So, as you might have guessed from the graphic, the blog will be in haitus from April 1st until March 2nd. I’m making this annoucement today, not tomorrow (the last day in March), because I know people expect a Wenesday post and I thought more people would see it.
Why a Haitus? You ask.
Well, I’ve been struggling to build up the sort of backlog of paper dolls I really need to maintain the schedule I want to maintain. Futhermore, there’s some complicated things going on in my life both personally and professionally. This will give me a month to work on backlog without having to worry about how I don’t have something ready for Monday or Friday.
It is my hope that the mental space will allow me to experiment with some new things.
When Will I return?
I’ll be back on Monday the 2nd of May with the usual Marisole Monday post.
Any questions or thoughts? Let me know.
You can still, of course, contact me via email at email@example.com.
While you’re waiting for my return, why not check out some of the archives? There’s over 500 pages of paper dolls on the site, so there should be some you’re never seen. The Magnetic & Printable Paper Doll Index breaks them down by subject and theme, or you can just work through the monthly archives. Though the archives start with December 2009, there was no paper doll that month, so might I advise starting with January 2010.
I wasn’t sure what to do post today, because I am taking the month of April off and I was struggling to decide what to do with this last Monday. Then I discovered I had three Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls that I converted to black and white last year that I hadn’t posted.
So, now I am. 🙂
First up we have Knights and Ladies, one of my very early fantasy paper dolls in black and white. When I first drew this paper doll, I think the sleeves were inspired by the 1830s. I think… It has been a few years. 🙂
Next, we have what is my mother’s favorite of all my paper dolls- my commercial fisher paper doll. I still am not totally pleased by the salmon, but I think the halibut came out very well. While I no longer own quite so many pieces of fishing clothing, I certainly did in my younger days.
Last, but not least, one of my very early fantasy paper dolls. She was originally done all in shades of pink, so that was what why she was named Princess in Pink. Of course, now you could color her in any way you want and therefore she could be a Princess in Blue or a Princess in Orange or a Princess in Pistachio.
The point I am trying to make, all be it maybe obliquely, is that every Mini-Maiden paper doll coloring sheet builds on every other one, allowing a ton of options that are fun. Because all the clothing can be shared among the paper dolls, there really are endless options.
Plus, if you’re hosting Easter and you need something to distract some small children, might I recommend printing out a few black and white paper doll sets to color? I swear it works. One friend told me it got her five year olds to be occupied for a whole 30 minutes.
Not to brag or anything, but seriously, have you tried to occupy five year olds before? Totally impossible.
Anyway, moving back to today’s paper doll and away from the difficulties with occupying small children- I did something I haven’t done in a long time and tried to do a tweed texture on the skirt. I used to do a lot of texture in my black and white sets (here’s a better example of the “tweed texture”) and then I kinda abandoned it, but I’m trying to get back into the practice. I also did a crop top. I might hate them, but they seem to be coming back into style.
Though… I mean, I lived through the 90s and I would really rather not have to live through them again fashion-wise.
If you want more paper dolls featuring Faye, there are quite a few here.
So, Monday there will be some black and white Marisole Monday paper dolls I found in my archives and then I will probably be going on a haitus for the month of April. I need some breathing room right now and I think I should take it.
Thoughts? Comments? As always, I love to hear from y’all.
Post-apocalyptic fashion is something that fascinates me. I collect photos and idea on Pinterest even if I’m not prepping for a set, because then when I do want something I can go looking for it. So, I have a whole board devoted to Post-Apocalyptic clothing. This is something I encourage everyone to do. After Wenesday’s post about Paper Doll Principles, I noticed a lot of people asked how I came up with ideas.
Someday, I’ll write on that (in fact, I am working on it now), but for now the short advice I will give everyone is this:
There is not such thing as a totally unique idea. Inspiration comes from having easy and ready access to the things that you like. By having a collection of other’s Post-apoolcyptic fashon ideas at my fingertips, it was easy for me to develop my own.
So, I urge you if you are struggling. Collect images and ideas that intrique you. If I ever draw another post-apocalyptic paper doll, I’ve got 188 images to help me come up with ideas.
