I had the realization that the last time I had posted a Mia paper doll was back in November of 2016 when I was doing my Bird Masquerade series. She got a masquerade gown based on a Loon. I loved that gown.
Anyway, I felt pretty strongly that I wanted to create a new Mia, since it has been six months. I went back and forth about a style for her. I thought about doing a fantasy set or a cyberpunk set, but I ended up settling on a casual summer set.
Color scheme wise, I based these colors Pantone’s 2017 Spring color report. I set a personal rule for myself that I couldn’t use any warm colors- no pinks, yellows or reds. Those are some of my favorite colors, so saying no to them was hard.
However, limitations sometimes create better stuff and I really love the peaceful feeling that this Mia clothing set has without the warm colors.
To give credit where credit is due, the blouse on the left was inspired by one I saw a student wearing at the college where I work. Hers was in reds and yellows, but since I was on a “no warm colors” kick, I ended up doing with blues and greens.
Well, what do you think of Mia’s outfit? Love those colors? Wish I’d gone with my tendency towards pink? Let me know in a comment. I always love to hear from you.
Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: Loons and… well, Loons. That’s actually all I got.
Of all the dresses I designed for this week, the only one I was really worried people wouldn’t get was this one. Loons are beautiful birds for which I have always had a fondness, but they are hardly as well known as the Raven or the Flamingo. Interestingly enough, the Loon is the state bird of Minnesota, where my mother grew up. As a child, I had a puzzle my grandfather made featuring a loon, so I have fond associations with the birds.
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Well, now that the week of bird masquerade gowns is wrapped, I am curious which one people liked the most. So, let me know in a comment. Was your favorite the Owl, the Flamingo, the Raven, the Hummingbird or today’s Loon?
Today’s printable paper doll dress is a promenade dress from 1908.
The gown is based on this illustration from an 1908 Macy’s Catalog. Macy’s was founded in about 1858 and had a thriving mail order business. Their catalogs are just a great source of information. I chose to not try to illustrate the stripes on the original dress fabric. I confess I am not too pleased with how the pleating on the skirt turned out. It should look much stiffer than it does, as taffeta is a very stiff fabric.
Oh well, no dress drawing is perfect.
In fact, a big reason I picked the Edwardian period was because I don’t have a lot of experience drawing these styles of dresses. One of the great challenges of this era is to capture the “pigeon breasted” look of the era. Bodices had a great deal of fullness in the front and then came into a narrow waist. This is actually a pretty challenging thing for me to illustrate in paper doll form.
Still, you get better at nothing unless you practice. So, this is me practicing.
While I chose lavender for today’s dress, the black and white version could be any color. The catalog describes this dress as a two-piece jumper model available in blue, red, green, brown or lavender. I think it would be stunning in red, too.
As always, I recommend printing from the PDF versions at the top of the post.
I was trying to decide which of the Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls would model this series of Edwardian dresses and I settled on Mia.
I was inspired to use her as the model when I found this wonderful photograph of an Asian woman, just called Alice, wearing a suit from probably the 1890s or early 1900s.
Today, Mia gets just a set of Edwardian underwear and, I confess, not even a complete set. Women in this era wore, in order, a chemise and drawers, or a combination, under a corset. Over the corset, she would have worn a corset cover and over that a petticoat. I decided to just show her corset cover and petticoat, thereby skipping a few layers. Seriously, ladies in this era wore a lot of underwear!
I based her underwear on this page from a catalog from 1902-1903. Her hair is the best I could do trying to draw a Gibson girl kinda bun like these. Drawing Gibson girl buns is clearly not my strength.
Though out the week I’ll be posting outfits for Mia and accessories on Thursday (as usual). I hope you all enjoy this little foray into the first decade of the 1900s.
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.
As I mentioned on Wednesday, I had to get this set of paper dolls done, or I wouldn’t have anything to be posted today. Anyway, as I said today’s classic Lolita fashion paper doll set was partially the result of a request from a patron and partly the result of me never being able to extract decent black and white version of my sweet Lolita and gothic Lolita paper doll sets.
So, I inspired by this violin purse from the Japanese fashion company Innocent World. While I will admit in a heartbeat to not being an expect on Lolita fashion, which is a Japanese street style based on Victorian children’s clothing, I have noticed that a lot of Lolita outfits (called coordinates) seem to be heavily themed. Once I settled on the purse, I knew I wanted the patterns of several of the pieces to have a music or violin theme.
I’ve also noticed that many of the Lolita fashion blogs I read while working on this set, seem to recommend buying JSKs (Jumper-Skirts, I think?) over full dresses, since these can be worn over various blouses. The paper doll pose makes that sort of layering tough, but the short sleeved dress on the far left is meant to be a JSK. I have a Lolita Style pintrest board where you can see way more of my inspiration.
My one big regret about this set is that I didn’t do any hats or bows, which are a big part of Lolita. Oh well… I suppose nothing is perfect. Mia is modeling today’s fashions, if you are keeping track of who is who in the Marisole Monday & Friend’s family.
I did kinda got carried away designing pieces for this set and I ended up with two many to fit on the page. Rather than just let them rot on my hard drive, I posted them over on my Patreon page. You don’t have to be a Patron to view or download them. You can see the extra dress, shoes and parasol here. Next week, I’ll post the color versions there as well.
I think if I end up with “extra” pieces in the future, my Patreon page will be a handy place to put them.
Thoughts on my foray into classic Lolita fashion? Feel free to leave me a comment.
This holiday season I’m visiting family in Arizona. My mom and I went to Tucson to see the miniature museum called The Mini-Time Machine.
It was absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone in the area.
