I have been thinking about spring, but it feels a long away off. Even here in Alabama where the winters are so mild compared to what I have experienced in Alaska and the Midwest. Still, today’s paper doll to print is celebrating the possibility of warm spring fashions.
As I mentioned back when I first introduced the Sprite paper dolls, I want to establish a limited collection of dolls who will get outfits much like the Marisole Monday & Friends and the Mini-Maidens. So, this is the second Yumiko paper doll to print.
I figured after her foray into cyberpunk, the she deserved a chance to be a little more casual. I think her casual wardrobe is a little disconnected. I love all the pieces by themselves, but together they feel less the cohesive. I am getting over my mixed feelings by reminding myself that eventually there will be other Sprite paper dolls with casual clothes she can share with.
I struggled a bit to select colors for today’s paper doll to print. I am, personally, a lover of color. In the end, I settled on black as the neutral (though I worry with this paper doll’s black curls does that make too much black?) and pale blue as the other neutral. The patterned blouse over the striped skirt caused some problems since the complicated patterned needed a lot of colors to look right, but I think maybe the chose to many different colors for this collection? I think that’s adding to the lack of cohesion that is bothering me so much.
So, clearly, in case you couldn’t notice, I’ve got mixed feelings about today’s Sprite paper doll. Don’t get me wrong. There are things I love about her- those blouses, that darling purse with the tassel, her cute red shorts. But she feels… a tiny bit discombobulated.
Oh well, not every paper doll is perfect and if I only posted the paper dolls I was “totally in love with”, than I rather suspect I wouldn’t ever post anything at all.
Also, if you love the blog and want to help it keep going- support it through Patreon. There’s a special behind the scenes blog, perviews of sets, and I am way more likely to make patron requests, because… well, they are giving me money. So, consider joining up– it’s a fun group.
What do you think of Yumiko? Let me know in a comment.
Oh, Alice… How I adore you and have for many years. Today is Lewis Carroll’s Birthday and I thought I would honor it with a showcase of the Alice in Wonderland Paper Dolls which have appeared on the blog. (The actual title of the book is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it has been shorted so often that everyone seems to call it Alice in Wonderland.)
I still remember my Mother reading me and my sister Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when we were children. I have an Alice paper doll set reprint from Ladies’ Home Journal that I keep framed on my wall. So, you might say, Alice and I have a long history together.
Alice paper dolls… well, I have drawn a few.
And chances are that I will draw more. There is something about Alice that I find myself returning to over again. It’s odd, actually, because are large amount of the humor in Alice is about Victorian educational practices that we are long removed from. Still, I think there is always a place for nonsense in childhood and adulthood.
Alice in Wonderland Paper Dolls
Click on the image it will take you to the paper doll post where you can download and print a PNG or a PDF file.
I’ll be among the first to confess that I am pretty matchy-matchy in my own dressing. I do want my shoes to match my purse and my belt. I realize that’s horribly old fashioned, but I just can’t help it. Unless I’m carrying like teal bag and then I can have on any shoes I want, but if I have a brown bag and black shoes, than I spend the whole day feeling discombobulated. (Dumb, perhaps, but true.) Anyway, I tend towards the same tendencies when designing paper doll clothes.
I think part of it is that the better the colors in the paper doll’s clothes match, than the more outfit options open up. It’s an issue of “playability” in my head. I want every Marisole Monday & Friends set to have a doll and paper doll clothes that could stand alone and be fun by itself. I mean, we all have gotten paper doll sets and cut them all out and then be sad when we realize that really there’s only a few clothing options.
However, I also want every set to be able to share with the other sets. That’s the main reason why, for example, all the Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls share the same pose. If they can’t share than what’s the point?
When selecting colors for today’s Monica paper doll, I close to go with a lighter brown for her skin, because I liked how it looks with the lime green. The red top and the white dress were the two pieces that inspired the whole set of paper doll clothes, so it wasn’t hard to decide to keep them their base colors. The blue was choosen to tone down the bright red and it’s strong contrast with the bright green.
Personally, my favorite part of the set is how the white and black booties came out, but that’s just me.
As always, I’d love to hear what anyone things in the comments and if you like the blog, support it on Patreon.
Today’s Sprite is and elven paper doll named Willow in honor of Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (More on that later.) I was the biggest Buffy fan when I was in middle-school and early highschool. I stopped watching around season five, I think. Though I keep trying to get through the later seasons, the show gets so darn depressing.
As with many of my fantasy paper dolls, I try to think about “setting” when I designed these outfits. I have decided both of these elves (Xavier and Willow) are warriors, so Willow has armor to go under her silken tunics and a bow as well. I was also thinking about Ancient Grecian tunics when designing these paper doll pieces. Sure, they’re not really practical, but we all know how I feel about practicality and paper dolls. (Never the two shall meet.)
