Today, we have a pair of ballgowns which were heavily influenced by wa lolita and qi lolita fashion styles. I showed off the rough sketches last Monday. Wa lolita and qi lolita are substyles of the Japanese street style lolita. F Yeah Lolita (a blog I have come to rather enjoy reading) discusses lolita in detail, but I actually think the wikipedia article is nice for people who know nothing about it.
Anyway, both wa lolita (infulenced by Japanese traditional dress) and qi lolita (influenced by Chinese traditional dress) are styles I think are fascinating, because cultural fusion always interests me. However, I try to be careful about how I borrow from cultures which are not my own, because I am very aware of the problematic and complicated issues of cultural appropriation which underlie children’s toys and visual representations of culture. I could ramble on about that topic until… well, for a every long time… but I figure most people are really here for the paper dolls, so I’ll restrain myself.
I can’t wait to share these in color next week, though I openly confess the pattern on the left dress is giving me fits. Every-time I do a complicated pattern, I swear I will never do it again and then… well… I do it again. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?
Oh, and before I forget, the fast of Ramadan officially ends this evening I think, so Happy Eid al-Fitr to any of my readers who are Muslim. I don’t know much about Ramadan, but the mosque by my apartment has been busier than usual this month.
By my nature, I tend to be a private person, particularly online. It’s not that I’m irrationally scared of stalkers (rationally scared of stalkers maybe…), but I do feel that it’s important not to post anything on a blog that you wouldn’t want your boss/mother/random stranger to read. So, I tend towards the general rather than the specific. It’s a habit I urge anyone who wants to do this for a while to get into.
Remember, the internet has a LONG memory.
Never the less, I’ve already admitted to playing Shadowrun, an table top RPG with some cyberpunk overtones, so I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that when I’m doing a fair bit of that than cyberpunk paper dolls tend to emerge. I guess in the grand scheme of things, admitting to pretending to be in a dystopian future on Sunday nights isn’t really that embarrassing of a confession.
Ololara was chosen as the paper doll’s name, because I liked how it sounded. I don’t really know much about the name, to be frank. The websites I found it on said it was “African”, but that’s about as specific as saying, “Asian” and ignoring the fact that Africa is a continent, not a language. It maybe entirely invented by the internet, but I thought it was a pretty name anyway.
So, I wanted to go with a black and white based color scheme for this paper doll set with only a few other accent colors. Bright green is I think a cheerful choice and the blue seemed a nice counter balance. I had some red in the set at the beginning, but I ended up cutting it when I decided that it clashed with my greens and felt a bit harsh.
By the way, I was recently asked by a reader named Amy if there would ever be another Marcus paper doll. The answer is… um… Probably not. Marcus was originally meant to be a companion to Marisole, but actually the proportions are pretty far off for that to happen. I have been very very slowly working on revamping him, but it is taking a LONG TIME. In the meantime, feel free to draw your own male friends for Marisole. Male paper dolls would get more love if I liked drawing men more.
I have actually been having more fun with my Poppets paper doll series than I ever thought I would. I am not terribly keen on paper dolls of children, but I do love paper dolls of dolls, so I have been enjoying the Poppets. Something I want to do in the future is create some historical costumes for them. I really love antique dolls with their trousseau of clothing and trunks. When I was a kid, I remember reading A Little Princess over and over again. In the book, the main character, Sarah has a doll name Emily. The part I read over and over again as a child was about Emily and her extensive wardrobe.
So perhaps when Greta’s Trousseau is finished (if it is ever finished), I will work on a similar project for the Poppets. There could be a trunk and a bunch of little dresses and then toys and… Maybe I should worry about that after I have a bit of a backlog rebuilt.
Meanwhile, today we have a historical inspired country feeling jumper and vintage inspired blouse with boots.
I guess what I can say with confidence is that I will miss his art and that my thoughts are with those who knew him. I can trace my love of paper dolls back to my mother, but Tierney’s historical research made his paper doll books wonderful resources for learning about fashion designers and historical figures and I learned a lot from them as a child. For that, I am very grateful.
Meanwhile, you might have noticed that this is not a paper doll post. Instead, I’m pleased to offer some doodles from my current “doodle/notebook” for two future and one past Marisole Monday paper doll sets.
