I think fairies should be a little strange and a little other worldly and even a little scary. The Victorian conception of the sweet flower fairy stands in stark contrast to the traditional stories filled with figures like Banshees and the Washer Women and Jenny Greenteeth, or even Baba Yaga.
So, today I went to a Greek food festival with some people and ate much tasty Greek food. It was fun and edible. There was music and children dancing dances which reminded me of nothing so much as Jewish Camp, which I went to in the summers and where we’d learn to dance traditional folk dances. I had a good time and it was nice to get out of my apartment for a while and be social with people. I don’t do that often enough.
So, I was pawing around Deviant Art again and came across some really neat paper dolls from a variety of artists. I try to only link one paper doll from each artist (usually my favorite), but you should check out their galleries. There are some really cool paper dolls on Deviant Art. I’ve done this twice before and the same disclaimer applies: Not everything here is totally safe for the kiddies. You’ve been warned.
So, I was pawing around the internet, as I do, and I stumbled across this wonderful German website that contained some beautiful vintage German paper dolls. The word for paper doll in German is “ankleidepuppen” which literally translates to something like “dress up doll” according to my good friend from Germany, but, she told me, its usually used for paper dolls rather than normal dolls. Paper dolls and paper models are still pretty popular in Germany, though not in the United States.
Right after college, I got a fairly dead-end job working at a local bookstore and toy store. One of the catalogs we received, though never ordered from, was a German catalog that sold beautiful paper models. The prices were far above what we could have possibly sold them for, so we didn’t stock them normally, though I seem to recall a customer who would come in and special order them.
I love beautiful paper toys of all kinds, though paper dolls are, understandably, my first love.
Color schemes are always challenging. I wanted to keep the colors simple, since so much of it was going to be “silver grey”. As I see it, the “leather” can either be brown or black, but I think it looks off when there is a mix. After some debate, I settled on black and then decided to use white as a contrast color, rather than the more traditional dark shade. The rich red color has a lot of blue into it which keeps it from feeling too “blood red” and softens it against the black and the white.
Okay, so a question…
Dreamed asked: If you could travel to any time era, in any part of the world, when and where would you go? Why?
Wow… hard question. I have no idea… not very helpful is it?
I guess if I had to go somewhere and visit a period of history, I would want to visit Mainz in Germany when Gutenberg was printing his bible in the mid-1400′s, just so that I could see the press. A little odd, but as a rare books person, I just really want to see it.
I would not want to have to wear the clothing of the early 1400s… that just does nothing for me.
On an utterly unrelated note, I found this beautiful Valentine paper doll on Flickr. I love the way water color looks when it’s well done. Makes me almost want to try traditional media… almost.
There’s something beautiful and strong and simple and interesting about the fashion of the 1940′s… perhaps because of World War II and the change between the style during the war and the New Look that came after…
Or maybe I just love the chick’s hat on this pattern cover.
I don’t have a TV at the moment, so I’ve been watching a lot of HULU and, well, now I have the biggest crushes on about half the characters in this stupid TV show, GRIMM… It’s like CSI: Portland meets… Twlight Zone meets… I don’t even know what.
So, I’ve been on this Aubrey Beardsley kick for a few weeks, ever since I came across an original copy of Yellow Book with the plates intact.
P.S. Not all of Beardsley’s stuff is safe for work… he had a thing for men with abnormally large… well… this is a family blog, so I won’t get into it… just be a little careful where you image search him.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been into on the web lately. Some of this stuff might find its way into a paper doll or two.
I mean, I might have watched “Blade Runner” one to many times or maybe I’ve been collecting to many steampunk reference images in my files, but somehow I just thought that combining 1940′s and 1930′s noir film suits with platform heels and facial peircings seemed like a good idea.
Truth be told, I am rather pleased with the outcome. I figured out a way to do hats that “work” on magnetic paper dolls (who can not have things layered “behind” them very well”) and got to play with some of the diversity that might be possible from the Flock. I chose Starling to show off this style, because there was something about her little smirk/half smile with the hair style that I thought looked good.
So, I am quite pleased with the outcome.
One of the things I wanted to do with the Flock magnetic sets was make sure there was versatility. The pieces which “only” Starling can wear are on her page- the shoes and the hats with the hair attached. The pieces on the other page will fit any of the Flock magnetic dolls.
I think this style should be called “Noir Punk” as in “Steampunk” or I think it should be called “Punk Noir,” but I can’t really decide which one. Either way, you’ll find the downloads below. Let me know what you think in a comment.
