New plus-sized Paper Doll Series Debuts!

logo-candy-cyberpunk-bwHello all! Happy Fourth Night of Hanukkah!

Tonight, I want to debut my replacement for the Dictionary Girls series of full-figured paper dolls which was in turn a replacement for the Curves series. Entitled Bodacious and Buxom (because my love of alliteration is well established), the new plus-sized paper doll series will post in color and in black and white. Body diversity is something I think is important in the paper doll world, but I also get bored easily and tend to switch things up when I do. The Dictionary Girls series had a fun run, but the feet always bugged me.

Right now, the plan is that Bodacious and Buxom paper dolls will go up one day in black and white and then the following day in color. I might change my mind as the new year continues. Doing paper dolls in both versions always takes more time than doing one or the other, but then I worry about connecting the two sheets. It’s a thought process to be sure.

So, today we have the first of the series in black and white and tomorrow, she will appear in color. I’ve gone back to my love of cyberpunk inspired Sci-fi as a theme here. So, our first paper doll appears with a wardrobe of candy colored outfits and thigh high platform boots. I firmly believe everyone should own thigh high platform boots. (I kid. I don’t own thigh-high platform boots, also I think I would fall over a lot if I did.)

A new plus-sized paper doll series debuts today with a black and white cyberpunk set, but don't worry- there's plenty of more themes in the works.

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As with all the new paper doll series, I am nervous when I debut them. I worry people won’t like them or won’t get why I’m changing things. I know that the Dictionary Girls series had some avid supporters. The truth is that I am fickle creature.

Anyway, the Bodacious and Buxom paper dolls are, I hope, going to be around for a while. Happy Hanukkah everyone!

Some more paper doll clothes for the Mannequins…

logo-ms-mannequin-5So… personally, I would love to own that orange dress.

I would wear it around here and people would say, “Are you an Auburn football fan?”

And I would say, “Nope, but I have on a sassy orange dress.”

See? Everything is better when you’re wearing a sassy orange dress. (By the way, I’m neither an Auburn or an Alabama fan, but I’ve learned it’s best not to mention football at all around here unless you really want to be dragged into a conversation about it. Since I can’t stand football, I keep my mouth shut.)

I have no idea how the Ms. Mannequin paper dolls feel about football… I somehow seem them as being more polo types, but that’s perhaps an unfair sterotype of the rich. Not being rich, I really have no idea what absurdly wealthy people do for fun. (I always assume my paper dolls are absurdly wealthy, since they have such large wonderful designer clothes.)

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Primrose, A New Poppet Printable Paper Doll

logo-poppet-primrose-in-tealHave I mentioned recently how happy alliteration makes me?

Also, I am really pleased with this new printable paper doll series. Poppet’s have turned out to be very fun to draw which I confess I wasn’t totally expecting. I mean, I thought they would be fun to draw, but it’s nice when “fantasy” and “reality” actually mesh properly.

For this set of poppet printable paper dolls (Yay! Alliteration), I chose to do a romantic regency inspired look with lots of ruching and a wide ribbon sash.

There’s a little Kate Greenway action going on here, I won’t lie.

Since this is only my second Poppet and it’s my second poppet in a pretty short period of time, you might be wondering… What’s up with all the poppets?

Well, I am glad you asked.

Hannukah began on November 27 and runs until the 5th of December. I decided for each night of Hanukkah it would be fun to post a paper doll. There will be a Marisole on Monday, my new Curvy series debuting and a few other things, but there’s going to be a lot of Poppets. Why?

Because they are cute and lovable. (Also I went through a Poppet drawing spasm and I have a lot of them done.)

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PS: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it here in the United States. 🙂

Meet the Poppets! New Printable Paper Dolls & Happy Hanukkah

logo-petunia-in-purple Way back in January, I ran my annual “What would people like to see New on the Blog” poll and the winner, to my own shock, was a paper doll of a child.

Now, I don’t like drawing children. I think I’m bad at it and also I find it a little bit boring, but I started thinking about how much I love dolls and how many of my favorite paper dolls from my childhood were paper dolls of dolls. So, I knew I couldn’t draw a “child paper doll”, but I could draw a paper doll of a child doll.

After um… nearly 10 months, the Poppet Dolls are now here.

Never let it be said that I don’t eventually get things done. 🙂

A few quick facts about the Poppets, they are smaller than most of my other paper doll sets, printing out at about half the size of my usual 8 by 10 inch format. When I was little, I loved small paper dolls that I could tuck into an envelope or carry with me. Plus the smaller size makes it possible for me to include larger accessories like… maybe… a horse or something.

