Simple Sophisticate: A Paper Doll in Black and White

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to a printable paper doll of a young woman with a contemporary wardrobe in black and white for coloring A few random things today and then a paper doll set, of course.

First of all, I’m always on the hunt for new paper dolls about the web. I’d like to share the work of Bethany, who shows off her paper dolls on her Pinterest board.

Secondly, it is that time of the year again where I usually run a contest. I haven’t decided what that contest is actually going to look like this year, but keep your eyes peeled. I’ve had several people ask when the next contest for a paper doll was going to be and it’s coming up.

Thirdly, I maybe taking another haitus in January. I don’t know yet. I’ve got a lot happening that month.

Meanwhile… Hey! It’s a paper doll.

Printable paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

This is the third set of the paper dolls I drew back in September. It was not my favorite of the paper doll designs, but it came out well enough I suppose. I’ll talk more about the challenges of coloring when I post the color paper doll version next week.

I am embarrassed that this paper doll set has sat, just short of being finished, on my computer for literally five or six weeks. Here it is and now I can stop feeling guilty about it.

Her Ladyship’s Dressing Gown and Nightgown

Her Ladyship Last page of Her Ladyship today and now you can download all ten pages of this paper doll and print her out at at once, if you haven’t been collecting the pages. I never know how to describe black and white paper dolls. Sometimes, I think I should call them, “Paper dolls to color” or I should call them “colorable paper dolls”, but “black and white paper dolls” is what I seem to have adopted over the years of this little blogs life.

Fairly early on in the Her Ladyship paper doll set, I had a reader ask me if I was going to ever post a wig of her hair down. Well, here it is. Her dressing gown, nightgown and two wigs of her hair in a braid and loose over her shoulders. I couldn’t justify a crazy up-do for sleeping in. I’m a little embarrassed that I take the “reality” of my fantasy paper dolls so seriously, but it is really important to me that the paper doll set makes sense in the context of the world that it exists in.

After all, if I am going to spend my time drawing fantasy paper dolls, I might as well make sure that they are logical fantasy paper dolls.

Fantasy Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for the Complete Paper Doll Set to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Gowns}{Click Here for Base Doll}

I hope everyone has enjoyed this little mini-series. Should I do more little series like this next year?

I had these grand delusions of getting a Hanukkah series together, but at the moment I am thinking that just isn’t going to happen. I will likely do what I did last year and post a paper doll every night. I think I have enough backlog for that.

Faye’s Runic Adventures: A Printable Paper Doll

Black and White Printable Fantasy Paper Doll Nothing exists in a vacuum. This means that anything which is created inevitably is developed from previously existing content. This doesn’t bother me. I love combining diffrent parts to get a unique whole.

Today’s paper doll was primarily inspired by this drawing I found on Pinterest which is originally from what appears to be a live action role playing game in England called Empire from the fictional country of Wintermark’s costumes.

Who knew?

This image was not my only inspiration. I was also influenced by traditional Japanese hairstyles and vikings. Everything is better with vikings or pirates or pirate vikings….


Faye a Norse and Viking inspired fantasy paper doll page to print and color
{Download a PDF to Print} {View a 150 dpi PNG}{Check out some More Mini-Maiden Printable Paper Dolls}

Seriously, I should do a set of pirate vikings. I can picture it now… horned helmets and jolly roger flags.

On second thought… maybe I shouldn’t do that.

Moving on… Faye’s world is a harsh one. Her people are known for their skill in leather and silver work. Of a fairly high status, she wears her hair in an elaborate style decorated with a metal ornament. The society travels long distances, mostly by river, and are known for their belief in astrology and careful tracking of the movements of the stars. Their calendars are prized throughout the world for their accuracy. They exist in small townships and a few larger groups. They do not have a centralized government, as we would call it, and form alliances through trade agreements and marriage. They are a largely matriarchal society.

