Marisole Monday: Practical Princess

From a kingdom high in the mountains, Marisole has come. It’s a harsh, rocky landscape and its princess is a practical oriented woman with a love of sword fighting and literatre. Her mother insists she still practice her stitching for when she is married, but would rather be out riding her horse. Someday, she will marry and rule this hard beautiful land, but until then she must study and wait.


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I don’t usually think about characters when I’m drawing Marisole, but after the Yellow Princess set, I wanted to do a more practical princess and I began to wonder what sort of world would spawn such a logical and down to earth member of the royalty. I choose cool calm colors for her clothing and decided to rely on gray rather then brown as my neutral. My favorite of her costumes is her grey leather jumper over her purple skirt. I imagine this is a fencing outfit to go with her sword and her practical boots.

I have done quite a few “princesses” over the years, often based on color. Princess In Pink was one of my first with a very pink and blue based color scheme. I love her hair style, but the color is redder then I think it should be. Before her, there was Green Princess who had a unique crown and only two dresses, because I forgot to draw a left sleeve onto the other dress and didn’t notice until I’d scanned and colored it. Opps… And then in June of last year, there was the Elven Princess who had pointy ears, purple eyes and one of my favorite sets of clothing. Lastly, there was the Yellow Princess who went up just a few weeks ago.

So, Marisole has been a princess quite a few times, though this is the first Marisole with Asian features to be a princess. I wanted her to resemble Filipino coloring, but I’m not sure I liked how her skin tone turned out. I think she looks a little sickly.

Pixie & Puck: Rosalita

I’ve never really liked roses as a flower. I don’t buy them when I’m buying flowers, I’d rather have poppies or foxglove or tulips. But my grandfather grew roses and I remember learning how to prune them, so I have a certain soft spot for roses and I always will. I wanted to draw a formal paper doll, something fantasy based and a little over the top and roses seemed to fit the bill.


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I am trying to get better at writing things for this blog. I’m a rather private person by nature and I don’t really like to expose myself even to people in the real world. Adding to that is the feeling that I really shouldn’t talk about my job (at which I spend about 20% of my waking life) and I can’t imagine my classes would be that thrilling and the only other thing I do a lot is play board games which also doesn’t seem ripe for discussion. Winning at Settlers of Catan four times in a row is hardly the stuff of interesting blog reading. (Though I do tend to build entire empires based on sheep and sheep alone, I am the queen of sheep.)

In short, I never know what to say. I am trying to get better and more comfortable and not put off writing something to the last minute. I am getting better at it. It’s just not my strength.

Seven Blogs about Historical Fashion

Here are seven blogs about historical and vintage fashion that I read regularly. Why seven? Well… it’s a cultural number and a prime and basically because that’s how many I have bookmarked. There are two kinds of research I do. I do focused research and I do wandering, I feel like pawing around the internet kinda wasting time research. Historical fashion blogs are usually more the latter type of research then other former, but these are the blogs I read when I’m looking for historical fashion information and inspiration or just trying to waste use wisely some time.

1. Historical Fancy Dress
Fancy dress costume descriptions and information regarding historical masquerade balls, primarily of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Text and illustrations directly from period sources. Seriously, what could be better then reading about the wacky things Victorians got up too while dressing for costume parties? It will shock and amaze. I just wish there were more pictures (a fault of the topic and the time and not all all of the blogger).

2. Fashion Historia
Exactly what it claims to be, Fashion Historia is the history of fashion, mostly- an eclectic mix of topics. I don’t always read the articles all the way through, but I enjoy browsing it and check back every few days.

3. The Way We Wore
The blog of a wonderful vintage clothing shop (which sells beautiful things you should go look at), The Way We Wore covers contemporary and vintage costume. I don’t go here when I need to find out something specific, but I do love checking up on the posts.

4. Worn Through: Apparel from an Academic Perspective
Don’t let the word “academic” in the title scare you. Worn Through is a wonderful blog about all things apparel related. Its especially nice for its well written book reviews and its great exhibit announcements.

5. Demode
Full of historical costume, as well as projects and a great resouce list, I can’t say enough good things about this beautifully designed blog. Her article on hair styles from the bustle period is among my favorites.

6. Circa 1850
Wonderful blog about making costumes, researching costumes and other historical fashion things and it’s not just about the 1850’s, I promise.

7. Historical Personality Disorder
If you don’t read it for the interesting costume information, read it for the writing. Seriously, one of the most amusing blogs I have read in a long time and I wish I could write like that. Plus its full of information on Elizabethan costume (mostly) and what could be bad about that?

Did I miss a historical fashion blog that you read and you recommend? Tell me about it. 🙂 I’m always looking for more time wasting research.

Shadow And Light 5

Among other things, Number 5 is the first Asian Shadow and Light paper doll, as well as being one who has a pair of sandals that lace up to her thighs. I don’t know how they would work in the real world, but I am rather in love with them. Have I mentioned before I have a thing for shoes?


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As B pointed out, I sort of skipped the letter D with my Dictionary Pinup Paper Dolls. I was rather hoping no one would notice… There will be a D paper doll, I promise. I don’t know when… but it will happen. Life gets busy sometimes, but fortunately I have readers who keep me honest. Seriously, if there is ever a problem with anything on the blog, please let me know. I try to keep up with dead links and typos, but I don’t catch them all and I know it. I’m always usually grateful when people point out my errors since it lets me fix them.

Curves 2.0 Welcome Elena

This paper doll is named in honor of a good friend, as many of my paper dolls are. The moment I drew her, I thought she looked Hispanic, so I decided to make her Elena and I gave her more coral colored lips since I’ve done a lot of red lipped pin-up dolls. Someday I need to draw her a bull fighter costume in order to forefill a complicated inside joke, but until then she has some darn sexy underwear.


