Gothic Romance: A Curvy Goth Paper Doll

logo-bb-gothic My best-friend in highschool and middle-school was a curvy girl with a goth and punk style. Now, this might not seem like an odd thing to be today, but in Juneau, Alaska, in the early 2000s, this was practically unheard of. In the early days of internet commerce, buying a corset in Alaska required a willingness to shop online when the online options were limited to Amazon and a few catalog retailers. So, when I sat down to draw today’s curvy goth paper doll, I knew I wanted to celebrate my old friend and her willingness to break the mold.

Despite my interest in alt-fashion, I have never really wanted to wear it in public, but I respect people whose style choices are much more adventurous than mine.

Not that it is hard to be more adventurous than the girl who wears white shirts and cardigans to work nearly every day.

Anyway, when I work on designing something for a fashion genre, I try very hard to be as authentic as possible. Of course, as an outsider to any cultural group, it is nearly impossible to capture all the nuances, but I wanted for my goth paper doll to have a nice range to mix and match pieces which could also share with other paper dolls. After all, maybe she’ll want to wear a sundress or some thigh high platform boots one day.

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Color schemes for anything goth is going to be a lot of black (obviously) and I didn’t want to try to really break the mold here, so I stuck with my old friends favorite colors- black, red, and purple. Lavender was a Victorian color of mourning, so that seemed appropriate. Though the Victorians took their mourning culture way seriously.

While my natural tendency is to avoid patterns, I wanted at least one patterned piece in the bunch and a corset seemed like an obvious choice. The skull and roses pattern is mirrored in her purse and the limited color palette means I think it can go with either skirt.

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I have always loved patent leather, so the boots were an obvious place to make some shiny-texture. I am out of practice with that technique though and it took three or four tries to get it right. I’m still not in love with the outcome, but I’ll live.

Looking for more goth paper dolls? I have a whole tag for gothic fashion, though looking through it, I confess I thought I had more gothic paper dolls.

Hmmm…. Maybe I need to draw some more, because there’s not a lot there.

Should I draw more Gothic Fashion paper dolls?

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As always, I always love to hear that you think of the paper doll!

Ms. Mannequin’s Get Some Resort Paper Doll Fashion

logo-ms-mann-resort-summer One of my goals for 2016, has been to focus on the Ms. Mannequin series. My goal is for ten pages for Ms. Mannequin this year, though with my new posting schedule, we shall see how that works out. While I love drawing paper doll fashion, it has been a little bit of a struggle, because how many pairs of skinny jeans does one paper doll series need?

Therefore, I have been trying to think thematically. Instead of just drawing “contemporary clothing”, I want to try to draw clothing that (for at least that page) represents a capsule collection of pieces that could be interchanged. (I say this now, but I might end up changing my mind about this plan tomorrow.)

Today’s Ms. Mannequin capsule paper wardrobe is a resort collection. In the world of high fashion, there are four seasonal collections made by most big fashion houses. Traditionally the Autumn/Winter shows are held in February, and the Spring/Summer shows are in September/October, known as Fashion Weeks. In between these shows, there are two other collections often created. Resort or Cruise collections are shown before the Spring/Summer collection and Pre-Fall collections are shown before the Autumn/Winter collections.

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Now, I would love to be able to say that everything in this collection of paper doll fashions came from designer’s Resort/Cruise collections, but that would be a lie. Two of the inspirations include this Alice & Olivia’s Pre-Fall 2014 dress and this outfit from Balmain’s Spring 2015 ready-wear collection. I’m certain there were others, but those are the only two I could remember specifically. As a librarian, I really aught to be better about remembering to record and therefore cite my sources.

You might be thinking, “Well, those are cute clothes, but what about a doll to wear them?”

Never fear, there are eight Ms. Mannequin dolls (7 human, one alien) who I am sure would be happy to show off these outfits and I am working on adding a few more to the collection soon.

Mikhail at the After the End: A Male Paper Doll

logo-post-apoc-color Last Monday, I posted today’s male paper doll set in black and white. Today, Mikhail is up in color with his world ending fashion statements. I mean, you want to look good at the end of the world, don’t you?

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.

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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.

Anyway, as always, let me know what you think in the comments and if you want to support the blog, please consider becoming a patron.

Nautical Summer: Paper Doll Clothing

logo-poppet-nautical 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.

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This whole set was inspired by this wonderful Whale fabric I found on Pinterest. I have a whole board devoted to patterns and I use it to collect inspiring pieces of fabric, wall paper or carpets that I see. Anyway, I saw that whale and I thought, “I bet that would make a cute motif for a t-shirt.”

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.

A Lady in Armor: A Female Knight Paper Doll

Logo- Lady in Armor 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.

Because girl's sometimes have to rescue their princes, here's a lady knight paper doll with four pieces of mix and match armor, plus plenty of accessories. Free to print and color. From paperthinpersonas.com.

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One of the reasons I like armor sets is that coloring them is really fast. I mean, armor is silver. That’s it. Done.

Uncreative, well, perhaps, but still I like my projects simple and straight forward.

Because girl's slay dragons too, here's a female knight paper doll with four pieces of mix and match armor, plus plenty of accessories. From paperthinpersonas.com.

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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.

Roses & Violins: A Lolita fashion Paper Doll in Color!

logo-classic-lolita-colorLast 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.

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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.

If you like the Lolita fashion style, check out my Lolita tag for more paper dolls inspired by this style.

Please leave a comment if you like, because you know I love feedback. 🙂

Ms Mannequin In the Summer: Paper Doll Clothing

Ms. Mannequin Series Logo- Summer 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?

Nine mix and match piece of paper doll clothing for the Ms. Mannequin series. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com. Nine mix and match piece of colorable paper doll clothing for the Ms. Mannequin series. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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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.

In fact, if you’re looking for more mix and match options, I would recommend these white capri pants (or the gray shorts), these khaki capri pants and this pair of jeans.

Any of the Ms. Mannequin dolls can wear these pieces, but I think Tanya’s skintone would be set of very nicely by the teal and yellow tunic.

Thoughts about summer? Let me know in a comment. 🙂

Essential Elegance: A Fashion Paper Doll in Color

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories.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?

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories. Free to Print from paperthinpersonas.com

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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.

Willow: Elven Paper Doll Fantasy

Willow In the Woods: An Elven fantasy paper doll with a six piece wardrobe. Free to print in color or black and white from paperthinpersonas.com 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.)

Willow In the Woods: An elven paper doll with a six piece wardrobe. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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So, I drew this elven paper doll set and then I colored it and then I was like, “Man, she kinda looks like that elf chick from the new Hobbit movies.” (The character is named Tauriel, but I had to look that up.)

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.

Willow In the Woods: An Elven fantasy paper doll with red hair and a six piece wardrobe. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com

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So, as I mentioned with Xavier last week, Willow is the third doll in the Sprite paper doll series. She can, fo course, share clothing with Yumiko and any future female Sprite paper dolls.

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.

Tea & Ruching: A Fantasy Princess Paper Doll

Another one of my princess paper dolls, today we have an African princess with two fantasy gowns and lots of accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.comAs 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.

An elegant princess paper doll inspired by African wax print fabrics. She's got two fantasy gowns and lots of fun accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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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!