Flicker is a great source for paper doll images. They aren’t all very printable, but they are often beautiful and I rely on it to find neat and inspiring stuff, also odd and strange stuff. And stuff I think is creep as all heck, though those I don’t usually save.
Here’s a set of 28 paper dolls from Flicker, along with some that fall into the “jointed paper doll” category. Not quite traditional paper dolls, but still pretty neat. I’d love to get some and frame them in shadow boxes.
It is rare that I have the plan for a color scheme in mind before I start drawing, but I knew I wanted this set of paper dolls to be done in a red white and blue color scheme with a nautical twist.
I was playing around with my Photoshop settings on this one and I am not totally pleased with how the line-work came out on the color version. I shall have to look into what I did and think about it a bit more. I didn’t notice it as much on my smaller laptop screen, but working on it on a larger screen it has become very obvious.
Gillian asked: when did you start drawing paper dolls? and how did you learn to draw?
Well…. I started drawing paper dolls… I don’t even remember when I started drawing paper dolls. My mother used to draw dolls for me and my sister when we were kids. She’d draw the doll as a bribe to get us to clean our rooms or do the dishes and then we would have to draw the clothing. So, that’s when the paper doll thing got started.
I learned to draw mostly by doing a lot of it. I took art classes in high school and middle school, but mostly I am self taught. I’d love to have some time in the future to take some figure drawing classes. I don’t think I do a very good job on my figures. I nearly always draw from a reference image. I don’t really have the ability to draw well without one.
I hope that answers your question Gillian.
By the way, I was trying to do a darker, maybe Latino skin tone here, but I think she came out looking sickly. Too much yellow in the skin, perhaps.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on blogging, website design or anything else. I don’t make money doing this and I don’t have a ton of readers. Continue at your own risk.
The trick to blogging I think is this: Set the bar low, so you can achieve your goals.
And no, I am not kidding.
I might want to post every day, but there’s not a chance that’s going to happen. So, if I say I am going to post a paper doll every day and than I fail to post every day, I feel that I have let people down.
At which point, the spiral of self-doubt and guilt sets in. This is a bad spiral.
Instead, I say, I’d like to have post once a week. I know my schedule says four times a week, but my goal these days is a post a week.
I’m moving. I’m starting a new job. I can not keep to my old schedule.
And I think one post a week is about the minimum for a blog to keep itself running. So, that’s my goal. One new paper doll post a week. Sometimes I make this, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I go over it.
But if I felt like I had created an expectation that I would post everyday and failed to meet it than I would end up just feeling guilty and bad about neglecting the blog and I feel guilty and bad about that enough already.
This is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, I seriously need a new hobby.
There was this girl in one of my classes last semester who had the most amazing hair. Every class she’d come in with it styled in a different way- sometimes it was in a huge afro and sometimes it was in tons of little braids and sometimes it was straightened and sometimes…. you get the idea.
So, one day she came in with all the small braids coiled up into these huge pair of buns on either side of her head. The way the braids were wrapped around each other made it look like they were woven- almost like baskets. It was utterly beautiful.
I wanted to try to draw that hair style for this paper doll.
I don’t think I really captured it.
Seriously though, I always wondered: How long did it take her in the morning to get ready? I’m lucky if I get my hair brushed and my clothing on.
So, I know I said these would be up last week (or maybe the week before that), but some things came up and I didn’t get around to it. The irony is that I drew this set last year and it’s been sitting on my desktop waiting to be finished for a while.
I tried to make sure each page of this set was a consistent color scheme, so that each page can be printed and played with alone, along with combining with the other pieces in the set. I walso wanted to play a little with the options of a magnetic set of paper dolls which are different than the options for a non-magnetic set of paper doll. I think magnetic paper dolls have interesting options, but are not the same as paper paper dolls for various reasons.
Somehow, this Marisole paper doll reminded me of trips to the seashore. When I was a child, I remember my family went to Atlantic city for a few weeks one summer. My father’s family is from the East Coast, so the whole group met there. While I remember only vague things from the trip, I recall distinctly walking down the boardwalk with my father and eating black cherry frozen custard which my father would buy for me from a stand on the boardwalk. I still remember how the purple custard was rolled in rainbow sprinkles until they covered it completely.
Every time I eat frozen custard, I think of my father.
Ana asked “how many drafts of any one finished doll do you go through?”
The short answer is that it depends the doll. Dolls are drawn off templates which have seven to twelve drafts. Clothing is lightly penciled and than inked. I don’t usually draft the clothing full-size unless I am having trouble with something and then I do.
There’s also a more detailed long answer. If you want to read it, continue below.
Okay, so here is the detailed version:
I draw paper dolls in stages. The first stage is a doll template. Doll templates evolve over many drafts. Those drafts begin as very very rough and eventually become fairly smooth and detailed. When I was working on the Dictionary Girls, I posted a post where I showed bad scans of the stages of there development.
So, once I have a template, I trace the template and lightly draw it. Than I do a detailed pencil version over than a light penciled version and than I ink that. I took some photos of this a while ago with a set of dresses and you can see them here.
If I screw up a doll, and I often do, it’s in the inking stage usually. So I am always careful not to draw any clothing or anything else until I’ve inked the doll. I draw from templates, so that if I end up hating the doll, I can draw her over again without needed to redraw the body which is the hardest part for me. Plus I can fix things through the power of Photoshop.
