The Vivian Project: Redrawing Childhood

Today, I am pleased to announce that my Patreon support page is live. So, if you’d like to donate to support Paper Thin Personas, this is one way you can do so. Feel free to support at any level you’d like, because all is appreciated. However, for those of you who support at 5 dollars a month, you get to join the Vivian Project.

What, you might ask, is the Vivian project? Well… let me explain.

I moved recently and part of the moving process was going through my massive collection of every single paper doll I ever drew as a child. Some I kept. Some I tossed and then, at the bottom of a box, I found Vivian.

Viviean lives in a cookie tin and she was a huge part of my youth and now I am going to re-draw her. Viviean began in June of 1998, but I have no idea when I stopped drawing clothing for her. I think sometime around freshmen year of high-school, maybe a little longer.

Viviean was traced from an advertisement (I think in Seventeen or something) for a prom dress designing contest. I did not enter the contest, but I used their little fashion figure to create a paper doll for whom I drew over 200 outfits.

How do I know that? Because I literally indexed her whole collection on pieces of paper. Each outfit is numbered on the back and there is a corresponding description of the outfit on one of the pages of clothing index. Each set of outfits, usually five, were placed in a small envelope and sub-labeled such as “Futuristic Fashions” or “History Lesson 1910-1940”. Seriously, I should have known I was destined to be a librarian once I started indexing my own paper dolls.

Viviean is has an outfit for just about every occasion a person might ever find themselves in. (And a few, I doubt anyone would likely find themselves in.) For formal occasions, she might slip on Outfit #2: “Long dark blue ball dress with whiet (white) gloves”. I tried to get the gloves to stay on, but they didn’t fit very well.

Or if she feels like rocking out, she has Outfit #144, part of the Rock Star Clothing set, including “a very short leather jacket, yellow dress and black boots.” I didn’t see a short leather jacket in the envelope though, so perhaps it has gone missing? Or maybe it got misfiled?

After being a rock star, Vivian might need to relax by slipping into into Outfit #174, “a yellow-green terri (terry) cloth bath rope (bathrobe).” I clearly struggled with spelling at that age. Actually, I still can’t spell worth a darn, but that’s why there is spellcheck.

And if after relaxing, she wants to fight bandits, than Outfit #156 “Xena- brown leather top with gold decoration” is available. I love the tiny chakra.

The process of re-drawing Viviean into the new Vivian has been fun. She has the same hair, a very similar pose and the same bright pink and lime green swimsuit of her former-self. She’s different as well, because I’ve changed as an artist a lot since Viviean was created. Vivian isn’t a copy, exactly. I think of her more as an “ode” to who I was when I drew her all those years ago.

So, why do all this? Well, because I have wanted too for a long time, but also because I was looking for a project that I could do with my Patreon subscribers. So, if you would like to get involved, you can.

If you choose to join the Vivian Project than every month you’ll receive a redrawn outfit (or two) from the original Vivean clothing collection and, of course, a Vivian doll of your very own.

One month you might receive Outfit #6, a fuchsia above the knee length dress, and then next month you might get Outfit #164, a dress meant to represent the fall with leaves on top, a wreath and cloak, colored orange/red. Patrons will get to vote on the dresses that will be included sometimes and sometimes I’ll just pick something I think is fun to work on. Either way, there will be two versions of each outfit. One is a redraw of the original and other my sense of how I would draw the same concept today.

For twenty-five dollars a month, you’ll get to customize a “Friend of Vivian” paper doll by picking out her face, hair style, skin tone, hair color, and eye color. So, if you want a freckled blue haired paper doll, than this is your chance. There are over a hundred options for that customized paper doll.

There’s other support levels too from one dollar up and beyond. No pressure, of course, as I’ve said before. If you have to choose between something like rent or paper dolls- choose rent! The blog isn’t going anywhere.

Support me here if you’d like. Thank you.

Questions? Ask in a comment or send me an email.

Announcement: Paper Doll Round-Robin

I am super excited to be making this announcement. Julie, of Paper Doll School, and I are hosting a paper doll round robin. We have our model drawn thanks to Julie, but she desperately needs gowns to wear to the Halloween Masquerade Ball!