I do have a lot of fun inventing this stuff. :)

A Bouquet of Florals in Color!

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to a printable paper doll of a young woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe Every printable paper doll set needs to stand alone. This is very important to me. I’d like to think you could just print out and play with this paper doll without needing to print out and play with any others.

In order to do that, I try to have enough paper doll clothes in each set for some variety. I don’t really know how my habit of “two pairs of shoes, at least one pair of pants, one dress, roughly equal tops to bottoms” habit developed in Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll sets, but I certainly have a pattern.

I was feeling like today’s paper doll wardrobe had more tops than bottoms, but it’s really not. Just two more tops for the paper doll than bottoms. There are still about fifty outfit combinations, but maybe the fact that some of the patterns don’t really match each other is what I’m notching. For example, I wouldn’t put the floral pink and navy top with the navy floral skirt.

Printable paper doll of a young black woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Nearly everything I’ve seen for florals this season seems to be fairly dark, so I went with navy for a lot of the background color. The pieces are all meant to feel lady like without being childish. I think florals and fall into the “too sweet” category fairly quickly. Nothing against that look, but it wasn’t what I wanted for this set.

Speaking of florals, and patterns in general, I have a quick poll…

Which is better- solids or patterns?

  • Both are good (72%, 34 Votes)
  • Patterns, Way more Fun (15%, 7 Votes)
  • Solids, Way more Flexible (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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By the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet… Julie of Paper Doll School is posting a paper doll outfit for every day in December. Support her amazing project by dropping her a comment if you can. It’s such a fun paper doll series.

One More House Dress and A Ballgown for Her Ladyship

Her Ladyship Wigs are certainly a theme of today’s page for my Her Ladyship printable paper doll set. Also- paper doll ballgowns and house dresses.

One more page after this set and then I’ll post the whole 10 page PDF of the paper doll for anyone to print who might want it. I have had a lot of fun sharing this set over the last few months.

So, last week I talked a bit about coherent sets and how to develop a consistent look for a paper doll set. Today, I wanted to take a moment and talk about the world I imagine Her Ladyship lives in.

First of all, Her Ladyship has money. Likely, serious money. She’d got ballgowns, after all. That means a decent amount of cash. I imagine her world is Renaissance (her clothing was highly influenced by Italian Renaissance fashion) or higher technology. Why you ask?

Because she has casual gowns that are patterned. Patterned textiles require skilled workforce and a considerable investment in equipment and raw materials- silks and wools have to be imported or homegrown (but generally were imported) from England to Italy. So, without a fair bit of weaving technology, that would be out of the question. So, I’m thinking a 15th century to 17th century level of technology. Clothing can tell you a lot about a time and place.

Fantasy Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Gowns}{Click Here for Base Doll}

So, what do I know about this paper dolls world? She’s a wealthy woman living in a time and place when mechanized weaving existed, at least in part. She’s got “house dresses” but they’re far to nice to actually be worn for anything involving mud or dirt.

Sometimes, I stumble across something and feel rather foolish for not having found it earlier. Paper Doll A Day is a blog that seems to be no longer updating. Never the less, I encourage you to go check out the archives. There are some beautiful outfits (I really like this paper doll dress) and some wonderful different paper dolls, including men. Joleene Naylor has been around the internets for a while sharing her paper dolls and I couldn’t be happier to have found her latest website, though I do wish I had found it when it was still updating.

Any other great paper doll sites I’ve been missing? Or thoughts on the world of Her Ladyship?

Sylvia: An Asian Printable Paper Doll with Contemporary Clothing

Link to Sylvia, an Asian Printable Paper doll Continuing the contemporary theme from Monday’s paper doll, today’s paper doll set is Sylvia showing off her wardrobe. I previewed the paper doll a few weeks ago when I showed the scan straight from my sketchbook. Today, she’s all colored and ready to be printed.

