Delaney… A Little Bit Sweet and a Little Bit Punk

delaney-logoI have to confess that it is getting harder to name these paper dolls. I nearly called this doll Zoe, before I remembered I’ve already done a Zoe (and we won’t talk about the three different Flora paper dolls problem), so I have been trying to come up unique names that I’m certain I haven’t repeated. Hence the Delaney choice.

Delaney’s style is a little punk and a little sweet. I have been noticing more of this look around lately and I thought it was worth exploring. I didn’t draw her really any accessories and I’m kinda regretting that now. I think she needs some… oh well, sometimes that’s how it goes. I’m also thinking I really should have made her lips pink rather than that bright red… anyway, not every paper doll is perfect.

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Since I was feeling a little rockabilly with these pieces, I decided to go with a sort of sweet color scheme of pale blue, pink, light green and white. I wanted to contrast the content of the skull prints against the colors of the outfits. My favorite piece might be her punk combat boots. Everyone needs bright pink combat boots.

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Weather in Alabama has been crazy. It took me eight hours to get home from work on Tuesday afternoon. My work has been closed for two days. There’s snow on the ground and ice and things are insane. Stay warm, dry and safe everyone.

Captain Mannequin

Thumbnail of the printable paper doll clothes When I started the Ms Mannequin paper doll series, my goal was to draw primary contemporary clothing. I had high plans of doing stylish designers and other things. Maybe dabbling a little into vintage Dior, but mostly being contemporary. The dolls were designed to be models, not curvy at all, so they could wear the contemporary styles.

However, it wasn’t long before I was sketching and suddenly pirates reared their heads and demanded to be drawn. I ignored them for a while, but soon they were saying, “DRAW US.”

And I said, “Okay. No need to shout.”

And so this pirate set was born.

What can I say? I like pirates. I feel like there’s nothing “new” about this pirate set though, so I’m not sure it’s my best set. Still… sometimes you just have to draw pirates.

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By the way, I’m doing site clean up, sometime I do every Jan/Feb to tidy up categories, fix things that seem broken and a little spring cleaning is done. So, things might be morphing and changing around here in subtle ways. Nothing to worry about, just me tidying up my files. 🙂

Doodles of Future Paper Doll Sets

I had to make a tough call today.

I was working on my Marisole Monday paper doll, coloring the set, and I just didn’t like it. It was 8pm on Sunday night when I decided this. Now sometimes when I decide I hate things, I finish them anyway, but this set is for the one of the winners of my drawing and I would feel horrible giving as a drawing prize, as set I didn’t like.

So, instead, here are some doodles for future Marisole Monday & Friends sets.

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I have had some requests for “working” Marisole sets. The truth is that I don’t really know what would do into a working Marisole Monday set, outside of drawing a bunch of suits or something. But a lab coat seems doable, so I’ve been sketching and thinking about a scientist. I think this kinda set is all about the accessories, so I have to give some thought to that. Drawing lab equipment is hard.

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I’m very pleased with the plans for this set. I love the theme of Spring Showers with lots of fun florals. I’ve recently been learning and playing with creating repeating patterns in Photoshop from hand-drawn motif elements and so I think florals would be a fun way to play with that ability. So, I’m quite excited at the prospect of this set.

All right, I hope everything enjoys these doodles. There will be a real paper doll tomorrow (an Ms. Mannequin post, I think) and something on Thursday as well. 🙂

If you’d rather get an email when the site updates, just stick your email in the upper left corner of the sidebar and you’ll get an email each time I do a new post.

Poppets go Medieval… sorta…

poppets-dragons-logoWhen I first drew the Poppets paper dolls, I knew I wanted to do historical costumes. This isn’t historically accurate by the way, but it does have a 1300s flair, I think. One of the reasons I steer clear of certain periods of history is that I feel like I don’t know enough about them. I am familiar enough with Victorian and 18th century costume that I feel fairly comfortable simplifying it without losing it’s authenticity, but I know very little about clothing in Europe before 1400.

As a result, I tend to categorize my forays into the “medieval” look as fantasy, rather than history. It keeps me from feeling guilty about not really knowing what I’m doing. However, Gwendolyn asked for a paper doll of a 10th century Anglo-Saxon when she won my drawing last week, so I guess I better learn something about the 10th century.

In the meantime, here’s a Poppet Medieval outfit strictly in the realm of fantasy being modeled by Petunia. I like to think she might be a princess, but I haven’t given her a crown, so the jury is out.

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I’m also really pleased to say I’ve recently stumbled across a new paper doll blog called Paper is Suffcient. It’d a new blog, so go over there, check it out and drop Natalie a comment. We need all the paper doll blogs we can get. 🙂

Doodles… How Paper Doll Sets Begin!

One thing to start off with before I forget, I set up an email service that will email you when the site updates. There’s a place for an address in the sidebar.