Won’t you help her?

How this Works

Step 1: Download the Paper Doll PDF File

Step 2: Print the file at Full Size or Open the file with your favorite graphics editor.

Step 3: Draw a fantastic masquerade gown. It can be in color or black and white. No judgement here. Just create something that inspires you.

Step 4. Save or scan your gown at 300 dpi as a JPG or PNG. (This part is important to I can make sure all the gowns are high quality for the finished set.)

Step 4: Email your gown to me at  or Julie at before Midnight (Eastern Time) on the 24th of October. Be sure to include how you’d like to be credited and if you want to say something about your design, than tell us that too!

Step 5: Wait until the 31st of October when Julie and I will post the finished gowns and the doll, all ready to attend the Masquerade Ball!

See? That isn’t so hard.

We hope lots of people will come play with us and join in the fun, so please consider creating a gown for our Lady of the ball. :)

If you have any questions, please just ask in a comment. This is going to be so much fun.

Farewell to the Showcase!

So, remember how on Friday I said there were going to be changes… Well, this is one of them.

The time has come to say a sad farewell to the Showcase.

I have been horrible about updating it and when I went through my email to clean it up a few months ago, I found dozens of things that people had sent me and I had done nothing with. I felt rather guilty and then decdeed it was time for the Showcase to go.

There is now a Pinterest board called “PTP Paper Doll Sightings.” I’ve seen a few pattern designers use this method for showing off the work of people who had made their patterns and I thought it was a great idea.

Follow Rachel’s board PTP Paper Doll Sightings on Pinterest.

It is so much easier for me to just download the image from my email and post it up onto Pinterest. No fuss, no muss and I get to share things that people don’t send me, but I find around the internet where my art has been featured in various ways. Plus I can link to others sites very easily which lets them get some credit too. So, go check it out and let me know if there is anything I should add to it.

I will probably still do posts of readers creations once in a while on the blog, but I’ll update the Pinterest board much more regularly. I have been testing it for the last few weeks and it has performed admirably. So, feel free to go follow it and see how people have colored and used my art. :)

Miss Missy’s Fresh Fruit Fashion Contest

So, Miss Missy who runs a wonderful paper doll blog of her own over at Miss Missy Paper Dolls is currently hosting a contest where you design an outfit set on something like Polyvore or Pinterest and then she will let people vote on the winner and draw the fashions for this cute little paper doll.

While I am not the most Polyvore savy person, I did two designs. I submitted my favorite, but thought I would share my other one as a way to encourage people to participate.

Fresh Fruit Fashion: Lemon/Lime

And no… I am not being asked to do this. I just think it’s such a cool idea that I wanted to mention it. The deadline is July 30 though, so create fast!

You can read all about it on Miss Missy’s Fresh Fruit Fashion Contest post.

Edit 7/30/2015: Missy has extended the deadline to August 7th and updated the rules and prizes. You can read all about it here.

Nicole: A Printable Paper Doll in Color or Black and White

Link to Nicole, printable paper doll in color and black and white Back in Novemeber, I got a email from a reader who asked if I could name a paper doll either Lynn or Nicole for her. She wanted a paper doll named after herself. Now, originally, she asked for a Mini-Maiden or a Marisole Doll, but I have pretty strict naming patterns for those dolls.

I offered a Pixie instead and she said that she’d be cool with that option.

Today, I am pleased to present the result. A Pixie paper doll named Nicole with some layered tops (as requested). I was sort of obsessing over different bird illustrations for a while and so I decided to adapt some of them into a t-shirt design for Nicole. For those interested, her bird shirt was inspired by the work of Dante Terzigini, Inaluxe and Scott Partridge to name a few.

Link to Nicole, a printable paper doll in black and white for coloring with a contemporary wardrobe
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

I love bright color schemes that feel a little unexpected. The orange red and very pale yellow are both acting as my neutrals in this set. She’s my first paper doll with glasses since April Showers in color & black and white back in May of 2014. That’s nearly a year. How embarrassing. I really do have to do more paper dolls with glasses.

