The Sketchbook Cometh

The best thing about the photocopier at my job is that it can scan and email me things. I don’t use it for paper doll scanning (the resolution isn’t high enough), but it makes these sketchbook and doodle posts really easy.

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Some contemporary clothes for a Mini-Maiden. Don’t ask me which Mini-Maiden. I haven’t a clue, yet. I really am pleased with the set through. I really like the curly hair, especially.

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Here’s the doodles I did for a dark circus inspired Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll set. As it turned out, I didn’t use all of these designs, as you can see below.

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A page of the dark circus Marisole Monday & Friends set that I inked last weekend. I really love her shoes and her wig. We’ll see how all the whole thing comes together. I am thinking a black, white and red color scheme with some gold to accent it. I also might do some clown makeup on the paper doll’s face for this set.

Medieval Fantasy Paper Doll to Print and Color

logo-isadora-fantasy-castleThis is the second Isadora paper doll and a member of the Mini-Maiden paper doll family. I haven’t done a fantasy Mini-Maiden before, so I thought I should and I have been in a psuedo-medieval mood as of late. Perhaps simply because I am wishing I was living somewhere cooler than Alabama which is having a humid hot August.

I can not wait for fall. Fall is full of wonderful things and I can start wearing tights and boots again.

I love both tights and boots.

Plus September brings the big fall fashion magazines and that will mean a spasm of paper doll drawing and a spate of contemporary styled paper dolls, as it always does.

Until then, of course, we have Isadora as a fantasy Mini-Maiden. I am hesitant to call her a princess, as she doesn’t have a crown, but she can still live in a castle, I think. Personally, I think it would have been dreadfully drafty and cold in castles, but I suppose at least it was better than living in a hovel.


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Anyway, now Isadora can either be living in a castle or fighting radioactive zombies in the wastes of a destroyed civilization. Basically, she’s ready for whatever life might throw at her, though I think she also might want to raid another Mini-Maiden’s closet for some more… shall we say… normal clothing. I think she’d look awfully cute in Faye’s girly get up or Hazel’s vintage vibe or Greta’s I-couldn’t-come-up-with-anything-alliterative outfits.

There will be one more update this week (nothing major, just some sketchbook stuff) and then hopefully a new Marisole on Monday as I get myself back into the rhythm of things. For updates, you’re welcome to follow me on twitter @paperpersona, though you will also have to put up with other inane, unpaper-doll-related rambling about my life.

Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

logo-margot-victorian-1880Oh man, what to say about the last few days…

Well, I have been working on backend server CPU issues with my shared hosting service. Nothing really serious, but stuff that has to be dealt with for the blog hosting to continue to be cheap enough for me to justify continuing to keeping it online and free.

Still, I owed a paper doll to my last drawing winner, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, and I was not about to put off finishing that for another week, because I would keep feeling guilty about it.

Lina requested an 1880s period Marisole Monday & Freinds paper doll with a ballet outfit and several other dresses. I had some trouble getting all the pieces to fit on a single page, so I omitted some shoes from the image.

Should you want proper shoes to go with this set, then I recommend checking out On the Board Walk in color or black and white or Mia Goes to the Bathing Place in color or black and white. Both of those sets both have button up style boots which, while not period, are close enough to not look totally awkward.


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{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print}
Lina was kind enough to send me reference photos and specific colors for the hair, skin and eyes of the paper doll, but left the color scheme mostly up to me. I wanted to use some rich colors, because by the 1880s chemical dyes were common and rich colors were very much instyle. There is a habit to think of the 19th century as sepia colored, because of sepia photos, but it was actually a rather garish era.

At least post, chemical dyes being invented.


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{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}
So, Lina also asked for a tutu based on this painting by Degas. The painting dates from 1871, a little earlier than the other costumes in the set. I omitted the sash, since I based the dress on the center figure. I don’t think the layers of the skirts really look like tulle, which bothers me. Liana has some great tulle on her blog.

The ballgown was based on this fashion plate. The gown was red, but I made it peacock blue based on a description in English Women’s Clothing in the 19th Century by Wilett-Cunnington that mentioned peacock blue ballgowns. I hate drawing lace, but it came out all right, I suppose.

The last two outfits are a swimming costume and a house dress. Old swimming costumes were extremely complicated and not very easy to swim in. Generally, I think of them as wadding costumes. Lina sent me this picture and I based it off that.