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She’s up a little late tonight, because I spent the evening baking rather then working on blog things. I am part of a club at my University and we’re having a bakesale. I promised to make stuff for it, so tonight I found myself putting together cookies. Tomorrow will be brownies and rice crispy treats- both easy enough to make though I confess I haven’t made rice crispy treats since I was about ten. Still, how complicated can they possibly be?

I forget sometimes how much I like baking until I get back into the kitchen to do it. I rarely bake for myself, because I live alone and it would be dangerous to have cookies around the house. Stuff like this is an excuse to pull out my grandmothers chocolate chip cookie recipe and use it, though I don’t make them as crispy as she always did.

And that, my friends, is more then I can imagine anyone wanted to know about my cooking habits. I am thinking now though that a series of aprons would be a fun thing to draw for Curves 2.0. I should get on that… but not until I finish my cookies.

Marisole Monday: In the Nineteen-Tens…

I had so much fun drawing and researching this paper doll. I’d forgotten what a blast it is to settle down in the library with a big stack of historical costume books. (Okay, so maybe that makes me all kinds of geeky, but I can be cool with that.) The early teens of the 20th century are fascinating to me, because they are before the Great War (also known as World War 1) and repersent the last hurrah of a culture that was ended by the time was war ended. The Great War truly changed the cultural and poltical and geographic landscape of Europe and when it was over, nothing would ever be the same. While historical interesting, the Second World War’s cultural upheavel can not be compared to the devestation wrought by the First World War.

Along with historical costume and libraries, I am a bit of a World War One buff.


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Anyway, I mostly used The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930 by Waugh, Fashion in Costume 1200-2000 and Fashion Accessories: The Complete 20th Century Sourcebook. None of them are what I would call excellent texts (except The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930), but they all served the purpose of providing images of clothing to draw from. I have my doubts about Peacock’s research sometimes since his work is not extensively footnoted, but I love how easy it is to draw from. I should add that all of Marisole’s costumes come from between 1910 and 1915- the first part of the decade up to the first year of the Great War.

Edit 8/23/13: This paper doll is now available in black and white for coloring.

Pixie & Puck: Adalind

Adalind was in the same vein as Blossom and, at least some ways related to, Tones and Shades, Tokyo Meets Georgia and Inspired by Africa of Marisole. I know a lot about historical costume in the western world. I’ve read up on it, I understand it and to tell you the truth I really enjoy it.


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Despite that, or perhaps because of it, I have found myself drawn to the costumes of other groups. I’ve been reading up on Africa and Asia and the Middle East, but as I did my reading I stumbled across the traditional dress of Sweden and Austria and became interested in it as well. So, Adalind was born out of that interest.

It is funny the complicated routes paper dolls can take from idea to creation.

Shadow and Light 4

The best thing about the Shadow and Light paper dolls is that I decided to number them rather then title them. Perfect solution to my natural problem of coming up with titles.

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I’m always excited when I stumble across paper dolls in while I’m not actually looking for them. Final Fashion is a great fashion illustrators blog which features lots of beautiful fashion paper dolls. They are available for purchase, but every one can also be seen to just gaze longingly at. One of my pet peeves is when people have paper dolls for sale, but you can’t really see each page of the paper doll or the clothing. There’s a few artists I will buy on faith, but generally I like to see what I am getting. My favorite is her Vionnet paper dolls. Madame Vionnet is a somewhat under appreciated designer from the early 20th century who introduced the world to the bias cut dress. Unfortunately, her style was very much of its time and hasn’t really survived to be present which is a pity.

On a semi-related note to the Madame Vionnet ramble, I am curious if people would be interested in knowing which fashion books I use when I’m doing research. I’ve been on this Japanese kimono book kick for a few weeks (literally, my table is covered in them) and I’m trying to decide if fashion/costume book reviews are something people would like to see. Thoughts from the masses?

Curves 2.0 Meet Chiharu

I debated long and hard what to name this paper doll. I had a friend in high-school who was Japanese American named Claire, and I almost named the paper doll (with whom she shares really no resemblance) Claire, but then I decided I wanted to actually try to find a name with Asian origins which started with C. I wanted it to be a fairly common name and I didn’t care if it was Chinese or Korean or Japanese or really from anywhere else.

Being as I know nothing about traditional naming practices of pretty much any Asian country and being as I didn’t really feel like learning them, I ended up pawing around baby name sites looking for something I could pronounce and which was not hyper unusual. I don’t know how common this name is, but based on the fact that several actresses in Hong Kong have it, I think it can’t be that unusual. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

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There will be another paper doll next week and then some costumes to dress them both in. Once I have a few more dolls, I’ll do more clothing. I just wanted to have a range of different dolls for dressing up. I’ve written before about the large number of child development studies which have been done about the need for children to see themselves reflected in their toys. While I don’t usually think much about children when I’m working on paper dolls, I do try to have many different skin tones and hair colors and combinations, so that almost any child could be given a paper doll that looked like them. Plus it keeps me amused. I’m always divided between the desire to have a bunch of different skin tones and the practical need to create mix and match clothing options. The biggest issue is shoes which often show some skin and then can only be worn by paper dolls who have the same color skin as the skin shown in the shoes.

Some people worry about world hunger, I worry about paper doll shoes.

And More Sketchbook…

I confess, I am not the worlds best photographer. I think I need to get better at sharpening images in photoshop… Anyway, here is more from my sketchbook.

I might have rented Xena: Warrior Princess from the library before drawing these.

I noticed recently, I hadn’t done much casual simple clothing for Marisole recently, so I did these up. I think of them has hiking clothes and I’m thinking of giving her a backpack as an accessory.

These sorts of things are what I draw when I don’t know what to draw.