Link to Nicole, a paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe. Part of the Pixie series, Nicole can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to remind people that to dress Nicole, you’ll need to cut long her shoulders under her hair. There are cutting diagrams that you can refer to if there are any questions about how to cut out the paper dolls.

An Interview with my Featured Paper Doll Artist: Lina of Lina’s Paper Dolls

A paper doll page drawn by Lina For my first paper doll artist to feature in 2015, I knew I wanted to feature a newer artist on the scene, so I interviewed Lina. Lina, of Lina’s Paper Dolls, has been posting her paper dolls for just about a year and ahalf, but her work is wonderful. She focuses on historical paper dolls based on various periods throughout history. Her paper dolls all share the same basic body and are in black and white for coloring.

In Lina’s black and white paper dolls, there is clearly a love of history. Her each of her paper dolls has one to five outfits relating to the story of the paper doll and their stories span the globe and time.

There’s Carolyn Collins who is in DC during Watergate and Elizabeth Tanner, who lives in Maryland, or Susanne Merritt, who lives in Canada, both during the War of 1812. Simone Spencer is a telephone operator during World War 1. Kalani Hikaru witnesses Hawaiian statehood in 1959. Basia Sienkiewicz survives the Swedish invasion of Poland in 1655. I could go on and on with more of the fascinating historical events Lina ties to her paper dolls.

For more information about her paper dolls and our interview go to my Featured Artist Page and you can read about Other Featured Paper Doll Artists as well.

End of the Year Wrap Up- Plus Contest/Drawing

Back in June, I formally posted my goals for 2014. In hindsight, I think I was overly ambitious. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking when it come to some of them.

Still, I’m not displeased with how 2014 went which is good because it ends tonight at midnight.

I might not have gotten ten male paper dolls done, but I did finish up Marcus 2.0 and there’s two of them up now. (There will be another one of his series posted on Monday… but that’s going to be 2015.)

Meanwhile, I got one tutorial up on cleaning up linework and four featured artists (not six, but I’m at peace with that). The thing I am most proud of is that I have regularly checked out other people’s paper doll sites and regularly commented on them. This was perhaps the most important of my goals for 2015.

So, what blogs do I regularly look at? In no real order… Liana’s Paper Doll Blog, Pabernukublogi, A Paper Closet, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, The Paper Doll Bag and Miss Missy Paper Dolls. I read these because they are updated with some regularity.

Did I miss a really good one? Do let me know.

Meanwhile, it’s the year end, so it’s time for my annual contest.

Contest Announcement: Ending January 14 2015

So, it is time to ask what people would like to see on the blog in the coming year. Post a comment with what you’d like to see up here (repeats of other requests are completely acceptable) and you’ll be entered in my drawing to win a custom paper doll.

Usual rules apply:

    1. You can only win one contest a year. (I’m considering this a new year…)
    2. I announce the winner (choosen via random number generator) on the blog on the day after the contest ends. I will also email the winner at their email address attached to the comment. If I do not hear back from the winner within a week, I will use a random number generator to select the next winner.
    3. The winner will receive a one page custom paper doll based on one of my paper doll series within a month of the end of the contest. This one page paper doll can not violate trademarks or copyrights (aka: I can’t draw something under some one else’s trademark or copyright).
    4. If there is a delay for some reason, I will contact with winner and we will make other plans.

So, feel free to enter by posting a comment on this post about what you’d like to see on the blog in the new year. The contest will end on the 14th of January (midnight, Central time). I will announce the winner by drawing on the 15th, likely in the late afternoon since I will have to actually do the random number generator thing… you know the drill by now.

This drawing/contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. :)

Unexpected Break This Week

AnnouncementI really thought I would be able to juggle major work projects, the end of the semester, leaving to visit family and holiday gift baking without abandoning the blog.

And you know what?

I was wrong.

So, I am taking this week off.

I shall return next Monday. Until then, I hope everyone has a lovely week and a lovely start to Hanukkah.

See you all in a week.

Hey! 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 here.

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.

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.

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.

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.