Confessions of a Paper Doll Blogger

One of the things I have been collecting lately on Pinterest has been blogging prompts and ideas. It was from this list from The SITS Girls that I discovered April 30th is National Honesty Day. I missed National Honesty Day, but I thought it would be interesting to post a few things on this blog that I wouldn’t normally post or share.

My Confessions…

– I’ve gotten two emails from readers who thought I was African-American due to the large ethnic diversity of my paper dolls. Figuring out how to politely dissuade them of that notion makes me feel really awkward.

– I live in terror that I will someday draw something and someone will email me telling me that my depiction of their race or culture is wrong and/or racist. This is why I do not draw traditional clothing of other cultures. (Actually, there are about a dozen reasons I don’t draw traditional clothing of other cultures, so maybe I should do a whole post on that…)

– Sometimes I get really strange thank you emails. One came from a bible camp leader who was planning to use my Knight paper doll to teach girls about the “armor of abstinence” and I politely asked them to not do so. Nothing against abstinence or armor, but somehow the idea of sex ed and my paper dolls being in the same room sorta freaked me out.

– Technically, I still owe my best friend a paper doll inspired by the Vorkosigan Saga series by Louise Bujold. It’s very shameful. Someday, I will get it done… (Of course, if she’s reading this she is rolling her eyes at me.)

– Every once in a while someone makes a request, usually a perfectly reasonable kind request and I think to myself, “Isn’t it enough what I do? How dare you ask me to do more? You entitled twit.” Then I drink a glass of tea, calm down and remind myself that I am TOTALLY over reacting. Please don’t stop making requests. I really don’t mind getting them, except sometimes… late at night… after a bad day at work… when I’m in a grumpy mood.

– I was once told my Cybergoth paper doll was inappropriate for children. I suggested that the offended individual avoid giving it to children. See… Problem solved.

– I draw very cartoony paper dolls, because I really don’t know how to draw hyper-realistic ones. Usually this doesn’t bother me, but sometimes I feel like a fraud, especially when people ask me for drawing advice.

– I am grateful everyday for the wonderful readers and fellow paper doll bloggers on the internet who remind me that I am not alone, that my hobby isn’t too strange and that my love of these fragile ephemeral paper toys is something worth sharing.

So, these are my confessions. What are yours? Are there times when you feel like I do about your readers? Or about your art? What’s the strangest email you’ve ever gotten? What’s the one thing about your art you’ve never admitted bothers you? Anyone willing to share your thoughts?

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10 Responses to Confessions of a Paper Doll Blogger

  1. Wow, this is a really great post. I have many fears, such as my art being stolen or parents complaining that a certain paper doll is not kid friendly (never said all my paper dolls are for kids). I find reasons to procrastinate on projects because I feel what I’m working on isn’t good enough. I never dare draw things I feel I’m bad at, such as male guys.
    I really love blogs like yours that give a sense of community to those of us out there who love paper dolls.

  2. Melinda says:

    My ideas pop up out of nowhere. Like a Norwegian parade doll was based off of a fantasy I have and the gal who did it first (and Jenny, if you’re reading this, I blame you. You know what you did! ;))

  3. Julie says:

    I love this post. So much of what you wrote resonates with me!

    I often feel like a fraud myself. I ended up not going to art school and this has haunted me for more than 15 years! Never mind that I’ve been creating every single day for over 25 years or that I do, in fact, have formal studio training (though not in the coveted form of a BFA) as well as a BA in art history. I decided recently to just own it. I am an artist, with or without a BFA or gallery representation or publication or whatever.

    Just yesterday I was playing with my sons at a playground. There was a young girl with her grandparents there and I chatted with the grandmother. Inevitably, she asked, “So, what do you do?” And I FINALLY owned it: “I’m a paper doll artist. Here’s my card.” Best. Day. Ever.

    I had a girl recently ask me how I make my dolls look so realistic. My very first thought was: realistic? Really? And then I gave her the only advice that really matters – draw everyday, all the time. Never stop.

    I love your work. I love the cartoony style because I have a hard time achieving that. Simplicity is surprisingly difficult and the fact that you’ve been doing this for so many years is a real inspiration.

    And anytime I feel like a fraud I think of Henri Rousseau, aka Le Douanier. He was a self-taught Post-Impressionist painter with a day job as a toll taker (le douanier is French for toll taker). His story inspires me and maybe it’ll inspire you too.

  4. Melinda says:

    Confession #2: I drew a Scandinavian dress with a reference image. I took it to my grandfather, a retired history instructor before publishing so 10 points to Gryffindor!

  5. Cathy Williams says:

    I’m almost 62 years old, and I gave up on my art ambitions nearly 45 years ago when I got married and started having babies. Crochet has been my creative outlet over the years. Now, 3 husbands, 7 kids, 17 grandkids, and 2 great-grandkids later, all you wonderful young artists have inspired me to pick up my pencils again. I’m SO rusty! LOL! But it’s coming back to me, and I really love what you all do to help me remember my love of drawing paper dolls. So, thank you all! :-)

  6. Lisa Jo says:

    So glad you resisted the “armor of abstinence” request. I could offer a detailed discussion of why, but let’s just leave it at improper reading/appropriation of the source material.

  7. Melinda says:

    Mom was glad too. She said the request had the distinct whiff of BS!

  8. Sherri says:

    I am not an artist in any way, shape or form, but I have loved paper dolls since I was in the first grade. I loved being able to make my own clothes for them. I love that you offer ones that I can “color” for myself. Your work is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your art and your confessions with us!

  9. RLC says:

    Thank you all for your interesting and king comments. I had NO idea what sorts of reactions I would get from this rather odd post and I am pleased by the ones I received.

    I certainly have the best readers, ever. :)

  10. Melinda says:

    That’s ’cause you’re the best doll artist ever. Some say I should consider drawing my own, but I can’t.

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