During the January polling period, several people expressed interest in seeing more of the nuts and bolts of the paper dolling process. Eventually, I hope to write a full tutorial, but that’s a very time consuming process and I need to think about structure. In the meantime, I thought I would post some of my thumbnail doodles.

I carry a half-sized lined notebook (the lines don’t appear on the scans… I’m not sure why) in my purse and often doodle designs in it when I’m planning a paper doll set.

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These designs are for a future Flock Fairytale set based on Cinderella. The Brother’s Grimm version in which she goes to three balls, people chop off parts of their feet and there are lots of birds.

Birds are a major players in the Grimm version of Cinderella, as they assist her in a variety of ways. I wanted to feature birds as a motif on one of her ballgowns. Since the paper doll set will be magnetic, each gown needs to have a bodice and separate skirt for mix and match options.

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The bird gown was the idea that started the whole set, so it got several pages of doodles as I tried to figure out the placement of the shoulder mounted birds, so they wouldn’t look dead or like they were about to attack her or something.

Cinderella also needs servants clothing. I wanted to keep with my “steampunk/neo-victorian” fairytales theme, so heavy soled boots, leather garters and patched stockings seemed typical. If the ballgowns are going to be very “girly”, I wanted the servant clothing to feel a bit more like Victorian street urchin wear, or maybe a reject from the cast of Newsies.

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I’ve been hesitant to post doodles like these before, because I doodle a lot of paper doll sets that never get made. Still, I’ve scanned some sketchbook images that never got posted or finished, so I think that’s okay. Would people like to see more of these?

Marisole Vintage Evening Gowns In Colors…

marisole-vintage-logo-colorLast week, I posted this paper doll set in black and white for coloring. I promised I would talk a little about each of the gowns and where they came from.

I need to learn to streamline my method for dealing with elaborate florals, or I need to never do one ever again. Normally coloring a paper doll set takes about 2 to 4 hours, at most. Sometimes longer, but only if I take a lot of breaks and am doing a lot of other stuff. If I have my colors picked out and I’m on a roll, I can do the set in about an hour when I’m really on the ball, though formatting, saving and other detail work takes longer. That single floral dress took me nearly an hour, by itself, to color. NEVER AGAIN.

(I say that and I’m already thinking of other cool florals I might draw… I have a problem, people.)

Okay, so here’s the paper doll in full color:


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Let’s talk about where each gown came from. The floral gown, the blue gown and the red gown are all from the V&A in London.

The blue gown is based on this red dress from 1957. The red evening dress was drawn from this evening gown by Hardy Amies was made right after fabric rationing was lifted in England (1949), so lacks the layers of lace and silk that were common in evening gowns on this period. I love the simplicity and shape of the dress. The last dress from the V&A is my favorite, the floral evening gown made in Paris and worn by the wife of the British Ambassador. I tried, but I don’t think I captured the beauty of the rose patterned skirt and layered bodice.

The last pink dress comes from The Met, known as “Tree” this gown was designed by Charles James. Of all of the gowns I drew, I feel like this one didn’t work. My style of flat color just can’t capture the layering of the gowns beautiful fabric. Liana did a beautiful version of Charles james Butterfly dress on her blog several years ago which I think captures his work better than I did here.

Okay, that’s everything. Happy MLK Day to those in the US who are celebrating like me.

And the Contest/Drawing Winner Is…

Originally, I was going to have just one winner, but then I took a good long look at the wonderful and constructive comments I got from my readers and I’ve decided that I should do more than that.

So, I decided to have two winners of my drawing. This does mean that it might take a little longer for their winning paper dolls to be finished.

Congratulations to Gwendolyn and Jo– my winners. Jo emailed me directly, so her comment does not appear on the site.

If I don’t here back from my emails to them (which I will send in the morning when I am a wee bit more coherent) in a week, there will be a second drawing for a new Winner.

In case anyone is interested, what I did to find a winner was number all the comments and emails in chronological order, ignoring places where people posted more than once. I ended up with 23 entrants, including three people who chose to email me rather than post a comment on the blog. Because I placed those three entrants into my chronological list where their emails would have fallen if they had been comments, the numbers don’t line up with the comments perfectly.

Number 19, which was Gwendolyn, and number 23, which was Jo, according to my list, were the number produced by Random.Org at 12:03 and 12:05 tonight.

On that note, I am crawling into bed which is what rational people do after midnight. Seriously, next time I do a drawing, I’m going to schedule the end at like 3pm in the afternoon when sane people end these things.


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I’m trying out a new polling code thing. We’ll see if I like it long term.

Latanya, The First Pixie Paper Doll of the New Year

latanya-logoI am excited to introduce everyone to Latanya, the first Pixie paper doll of the New Year. I drew her last year, technically, but that’s not really so uncommon for me. It can take months (years…) for a paper doll to move from my sketchbook onto my blog. I’ve had a request to do a full paper doll tutorial which is a lovely idea, but considering how slow I am at getting things done… it might be a year before its finished.