To continue our discussion on inspiration, here’s a shirt that inspired me, a leather harness, this shirt and these boots. All those pieces inspired this set of paper doll clothing and I am sure if I looked I could find more images that I found that inspired me. I can tell you that the red and blue shirt was sorta a riff on the Captain American shield and came about, because I got sick of coloring things green and tan.
I’m still not totally pleased with his hair. I think there’s something off about the angle.
One of the challenges of the Poppets is coming up with ideas, because contemporary children’s clothing is strangely the same as contemporary adult clothing, just shrunk down. (I could go into a while childhood studies discussion of this, but let’s not.) I however think that kids should look like kids, not like mini-adults and therefore I tend towards old-fashioned kids clothing. The Poppets, being children’s dolls, also get semi-old fashioned kids clothes. What can I say? My paper doll clothing tends to reflect my interests.
Something about warm weather always gets me thinking about the seashore. Today it was 80 degrees outside! Spring has come to Alabama and while I don’t dislike winter, I love Spring and Fall in my adopted state. It’s warm enough to go outside without a jacket and not yet so warm that I don’t want to go outside, becuase it’s over 90 degrees and 80% humidity. In honor of Spring, I decided to post nautical paper doll clothing.
Of course, by the time I was done it looked a lot different than the one on the fabric, but that was my inspiration for the top.
It’s always amazing to me what things can inspired other things. 🙂
So, I was trying to print some of these out to send to a friend and I discovered that on a Windows machine, Adobe’s fit to page works totally different than on a Mac. I couldn’t just move the image over to fit in the printable space. It was very annoying.
Since these guys are sized to print out as a half page, because I originally conceived of one day putting them into booklet format, the placement of the image really does matter. To fix this problem, I stick a one inch white border around the PDF.
If you’ve always been printing them as a 5 by 8, this might not matter. However, if you have been printing them as a larger scale, this might matter for fit purposes.
Let me know if anyone hates this and I’ll decide if I can come up with a better solution that doesn’t require me re-doing the whole series.
I don’t talk a lot about the “craft” of paper doll making. How to make paper dolls just isn’t something I tend to discuss. I don’t know why that is exactly, though I suspect there’s some deep seeded insecurity in play there.
Well, all that stops now!
This is the first of a series of paper doll posts I have planned on how to make paper dolls.
And I sincerely hope that some of my fellow paper doll artists will chime in with their thoughts in the comments.
The first thing I want to do is introduce the my paper doll principles. The things that I believe are important when I design paper dolls.
Paper Doll Principles:
Playability: Every paper doll must be a functional toy.
Artistic Quality: All paper dolls must be beautiful before and after they are cut out.
Diversity: Every person deserves a paper doll that affirms their existence.
Each of these qualities is important. However, were I am pick one to focus on the most, it would be Playability.
Playability is a term that evolved in the video gaming community. It refers to how well a video game can be played. For me, I think of it as a way of measuring how well a paper doll can be played with.
Because paper dolls are toys. (Sometimes, I think people forget this.)
Does the clothing fit? Does the doll stand up? Do the tabs keep the clothing on?
How many outfits does the paper doll have? How many mix and match pieces? If it’s a paper doll with just one dress, that’ll get boring fast.
What is the theme of the paper doll? How well does the paper doll reflect the theme the artist has chosen for her?
Now, if I told you I thought every paper doll set in Paper Thin Personas got a perfect score in all these categories, I would be lying through my teeth. You have to balance these things.
The best way to demonstrate how complex playability choices can be is through paper doll shoes. (Is anyone surprised that for me, it comes down to shoes?)
The Parable of Paper Doll Shoes
Paper dolls need shoes and shoes pose a unique challenge. There are three solutions for paper doll shoes.
Attach them permanently to the doll.
Attach them permanently to an outfit.
Make them separate.
Option 1: Great for functionality, because you can not possibly loose the shoes. Unfortunately, it also means the shoes can’t be changed. (Functionality over Versatility) A few examples include Cora in Stripes and Her Ladyship.