(No promises. I mean, it might not happen… but I do have plans for one.)

By the way, I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah. It’s starts tonight at sunset. 🙂

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Flashback… Meet Riven… A Paper Doll I drew in 1999

I drew paper dolls when I was a child.

And after my apartment flooded, I found myself going through a lot of my childhood drawings checking for mold and water damage. Quite a few things were destroyed, but most of them were safely tucked away in plastic bins, protected from the water. I thought it might be fun to share some of them on the blog, since I often get emails from young people asking how to become better artists.

All I can say to that is practice. Practice. Practice. Also, take art classes when you’re in high school and have the time. Now that I’m out of high school, I regret not taking the figure drawing or the advanced water color courses that were offered.

Anyway, this is Riven. (I think I wanted to name her Raven, but there was a girl in school who was really mean to me named Raven, so I named her Riven instead.)

So, Tom Tierney was my favorite paper doll artist when I was a child and I admired his figures. This was my attempt at copying that style. She’s holding a brush, rather awkwardly, and brushing out her hair to cover her breasts modestly.

She has a streak of silver in her hair, but I don’t think it scanned that well. My first ever Tom Tierney paper doll was Christopher Columbus, bought for me by my sister when I was eight or nine, I think. She suggested that I not cut it out and I never have. It’s still sitting in my collection somewhere. I remember it had historical information about Columbus in it. I read all of that and then pestered by teacher about why we celebrated Columbus Day when Christopher Columbus was such a jerk.

I still have serious issues with Columbus Day, but that’s a whole different story.

Shadow and Light Paper Doll Number 28… Inspired by The Avengers…

So, this printable paper doll set was inspired by the Avengers. Not the Marvel comic book ones, but the original Avengers from the sixties by BBC. I got into that show because a high-school friend’s mother was totally into it. I thought that Emma Peel was the most elegant woman I’d ever seen. Actually, I still kinda think that.

Also, who doesn’t love 1960’s inspired jumpsuits?

I have to confess that I am neither pleased with how the “logo” image looks nor am I entirely pleased with her hair, but life is short and I wanted to get her posted up into the world. I am trying hard to end the year a little more on track that I was last year, so that means getting my paper doll life organized.

What I don’t want to do is end the year with a lot of random old scans cluttering up my folders. I have scans from years ago that I’ve never finished or posted and they sort of stare at me every time I open the folder with guilt inducing looks.

“Why haven’t you posted us?” They ask.

Nothing is worse than being guilt tripped by your own artwork.


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By the way, if anyone is thinking of starting a blog, I think that While She Naps (A blog I like about sewing stuffed toys which I don’t do, but someday I might… okay, probably not, but I still like her blog) did a wonderful post I recently stumbled across called Nine Reasons Why You Should Have A Blog. One piece of her advice I need to learn to accept better is… It’s okay if a blog evolves. I have trouble with letting my blog evolve. I need to get more accepting of the idea that evolution is natural.

Have something to tell me? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Marisole Monday: Mia as a Garden Fairy In Color

logo-paper-doll-flower-fairy-mia-2013-colorIt’s raining so hard tonight that I find I don’t want to do anything, but curl up on my couch in my sweats and listen to it. Winter has come to Alabama and with it a lot of rain.

So, Marisole has gotten to be green and blue, but Mia never has, so I thought it was high time she got the chance to show a little more variety in her colors.

I’ve been watching the show Cranford from Hulu and have been enjoying it very much. The show is awfully fun and full of beautiful historical costumes. I think it’s supposed to be set in the 1840s, though it’s hard to tell. Some of the dresses have distinctly 1840s silhouettes and other’s are older. Though the town is small and in the country, so it would be a little behind the times. I confess that the 1830s and 1840s are not one of my favorite time periods for ladies dress.

The show often shows beautiful English gardens and I wanted to capture those colors in today’s printable paper doll.

A fairy inspired by English country gardens with blue hair and an extensive wardrobe. From

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“Traditional Native American Clothing of the Early 21st Century” By Steven Paul Judd & Native American Paper Dolls

November is Native American Heritage Month, so let us take a moment to consider the world of Native American paper dolls.

medicine_chiefscout_warrior“Traditional Native American Clothing of the Early 21st Century” is a series of drawings by Steven Paul Judd. These illustrations come from Collecting Children’s Books, a blog which is no longer being updated, as I think the author passed away. “Traditional Native American Clothing of the Early 21st Century” includes four images of “Medicine Man” and “Chief”, “Scout” and “Warrior,” all drawn in colored pencil by Steven Paul Judd, Kiowa/Choctaw.
Mr. Judd writes that, “I’m not a psychologist so I can’t tell you the effects of seeing your people only portrayed in a certain way. I can only speak on my own experience of being a little kid and looking for others on t.v. that I could identify with. Only person I could find was Erik “Ponch” Estrada from “CHiPs”. So as a youn’un I pretended to be a motorcycle cop. So my thought is, what if our youth could see there selves not in just a historical context, but as doctors, lawyers, astronauts? So that’s when I decided to make these drawings.”