As I always do, there’s two versions of this printable paper doll and her clothes. One is in black and white for coloring and the other is in color for those who don’t like to color. I was never a big “coloring” kid, so I tend towards the full color versions, but I know some of my readers really like the black and white paper doll sets. Mostly, I remember drawing my own paper doll clothes for store bought paper dolls. That was a big part of my childhood.

Sylvia, an Asian printable paper doll with several outfit pieces in black and white for coloring
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Contemporary paper doll sets, like this one, really don’t come with stories. The goal is to create a coherent collection of mix and match clothing pieces. I rarely think much about the history or personality of the paper doll wearing the clothing. Fantasy sets tend to gain back-stories during creation, but contemporary sets rarely do. Fantasy paper dolls require more creativity. I can’t just copy out of a magazine, after all.

Sylvia, an Asian printable paper doll with several outfit pieces in color
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Sylvia’s color scheme is very pink. I wasn’t planning on making it this pink when I started, but somehow pink seemed to fit. I think there’s a little bit of a vintage vibe to this set that I didn’t intend, but ended up pretty cute in the end.

All right, just because I am curious… 5 second poll…

Which are better fantasy paper doll sets or contemporary paper doll sets?

  • Fantasy sets. (79%, 31 Votes)
  • Contemporary sets. (15%, 6 Votes)
  • Actually, I don't really like either one. (6%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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A Boutique of Florals: Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to a paper doll coloring page of a young woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe I showed off this printable paper doll in my sketch book back in October along with Southwest Boho and a few future paper doll sets. She was inspired by September’s wonderful fashion magazines.

Florals are in this season (or so the fashion magazines inform me). This suits me just fine, as generally, I like a good floral pattern and I have been having fun drawing them. Plus I think complex patterns make for more fun when coloring.

I usually do my patterns as one motif, or parts of a motif, and then place them using photoshop. I used to think this was cheating, but have decided it saves time and actually creates a better finished product.

All of these florals were created this way and the bird pattern on the sweater which I keep forgetting isn’t a floral. Birds are not flowers, after all.

I digress.

Printable paper doll coloring page of a young woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Meanwhile, I have once again attempted to draw an afro. I wanted to do a slightly larger afro than my last attempt in this paper doll set. Every time I try an afro for a paper doll, I tell myself the next afro will be better. Part of the challenge is conveying the right texture. Still, I think I’ll figure it out eventually.

Until then, I will keep erratically drawing afros on paper dolls for practice.

Not much else to say, except that I successfully finished my 50,000 word novel Sunday as part of National Novel Writing Month. This is the sixth or seventh year I have attempted the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days and only the second time I’ve won.

Did anyone else do National Novel Writing Month this year?

Also, if you have been getting emails from the email notification system, could you please let me know in a comment? I’m not getting them, but I can’t tell if it is the code or it is my email settings. Thanks.

A Winter Frock and a Summer Frock

Her Ladyship My favorite part of this set might be the wacky looking musical instrument. Just maybe, because I also love both of these dresses. Rarely do things come out as close to how I imagined them in my mind.

I am fascinated by historical dress, because dress is one physical manifestation of social and cultural phenomena. By it’s nature, dress is tied to technology and trade of the time when it was created. So, when I am creating a fantasy dress set, part of the process is thinking about consistency in design elements to create an coherent vision for a whole set. This vision comes out in both the sillouhette of the costumes and in specific repeated design elements.

The silhouette for all of Her Ladyship’s paper wardrobe is a high waist with long sleeves and square necklines (the riding and skating outfits don’t have square necklines, but we’ll get there in a minute). Nearly all the dresses are layered with an under-dress and than an over-dress on top. The two dresses that violate these rules are both for activities that, due to their athletic nature, have masculine overtones. The riding habit and the skating costume are both inspired by men’s wear.

Fantasy Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Gowns}{Click Here for Base Doll}

Her Ladyship’s winter frock shares design elements with her archery outfit. Similarly, her riding habit and her skating costume are very similar- both are athletic outfits.