So, then I nearly re-colored the whole set feeling like I wasn’t trying to make my elf look like someone else’s elf and then I decided that I had wanted to make her a redhead ever since I named her in honor of Willow Rosenberg from Buffy:The Vampire Slayer and no random elf chick from a rather bad movie was going to stop me.
There will be other Willow paper dolls, so they won’t all be elves, but that’s what I’ve started with.
I have realized there are five Friday’s in January. So, should I end January with a non-Sprite or should I have a Sprite in the beginning of February? Since they always come in pairs. Let me know thoughts in the comments.
I contacted Jenny last year, around the same time I spoke to Dover Publishing. My original goal was to get this Q&A published in December, but that month turned out to be far more crazy than I intended. Plus, my visitor numbers always plummet in December and I thought this was an important post to go up when my readership was high. After all, Paper Studio Press is one of the only paper doll publishers in the United States today.
A Q&A Session With Jenny Taliadoros & Paper Studio Press
Did you play with paper dolls as a kid? And what were your favorites if you did?
Yes! I sure did. Most of my paper doll memories take place at my grandma’s house. We’d cut out paper dolls together, and in fact, she’s the one who taught me how to correctly cut paper dolls, “Keep the scissors steady in one hand while turning the paper in the other.” I had several antique fashion paper dolls that I loved and some contemporary characters of the time (1970s): “Denim Deb,” “Freckles and Sniffles,” and “The Sunshine Family.”
When did Paper Studio Press start publishing paper dolls? Roughly, how many paper doll titles are published in a year?
I started Paper Studio Press in 2005, not only to give collectors more access to paper dolls, but to create a new avenue for paper doll artists to get their work published. Through the Paper Doll Studio magazine, which I had been publishing for OPDAG, The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild, since 1991, I was already in touch with many talented paper doll artists. So with my new publishing venture, I was thrilled to work with so many of these wonderful artists and get more of their paper doll art on the market. I publish 12-16 books a year, most are beautifully illustrated by artists of today, while some are reproductions of vintage paper doll books of the past.
How do you select which paper doll titles to publish? Has the Internet changed any of this selection process?
I don’t think the Internet helps me choose paper doll topics; however, it certainly helps in researching content for paper dolls!
There are very few paper doll publishers left in the United States, how do you see paper doll publishing shifting in the future?
As the population ages, I’m afraid the younger generations are not as willing to collect paper dolls, in book form anyway. With online options like Pinterest, people can create their own virtual collections of paper dolls. Also, it’s easy to find free downloadable/printable paper dolls online, making it less necessary to buy printed books. But I hope we can continue to find that niche market so we can continue publishing books for many years (if not decades) ahead.
Paper Studio Press also publishes reprints of vintage paper doll books. How do you select what vintage titles to reprint?
First and foremost, the art must be very well done and it must have an appealing cover design. The subject can range from sophisticated fashions to cute kids. The title must also clear copyright, and when doing a movie star reproduction that can be tricky. In some cases I’ve paid a licensing fee to reproduce a vintage star book. There are some grey areas in republishing and it’s important to do proper research and consult with an intellectual copyright attorney.
Can you outline the paper doll publishing process? Does Paper Studio Press accept unsolicited submissions?
The publishing process always starts with a creative concept. It could be a specific topic for a book or an idea for a series of books. Much of the time I present a topic to an artist. If he or she is excited about the idea I then prepare a contract which outlines the scope of the project and grants Paper Studio Press the right to publish the work. Once I receive the artwork everything gets scanned into Photoshop. At this point I might have to add page layout elements, add tabs to costumes and complete a cover design. The entire book is set up in a page layout program. The final stage is to create a high res PDF which I send to my printer. Because I feel it’s important to have our books printed in the USA, I work with a local printer in Maine.
Regarding unsolicited submissions, this doesn’t work so well with my publishing company. Although we’ve published nearly 130 titles, we’re still considered small with a small budget. Because I’m not able to pay artists high fees, it’s imperative that I have a good working relationship with my artists and that they truly enjoy the projects they do for my publishing company. So I feel it’s important to build a rapport with an artist before we agree to publish a book.
Do you have any advice for aspiring paper doll artists?
It’s important to get your work out there. Set up a website or blog to show off your paper dolls. If you want to sell them, try Etsy or Ebay or even your own e-store. I recommend starting with self-publishing. Get copies made at a local printshop or office supply store and sell paper dolls as individual sheets or sets or as stapled books. Join OPDAG (The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild) and share your work in the pages of our magazine, “Paper Doll Studio.” If possible, attend regional paper doll parties/events or the national paper doll convention. Visit http://opdag.com/convention.html for more info.