You can see more of Steven Paul Judd’s work from Indian Country Daily, his Etsy site and this nice summary from Southwest Indian Arts.

But I didn’t choose Judd’s work just because I think it’s amazing (though I do), I chose it because I believe it reveals something important about how paper dolls depict Native Americans.

Let us pause a moment, while I dust off my soap box…

Humans create societies and in these societies the dominate social groups use their position to create culturally constructed ideals which than are presented as self-evident and natural. One term for this process is “hegemony” (often used in a political science context) another term is “social construction” (often used in a psychological context), but most fields that deal with human societies have a term they use to illustrate this idea.

But what, you might be wondering, does this have to do with paper dolls?

doll-world-1987Paper dolls are not mere playthings, rather paper dolls illustrate for how people look and who people are. When Native American paper dolls depict only traditional dress, the illustrations send a message about how and what Native American’s are as a people (or, more accurately, as hundreds of different groups of people). Not to say that there’s anything inherently wrong with depicting accurate, tribally specific, traditional dress in paper doll form, but when these paper doll sets don’t also include contemporary clothing, they create the illusion that Native peoples only dress in regalia or, more dangerously, exist only in the past. The obsession with traditional dress harkens back to the 19th century obsession with “documenting a culture on the edge of extinction,” a dangerous false idea.

When Native American children only see themselves presented in these limited contexts, they are denied the opportunity to be equals to others in society. When non-Native children see only traditional dress on Native American paper dolls, they are denied the opportunity to see similarities rather than differences, are taught that Native peoples all dress in traditional dress all the time and are presented an image of a “costume” rather than a person.

Do I think that all Native American paper dolls in traditional dress are bad? Of course not, but paper dolls should open up imaginary worlds, not limit them.

I shall now step off my soap box and welcome anyone else to express their views, politely of course, in the comments section.

Marisole Monday & Friends: Mia as a Fairy in the Garden

logo-paper-doll-flower-fairy-mia-2013-bwFirst things first… I forgot to write on the wings that they’re meant to be pasted to the back of the doll. My bad… Sorry.

Secondly, Happy Veteran’s Day. One of these days, I will remember this holiday far enough in advance to do something thematic. Still, I think Veteran’s day is one of the more important US holidays, so I want to thank any of members or former members of our armed services today.

Meanwhile, I’ve had several requests for fairies over the years. I’ve never done one, except for a Halloween set where I did a fairy costume, but other than that I haven’t done many fairy paper dolls.

It’s a rather out of season. I seem to think of flowers and gardens in the summer when they bloom, but I live in Alabama now where the flowers cling on long after the normal times that flowers are supposed to bloom.

(Pansies in January are freakish. That’s all I have to say on that subject.)

Oh, there are some pixie paper dolls which fairy themes, now that I think of it. I did Fleur, Belladonna and Flora. Of course, I suppose having done 3.5 of them is not a bad statistic over the years.

A paper doll coloring page featuring a fairy and her extensive wardrobe. From

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Anyway, feel free to comment on the printable paper doll if you wish. I’m pretty pleased at how she came out.

Regency Fashion History Resources… Books, Fashion Plates & More

Recently, I was asked by Fashion Doll Fridays had ended and when the Flora paper doll might get some stylish outfits. The answer is… probably never on the Flora outfit front, but Fashion Doll Fridays ended when I stopped doing such a regularly scheduled blog. The historical paper dolls are the hardest to draw, because of research and planning time.

I’m a librarian and I’m compulsive about research, plus I collect fashion history books. Sometimes this is a good thing… I have books I can use, but sometimes this means I get wrapped up frustrated when I can’t figure out what shoes looked like circa 1845. I don’t mind adapting, but I like to be pretty darn sure that what I’m drawing is correct, or as correct as I can be given constraints of time and/or skill. So, I don’t do as many historical paper doll sets as I would like.

However, it recently occurred to me that people who like paper dolls, usually also like historical clothing. Therefore, I thought I would post about some of the sources I used when I was drawing Flora outfits and then people could, armed with research guides (as we say in the Library biz), draw their own. And submit them to the Showcase and everyone would be happy… Especially Flora.