Her Ladyship’s wardrobe feels like a “set”, because the outfits repeat design elements and style. This is also something I try to do with my one page fantasy sets and my contemporary sets. Dionisia’s wardrobe is held together by doublets. Akemi’s armors are all angular and layered. Denise’s contemporary clothing embraces various types of pleats. If a set feels disjointed, chances are that it is because there are not repeating elements to connect the items.

Petal: A Printable Paper Doll of a Little Black Girl with Braids

Petal, a printable paper doll of little black girl with braids and her clothes Petal is one of my new Poppet paper dolls. She’s got braids decorated with beads. When I lived in Illinois, the grocery store I usually shopped at was right next to a braiding place. The little girls coming out with their hair all braided and decorated with different colored beads were so cute. I chose white beads for Petal, since I thought those beads would match nearly anything.

Along with her braids, Petal has underwear, a skirt, a shirt and some shorts. I tried to base these clothes of things I’ve seen on the market for actual children. Since I don’t have kids of my own, I collect images of kids clothes on my Pinterest boards. Then I adapt them into paper dolls. I figure most people collect images for adapting into paper dolls. My image collections offer hints of things to come, though I have been known to keep projects on secret boards when I’m not sure I want them for public consumption.

Full color printable paper doll of Petal, a little black girl with braids and her clothesBlack and white coloring sheet of a paper doll named Petal, a little black girl with braids and her clothes

{Download a PDF in Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG in Color} {Download a PDF to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG to Color} {More Poppet Printable Paper Dolls}

Meanwhile, I am working on polishing up my Search Engine Optimization. I don’t know much about this topic, but I have been trying to write better titles for my posts. Paper Thin Personas remains on the second page of Google search results for Printable Paper Dolls, a fact that I find increasingly frustrating. Oh well… I can’t win them all.

Also, in the realm of blog paper work, the Email Notification thingy on the sidebar should be back up and working. If you already signed up for email notifications when the site updates, you should be receiving them. If you’re not into email options, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I announce post updates there as well.

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to anyone whose celebrating. I’ll be making pie today and getting green beans prepped.

Marcus as Airship Mechanic Paper Doll

Printable paper doll of a steampunk inspired airship mechanic I play Pathfinder, a Dungeons and Dragons like game, most Friday nights with a group of friends at a local game shop. Generally, I have to know what my character is wearing before I can actually play the character.

Weird, but true.

Clothing is a direct expression of how my character thinks and functions in the world. Some people think about their characters in terms of unique weapons or speech patterns, I think about my characters in terms of what sort of shoes they would choose while trekking through a ruin.

Years ago, I discovered the work of Sheryl A Knowles who drew paper dolls of her RPG characters. Just by looking at the outfits of the paper dolls, I knew the sorts of characters she was creating.

I rarely draw my own characters (here’s an exception), but when I work on a paper doll set, I want to convey the world and personality through the paper doll outfits.

A printable steampunk inspired airship mechanic paper doll.
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Marcus here is a mechanic. So, his clothing is utilitarian. The double breasted vest is in his “good” clothes, with a belt for his money pouch and a decorative pointless armband. His tie is loose. His other brown vest is more of a work outfit. He wears vests to keep grease off his shirts. With this outfit, his tie is tucked up, so that it doesn’t get caught in machines. He’s on his feet a lot, so he has two pairs of boots. The cap keeps his dreads from getting in the way while he’s working (because hair in engines = pain) and his leather satchel is where he stores his tools. Work gloves, a scarf for cold weather and some tools complete the set.

You can also tell a little about Marcus’ personality here. His dreads are decorated with beads and I know from people who have them that dreads take some maintenance. Clearly, he’s someone who cares about how he looks. Is he perhaps somewhat of a ladies man?

Paper doll sets can be tiny windows into lives and worlds. That’s part of the fun.

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