As some of you have no doubt already figured out, I draw ahead of time as much as I can. It’s easier to work in spurts when I have a few hours to devote to the blog rather then doing fifteen minutes here and twenty minutes there. So on Saturday, after I had run my errands and washed my laundry, I settled down in front of some old Star Trek episodes on DVD and drew paper doll clothes for a few hours.
For next Monday’s Marisole I had my fashion magazines out and windows from clothing websites up on my computer screen. To draw for Florence, I pulled out books of Victorian fashion plates and printouts of doll furniture. But when it came time to draw for Curves, all I had to do was find my thumbnail doodles and put then down next to my notebook. It was entirely liberating not to be bogged down with references.
Of course, it wasn’t as though I didn’t have some limits. The thing about Evil Sorceresses is that it’s a slippery slope and once you are one, you can’t wear just anything. Sure, some might say it’s a bit cliche or even over done, but the Sorceress has to maintain her reputation. And most Sorceresses don’t start bad, they just sort of slide that way. Something about being beautiful and powerful seems to just go to their heads. And once they are an accepted memeber of the Evil Soceress Guild, they can’t wear just anything.
What would people say, after all, if you showed up to a gathering wearing flannel or flowers? Well, flowers are okay if they’re evil flowers. Not, you know, daisies or something.
I must confess that I didn’t think I would ever get these paper dolls done. The coloring of the clothing was hugely time consuming and I kept disliking how the schemes turned out. I’m still not totally pleased with the gold and red ballgown, but it’s much better then the blue and green version. (Trust me on this one.)
The original goal was to draw things with trains (because I need practice) and this evolved into a set of clothing a fantasy princess (in this case Elven cause of the ears) would wear over the course of the day. Working left to right, the purple gown with the corset and white blouse is her day dress. The red and gold dress with the cream under dress is her formal dinner gown or ball gown which she wears in the evening. Her short bed jacket is next held closed with a golden pin and that she wears over her long nightgown which is on the far right along with two pairs of shoes. The purple shoe to match her purple day dress and the red shoes to go with her formal ball-gown. She also has two necklaces, one to go with each gown though the gold one can be worn with either dress.
Considering the time it took to get all these paper doll clothes to fit on one image, I am glad I don’t draw dresses with trains so often. I do think I need to start thinking about color schemes when I’m designing rather then at ten pm on Sunday night when I realize “Huh… this paper doll dress has like five layers. Maybe I should’ve thought this out better…”
Planning never was my strong suit, but I like to think that I make up for it with a can-do attitude and a certain amount of gumption.
Today’s paper doll is named after a friend in middle school who always said she was going to leave Juneau and head off into the city down south (when you’re in Alaska, the habit is to call anything outside of the state “South”. It’s a matter of perspective I suppose). Eventually, I think she ended up at college in New York, so I suppose it worked out for her, though I lost track of her since then.
It’s funny how people we’re close with at one point in our lives drift away from us later. I hadn’t thought about Jessica until I was trying to name this paper doll and then for some reason she came back to me. Odd how the mind works.
Coloring the paper dolls is always a bit of a crap shoot. How they show up after converting them into PNG’s is always a bit of a shock. Colors are always more muted. Sometimes I like it, but it can play havoc on skin tone. I think I managed okay with Jessica’s coloring, but I wish the brightness of the coat had converted better. Oh well, I suppose I’ll just have to keep messing with formats.
She’s also the first paper doll to be posted in a vertical print format, not a landscape print format. Just something to remember when you’re printing out the PDF.
Strangely, the seaside walking dress is drawn from a fashion plate which depicts a woman standing on a cliff face, as though she’s been hiking. This leads me to suspect the dress was actually intended for seaside walks and the shorter skirt also hints at this option. I would doubt if women actually wore such a thing hiking, but I have seen photographs of women in the 1900’s wearing high heels standing on a Glacier, so I don’t doubt they did it.
The swimming costume has a cap with it to cover her hair. Though it was drawn after a plate, her hair style made it a little more awkward then it otherwise would have been. Still, as reader pointed out when I first posted the paper doll’s swimming costume I had forgotten to give her the swimming cap any Victorian lady would have worn over her hair. I have not omitted it this time proving I am trainable.
I’ve been working nearly full time to make up hours lost while I was in classes. It’s been time consuming, exhausting and I just kinda want to curl up and sleep. Still, I promised myself I would do better with paper dolls and the blog. I hope by trying to schedule more and have more things pre-planned that it will smooth some of the rough edges of things.