Option 2: Keeps the shoes from getting lost, but also limits the mix and match options. (Functionality over Versatility) A few examples from my site include Ethan, Best Friends, Sci-Fi Girl and Bone Fairy.
Option 3: It is easy to lose the shoes in this option, but they can be changed which is fun. (Versatility Over Functionality). Individual shoes are both too easy to lose and tend to fall off. The best two ways to have interchangeable shoes are to attach them to a base or to attach them together.
Choosing the best option comes down to the third playability concept- Theme.
If your plan is to have the paper doll in some sort of underwear that is specific to her time (Victorian doll of 1886) or theme (fantasy lady like Her Ladyship) than the best option is to attach the shoes, I think. In this case, Theme over-rides the needs of Versatility.
If you plan on creating a single base doll and then having lots and lots of different themes around that doll (most of my paper doll series) than Versatility overrides the needs of Theme and simple undies, plus removable shoes are best.
If you plan on changing the dolls poses through their clothing OR making the clothing in a single piece (not mix and match), than I think the best option is to attach the shoes to the outfits as I do in Cybergirl or Spring. This is also the technique usually used by Boots of Pop Culture and Paper Dolls for her Star Wars paper doll series.
Also remember, you can do more than one at the same time!
Her Ladyship has shoes attached, but she also has ice skates. You can also put shoes on the base doll AND put shoes on the outfits. I couldn’t find an example of this in my archives (weird, but true), however, it can be done.
Moral of the Paper Doll Shoe Parable: How you balance the issues of playability is all about your intent as the artist. Never forget you are gaining and losing things each decision you make. And you are making decisions, even if at times you don’t notice.
Playability VS Artistic Quality
So, is playability the most important factor?
Well, only you can decide that about your own work. (I know, cop out answer right?)
Some collectors paper dolls are never intended to be cut out. These paper dolls value artistic quality OVER playability. That is okay. Some of my own work falls into that category. As I have gotten more experienced, however, I have come to view playability as one of the most critical factors in paper doll creation.
The paper doll has to work, even if you would never cut it out. The clothing needs to fit. The tabs need to work (if you draw tabs) and the thing needs to be functional EVEN if you don’t imagine anyone will want too actually play with it.
And that wraps up this first installment of Paper Doll Principles.
So, I have two questions for you today:
What would you like me to talk about in this series? Any questions about paper doll creation?
What do you think about these principles? Is there something I missed? What makes a “good” paper doll for you?
Today my guy paper dolls are getting all post-apocalyptic in their Mad-Maxian attire. Well, really just one has Mad Max inspired clothing, but Mikhail can share with his friends. (Okay, friend… There’s just Marcus 2.0 right now.)
So, I owe a big thank you to Kitrona who back in my suits set for the guys where I was busy complaining about how I never know what to draw for male paper dolls, she suggested post-apocalyptic.
Duly inspired, I sketched out this set a few weeks ago. It came together fast, mostly because I was out of Marisole Monday & Friend’s backlog with my last post and I desperately needed to get it done or I would have had nothing to post this morning.
Allow me to be blunt, I am not one of those people who gets upset about skimpy lady armor. I am far too big of a fan of Xena and Hercules for that, but I think there is a place in my fantasy world for skimpy armor and there is a place in my fantasy world for practical armor and mostly there is a place for stuff that falls in-between. Today’s paper doll is a female knight whose armor falls more into the practical camp than the skimpy armor camp.
But don’t worry skimpy armor fans, I’ve got a B&B set planned that falls into that camp, too.
I knew I was going to give my female knight short hair from the beginning, but that was because I originally had conceptions of drawing a helmet. Well, helmets are HARD, so instead we have her without a helmet, but with short hair. Actually, I think the paper doll, if not her clothing, could easily hop into the modern era and be a young stylish Black woman in 2016, but right she’s being a young stylish knight.
Over the years, I have always struggled with chainmail. I think this chainmail is slightly better than some, but I worry its too obvious where I patched together my swatches of tiny circles. Also, is it chainmail, chainmaile, chain mail or chain maile? Does anyone know?
That has been bothering me as I write up this post.
Anyway, happy Friday, y’all. Have a safe wonderful weekend.
