Guardian of the Gate: Printable Paper Doll with Armor

warrior-guardian-color-logoThis 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.

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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.

Guardian of the Gate: A Warrior Printable Paper Doll

warrior-guardian-bw-logoNow, I think warriors 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 fighter who will bite you if that seems like the best to survive the night.

As you might have guess, today’s Mia 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.)

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Let’s talk about the design process, shall we?

I knew I wanted to do another warrior Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll. Not just a paper doll with some weapons, but an actual warrior. That took a little thought, because I’ve done warriors in the past. I’ve got a ninja, a knight in color and black and white. Plus my Silk and Steel warrior whose a little bit absurd in color or black and white as well.

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.

En Pointe: A Printable Ballerina Paper Doll in Color

logo-mia-ballerina-colorMore ballerina paper dolls!

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).

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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.

En Pointe: A Black and White Ballerina Paper Doll

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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.

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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.

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Printable Paper Doll in Color

logo-ragamuffin-colorYou’d think after having done hundreds of paper dolls that I would actually never struggle to come up with color schemes. And yet… I still have trouble.

The problem with steampunk or anything steampunk inspired, is that there’s a lot of brown. (This is actually the same problem I have with gothic things as well- too much black.) So, I selected several diverse shades of brown to use and then set them off with some ochre, orange, olive green, and teal. Pale blue was added so that every shirt wouldn’t be cream. I wanted to avoid red or pink- these are both colors I love and colors I tend to fall back on when I am trying to come up with color schemes and I also thought they were too girly for this menswear inspired set.

The tiny braids in Mia’s braided hair created a new series of challenges. There’s three choices when highlighting a feature like that- go darker than the main hair color or do lighter than the main hair color or go a radically different color than the main hair color. I knew I didn’t want to do option three and I decided the lighter braids looked better than darker braids.

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I will confess that this set took forever to color and while I really like how it turned out, doing the layout of all these pieces was a pain as well. I need to remember my “10 to 11 pieces plus 2 pairs of shoes” rule when I’m drawing or else doing the layout takes forever. This set was 13 pieces and 2 pairs of shoes, plus a lot of these pieces are big. Anyway, it might not seem like a big difference, but it does make a difference.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys Mia in her steampunk get up. Next Monday, there will be ballerinas. Actually, we’ll have a whole month of ballerinas- because I might have gotten a little carried away. :)

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Paper Doll

logo-ragamuffin-bwI previewed this paper doll back in April, but even when I previewed it, the paper doll set had been sitting in my sketchbook for a month or more. I was dreading work on it, not because I didn’t like the paper doll, but because the idea of coloring all the detail was terrifying.

So, last week, when I was finally out of everything else I had drawn for Marisole Monday & Friends that I could feed the blog, I found myself finally tackling this paper doll set. Sometimes I have to be forced into these things.

All right, so inspirations for today’s paper doll set include the film Newsies and that’s really about it. Though I confess I do rather see today’s version of Mia hanging out with my airship mechanic Marcus. I mean they both have tools and newsboy caps.

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I try to create for all my Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls somewhat evenly. Currently though, this is only Mia’s second set this year. That puts her behind well… everyone else. So, she’ll get some more love soon though since I’ve got a ballerina set in the works for her and Monica. (Yes, I tackled my fear of tutus.)

Today’s paper doll set will, of course, be up in color next week and then… I have no idea what’s next, actually. Probably ballerinas.

An Elven Empress: A Paper Doll in Color

logo-empress-colorI collect costume history and dress books. I’ve been collecting them for years. I used to deny that it was a collection, but as it has grown I have grudgingly come to accept that “collection” is the the only word for it.

The colors in this set are based on a Japanese language book I have on Kimonos. I don’t have much of a clue what the book is about (I don’t know any Japanese), but I picked it up for a dollar from a booksale in college and its been traveling around with me ever since. I keep swearing I’ll give it away to someone who read Japanese, but somehow I can’t seem to part with it.

Funny how that goes, isn’t it?

I don’t have many other kimono history books, though I do plan to expand my “ethnic” clothing collection soon. (I put “ethnic” in quotations, because I find that term problematic for a whole slew of reasons that I don’t want to get into right now. Needless to say, all clothing is about ethnicity, even if you don’t realize it.)