Regency, Federalist, Early Republic, Georgian, Empire, Napoleonic Era… The Terminology Confusion

So, here’s the thing… The era from the late 1790s until the mid-1820s has a lot of names. Depending on the country you are in and the exact year period, you could be dealing with Late Federalist (until 1801) or Early Republic (which either goes until 1865 or until 1815 depending on your source) in America, the Regency (1811-1820) or Late Georgian Era (1714 to 1830) in England. or the Directoire (1795–1799) or Empire Period (1800-1815) in France, or the Napoleonic era (19794-1814) in Italy. I tend to use the term Regency or the term Empire since most people associate the period with Jane Austen’s writings and she wrote in the Regency. I also have noticed that the term Empire has come to mean a raised waist on any dress and I don’t think it conjures to mind, for most people, the actual style I am referring too. I avoid the American terms as well, because America was never a leader in fashion trends in this period. There’s also something annoying about having to caveat every-time I talk about the era, so I have chosen to go with which term I think most people know the best.

Is this a gross over generalization? Well… yes. Does it bother me? Not really.

You should, however, know all of these terms because they do get used to specify countries of origin for different styles. In the 45 odd fashion books lying around my house, the terms I have seen used the most are Regency, Empire, Napoleonic and Federalist. Your mileage may vary.

Books about Empire and Regency Fashion, Specifically…

A lot of fashion books mention the early part of the 19th century (call it Empire, Regency or Federalist, see above), but not very many focus on it exclusively. These are three of my favorites that do.

Napoleon & the Empire of Fashion: 1795-1815 by Cristina Barreto (ISBN:978-8857206509) was written to accompany an Italian museum exhibit. I confess that I didn’t buy it for the essays… (some of which lose something in translation, I think), I bought it for the beautiful photos of fashion plates and clothing. Incredible photos. It’s pretty pricy on the secondary market right now, so I’d recommend using your local library.

Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah-Jane Downing (ISBN: 978-0747807674) is a skinny little book, but gives a fantastic overview of the clothing and manners of the period. I use it for the sections on fabric and color.

Ackermann’s Costume Plates: Women’s Fashions in England, 1818-1828 edited by Stella Blum (ISBN: 978-0486236902) is one of the few books of plate reprints that isn’t grossly over priced. It’s easy to find on the secondary market and is mostly in black and white. It deals with the often ignored transition from Regency into Romantic. Each plate has some descriptive text which answer questions like… what is this dress supposed to be? Ackermann’s Repository was THE fashion journal of its era.

Primary Sources for Empire and Regency Fashion History

Primary sources might be museums with costume collections or books published in the actual time period or fashion plates. All of these sources can be combined to be excellent ways to discover what people wore in the early 19th century. The “trick” to finding materials is often to learn how to search museum holdings. Try words like “dress” or “gown” or even “ballgown” and then limit by years if you can. Some places have an advanced search function which allows you to put in a range of “creation” years into your search. Remember that every museum or library will organize their collections a little differently. You can try some of the different period terms mentioned above to see what you get as well.

Ackermann’s Repository Series 1 and Ackermann’s Repository Series 2 and 3 are digitized copies of the famous Ackermann’s Repository of Arts. It’s an incredible resource, but sometimes the plates aren’t included in the scans, as owners would sometimes cut them from the books or they would be cut by people to be sold separately. The descriptive texts are worth the price of admission however.

The mirror of the graces; or, The English lady’s costume, first published in 1811 was a etiquette book published by A Lady of Distinction. If you want to know what is proper to wear when, this book will tell you. You can buy a reprint, but it free online, so why bother?

Casey Fashion Plate Index consists fashion plates from LAPL and they have extensive Regency fashion plates holdings.
Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the largest costume collections in the world.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is another museum with one of the largest costume collections in the world.
Fashion Plate Collection from the University of Washington contains Regency and Empire fashion plates, along with many others, it should be noted.


There’s a lot of pretty shady fashion history on the internet, but these are a few sites I find both really useful and not poorly constructed or difficult to navigate. I have very low tolerance for sites that are hard to navigate.

Candice Hern’s Regency Fashion Section is an excellent resource from a well respected romance novelist. I confess openly that I haven’t read any of her novels, but her website is wonderful.
Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion for Shoes is an excellent guide to… well.. shoes.
Regency Fashion Glossary might have some horrible background images, but it makes reading the primary source materials above a real breeze.
Undressing your Heroine and Undressing your Hero are great, since women and men’s clothing of this period had a bunch of layers which are clearly described in these two excellent articles.
The Age of Nudity is an exhibit from Kent State University on regency dress. They also have an excellent costume collection that is fun to tool around in when you have a few minutes.