Frocks and Gowns in Color

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe So, this is going up a little late today. Sorry about that, but life got crazy this weekend. I want to talk a little bit today about coloring last week’s paper doll and a little about diversity in the paper doll world.

So, when I color a paper doll set, I start with a pallette. I knew I was going to be giving Monica a fairly rich brown skin tone, so that opened up and closed down certain color options. For example, I tend to avoid putting brown colored clothing on brown colored paper dolls, unless the tones are really different, since it can blend too easily. Since she was going to have a rich skin-tone, I decided that bright and color dresses made a lot of sense.

The strapless gown with the belt was based on this gown by Andrew GN and since it had a red top and a pink bottom, that informed the blues and the greens as contrasting colors in the other gowns.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
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I’m a big believer in paper doll diversity. I think it is really important to have a variety of concepts and skin-tones and, ideally, a variety of concepts in a variety of skin-tones. Truthfully, I tend not to think of my paper dolls in terms of ethnicity, but in terms of color. It it less about, “this paper doll is African-American” and more about “this paper doll is a dark brown with red undertones.”

I used to think I was the only one who thought this way about paper doll skin-tones until I read this post from Julie over at Paper Doll School. I was comforted to find out that we both tend to think in terms of “color” not in terms of ethnicity.

The result of coloring things, perhaps?

What I do know is that no matter how I think about skin-tone, it is crucial to me that I offer readers of all backgrounds and colors paper dolls that reflect them. People should be able to see themselves in the toys they play with.

Yes, I know a lot of my readers are adults, but adults play with toys, too. At least, they should. :) I do.

Lynn: A Paper Doll of the 1920s

Link to Lynn, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1920s Let me state one thing first, on the record- Lynn’s underwear is not period. If I had drawn her period undergarments, than she’d never get to wear jeans. So, I chose to omit even a period slip for her in favor of fitting some fairly large hats onto a fairly small space. Pixies have big heads and therefore big hats.

I hope no one feels horribly cheated out of 1920’s undergarments.

It was really hard to give myself permission to do a small historical set for the Pixies. Normally, my historical Pixie sets are at least two pages and my Regency paper doll set was three. And I do have an 18th century set which has the dubious honor of being the largest collection I have ever drawn for the Pixies. It is literally five sketchbook pages. I’ve no idea how I am going to post it.

One of my big goals for 2015 was to draw historical paper dolls, because- frankly, I really like them.

But I also think if I always think “These sets must be huge” than it creates a lot of pressure to produce big sets. I think smaller sets can be just as fun.

Link to Lynn, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1920s in black and white for coloring
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Todays paper doll’s three dresses are from two different sources. The short sleeved dress and the one with the chevron patter are from this image on Flickr. The party dress is from the Met and dated 1926 through 1928. Her shoes were based on this pair from the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Link to Lynn, a printable historical paper doll with dresses from the 1920s in color
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The color scheme was fairly arbitrary. I do wish I had done something a little more fun with the shoes rather than playing it safe with black. I like to think that these three dresses cover day and evening wear fairly smoothly for Lynn. Long term, it is my hope to do more smaller historical sets for the Pixies. There’s no logical reason why they shouldn’t get to share in the single page historical paper doll fun.

I say this having just begun coloring the largest pixie set I have ever drawn of 18th century dress. I might be unable to keep this single page historical Pixie set concept alive.

Frocks and Gowns in Black and White: A Paper Doll

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with formal gowns and cocktail dresses This is the first Monica paper doll of 2015! I think she looks stunning with this collection of fancy dresses, both cocktail and more formal. I wanted to try the spiky hairstyle that I used for my post-apocolyptic paper doll again.

I find with paper dolls that I tend to do a formal gown set every year or so. In 2014, I did this set of vintage evening gowns and a set for Mia in 2012.

As a kid, I liked drawing evening gowns and I like to think my paper dolls lead the sort of high style lives where they would need fancy dresses. Plus, we are coming into Prom season, so it seems fitting to draw some prom worthy dresses.

Though, I must say, the older I get the less I find prom dresses to be anything other than gaudy. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare. I did a prom paper doll set back in 2010 based on the dresses I saw for sale in that year.

Monica’s evening and cocktail dresses are all based on real gowns except for the one on the far right with the flower. I totally made that up.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with formal gowns and cocktail dresses
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Interesting PTP fact: The first paper doll set ever in the Marisole Monday series was Glamor Girl with formal gowns. That was way back in 2010.

My few of my other formal gown paper doll sets have been At the Big Gala, Red Carpet Elegance, and Flowers and Jewels.

As always, enjoy the paper doll and feel free to tell me what you think about her.

