New Full Color Printable Paper Doll Named Madison


{A Full Set Printable PDF of the Three Page Madison Paper Doll}

I don’t have very many Asian paper dolls, partly because it took a long time before I was comfortable drawing epicanthic folds, which are a characteristic of many East and Central Asian people, though are by no means exclusive to those groups. There is a huge variety the shape of the epicanthic fold and I never felt like it looked right until I got to grad school and ended up sitting across from a Chinese student for an entire semester. I don’t know what she did to stay awake, but what I did was use her as a model for my first Asian Pixie paper doll, named Zoe. Of course, she didn’t have blue hair or such a huge head, but I digress.

So, the Poll is over, since January is done and a child paper doll won to my own astonishment. So, I’ll get on that. In the mean time, enjoy Madison.

A Few Children’s Book Illustrator’s I’m in Love With

I love children’s books. Seriously, they make me all sorts of happy. The best ones, I think, are the lavishly illustrated editions of golden age of children’s book illustration. There was this perfect storm of printing technology meeting people newly interested in lavishing attention on their children meeting really talented artists and an obsession with fairy tales.

Truly, what could be better?

I have other favorites like Ivan Bilbun who I’ve mentioned before, and Rackham who I could post way more about than I am going to here. So, this is a partial list for me.

Edmund Dulac

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People may have heard of Edmund Dulac, the French illustrator, but what most don’t know is that he did illustrations for a collection of Edgar Allen Poe in 1912. After the Great War, the popularity of lavishly illustrated books were a rarity and he fell out of fashion. The romantic nature of his illustrations belies a certain spookiness.

Virginia Sterrett

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So, Chicago-born illustrator Virginia Frances Sterrett isn’t very well known, as far as I can tell, which is a pity. She only completed three books before she died at 31 from TB in 1931. Her stuff is both whimsical and otherworldly, with just a hint of art deco. And I’m all about hints of the art deco.

Dorothy Lathrop

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Dorothy Pulis Lathrop, born in 1891 and then died in 1980. I prefer her black and white stuff to her color illustrations, but she, like a lot of my other favorites, has a whole deco influenced whimsical thing going. She’s probably most famous for illustrating Hitty and Her First Hundred Years which is one of my favorite books. Despite the some pretty dated content, the book is still wonderful, but then… I do have a thing for dolls.

Kay Nielsen

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So, Kay Nielsen was Danish. His stuff feels somehow every northern to me. He had a somewhat tragic life, but he’s best known for his work with Disney on Fantasia. In his later years, he was quite poor and after his death no museum or library wanted his materials. Fortunately, his manuscripts and other papers eventually found a home at the University of Pittsburgh.

T. Blakeley Mackenzie

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Mackenzie was born in 1887, and died in 1944. He win’s my “artist no one has heard of who I adore” award. The poor guy hasn’t even got a Wikipedia entry. It’s a pity, because his stuff is amazing. He avoids the sentimentality that was so rampant in the early 20th century and instead makes things that are fantastical and… like almost everyone else I like… also a little off center.

So, these are a few of my favorites. Does anyone have a favorite one that I missed?

Marisole Monday: Spikes and Pleats… In Pinks and Purples

I seriously feel like I should have saved this for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t have anything else finished, so up it goes.

It’s not like I started with a plan for the obnoxious color scheme, but somehow the traditional black and red thing I do for punk clothing just wasn’t hitting the mark. So, pink, purple and black became the name of the game.

I sort of like it.


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I do wish the fuzzy sweater looked… well… fuzzier. By the way, the neckline of that sweater is low and it’s meant to go over one of the corsets or other tops, otherwise she shows off more of her swimsuit than perhaps is decent for polite society.

So, I think I’ve mentioned my wacky formula for calculating the number of outfit combos a paper doll set contains before which is the number of tops multiplied by the number of bottoms and then by the number of shoes and then by the number of “jackets” plus 1. Now often the formula doesn’t work, because the pieces aren’t really totally interchangeable, but this is a rare set where I think everything really can go with everything else. The result is a total of 146 outfit combinations (not taking into consideration accessories) which is pretty remarkable.

Pixie and Puck: The Princes in Color… Mostly Blue, as it happens…

So, the black and white version of today’s paper dolls went up last week and I, being a space cadet, sorta forgot to post the color version, though I finished it on Sunday. I hope a little belated paper doll posting will be forgiven.