What do you believe makes for a successful paper doll book?
Having the right topic is key. There’s a big fan base out there for classic films so we’ve done very well with our classic star books, especially Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, Esther Williams and Bette Davis. There’s also a big nostalgia market, so we’ve had success with titles such as Cinderella, Nancy Drew, Rosie the Riveter and Fun With Grandma. Paper doll collectors also love fashion history, brides and royalty, so we’ve done dozens of books representing those subjects. No matter what the topic the book must be well illustrated, with an attractive cover design.
Again, a big thank you to Jenny Taliadoros for her willingness to talk about paper dolls with me.
Questions? Comments? A favorite paper doll book from Paper Studio Press? Let us all know in a comment.
Let me start with something wonderfully basic about my paper dolls: I do not believe paper dolls should be frumpy. Okay, maybe if that’s the theme you’re going for, than I suppose they can be. However, I think paper dolls about fashion should, you know, actually be fashionable. So, if I am going to draw fashion paper dolls, I am going to try to actually pick a fashion style and go for it.
Way to many “fashion model” paper doll sets end up with rather horrible outfits. I mean, I get it. They are for kids and, let’s be honest, kids have ideas of fashion that are a little unsophisticated. Being not a kid, I feel like fashion and paper dolls should combine to make something delightful.
And, of course, fun to play with.
All this brings us to Monica who is rocking a fantastic wardrobe of minimalist pieces from the Fall Fashion magazines. I’ve done one minimalist fashion paper doll before- Mia Goes Minimalist. I think Monica’s outfits are a little more fancy than Mia’s were.
I suppose if you weren’t feeling minimalist, than these could also fall into the futuristic fashion category (especially the dress on the far right). I confess that dress, which I think was in InStyle, inspired the whole paper doll set. Not gonna lie. I just wanted an excuse to draw it.
I do feel like I’ve drawn a few of these pieces “before”, but then I suppose since I’ve gotten to something like 200 Marisole Monday & Friends designs, if things didn’t feel familiar than I would be doing something wrong. (Also, how many ways can you draw a pair of simple trousers? Not that many.)
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to everyone in the US! I’d say this paper doll was thematic, but I really don’t think she is.
Anyhow, I’m always up for feedback in the comments and, of course, do please support the blog if you love it through Patreon.
Xavier is the third paper doll in the Sprite paper doll series. Xavier is getting to be an elf paper doll today, though he won’t always be an elf. And since he can share clothing with Zachary, should you decide he needs to be a cyberpunk elf (Shadowrun, anyone?) that’s totally an option too.
Like any good elven archer, our elf paper doll has a back up plan in the form of a sword. Since, sometimes you need to fight people up close and personal. I chose a bird and leaf motif for the weapons and the armor which I thought would seem suitably nature oriented. I always thinks of elves as being nature oriented which might be a horrible stereotype. (Is it possible to stereotype a fantasy creature?)
I think the bird and feather motif his more obvious with the female elf which I shall be posting next Friday as we continue January Sprites! (Yeah, I totally just decided to call it that.)
So, I like the Lord of the Rings movies, I really do, but it’s tough to not feel like one has to interact with them when designing elven stuff. My main goal was to create two outfits- one casual and one military. After all, you can’t just walk around in armor. Well, I suppose you can… but it wouldn’t be very comfortable.
I wanted to chose colors that were not too bright, but also felt organic and natural- colors from nature, I guess you might say.
I’m gonna be honest here now. I have been really struggling with artist’s block the last few weeks or, as I like to call it, “the wheel is spinning, but the gerbil is dead”. In short, I just have no urge to do anything blog related, let alone actually draw new content.
But I’m trying to stay on track and stick to my guns about getting two paper dolls up a week. I do have a tiny bit of backlog waiting, so I think I’ll be okay.
As always, comments are appreciated. Thoughts on other themes I should explore with the Sprites?
As I mentioned when I posted the black and white version of this princess paper doll last week, rarely can I look back and share several stages of paper doll creation. From the sketchbook stage to the coloring stage. There’s a sort of allusion that I think is common in blogging. It’s always presented as current, as immediate.
Sort of the “I just threw together this perfect brunch for my family on Tuesday and I wanted to share it with you all” idea. The truth is that while sometimes I work against the wire- barely have the paper doll done before I post it- I think most people understand that generally there’s a long wait between idea, rough sketches, final sketches and posted paper doll.
So, as you all probably know, I love drawing princess paper dolls. It’s an excuse to let out my girly side and create fluffy over the top dresses around whatever themes strike my fancy. For this princess set, I wanted to use some of the motifs and styles of African wax print fabrics.