Future Marisole Monday & Friend’s Paper Doll Sets: One Contemporary & Two Fantasy

Another sketchbook photo set this week. I feel a litle guilty posting these sometimes, because they are almost filler in nature, but maybe people like them? I really don’t know. They are easy for me and that makes them always a good option.

SO, I have become kinda obsessed with that store called- Free People. Most of the clothing is too revealing or too young for me, but I love the boho vibe. I decided, therefore, to do a boho paper doll set with a jumpsuit (because I hate jumpsuits, but I am trying to get over it).

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

I’ve seen the movie Newsies, but I don’t get it. I have friends who LOVE it with the sort of passion that I simply can’t understand. I feel similar about my boyfriend and his obcession with football, but I love him enough to try to at least sort of get the football thing. I watched 2.5 games last year which is a 250% increase over the year before. Anyway, I don’t get Newsies, but I was inspired by 19th century young men’s clothing to draw this steampunk paper doll set for Mia. It’s a long way out, I think, since I have recently set up a huge backlog of Marisole Monday and Friends sets and need to focus on other series.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

Another Mia set, because she hadn’t gotten any love this year and I was feeling guilty. This one is inspired by ancient Chinese dress (Tang Dynasty- not unlike Jia- I drew this shortly after) and then a lot of just random stuff that I liked. I wanted to do pattern and lots of color. It’s a very bright set, now that it is done. The doll for it is going to be an elf with an over the top pile of braids. I’m actually really pleased with how it is coming together in Photoshop.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

And those are all the previews for today! Enjoy.

Meanwhile, I am going to go do laundry! (Laundry is more fun if you put an exclamation point after it.)

Hazel’s Fresh Fashions: A Paper Doll Coloring Page

Link to a contemporary black paper doll coloring page with an extensive wardrobe. As part of the Mini-Maidens series, Hazel can share clothing with any of the other Mini-Maiden paper doll. Sometimes, I create paper dolls and I have a lot to say about them. I can wax philosophical about what I was thinking and feeling and….

Other times, I just have a paper doll that I’ve drawn and I really haven’t got much to say about her. Today’s paper doll falls into the category of I don’t have a lot to say about her.

Partly, I think this is because I drew her last year and she’s been sitting quietly in my unfinished folder waiting to be finished. By the time I was ready to post her, I hadn’t really anything to say. I do think it is important to post a variety of different paper dolls and I am not giving up non-historical sets while I’m on my historical paper doll drawing binge.

Hazel’s summery paper doll wardrobe is fairly basic. She has two bottoms, five tops and three dresses. Her two pairs of sandals are a little chunky, but that seems to be the style as of late. There’s a total of 26 outfit options here which I think really makes the paper doll versatile. She can share clothing, of course, with the rest of the Mini-Maidens paper dolls.


A contemporary black paper doll coloring page with an extensive wardrobe entitled, Hazel's Fresh Fashions. Hazel is in black and white for coloring
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On Monday, I posted a poll about which historical period I should research next. The options were intentionally selected to be fashion eras that I either knew very little about or have generally thought that I didn’t like. If you haven’t voted, please do.

What historical period should I research next? (And therefore make a paper doll of...)

  • Ancient Greece and Rome (33%, 32 Votes)
  • Rennissance Italy (22%, 21 Votes)
  • The Mod Look of the 1960s (21%, 20 Votes)
  • The 17th Century (16%, 15 Votes)
  • The 1830s (8%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 96

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The poll closes on the 29th. So far it seems that Greek/Roman has surged ahead. I am surprised. I confess that I thought Renaissance Italy would win by a landslide. Never the less, vote if you wanna and we’ll see where it ends up. :)

A Lady at Court in Color: Printable Tudor Paper Doll

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe I confess the colors here were heavily influenced by the colors in the portraits that I used as inspiration. (Full list of those can be found in last week’s post.) That meant there was a lot of black. I confess that somehow Tudor clothing looks best to me in rich, vivid shades of red, gold and black, so I settled on that color scheme.

Most of the ways we think of history are influenced by our perceptions of the past, rather than the reality of the past. It’s easy to imagine the Victorian era entirely in sepia, because that is what we have available. I have been watching an excellent documentary by the BCC entitled Monarchy on Nexflix over the lat few days. It’s been fascinating, if at times a little confusing when I lose track of which Edward is which. Never the less, we’ve just gotten to Henry the 8th and I smiled when I saw the gowns of this era.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
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Over the years that I have been drawing paper dolls, few eras have seen has intimidating as Tudor. I’m very pleased that I was able to tackle this period. My next major research project will be preparing for my Viking paper doll set for B&B. I just received from Interlibrary Loan on Friday the book Woven Into the Earth about textiles from Norse Greenland. So, I’ll be curling on this week with that on my couch trying to make sense of Viking attire.