Anyway, onto paper dolls… I had a lot of trouble coloring this paper doll set. I didn’t want to do bright colors, but I also didn’t want to do everything grey and gold. I ended up developing a color palette based on mossy green and eggplant purple. I named it Watcher at the Gate. I knew I wanted the armor to feel as much leather as it did metal, so I added grey-browns. You can see all my palettes on ColorLovers, though I confess I only recently started saving them there.
I have created a lot of different paper dolls over the years, as anyone who spends any time digging around the archives could tell you. My favorites are ones where I get to do something different that I haven’t really done before. I think today’s set falls into the category. I can’t think of another paper doll I’ve drawn for the blog which is quite like this paper doll.
So, on Wednesday, there will be a round up of every historical paper doll I have ever posted on the blog (kinda amazing list, actually) and then on Friday… well, actually, I have no idea what goes up Friday. I need to work on that. 🙂
As always, comments are always appreciated and if you would like to support the blog than consider becoming a patron. There’s fun perks like the Vivian Project and early previews of paper doll sets.
Now, I think knights (and therefore knight paper dolls) come in several stripes. There’s the noble white knight on the noble white steed doing whatever noble white knights on noble white steeds do, but then there’s also the down and dirty, rough and tumble knight who will bite you if that seems like the best to survive the night. This knight
As you might have guessed, today’s Mia knight paper doll is definitely of the second variety.
You see, this version of Mia grew up in the rough streets of a fantasy city. Her choices were to become a criminal or become a Guard and she went the guard route. She’s a graduate from the school of hard knocks, but she’ll defend the city and take down anyone who doubts her ability to do so.
(I always feel a tiny bit absurd when I write this stuff about my paper dolls.)
Given that I had already got quite a few warriors, I wanted to do something different. So, I pawed around Pinterest for a while looking for ideas and settled on a city-guard like character. Maybe I’ve ready to many Terry Pratchett novels, but I really liked the idea of a city-guard/policeman type character. That’s how we ended up with this particular paper doll design.
I am particularly pleased with how her chain-mail came out.
Now, I will confess that I had planned to end the year on a modern paper doll, but I asked my patrons on Patreon what I should wrap with and several of them suggested a fantasy set. Anyone is, of course, welcome to join the Patreon to support the blog.
Okay, so this is the last one, but I did have fun with this little foray into dance clothes for the moment. Now that I have done these, I feel like I should do some tap dance clothes or something.
Anyhow, today’s Mia ballet set is in color. While Monica is the white swan from Swan Lake, Mia is the Black Swan for Swan Lake. Of course, traditionally, these parts are danced by the same dancer, but I thought it would be more fun to break up the two tutus across the sets.
Her Giselle costume is from the second act and therefore had to be white. After the character Giselle dies, the whole second act of the ballet is done in white costumes. It is sometimes called the “White Act” for this reason. I couldn’t exactly make it purple.
Don Quixote costumes are often based on Spanish flamingo dresses and this one is sort of in that vein. I settled on a golden bodice, black tutu and red roses. I’m not entirely pleased with how it came out, actually. I do think this tutu could also be for the Nutcracker’s Spanish Chocolate dance. I chose teal for both Romeo and Juliet and Scheherazade (which I think I finally have memorized how to spell).
For those of you who have been paying close attention, you have likely noticed that the en pointe shoes were copied for both sets. I thought about drawing two of basically then same thing and then came to my senses. The dolls leg positioning doesn’t really allow for “other” en pointe poses then this one. The leg warmers are also duplicated across both sets. Once again, I didn’t really want to draw the exact same thing twice.
Generally, I try to avoid copying from pervious sets- which is how I have draw way more pairs of skinny jeans than any person should- but sometimes I give myself a break and do it.
Lastly for those of my readers in the United States, Happy Labor Day! Let us all take a moment and be grateful for the people who fought hard to provide their fellow workers with a better way of life. Also, eat barbecue.
Today, my Monica paper doll ballerina is being joined by Mia, also getting to be a ballerina. Mia’s costumes are from (left to right) Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Scheherazade and Romeo and Juliet. I do feel rather that Monica got the better known ballets since most people have heard of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, but haven’t heard of Scheherazade, despite being an amazing piece of music.
When I was first compiling my list of ballets to draw for these paper doll sets, I wanted to show the range of ballet costumes beyond the tutu. Romeo and Juliet is usually costumed in a renaissance inspired style and Scheherazade is usually done as an orientalist fantasy set in the Middle-East. So, those are my two nods to the “non-tutu” look for these paper dolls. After all, not every dance costume is a tutu.
Mia has practice clothing as well- a simple wrap skirt, leg warmers, a long sleeved leotard, tunic top and flat soled dancing shoes. Of course, she can share her warm up clothes with Monica and between the two of them, I think there is a nice variety of options. I didn’t, to be frank, want to spend a lot of time on practice clothing. It is not nearly as fun to draw as fancy tutus.
There are some mix and match options as well from Monica’s set. Monica’s Copellia tutu, for example, would also work for the first act of Giselle, before Giselle dies. I am particularly pleased with how the transparent overlay on Mia’s Giselle tutu came out, actually.
I have been spending a lot of time looking at the work of Charles Ventura and Pat Stall, both of whom had a mastery of black and white line-work that I can only dream of one day achieving. I have been collecting their work, along with other black and white paper doll artists, on my black and white paper dolls Pinterest board for a while.
Studying the techniques of artists you admire is a great way to learn how to try new things.
Does anyone know if Charles Ventura or Pat Stall are still alive? I really feel like I should write them and tell them how much I love their paper dolls.