The house dress is classic 1880s style with bustle, drawn up skirt and long pleats. It’s a pretty typical gown for its period. Lina sent me this photo and I based the dress off of it. I omitted the pattern on the dress, because I knew it would reproduce poorly in the small scale of the paper doll set.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you haven’t ever checked out Lina’s blog, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls than I recommend taking the time to do so. She makes wonderfully interesting historical paper dolls.

Hey! Why isn’t That Paper Doll Available in Black and White?

Why isn't that paper doll available in black and white?The most commonly asked question I get on this blog is, “Can you make (insert paper doll title here) in black and white?”

The answer is usually… “Depends.”

Step back in time with me to when the world was young and the blog was fairly new before Disaster struck.

During the first few years of PTP’s existence, the paper dolls were only done in black and white and in the heavily shadowed style of Curves or Shadow and Light.

I drew Marisole in early 2009, long before the site crashed, and used her to teach myself how to color paper dolls in Photoshop. My plan, at the time, had been to add a color paper doll, Marisole, once a week to my black and white site.

But then… in December of 2009… Disaster.

I  crashed the blog and my backups didn’t load properly and I didn’t know how to fix it. So, I decided to delete it and start over. You can read the public post about that if you like.

Even then, I never ever thought I’d publish Marisole in black and white. I never thought I would publish a Pixie in black and white. I never thought about any of this.

The result of my lack of forward thinking is that there are paper dolls on this site for which the original Photoshop files are long gone. I have PDFs and I might have random old scans, but rarely do I have the original Photoshop file. Tracking down the files, extracting the line work (if I can) and processing the new black and white version takes time.

The best candidates for this process have light colors and aren’t too complicated in their linework.

Sometimes, it works well and I get a good black and white copy. Sometimes, it doesn’t and I won’t post sub-par work on my blog.

This whole process can take an hour or two.

And that causes me some tension…

Do I work on converting old work to black and white or do I work on new work?

I don’t have limitless time (does anyone?) and so, I prioritize. For me, creating new work is more interesting and more fun than going back, dredging up old files and reformatting them, if I can. (It is totally frustrating when I can’t get a decent copy._)

Does this mean you should stop asking for paper dolls in black and white that you want to see?

Absolutely not, sometimes I can do it, but at this point I have done most of the “easy” sets (particularly for Marisole) and the remaining sets are much harder.

So, keep asking, but don’t be surprised if my answer is “Nope.”

Questions? Thoughts? Lemme know in a comment.

Black and White Marisole Monday Paper Dolls Today!

I get asked fairly often for various old paper dolls to be produced in black and white. Considering the number of paper dolls on the blog and the fact that files are not always saved in formats that makes extracting the line work simple. In fact, this might be one of the last sets of these I do for a long time, because I am running out of files that are simple to convert and ending up with sets for which I only have the full merged final PDF. Pulling the black and white out of those files and not ending up with a black and white paper doll of very dubious quality is a challenge.


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Nautical Girl was first posted in 2010. Despite being four years old, I still really like her hair and her dress, though I could take or leave her shoes.


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Sweater Style was originally conceived as one of four sets which were going to each be a seasonal set. I think this was the fall or winter set (I truly do not recall…). I never did get the series finished and so I just have posted a few of them. At the time, I was living in Illinois where it was very cold in the winters. I rather miss winters when it would actually freeze.


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Draw because I thought I really needed more jeans in my paper doll sets, Stylish in Denim was a lot of fun. It is one of the rare paper doll sets where I owned at the time a fair number of the actual clothing pieces. It was also an early experiment in purses.

Two quick things I mentioned on Friday, but I wanted to repeat. Email updates aren’t working at the moment. I’m looking for a new WordPress plugin. Also, you can follow me on Twitter @paperpersonas which will let you know when the blog updates, what I am working on and other rather inane details of my life.

Curvy Printable Fantasy Paper Doll Set In Color or Black and White

logo-studs-paper-dollI draw a lot more paper dolls than I post. This is why I sometimes am unsure about posting sketchbook images, because there are things which end up never migrating into the blog, or migrate onto the blog so much later than I meant them too.

And when I create a new series of paper dolls, as B&B is still in my mind, I often draw a lot and then lose interest for a while. This is my basic pattern of paper doll production. I am passionately fascinated with a series for a few weeks and then, after a while, I lose interest and move onto other things. One of the reasons I try to build a backlog is that if I didn’t have one, I would post nothing but say… Pixies for two months and then nothing but Flock for two months and… you get the idea.