Once I’m done with Vikings (which will be a few weeks, I am waiting a on a few more books), I’ll need a new period to research. For this purpose, I have put together a poll. These are all eras that I have either never really studied or generally think I don’t like. I want to force myself to do things which I wouldn’t normally be drawn too.

What historical period should I research next? (And therefore make a paper doll of...)

  • Ancient Greece and Rome (33%, 32 Votes)
  • Rennissance Italy (22%, 21 Votes)
  • The Mod Look of the 1960s (21%, 20 Votes)
  • The 17th Century (16%, 15 Votes)
  • The 1830s (8%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 96

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Jai: A Fantasy Paper Doll

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll inspired by historical Chinese dress This isn’t an accurate depiction of Tang Dynasty dress. Though at times it seems to me that this would be obvious, most people (myself included) aren’t very familiar with the dynasties of China, let alone what they were wearing. Oddly, I never feel like when I draw stuff like this or this or this, I have to say it’s not accurate historical European dress, so perhaps my ned for a “disclaimer” is partly an assumption on my part about what my readers are familiar with.

So, anyway, these gowns were inspired by Hanfu and Tang Dynasty dress if anyone is keeping count. Of course, they aren’t accurate and they aren’t meant to be. I just had a lot of fun looking up gowns like this one and this one on Pinterest.

I find balancing research intense projects with non-research intense projects really helps keep me feeling sane. So, fantasy often seems to counter balance historical sets. I just finished, for example, penciling the largest 18th century set that I have ever drawn and then drew a space princess with a ray gun.

It’s all about contrast.

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll in black and white for coloring inspired by historical Chinese dress
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I went with a muted color scheme that I found on Design Seeds. I wanted it to feel a little less bright and more nature inspired than a lot of my color schemes tend towards. I have a lof of bright colors. I think the gray greens and soft lavenders go a long way to keeping things feeling soft and delicate.

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll inspired by historical Chinese dress in color. Part of the Pixie series, Jai 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}
I swear I had a reference from a contemporary Asian historical drama film when I drew her hair, but now I can’t seem to find the picture on Pinterest. Normally, I’m quite compulsive about saving these things, so I’m a little surprised to be so flummoxed.

Oh well… perhaps I shall find it later.

In the meantime, enjoy Jai and her fantasy gowns.

A Lady at Court: Printable Tudor Paper Doll

A printable paper doll of Turdor era fashion Let me be clear here… this is not just a paper doll of the 1500s. Rather, my Margot paper doll is is showing off English Tudor dress from the mid-1500s, specifically Henrician gowns. This is an important distinction, because by the 1500s dress was highly regionalized, especially for people of wealth and status. My paper dolls nearly always have both wealth and status. (Mostly, because rich important people tend to get way cooler looking clothes.)

Both of Margot’s gowns are Henrician gowns, which are specifically gowns worn during the reign of Henry the 8th. She’s also got two french hoods (headdress A & C), one gable (or English) hood (headdress B), one pair of shoes and one set of underwear.

Please note that the underwear may not fit underneath the two gowns. I didn’t want to omit the smock from the underwear and smocks had really full sleeves that got crushed under the gowns and then were displayed through slits in the false sleeves and well… I didn’t want to deal with all that layering.

Moral of the story: She has under things. The underthings might not actually fit under things.

I should add that I knew very little about Tudor dress when I started researching this paper doll set and I am not about to claim that I have magically become an expert. I did my best to create an fairly accurate rendition of a noble woman’s garments of the 1540s through 1550s considering the restrictions of Margot’s pose.

A printable paper doll of Turdor era fashion as a coloring page
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As always, it is very important to me to be clear about what I studied at prior to drawing this paper doll set. Tudor clothing has always been very intimidating to me, but I wanted to challenge myself. A big part of my historical paper doll set goal is drawing things which “scare me”. Tudor dresses were one of those things.

Selected Sources:

Books:

Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction. London: Macmillan, 1983.
Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes through History, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996.
Mikhaila, Ninya, and Jane Malcolm-Davies. The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th-century Dress. Hollywood, CA: Costume and Fashion, 2006.
Norris, Herbert. Tudor Costume and Fashion. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997. (Note: Norris’ book has some problems, since it was wirrten in 1927, but it’s useful as an accompaniment for other things.)
Reynolds, Anna. In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2013.

Websites:

There is a fairly large community of people who reconstruct Tudor clothing. I am always dubious of such cites, as they often lack citation (and y’all know that drives me nuts), but they can be excellent sources to corroborate primary and academic secondary documentation. As always with internet research, Caveat emptor.