So, I went out to the movies tonight and saw “Snow White and the Huntsman” with some friends. I concluded that the Twilight Chick (whose name I had to look up on IMBD) can’t act, that I rather liked Charlize Theron when she’s evil and that the movie was better than Mirror Mirror, but I’ll take the Disney version over either any day. The costumes were pretty beautiful, especially the Evil Queens, but there’s apart where Snow White rides into battle not wearing a helmet- apparently being a princess means you’re immune to concussive head injuries.
So, before I crawl into bed, I should answer a question.
Monica asked: Do you prefer online paper doll research, or real book research? Internet or Library? =]
Well, that’s a kinda complicated question. The answer is: It depends on what I am researching and why.
If I want inspiration for a modern or a fantasy set, than I usually stick to the internet. I use it for looking at clothing websites or checking out the latest designer shows a Style.com. It’s really useful.
If I want historical costume, I usually go to books. I own about a dozen different costume books in my own collection, plus I regularly have at least a dozen checked out from the library. The exception to this are the websites of museums and libraries, which often contain digitized primary source documents or photos of items in their collections. Books are great for context. The internet is great for pictures. Some of my favorite internet resources are linked on my Research Resources page which I just finished updating, though I have some more to add later.
The truth is that I don’t really like staring at a computer while trying to draw and I would much rather have a book open in front of me than a computer screen. Though I usually draw from drafted tumbnails, so even with fantasy costumes, I rarely have a computer open when I am actually drawing.
Today’s Dictionary girl is a take on neo-Victorian things. I’m not entirely pleased with the drape on the skirt… but I decided to go for it. I do really like the hair and the boots. I think I’ve mentioned I have a thing for boots.
So, onto the drawing… The random number generator informed me the winner of my drawing was number four- D Garrett who has her own wonderful blog on black doll collecting. Email me, please, at paperthinpersonas (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know what sort of paper doll you would like.
I don’t really know why she’s so appealing to people. I find her pose a little problematic unless you slit up along the side of her body to free her right arm from her side and I confess that when I see her a part of me sees a style of paper doll I wouldn’t draw today. I may have to redraw her face one day… her faceted eyes kinda freak me out. (They didn’t when I drew her, but now…)
That’s all neither here nor there.
I hope that answers your question, dgb. Let me know what sorta paper doll you’d like.
Today’s printable paper doll is so bright, you might find yourself thinking “Good god, it’s radioactive” and you wouldn’t be wrong. She’s extremely a little eye-watering, I confess, but I had a lot of fun. Like Kandi, I wanted to play with the contrast of bright color to dark skin. Also, once I colored all the clothing and I looked at my Marisole skin tone color palette, I realized that most of them clashed with that obnoxious delightful green color.
Seriously, if there was ever a good post to do in black and white and in color… this was it. I doubt I would have had the gumption to go this bright if I wasn’t going to also post her in black and white.
So, B asked: Are you going to make another set of Flock dolls? It’d be pretty cool to see fairy tales, or maybe cyberpunk!
The short answer is: Yes.
The longer answer is that the next set of Flock paper dolls will be modern and will consist of the six dolls and a over a hundred pieces of clothing. After that I want to do smaller sets, because seriously the whole “hundred” pieces of clothing was a bit much. I have a “noir punk” set in process and a sort of futuristic set as well. Neither is close to being done though and the casual set is very close. As in, I hoping sometime this week or next, close.
I have to say I love the idea of doing something fairy tale inspired… sort of a bad ass Red Ridinghood and Cinderella set… I shall have to think about that more.
Speaking of the Questions, Tuesday is the last day to enter my drawing. I know I said yesterday that I would draw a name on Tuesday, but I realized for it to be open for two weeks it was going to have to go until Tuesday until midnight. I’ll announce the winner Wednesday. Hopefully along with a Dictionary Girls update, but since I don’t have one yet… well… we’ll see.
I’ve been thinking about doing a series of posts about things I wish I knew about paper doll blogging back when I started paper doll blogging… is that something people would be interested in? I mean, it’s not terribly paper doll related.
This post will go up midnight on Sunday, so you all can print her out and play with her. I will be spending my Sunday driving back to Illinois from having been in Alabama. It’s a nine hour drive back and I am not really looking forward to it. We’ve been listening to Harry Potter on audio book while we drive up through the hills and then through the flat lands and then to the soybean and corn filled land that I call home at the moment.
The hills (they call them mountains here, but they are wrong) here in Alabama are lovely, but they are nothing compared to the sort of landscape I grew up in. I suppose that little out there compares to the awesome beauty of Alaska.
Despite my post Friday about wanting a two bedroom, I ended up with a nice one bedroom for less then I thought I would have to spend. I’ll need to buy a washing machine, but I got a break on rent because of it. There’s a balcony which I’m excited about and a nice desk spot. Hopefully I can fit a good sized desk for paper dolling and a couch in the same space.
Guests might have to sleep on the couch.
Today’s paper doll is named Miana. She’s sort of Greek inspired, but I also thought of a young woman walking down a beach with the wind whipping through her skirts. Marisole has rocked a similar style. I thought about doing Miana all in whites and things, but that seemed boring.