Anyway, it is late and I am tired. Enjoy the paper doll.
As a paper doll, Marisole provides a few options which the other paper dolls on the site don’t. One of those is to play around with mix and match clothing options which is what I tried to do with this set of paper doll clothes. I wanted to show a variety of options which were available with one dress and several vests, cloaks, jackets which could be placed over it. I stuck to a blue based color scheme when my red based color scheme just didn’t work out very well.
So, my original idea was that Marisole here was some sort of exotic noble lady in a world where fabric (being handmade) was extremely expensive. The resulting society would rely on accessory pieces to turn a simple gown into a lovely dress for a variety of occasions. And since fabric was at a premium, absurd hairstyles could be the status part of a ladies attire. (It is also entirely possible, I just like drawing absurd hairstyles. I would not rule this out.)
Though Marisole’s family has some money, they are not absurdly wealthy. Perhaps some bad investments many years ago have dwindled the family fortunes. So, she must make-do with one dress and a few other pieces to shine in. Her elaborate hairstyle is a sign of her noble status, but she relies on her beautifully made outer garments to keep herself up to date.
I almost didn’t post this paper doll dress for the Lady of the Manor. I felt like I had left her alone for so long that I wasn’t sure it was worth finishing her, but then I felt like I had this last dress and it was scanned, so I might as well post it anyway.
I might have more to write about it in the morning, but I am very tired tonight, so I think I’ll crawl into bed. Enjoy the ballgown.
Florence’s traveling costume is based on this fashion plate from the NYPL’s digital gallery (I say based on because it is fairly obvious where the paper doll clothes and the actual plate deviate). The dress is labeled in German and my German is practically non-existent.
I’ve been meaning to ask my German speaking co-worker to translate it for weeks and keep forgetting. I tried babelfish and it didn’t exactly work. It game me an answer, but the answer made no sense. Truth be told, I don’t know if its a traveling suit or not, but it looks fairly similar to others I have seen. Anyway, Florence is my paper doll and if I want to declare this her traveling costume, I darn well can. My life might be full of other sources of chaos, but my paper dolls do as they are told… sometimes.
Suits for women were in style in the 1870’s, so it seemed only reasonable to give Florence one, since she is the most fashionable of paper dolls. I also wanted to use the opportunity to make a few tops to go with the same skirt or several skirts. I expect I shall do this more often and a smart color-er of these paper doll clothes would be wise to consider this for future mix and matchable clothing options. It was common to have two bodices to go with one skirt during this era, so one bodice might be a formal dinner dress while the other bodice would be an afternoon or a visiting costume. The very smart lady (or paper doll, in our case) could, of course, turn an afternoon costume into a visiting costume by adding the right jewelry and a smart hat.
When I was a kid, I always wanted one of those cakes with the doll sticking out of it. You know, the kind where the skirt is made up by cake and the doll comes out the top. (Here’s a picture, for those of you who weren’t doll obsessed children in the early 90’s) Now, whenever I see the dresses of the mid-1860’s when the hoop was at its widest, I think of those doll cakes. Of course, all fashion is about swings. A item of clothing reaches its most extravagant and then slides out as something else enters to replace it, just as the length of shirts have gone from belly-shirts to tunics in the last fifteen years or so, the hoop skirt’s width moved from all around towards the back until it eventually transformed into the bustle. By the mid-1870’s, it was hard to see how it had ever once been a full hoop skirt.
The advantage of such a wide skirt is that it calls attention to a tiny waist and the women of this ear were well aware of the allure of that feature, so belts were much in vogue. Curves has traveled back in time for a moment, to embrace this gown from 1861.
Now, I knew I couldn’t fit Curves in period hoops and the size of the skirt on the same image, so I put the paper doll in a modern set of underwear. Perhaps, she is a Civil War re-enactor. That gets me out of the whole- why isn’t she wearing a corset and hoops and all the things a woman in 1860 wore under her dress.
Of course, like any paper doll, dead or otherwise, the clothing is the most important printable paper doll bit, so here we have a nice set of clothes for the printable zombie version of Marisole. But no shoes. I couldn’t seem to get them right.
Truth be told, doing this Marisole set meant I could be a little messier then I usually am. I let myself have rough edges and I didn’t freak out when my inking went bad. It was okay. After all, she was a zombie and distressed fashion was totally all right. Sometimes, I think the absurd and the playful reminds me why I draw paper dolls to begin with.