Clearly, I thought that the Dictionary Girl’s needed to get a little more rough and tumble…. so here they are… rough and tumbling (Is it just me or does that sound like a sexual innuendo?).
I feel as though I need to say this, since I seem to get a lot of comments or questions that start with an apology- Please ask me question. Please make requests. Please feel free to inquire if I’ve ever done a style or a kind of paper doll. I will respond. I might take a few weeks days but I do try to get back to people.
Not promising that I’ll do a certain style of paper doll, but I try to reply as much as I can to comments and am grateful for everyone I receive.
I just thought I should state that somewhere.
On a fairly unrelated note, it is Speak Like a Pirate Day, so I went in search of a few pirate paper dolls. The pickings were not impressive. Final Fantasy Paper Dolls Made by Animama depict several of the Final Fantasy characters (none of whom I confess I know), but have some stylish pirate wear and fair number of other tongue in cheek outfits.
Marisole has been a lot of things over the years… She’s been a zombie and a pirate and a ninja and a member of Star Fleet, but she’s never just been a warrior chick and I thought she should be, plus I have a friend whose really into Xena and she was remarking that Marisole has been a lot of princesses, but she hadn’t ever really been ready for a fight.
So, here she is, ready for a fight. Though… I confess her armor isn’t really very… practical. Still, she’ll look cute and that’s half the battle.
Toni Cross asked: Did you like playing with dolls as a kid? As in, the non-paper kind? If so, what doll was your favorite? If not, what toy was your favorite and why?
I love dolls as a kid. I still love dolls, though over the years, I have come to realize what I really loved was miniature clothing and things. I loved all the tiny clothing and accessories more than I loved the dolls themselves.
My favorite dolls were Ginny dolls by Vogue. My Ginny’s had all sorts of adventures, but my fondest memories of the Ginny dolls are when my Grandmother came to visit and she would knit and sew them clothing. I still own all the tiny outfits my grandmother made for them and the wooden furniture my grandfather made.
Two of the earliest commercially published paper dolls are Little Henry and Little Fanny both from 1810 printed by the publisher S&J Fuller. S&J Fuller was a very well regarded press that produced lots of illustrated materials including fashion plates and other children’s books, located in London.
Paper dolls of this style featured a separate head which was then tucked into each dressed body. The illustrations, or paper dolls, would have been engraved, probably copper plate, and then colored by hand with water colors.
Personally, I find separate head paper dolls a little creepy and odd, but they were pretty common, though I haven’t seen any made commercially lately. I think the separate head allowed the publisher to save on paper which was quite expensive in the early 19th century.
Each paper doll was published with a book to teach a moral lesson. Children’s books were usually aimed at instruction, so we get to read about Littler Henry and Little Fanny going from idleness to diligence. At one point, Little Fanny is shown bare footed and begging for bread. Charming story for children, I’m sure…
I don’t know how long S&J Fuller published these books and I haven’t been able to find a lot of information on the press. Does anyone know of a good book about early children’s book publishers that might cover them?
When I was in middle school, I played a character named Astrid in a school play… but that is neither here nor there.
Personally, I really like her axe. That’s probably my favorite part of the paper doll… is that weird?
So, Boots asked: since you do a lot of coloring, etc. on the computer, what (if anything) do you do with the original art? Also: have you ever considered attending a paper doll convention?
Well, I draw in sketchbooks. So, my paper dolls end up in sketchbooks and the sketchbooks get labeled with the date and the year that they were done and get stuck in a bookcase. I don’t really “do” anything with the original art, except save it, because someday I might need it for something…. I keep a xerox of every common base paper doll (Marisole, Pixie & Puck, Dictionary and Shadow and Light) in a binder, so that I can have something draw off of without damaging the original art. I live in terror of losing the original art, since I tend to beat up my copies.
As for going to a paper doll convention, I totally want too. I’ve wanted to go to one for forever, but they’ve never been in locations or at times that were convenient for me. Living in Alaska was a huge hurdle and then school was a huge hurdle, but I’m hoping next year or something, I might get to go to one.
Mostly, I just think it would be cool to meet people who get as excited as I do about these paper people I love to draw so much.
Speaking of paper people, I was pawing around the internet and I found this beautiful horoscope paper doll on a dutch (I think…) language website. She’s really lovely and I adore her “theme costumes”.