’s New Look. Prior to 1947, however, there is cloth rationing in many countries, most notable England, and an emphasis on “Make Due and Make Mend”. Magazines would publish articles on how to transform a man’s suit into a woman’s suit or how to turn dishtowels into aprons.

Court Alchemist Paper Doll in Black and White for Coloring
{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}

Hats were still required for day wear. Our paper doll is sporting three different hats and two purses. Marie Claie UK published these wonderful photos of 1940s fashion on their blog- photo number 27 inspired one of her hats. Her black purse is from 1945 and is based on this purse from the V&A. Her shoes are from 1943, based on this pair at the Met.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
{Download a PDF of this paper doll in Full Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Full Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}

All of her dresses come from vintage pattern covers- Vogue 5667, Simplicity 3296 A (one of my favorite designs, I used it here too) and Vogue 5802 A. My 1940s fashion Pinterest board contains more images that influenced this set.

A Quick Poll…

What historical era should B&B visit next?

  • Vikings! (AKA 800s) (28%, 18 Votes)
  • 1950s (20%, 13 Votes)
  • 1860s (17%, 11 Votes)
  • Regency (15%, 10 Votes)
  • 1300s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • 1700s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • Other, and I'll tell you in a comment (5%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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Lady in a Castle: A Black and White Printable Paper Doll

Printable paper doll coloring page of a fantasy princess So, I usually manage to get these paper doll sets up on schedule to post early Monday, but clearly today I wasn’t so on the ball. Never the less, I’m not technically late, just a little delayed I suppose.

This week’s Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper doll set features Marisole and some pretty traditional fantasy gowns. Fantasy sets seem to be the favorite of my readers and I enjoy them. I wanted to play with pattern for these, so they are heavily patterned- much more than I usually do with my paper doll sets. I’ve been challenging myself to use more patterns lately.

Should you think Marisole needs some paper doll friends, I’m sure she can hang out with Marcus the Warrior or the Coastal Princess. I know she’ll have a light colored, pastel based color scheme, though I’m not sure exactly what colors yet.

A printable fantasy paper doll coloring page.
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

And since it’s later than I usually get these done and I am very tired, I am going to call this post finished. Thanks everyone for your kind wishes while I was ill last week and hopefully we’ll have a normally updating blog this week.

If you want, let me know what you think of her in a comment. :)

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