Damsel in in this Dress: Tudor Kirtle and Gown from May 2014. (Accessed: March 2015)

Tudor Dress: A Portfolio of Images is clearly a product of the days of table’s on the internet, but still has good info. (Accessed: March 2015)

What did a Tudor Noble Lady Wear? is all about the layers of Tudor clothing. (Accessed: March 2015)

Elizabethan Costume Page is older, but quality. Plus there’s an old school Java paper doll game! (Accessed: March 2015)

Tudor Tailor is the website of the people who wrote the excellent book “Tudor Tailor.” Though I think the book is more useful than the website, it would be remiss of me not to mention that it does exist. (Accessed: March 2015)

Portraits:

From the National Gallery, I looked at a lot of famous portraits from Ann Boylen, late 16th Century, Queen Mary the First in minature, circa 1545, and Queen Mary the First circa 1544, Unknown Woman’s Portrait, circa 1545, Jane Dudley, circa 1600, Queen Mary the First, circa 1554 and Katherine Parr’s Portrait, circa 1545.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s portrait collection, I looked at Lady Lee (aka: Margaret Wyatt, born about 1509) circa 1540s, Portrait of a Young Woma circa 1540-1554,
Anne de Pisseleu, Duchesse d’Étampes, circa 1535-1540, and Lady Rich (Elizabeth Jenks, died 1558) circa 1540.

There are, of course, other sources of Tudor clothing and I am sure I missed some. I don’t think this will be my last trip to the 1500s. I really want to do a more “merchant class” tudor paper doll as well.

Marisole Monday & Friend’s Paper Doll Sets: Two Historical & One Fantasy

I draw a lot of paper dolls. Is that a shock to anyone? It really shouldn’t be.

Anyway, I inked a huge number of Marisole Monday & Friend’s sets a few weeks ago. They’ll start to go live starting next week, I think. Anyway, I wanted to share what I’ve been working on with people as a sneak peek at the future.

The first set here is Tudor era, specifically the mid-1500s in England. There’s two dresses, one set of underwear and two pairs of shoes, but I have the sinking feeling one of those pairs of shoes isn’t going to fit on the set when I do the layout. On the upside, I’ve gotten to practice drawing complicated patterns and I really love how the gowns both turned out. I think this is going to a dfun set, even though French hoods are hard to draw.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

I did a 1920’s set years ago, but I love that era- also I own like five books about it in my own costume book collection and that means I don’t have to interlibrary loan reference books. Periods of fashion that don’t require extra work are my favorite periods of fashion. This clothes set is for Monica. It’s being colored as we speak.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

Lastly, here’s a contemporary set borrowed from March’s deluge of fashion magazines. Color blocking seems to be the in thing. I really love the dress, but there are some inking errors that I’ll have to clean up with Photoshop later. I’ll be coloring this set based on Pantone’s color reports.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

So, those are the future paper doll sets. I’ll show off some more next week. :)

Chloe: A New Ms. Mannequin Paper Doll

Like to Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white and color. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing This sorta accidentally went up on Monday, but the files weren’t actually loaded on my server, so the links were kinda problematic and it wasn’t actually supposed to go live yet. I took it down when I noticed it and fixed the PDF files. So here it is as an actual real proper post. :)

I went back and forth about the order in which to post these sets. Technically, I drew the clothing first and then drew the doll to go with it. Since I had things to say about her clothing, so the paper doll’s Lolita inspired clothing got to get posted first. Now, I can post the paper doll who I drew while thinking that she would wear this clothing. Now, that doesn’t mean she has to wear that clothing she does have other options.

Chloe has the same skintone as Stella, my other Asian Ms. Mannequin paper doll. I did that on purpose, so the two paper dolls could share shoes. The colors of the dolls bases will indicate which dolls can share shoes, so Chose’s base is purple- just like Stella’s base. I hope that makes sense. Chloe’s shoes were designed to match the country Lolita inspired paper doll clothes from last week. Stella’s shoes are a little more neutral, so the two dolls can share.

Eventually, I’d like to have two of each of the current Ms. Mannequin skin tones before I branch out into other skin tones, though I do have an alien Ms. Mannequin in the works and her skin is going to be pink skinned or something equally odd.

Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing

{Click Here for a PDF in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Click Here for a PDF of Black and White} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Black and White}{Click Here for More Clothesr}{Click Here for Friends for Her}

I choose not to give today’s paper doll an over the top Lolita hairstyle (here a bunch of links to Lolita hair tutorials to show off some of the styles), because I wanted her to be able to dress down or dress up. I think versitility is really important in paper dolls. The variety of stories they can tell is a crucial part of the pleasure children (and adults) get from the toys. At least, I think it is.

So, there will be a sketchbook preview later this week. I hope everyone had a great Easter, if they celebrate, or are having a great Passover. As always, comments are all read and emails are usually responded too eventually. (Mind you… eventually can be quite a few days later.)

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