{Click Here for a PDF of Page One} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Page One}

Our first page of this set is just the dolls and the second page is more clothing for them. I chose a soft blue, green color scheme with red accents. Of all the eras of men’s clothing, I confess a soft side for the 18th century.


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Have I mentioned this week has been INSANE? Because it has been, and classes get into full swing next week, so things are not looking to be much more peaceful. Despite that, I’m enjoying it. As I know I’ve said before, I would far rather be busy then bored. I also seem to have a lot of stuff inked, but I’m having trouble getting it onto the blog, so I am going to put some more effort into getting it scanned this weekend, so that it can go up.

Spikes & Pleats: A Punk Fashion Paper Doll in Black and White

First of all: Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to those in the United States who celebrate.


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I am spending my day off doing exciting things like washing laundry and cleaning my kitchen and getting this slightly belated than usual Marisole post up. I decided to use Margot since she’s new.
After some thought, I have broken down the Marisole Monday category into sections for Margot, Marisole and Mia, my three different “faces” for Marisole, if that makes sense. The dolls can all share clothing.

Sometimes an whole paper doll set comes out of my desire to draw a single outfit. In the case of today’s paper doll set, it was the high-waisted plaid skirt and the tie. So, after I decided I wanted to draw that then the rest of it came together along similar lines- lots of pleats and a sort of “school girl gone wrong” kinda vibe.

One of my favorite paper dolls blogs has a new address. A Time For Paper Dolls used to be Inflammation Of… and I am really enjoying her dolls. I love their clean crisp lines and simple shapes. If I had small children, I would totally print these out for them and I might just color a few on my own for fun.

I totally make my own fun.

Pixie and Puck: A Pair of Princes

Several months ago, it was pointed out to me that I had done several fantasy princess Pixie paper dolls, but there wasn’t a princely Puck paper doll to accompany them. I was going to get this done in color, but since I am behind on my coloring, I thought it was better to post it up today and then worry about finishing it up in color later. So, the color version will be up as soon as I finish it, either later this week or early next, I think.


{Click Here for a PDF of Page One} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Page One}

This month has turned out busier than I thought it would be. I traveled for the first week of January, got back to Alabama and then work picked up. I’d far rather be busy than bored, but when my life gets complicated, the blog sometimes suffers. I’m trying to keep up with the blog, as best as I can, though I feel like I have a lot of stuff “sort of done” and very little actually completed.


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Plus I owe my grandmother a set of magnetic paper dolls. She sent me a tin for her “paper dolls” to go in and I think if I don’t get them done this weekend, I may get another hint. She’s far to mid-western to flat out tell me do “get her damn paper dolls done”, but I suspect I will get further nudges down the line.

So, for her, I’ll be working on a curly haired, red-headed Marisole (my grandmother has red curly hair) with some vintage inspired costumes. That may go up Monday or I may finish up a Punk Marisole that’s been waiting in the wings for a while (if I do the punk doll, I think I’ll use Margot for a little variety. She’s new after all.)

In the Mid-1860s… Civil War Era Paper DOlls in Color


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Here we are today with the colored version of last Monday’s post. Color for historical garments is complicated, because colors are very much a matter of taste and a matter of time. Just as the avocado and burnt orange polyester shirts of the 1970’s seem dated to us today, the colors of the past are rarely how we imagine them to be. I always picture the Victorians in tones of sepia, not because that was what they wore, but because I always see sepia photographs. I once had a professor point out that the way we picture the past has little to do with how the past actually was, but I enjoy my fantasies of the past as much as the next person.


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For this set of paper dolls, I chose to use colors from reproduction quilting cottons as a basis for the garment. They turned out to be a little muddier than perhaps I would have chosen on my own, but I wanted something different than the oranges, blue, pink, and green combination of colors I find myself most often drawn too. The ballgown in pink and black is based on the fashion plate which I drew it from, though I made a slightly darker version of the original.