So this set might look familair… it’s actually been finished. This was the doodle page that lead to the Margot in Wonderland set from last week. As you can see, very few of these pieces got made into the final set. The drop waisted dress and the pants with the tea cup patches both made it into the final paper doll set.
This set was inspired by 18th century design, but I’ve rather lost favor with it. I don’t know if I’ll actually draw a final of it, but that was the idea. The truth is that I don’t know how many huge skirted ball gowns I can do in any one period of time. I’d almost rather do a historical set than a fantasy set based on a historical period, I think for the 18th century.
So, I’ve been really into Qi Lolita and Wa Lolita lately. I want to do some over the top ball gowns based on those styles. Wa Lolita crosses traditional Japanese dress with victorian ruffled styles and Qi Lolita does the same thing with Chinese traditional dress. Personally, I just don’t know what I am going to do about hair for this set. I have to think about that. I’ve drawn the dresses, but I don’t know what to do about the hair. I’m thinking about it a lot.
I am in this rather frustrating state with my paper doll activities where I have a lot drawn and a fair bit scanned, but very little that has crossed the threshold into the DONE category. So I am on my way to rebuilding the blog backlog, but it is going to take time. These things always do. In the mean time, here’s a sneak preview of what I have been working on.
I really like the Mini-Maidens for two reasons. 1. I think they’re cute. 2. They are in black and white. Black and white paper dolls take about a quarter of the time that full color ones do. I can draw the tabs on the original drawing, rather than have to add them later with Photoshop and they don’t need nearly as much post processing. So, when I need to “make stuff fast” then I find that I go back to the Mini-Maidens paper dolls and give them some love. This is going to be a 1960′s period mini-dress set. All dresses and all vintage. I don’t know which of the Mini-Maidens will get this set yet.
A while ago, I did a diesel punk paper doll for the Flock, only I didn’t know there was such a thing as diesel punk at the time, so I called a punk noir, which I think is a much better name. This is part of a planned sequel set with two dolls and at least one page of extra clothing for them. Flock magnetic paper doll sets tend to take me forever to finish, so don’t hold your breath on this one. Flock is the collection for which I have the most scanned that never actually has gotten finished. Embarrassing, but true.
Lastly, though not least, a pair of Pixie paper doll sets. The top set is a fantasy warrior set and the bottom set is a Renaissance inspired fantasy set. You might notice that none of the warrior’s weapons have “blades”. Since I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, I tend to add the handles and blades in Photoshop.
Also, on a totally unrelated note, one of the things I plan on slowly doing is going back an enlarging some of the images on the site in posts. I really think some of them are too small and I have been reading about proper image sizing for blogs a lot lately. So, there might be some changes around here. Nothing major and unless you spend a lot of time lurking about the archives, I doubt most people will even notice.
A while ago I drove to Atlanta to get on a plane to fly to Seattle to celebrate my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was a great trip, but as anyone who has ever had to leave a car at the Atlanta airport knows, it can be really expensive. Fortunately, a good friend of my boyfriend was kind enough to let us leave my car in her driveway while we took two weeks and headed back to my frozen northland home aka Alaska.
While we were waiting for our flight, one of her daughters informed me that she wanted to be a knight. We had a lovely conversation about knights and I decided that clearly she needed a knight paper doll. So, today I am pleased to present a noble knight paper doll for Rebecca Grace.
When I am designing a paper doll and thinking about children (rather than just thinking about what I think is cool) than I try to make the pieces fairly large and easy to manipulate. I also wanted to make the underwear a little more covering, but I didn’t want to make the paper doll unable to wear other clothing from the Pixie paper dolls. After all, someday she might want to be a paper doll astronaut or a paper doll pirate or a paper doll vampire.
The truth is that I had a lot of fun drawing these armor sets and while I still don’t feel like I know a lot about armor, I do feel that every child should be encouraged to play out whatever roles they want. In a world where young girls are encouraged to be princesses and when many dolls and toys offer little more than “fashion” as a reason for existence, a few more knights might not be a bad thing. Knights have a fair bit of agency, but princesses tend to simply get saved.
I spent a chunk of my weekend coloring my Margot in Wonderland paper doll from last week. Today, Margot gets to be a blond and has, of course, a wardrobe of Alice inspired paper clothing pieces. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been inspired by Alice many times before and drawn her many times over the years.