Originally, I have conceived of a pink, green and purple color scheme, but it really didn’t work in practice. So, back on Pinterest, I selected this wax print fabric to be my basis for my colors. The orange, red, blues and yellow color scheme seemed like a lovely change of pace from the pinks and purples that are generally associated with princess paper dolls. Plus the white really lightened up the outfit.
I’ve decided her white shoes are a sign of wealth, because can you imagine trying to keep white shoes white? I mean, I don’t own any for that exact reason.
Now, if you’re thinking, but she needs more clothes… Than I recommend considering borrowing gowns from the Yellow Princess, Rose Ballgowns or Garden Ballgowns. All those sets share the big-skirted look of today’s princess paper doll.
Thoughts on today’s princess paper doll? Feel free to leave a comment. Also, on Friday, there will be Elves!
One of the rules of long term blogging (or anything really) is build with the assumption of growth. So, while I feel kinda absurd referring to the Sprites as a series, because this is only the second one and so it’s more like a sequel situation, I also recognize that in two years when I look back on this post (or more likely, when someone else does), it still needs to have all the links and make sense.
Speaking of building with the assumption of growth, I am currently converting from using my server to host my image files to using WordPress’ native image management tools. This is prep for a larger shift in the blog infrastructure. If I do my job right, y’all shouldn’t notice a thing; however, if you do find some posts those images are screwy, just drop me a note and I’ll look at it.
There are over 756 posts on this blog, so converting all those images over is going to take a bit of time and I wouldn’t be surprised if I miss something accidentally.
All right, so about today’s paper doll. Yumiko is a Japanese name. Again, there aren’t a lot of names for women that start with Y. I almost went with Yasmine, before I remember I already have a Yasmine paper doll. One of the problems of having drawn over 500 paper dolls for this blog is that at some point, you kinda run low on names.
Anyway, Yumiko is the first Asian Sprite paper doll, though I confess that’s a little meaningless. I mean, there’s only two Sprite paper dolls right now. I also started the Pixie series off with an Asian paper doll named Zoe. I’d say there was something intentional with my starting series off with Asian paper dolls, but I’ll be darned if I know what it is.
I chose a very different color scheme for Yumiko-Digital Girl. I knew from the start that I wanted to give her pink hair and black lips (it felt sufficiently cyberpunk), so than it was a matter of selecting colors that I thought would coordinate with those two colors. I really like how she came out.
Thoughts on the new series? Feel free to drop me a comment.
Normally, I have a long list of goals that I know I want to get to this time of the year. Some of them are personal, some are professional, and some are blog related, but I’ve struggled to come up with a strong list this year.
I think I might be a little overwhelmed this year.
Still, I settled down last night and came with a sketchbook and carefully wrote out a list. I spoke with my patrons and seriously thought about what I wanted.
Writing a blog for as long as I have means you are learning constantly. To be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I somehow didn’t think about the “need” for posts past the end of December and now I am scrambling a bit. I’ll get back into the flow of things soon. Goal #1: Create 10 Male Paper Dolls in 2016
Seriously, I need to do this. I need to draw more men. So, here we go. Ten male paper dolls in 2016. Let’s live the dream. 🙂
Goal #2: Create 10 Historical Paper Dolls in 2016
Yeah, this was a goal last year, but that’s okay. I really want to try this again this year and if it is a goal than I will go for it. My patrons voted for fantasy sets to be the focus, not historical, but last year I did over ten fantasy sets without it being a goal. Fantasy tends to be my fallback, so I suspect I’ll still hit ten even if I don’t make it my “focus.”
Goal #3: Focus on Sprites, Bodacious & Buxom and Ms Mannequin
I polled my patrons and they all voted for these three series to be the focuses of this year. I agree they all need some more love. I was surprised how many people loved Ms Mannequin series, since that’s one of the series that I have mixed feelings about.
Goal #4: Submit something to OPDAG
I am so so embarrassed that I have never sent something to the OPDAG magazine. It’s rather sad, but true. I need to get over my nerves about it and just go for it. It’s not like it’s juried or anything, after all.
Goal #5: Sell Stuff! (Probably paper dolls!)
Actually sell stuff. This might seem like a small goal, but it actually is complex. There’s business paper work and taxes and a whole realm of stuff. I strongly believe it’s important to do that stuff right the first time. It’s all overwhelming! But that’s the goal.
Goal #6: Draw a little, every day, not paper doll related
Okay, so not directly paper doll related- aka- no paper dolls. I mean, I’ll probably practice hands or doddle dresses or experiment with hair styles. I want to loosen up, draw more and learn to be more confident in my art. To start out, I am taking this class on Creativebug and posting my daily drawings on Instagram. (Be nice to me, I’m still learning to use Instagram.)
So, those are my goals. Let’s see how 2016, shapes up.
Wondering how to become a patron? You can do that here. Thoughts on these goals? Drop me a note in the comments.