So, I wanted to do a fantasy paper doll with a autmunal color scheme. So we have Latanya rocking some darn lovely fantasy gowns and a little bit of armor. She’s apparently both a lover and a fighter.

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Her colors remind me of autumn leaves and crisp fall days. I am really adoring her curls and the pattern on her dress which I am very proud of. I am trying to draw more patterns. I say that every year… And every year, I usually end up chickening out because patterns take time and I am lazy.

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My Drawing/Contest closes tonight at midnight. So, if you haven’t entered and would like too, please do so today. I’ll contact/announce the winner tomorrow. 🙂 By the way, I haven’t responded to any of the answers, because I didn’t want to skew the results. I have read them all and I appreciate everyone’s honesty. Winner will be decided using a random number generator.

Marisole Monday in Vintage Gowns

marisole-vintage-logo-bwNearly a year ago, I was asked to draw a paper doll of 1950s evening gowns.

Initially, I didn’t do it, because I couldn’t find any 1950’s evening gowns that I liked. Eventually I felt guilty enough to check out the V&A and the Met, both have strong collections from the 1950s.

I told the requester that I was working on the paper doll and asked what the hair should look like. The immediate answer was, “Like Mine.”

“Well,” I said, “Micro-braids with streaks weren’t really a thing in 1950 something, but okay. If that’s what you want…”

So, we have Marisole here, rocking her micro-braids with some couture 1950’s evening gowns to show off. As inspired by Liana’s comment a few days ago about stories, I offer the following scenario to justify this strange juxtaposition:

Marisole, working as the fashion editor of a major publication, has been invited to the Met’s annual gala whose theme, this year, is the designers of the 1950s. Eager to make an impression on the red carpet, she’s choosen to wear a vintage gown from the period. I am sure she will be the hit of the party when she arrives. 🙂

By the way, in a totally unrelated note, that floral pattern on the full skirted gown was the most complicated floral pattern I have ever done. I’ll rant more about coloring next week when I post the colored version. All I have to say is that normally, a paper doll takes me four to six hours to color, layout and get set up for blog. This paper doll… took longer. Much Longer.


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I will talk about the sources for each gown next week when I post it in color.

Also, my little drawing/contest is open until midnight on the 15th. Feel free to enter.

Where do Ideas Come From? Finding Inspiration for Paper Dolling

Remember yesterday when I posted those sporting costumes? Well, today I want to talk about sources of inspiration.

Sometimes, everything I see seems paper doll related. Ideas flow from carpets or co-workers hair styles into paper doll form, almost like magic. Other times, it feels like the wheel is spinning, but the gerbil is dead. Nothing looks good. Ideas don’t exist. I hate everything I draw and nothing looks good. I know what I want to make, but I can’t seem to make it happen.

I went through one of these slumps lately. I knew I needed to do sports costumes for Greta’s Trousseau, but I hated everything. The fencing costume was the worse. I kept looking at fencing gear and feeling uninspired…

So, I finally did what I usually do when I can’t come up with ideas. I started collecting source images. Somewhere, I thought, there must be cute fencing gear and… what do you know? There was.

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Sources:

1. Fencing Jacket from 1902

This was the first women’s historical fencing jacket I found and I thought it was beautiful. Plus, I was struck at how stylishly it was constructed. I mean, check out those sleeves. I knew I’d want to change the collar and the placement of the buttons, but I thought it was a viable option for a top.

2. Edwardian women’s fencing attire

Thanks to Costume and Construction on Tumblr, I found this picture of this very bad ass looking women holding a sword with a Gibson girl bun. Seriously, she looks amazing, also I think she could totally hurt anyone who insulted her bun. Originally I conceived of the fencing outfit has having a skirt, but after I drew it I felt odd that her skating costume and riding habit didn’t have skirts, but her fencing outfit did. The skirt got nixed in favor of leggings.

3. Two women fencing 1885

The idea of women fencing in bustles amuses me. (Not that these chicks are wearing bustles, but still… it is 1885.) The masks in this set were what I based her mask on. I liked that they didn’t cover down over the neck like some fencing masks do (though neck coverage is probably safer).

4. 1920’s Fencing Outfit

Another Met piece, because the V&A totally let me down on my fencing search. I love the bleeding heart on the top and the flirty style. I would totally learn to fence if I got to wear this. The bleeding heart motif I thought would be really cool on a fencing jacket and added something a little dark and almost flirty to the otherwise rather plain outfit.

This is how I get out of slumps. I collect and then I draw. I often use my Pinterest board to collect my source images. Mostly I use them as electronic bulletin boards. What inspires your art? How do you find what makes you want to draw?