Last Monday, I mentioned I used a lot of Lolita fashion blogs to do my research for my Lolita fashion paper doll, but I didn’t mention which ones specifically, so let me clear that up.
My favorite Lolita fashion blog was F Yeah Lolita which had a great post on Building a Complete Lolita Wardrobe. Her wardrobe template starts with sixteen pieces which can be mixed and matched into 14 different outfit combinations. I actually think her advice rings true even if you’re not trying to build a Lolita wardrobe. A few mix and match basics and a good pair of shoes, can get you through many a week of work, especially on a tight budget. Other blogs I found useful and interesting were Parfait Doll, Lolita Fashion(Tumblr), Ruffles & Steam (tumblr) and Portal of Fantasy (tumblr).
I also totally love Lolita Fashion Update where Lolita brand releases are posted (though it hasn’t been updated in a while 🙁 ). Store sites were hit and miss. As far as I can tell, a lot of these Japanese brands to pre-release sales and it seems like things sell out and therefore never get posted to their store sites. (Maybe I’m wrong about this, but that’s been my gut instinct), here’s the brands I based my designs off of Mary Magdalene, Victorian Maiden, Innocent World and Angelic Pretty (though they tend more towards Sweet Lolita).
Okay, so I was looking for photos of Classic Lolita style to link, so people would know what I was basing this on and I found this photo of two Lolitas on the street wearing Classic Lolita dresses from Tokyo Fashion and one of them has the Violin purse! Check it out. I was so excited to see the purse “in the wild”, so to speak. The larger version is a bit more complex than Mia’s mini paper version.
I’m a big believer in using color to tell a story. Years ago, a friend used to joke that Steampunk was “Gothic clothing colored brown” and there is some truth to that observation. Color has a lot of power. I could have gone Gothic Lolita or Sweet Lolita with these outfits if I had chosen another color scheme, but I liked the soft hues associated with Classic Lolita, so that was what I settled on. Also, I have a Sweet and Gothic Lolita paper dolls already which illustrate this principle by being the same set colored two different ways.
I’m still regretting that I didn’t draw her any hats or bows. It was totally my intention to, but then I forgot and then I didn’t notice I’d forgotten until it was too late. Sigh. A rose cover bonnet like these one would really fill out her look. Oh well, I’m just going to have to save for a different paper doll set, I guess.
There is an extra outfit over on my Patreon page– shoes, a parasol and dress. You don’t have to be a patron to download it and it will fit in with the rest of Mia‘s Classic Lolita wardrobe. Also give her some pink shoes to go with her more pink dresses.
So, whenever I think of summer I think of bright colors and boho vibes and white pants. (I don’t own white pants, but I actually really want a pair.) So, inspired I confess by a Patron who said “Summer” when I asked what themes I should explore in 2016, I wanted to think about what made paper doll clothing feel like summer clothing and not spring, autumn or winter.
Summer to me is bright and colorful. Summer is flowing and you can imagine breezes moving clothing around. From my Alaskan childhood, I will also forever associate summer with long days, commercial fishing and bonfires on the beach. I wanted though to think of summer from a different point of view. Less of a jeans tucked into Xtratufs (we were wearing boots over our jeans long before it was cool) and more white sand beaches, board walks and iced lattes.
In short, boho fantasy summer that I never experienced as a child. (Nor perhaps really even exists outside the realm of paper doll life.)
Still, what are paper dolls for if not for exploring a bit of fantasy?
So, as for the specifics of today’s Ms. Mannequin set, I try to make each page of clothing for the Ms. Mannequin series make sense as a stand alone page. So, for this page, I wanted to focus on tops and bottoms that could be mixed and matched. I’m a little unsure about the tunic with the ruffles on the hem, since I don’t know how well it will layer over the other pieces, but I keep seeing that style about, so I wanted to include it. Colorwise, I went with a theme I tend to like a lot which is greens and yellows paired with pinks and teals. There isn’t really a “neutral” in this set, except the white trousers, but I think everything mixes and matches pretty well anyway. I was going to draw skinny jeans, but I’ve already drawn them over on this set of Ms. Mannequin clothing.