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I’ll confess openly that I’m not entirely pleased with how some of these came out in color. I went muted and I think that was the right call, but I’m not sure that I didn’t lose some of the lusciousness and the vibrancy of the era. They also came out less romantic than I had hoped they would be. I do think Margot is awfully cute with her freckles and red hair (yes, I do have a weird thing for redheads). In truth, I am pleased with both the dolls. I think Marisole is a warm brown this time and I like how Margot came out. All in all, though I had some second thoughts about drawing a new face for Marisole, I am pleased with Margot and I think she’ll show up a bit more around the blog.

On an unrelated note, child paper dolls have pulled into the lead in the polling… a fact which I am very much surprised by.

Mariana… A Steampunk Paper Doll


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First Pixie paper doll of the new year. That deserves some excitement, I think.

Maybe not for anyone but me.

She’s rocking a steampunk/neo-victorian paper doll theme. I think she hangs out with Jian, my steam punk male paper doll and probably makes trouble. Since I’ve had such a positive response to doing Marisole in black and white and in color, I decided to do this paper doll the same way and I might start doing this for all the Pixie and Pucks, we’ll see.


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Also, the poll is up until the end of the month and people should vote. I do actually pay attention to the poll.

I also pay attention to repeated requests (eventually) and I have had two ideas which more than one person has suggested. One is a cowgirl paper doll which has been stalled lately because I wanted to draw a horse and, frankly, drawing animals is not my thing. But last night I managed to sketch out a decent looking horse, so… a cowgirl may yet appear. The second thing I’ve been working on, and I expect this to make some peeps happy, is a male paper doll properly proportioned to hang out with Marisole.

So, depending on what wins the poll this time will depend on what I work on next year.

My point is this, if you want to see one of these things, vote for it, or if you want to see something else, drop me a comment.

The Skintone Pallette

skintones_set1So, several months ago I mentioned that I was collecting skin-tone colors. To the right is the palette I pull nearly all the skin tones I use on the blog. On top of each color block is the alpha-numeric hex code that defines each color. These tones were collected by looking at photographs of actresses and models from a variety of different ethnicity and than simplified from an original image file of over fifty different colors.

After a while, shades of peach and brown start to meld into each other until they all look the same.

Generally, I don’t think in ethnicity when I’m coloring paper dolls. I think in color. How much red is there? How much yellow? How much grey or blue? Is it a warm color or a cool color?

The human species is hundreds of colors, the differences subtle and complicated. Paper dolls on the other hand, especially those who are supposed to share shoes, need to be a smaller collection of colors. I thought someone other than me might find this set useful, so here it is. The other nice thing about this set is this: Each of the colors prints out clearly different from the others on my cheap color printer. That is an advantage which is well worth the limited palette to me.

In the Mid-1860s… Black and White Civil War Era Paper Dolls


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I have no real excuse for the lateness of this post, except that I was traveling yesterday and somehow I didn’t get as much done on for the blog on my vacation as I usually do. Something about traveling always makes me feel a little drained when I finally return to wherever is home. I’ve lived in several states and it always seems to takes me a year before one of them becomes home. As much as I love Alabama with it’s rolling hills (they call them mountains, but being from Alaska, I can’t honestly call them mountains) and it’s clear blue skies, but returning to Alaska still feels like going home. I suspect, eventually, Birmingham will become more homelike.


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Moving onto paper doll related matters, away from rambles about travel, today’s set is much larger than any set of Marisole Monday paper dolls that I have ever done before. It was not supposed to originally be three pages, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to remove anything from the sets and therefore decided to keep everything together. The result was that I ended up with an extra page. The swimming shoes repeat because, once the dolls are colored, they will be the only thing that exposes skin and I know I don’t want to do the two paper dolls in the same skin-tone. The corset and drawers repeat, because I feel strongly that both dolls should get a set of underwear. The hoop-skirt doesn’t repeat, because it’s big and, frankly, going to be white.

As some of you might notice, the second paper doll with the freckles is a different face than the original Marisole. I have named her Margot and she’ll be showing up from time to time along with the Asian version of Marisole who I’ve always thought of as Mia, though I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that on the blog.


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All of these dresses are based on garments from the mid-1860s, hence the title. Something about being in Alabama has made me want to draw huge hoop skirts. Not normally my favorite period in fashion history, but it’s growing on me. I had an Addy doll when I was a child, but I honestly can not recall any exposure to real Southern History outside the standard Civil Rights stuff and a little on the Civil War. Strange how moving here has made me fascinated by all things Southern.