Anyway, these colors are quite bright, so if I understand kimono color culture correctly, they would be most appropriate for an unmarried young woman. Of course, none of these are actual kimono, so I suppose I could just have decided that in the strange elven fantasy culture these are from anything I say goes.

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I’ve had a lot of fun with this set. Next up is a contemporary fashion set and a naming poll. After that, I really haven’t decided what I am going to do. I need to buckle down and get some sketching done for my next few historical sets and give the Poppets some love. They’ve been neglected as of late.

Thoughts on what I should draw for the Poppets? Drop me a comment. Or just drop me a comment, because you care.

You do care, don’t you? (Imagine me giving you puppy dog eyes here.)

An Elven Empress: A Black and White Fantasy Paper Doll

logo-empress-bwYesterday was Mother’s Day and I hope everyone who should of called their mother did actually call their mother. Anyone who is a Mother, Happy Belated Mother’s Day. My own Mother reads this blog and she is, I must say, about the best Mother a girl could have. I love her very much and her support has always meant a lot to me.

One of the thing I inherited from my Mother was a love of Asian clothing, particularly the amazing textiles that go into kimono. Seriously, if you’ve never just gazed in amazement at Japanese textiles, go check out this kimono or this one or this one.

I’ll wait.

Anyway, I tend to think of today’s paper doll as a cousin to my Tones & Shades paper doll that I did back in 2011. Like Jai from last month, this isn’t actual Tang Dynasty dress or actual kimonos, rather it’s a strange fantasy mixing of a lot of different styles into one.

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Some of my inspirations in no real order include Korean women’s hairstyles, Tang Dynasty style Chinese dress, a ball jointed doll outfit, a kimono and an actual Tangy Dynasty sculpture. I probably forgot some sources, but I think that’s everything. I tend to collect my sources on Pinterest, so feel free to follow me there if you want some glimpses at my various obsessions.

Southwest Boho Paper Doll Set in Full Color

southwest-logo-mia-colorSo, with last week’s paper doll I spoke a little about why I decided to dabble in the Southwest trend this season and today I wanted to show off the colors I used for the paper doll set. I knew from the start that I was going to be using a desert inspired color scheme. It is the Southwest, after all.

As a child, we visited the Grand Canyon. I will always think of reds, browns, ochre and sandy khaki when I think of that landscape. I confess to not being much of a desert person by nature; however, I do think they can be astonishingly beautiful.

I did not want to fall into the trap of just using a monochromatic warm color scheme though, so I also decided to include a pale turquoise, a very pale bayleaf green and a darker green for contrast. Normally I try to keep my color schemes to five colors, but this set needed a lot more. (I blame it on that patterned pencil skirt.)


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Things I love: All the skirts. The bag. Those shoes. That cardigan.

Things I’m not sure about: Her hair. The V-neck top. The choice of base color.

Still, I am going to call this one a win.

Southwestern Boho Paper Doll Set to Print and Color

southwest-logo-miaAccording to one of the fashion magazines I bought in September, Southwestern is the new Boho.

Personally, I sill like Boho better and a lot of Southerwestern inspired fashion gets dangerously close to worrying cultural appropriation of the area’s Native peoples and that kinda bothers to me.

Never the less, I wanted to get to play around with some of the geometric patterns that are common in the style while steering clear of directly borrowing anything, because there’s a lot of Pendelton blanket patterning in this trend and that gets complicated.

Pendelton woolen mills, their blankets, and their relationship to Native peoples is written about eloquently by Beyond Buckskin, Slate (posted on Beyond Buckskin, I couldn’t find the article on Slate) and Native Appropriations. I am not even going to get into that conversation, but I think consideration should be made when dealing with anything “tribal” and fashion related.

Anyway, these were all things on my mind as I stepped lightly into the Southwest Boho trend of fall 2014.

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Mia’s modeling these costumes, because I drew three sets of contemporary fashion at once. There’s going to eventually be a brights set for Margot, a girly set for Monica and then this set which got assigned to Mia. Had someone asked me which of these I was going to finish first, this would not have been the winner, and yet here we are.

Sometimes my paper dolling works in mysterious ways.