After some time I decided to go with a jewel tone color scheme that was a bit bright. I wanted to capture the richness of color that could be captured with color lithography from the 19th century. I was also heavily inspired by this Lolita outfit. I really loved the rich colors since they are not the pastels or black that I normally associate with Lolita fashion.
As I mentioned with my Turn of the Century Pixie Paper Doll, I often collect ideas on my Pinterest boards, so you can check out the Lolita board I keep to see where some of these outfit pieces came from. Nothing was directly taken, but I find ideas and inspiration makes drawing paper dolls faster and easier than it would be without them.
The top hat’s floating tab is meant to be attached using the same method as I outlined in my instructions for attaching wigs and hats to paper dolls. This is one of my favorite methods of doing wig and hat attachment for the paper dolls I design and so I use it often.
I am so pleased to announce that there is a new Featured Artist page up. This time I got the pleasure of interviewing Irma of Papernukublogi. Irma’s blog is bilingual in Estonian and English, which I find completely impressive. Her paper dolls are usually black and white with a wonderful simplicity and almost a folk art quality. There is something very charming about all of her paper dolls. I am consistently impressed by her creativity and variety of her art from 1940′s vintage ladies to some darling children. Irma shares with me a love of crisp line work and the possibilities of black and white paper dolls.
Irma is an art student, who has also studied music. She kindly also provided a beautiful black and white paper doll name Anka to print and color after her interview. I couldn’t be more happy that Irma was gracious enough to allow me to feature her here (even if it is two days later than I had originally hoped.)
So, I have been busily trying to rebuild my comfortable buffer of paper dolls and planned posts (a very difficult process actually) and so am pleased to share some of the paper dolls in my sketchbook which will eventually be making it onto the blog (or not… sometimes they seem to just stay in the sketchbook and never make it onto the blog.) Also, I’m pleased to say there will be a new Featured Artist on Friday. (Assuming I get my act together and get it done.)
As I mentioned a while ago, I met a four year old who really wanted to be a knight. So, I decided to draw her a knight paper doll. I wanted to keep the armor realistic and, despite my Xena loving youth, avoid the chain-mail bikini phenomenon. I wanted to use Pixie because I thought the simple body shape would make the paper doll fairly easy for a child to manipulate. The set below the knight is an ancient Egyptian inspired set. Not much to say about that paper doll design.
One of my more popular sets is Lady of the Manor. I’ve been wanting to do another fantasy noblewomen, but this time I’ve been inspired by the dresses of the Renaissance. I plan on adding patterns to a lot of these dresses in Photoshop, just like I did with the Alice in Wonderland paper doll from Monday.
On the left is her riding habit and on the right is her nightgown. Wigs are a big feature of the Lady of the Manor set and will be used on this paper doll set as well. I haven’t decided how many dresses she will end up with yet, but I would like to do two dresses to a page and have the set be at least five pages which would be nine dresses in total.
I have been traveling a lot over the last three months. One trip every month which has made for scattered time for myself. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I normally work from a long backlog and that having a backlog of paper dolls allows me to plan my life.
Well… I’m out of backlog, so the fact that today’s paper doll happened was a shcok to me. I did not think I would get her done, but I am pleased that I did.
Alice in Wonderland paper dolls are something I have drawn before. I think in total I have done three paper dolls that I’ve posted.
Today’s paper doll version of Alice in Wonderland uses Margot, whose been a bit neglected. Her costumes owe a lot to both Neo-Victorian and Lolita styles.
I had an awful lot of fun putting together the rabbit pattern and the card pattern for the two skirts. I attempted to draw a more realistic top hat than I have in the past, but I’m not pleased with it. There’s something off about the perspective, I think. However, I shall eventually get over my problems with hats. I just have to keep trying, so expect to see more hats.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are books I love, but that I don’t think have aged very well in many ways. The general lack of agency for Alice, not to mention the fact that most of the jokes don’t really resonate with modern life (how many of us had to recite in school? I mean… really?), means that when most of us think of Alice, we think of iconic characters and symbols without actually remembering the story. The Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, or Dweedle-Dee and Dweedle-Dum are all so familiar it hardly matters that the Mad Hatter is a reference to the mercury poisoning common to men in that profession during the Victorian era.