Since, I’ve been struggling to get things finished over the last few weeks, I have devoted myself to digging through my folders and finding old things I haven’t finished and finishing them up. Truth is that I have a fair number of orphaned drawings which got scanned and then never got cleaned up and colored. This is one of those orphaned sets. I first drew this when I first drew B&B.

studs-paper-doll-black-white {Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}
I often go back to themes I’ve done before. Styles which have, for best or for ill, been used in previous paper doll experiments or have shown up in other forms on the blog. I think everyone does this. Whenever I think I am “always drawing the same thing”, than I am reminded that some of my favorite paper doll artists (like Boots and Liana) have themes they return to as well.

I mean, can I help that I have a love of corsets? And leggings tucked into boots.

So, the legging, boots and tops with swords have down up many times before like in this paper doll set and this paper doll set (the cape) and this paper doll set and this paper doll set (the leggings) and… I digress.

studs-paper-doll-color {Download a PDF of this paper doll in Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}
Also, I clearly have a thing for redheads. I have always had a thing for redheads. My grandmother was a redhead and I have always wished that I inherited that gene, sadly, I did not. Plus, I saw the movie Anne of Green Gables at a young and impressionable age.

Meanwhile, a few other announcements. Once again, my email system for mailing people with blog updates seems to be having trouble. I shall do my best to try to fix it.

And I have finally moved into the 21st century and am now on Twitter. You can follow me @paperpersonas though it’s not strictly blog related and there are plenty of comments about librarianship and my general life that happen as well.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments are always appreciated.

Doodles…. Lady of the Manor Version 2, Mostly…

I am someone who struggles with expectations. What are people expecting me to do or expecting me to complete? I worry often that I am letting people down, though I know intellectually that I am my harshest critic. At times like this, when my actual real life and my blog are in conflict (as they are at the moment), I struggle with letting go and relaxing enough to get anything creative done.

As I post doodles rather than paper dolls, a part of me feels guilty. This is not, a little voice in my head says, what people come to your blog for. This is not what they want.

I do my best to ignore little voices like that, though today it feels harder than other days. (Also I know it’s not true, because I have had readers tell me that it is not true.)

A while ago, I posted Lady of the Manor V.2 sketchbook images. So here are two pages of the doodles which lead to those sets. I’m still working on cleaning up the line work, but I have high hopes that she will be up soon.

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So, the dress on the left never got drawn, but became a different dress. The riding habit on the right pretty much looks like it does in that little doodle. The dress with the layers of ruffles came out wonderfully (I can’t wait to share that one). The one of the right… I actually have no idea what that was supposed to be now… I should do better notes.

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The dress on the left came out nearly just like that dress with a few additional pattern details. The dress on the right was the first design for several “casual” dresses of a similar style. As the first “stand alone” paper doll set of the year, I couldn’t be more pleased with how she’s coming along. I should let myself do more of these, because I do have fun with them.

The blog will continue. It’s been around for a long time… longer than really any other project of mine. I have no intention of abandoning it, I just am having some pretty serious trouble getting motivated at the moment.

Garden Ballgowns: A Paper Doll and Her Dresses to Print

garden-ballgowns-color-logoAs I explained with the black and white version of today’s paper doll set, both of these paper doll dresses are based on Wa lolita and Qi lolita fashions. I really find fusions of different cultures fashions fascinating, plus sometimes drawing absurd dresses make me happy and Mia doesn’t get as much love as I think she should.

When I draw in black and white, I sometimes dread coloring, especially when the coloring means hyper detailed patterns like those in today’s paper doll dresses. I’ve been doing more playing with color and pattern lately. I like patterns, but they are a lot of work. Even though I usually just draw one motif and use Photoshop to manipulate it on each dress. The size of these pattern motifs made their placement on the dresses important. Though I wanted it to feel organic, I also wanted the detail of the complex patterns to shine through.

No point in drawing complex things if no one can appreciate them, after all. In my mind, that’s like sewing a fantastic wardrobe for an ugly doll… why bother?

An Asian paper doll and her two fantasy ball gowns, three wigs and two pairs of shoes. Inspired by Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita fashions.

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

I based the color scheme on this kimono which I found online. Every time I reference kimono, I am reminded of the fantastic posts on Liana’s Paper Doll Blog about Japanese dress. She’s far more an expert of this topic than I.

Personally, I thought it was very a beautiful kimono and I really liked the color combination. What looks black isn’t actually black, it is a very dark purple-red color. I used the same color for her hair. I like doing that, because I think a color scheme should be about making a harmonious set.

Every set should be a complete work, rather than just a collection of clothing pieces and should be able to stand alone, even if it is part of a larger collection of paper dolls. That’s part of my paper doll philosophy. Is it okay to have one of those? Because I totally do.