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Category Archives: Shadow & Light
I stumbled across this set when I was looking for something else (sometimes days are like that) and I realized I’d drawn it year ago and never posted it.
So, here the set is in all it’s glory. It’s one of those set’s I’m not overly pleased with, but I’m glad to finally share it, even if its a bit late. Sometimes I scan things and sort of forget about them in the depths of my harddrive. I like to think that sometimes it’s okay for paper dolls to age like a fine wine.
Since I have plans tonight and plans on Saturday, this is a short little post. I hope everyone enjoys the paper doll and I’ll be back next week for more. In June though, I should mention, I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks, possibly the whole month for travel and some work things.
I shall confess openly that I chose to rather than finish my Marisole paper doll for Monday I went out and had drinks with some friends. I think I had more fun with the drinks and burgers than I would have had with the paper doll, though I always value the opportunity to work on paper dolls. It was a busy, but weirdly unproductive weekend.
So, yesterday evening, after I got home from a panel on slavery and christian thought in the 1860s (which was fascinating, by the way), I settled down to watch something mindless on television (I have an odd addiction to HGTV) and work on this paper doll set.
This brings us rather neatly to today when I uploaded my files and posted the paper doll.
Every printable paper doll I make is a little different. In today’s paper doll set, I wanted to create some historically inspired (Tudor-lite) dresses that would feel like they could have actually existed, though obviously they did not.
There’s a bit in the film Enchanted where the character goes from the cartoon fantasy world into the real world and suddenly the inherent absurdity of the huge skirted dress she is wearing becomes obvious. I bring this up, because sometimes I feel like fantasy costumes are absurd for the sake of absurdity.
There is nothing wrong with giant skirts.
But this set of paper dolls, I found myself thinking of the stiffer conical skirts of the tudor period (thanks to the farthingale) rather than the softer styles I usually favor. The hair owes more to the Rudi Gernreich and Givenchy of the sixties than to anything older.
By the way, I have been looking for a really stellar book on the sixites mod fashions, if anyone knows of one, I’d love to get the title. The few I have found have all been lackluster at best.
I’ve done a lot of futuristic posts over the years. Some I think have been more successful than others. I still consider Shadow and Light Paper Doll 1 to be one of the best in this genre, even if most of her costuming was inspired by Cleopatra 2525.
It was free on Hulu and I didn’t have cable. Don’t judge me.
My idea with this paper doll was do show off some more “casual” sci-fi inspired attire, but in the end I think it’s a little uninteresting. If I’m not careful, and I don’t know what to draw, I tend to draw the same things over and over again. I think these pieces are to close to those worn by Marisole Monday when she was an alien.
Despite my mixed feelings, I am posting her today, because I think it is important to put up what I have finished, even when I’m unsure about it. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, if I only posted what I was certain I liked, than half my posts wouldn’t have ever gone up.
So, today I wanted to draw a paper doll that was a little edgy and inspired by Asian traditional dress with obi’s and mandarin collars (though there is some debate as to the evolution of the mandarin collar… and whether it evolved from Chinese contact with European military uniforms or European contact with Chinese dress… I’ve read both versions in respected literature on the subject, so I have no opinion except to say we don’t know and leave it at that), but I realized I tend to draw Asian looking paper dolls when I’m drawing Asian inspired costumes and that seemed a little… odd, so I instead made her an elf with braids, resulting in a sort of African elf in an obi.
I’m sure if I was more awake today and if I really wanted to, I could probably read some interesting orientalist thing into all this, but I’d rather just stick with the “it’s a paper doll and it’s neat” side of theoretical endeavors.
Anyhow… as you might have noticed on the right side of the blog a few things have changed. I’ve added tags in an attempt to try to create a genre sort of listing which crosses paper dolls styles. So, if a person wanted to see all the fantasy paper dolls or felt a need to look at every blond paper doll, the option would be available. The three tags I am sort of uncomfortable with are Asian paper doll, Black paper doll and Hispanic paper doll. I did them, because I erratically get emails asking about paper dolls of one of those three groups and I thought the tag might help people find them, but I also feel rather uncomfortable applying racial labels to my paper dolls, especially with Marisole who only has two facial options to begin with.
Here we are at nearly the end of December and here is another Shadow and Light paper dolls. Today’s paper doll is a bit steampunk-ish (though lacks the gears and goggles that seem to be required), still I hope no one will hold that against her. Truth be told, I can’t draw a gear to save my life, though I have tried on occasion to mixed success.
I forgot, living in Alabama, how pretty the snow is, but I also forgot how annoying it is to sweep off your car in the morning in the cold wearing black ankle boots. Toes freezing and fingers freezing and snow sticking to eyelashes under a grey sky with lights from the buildings flickering through, there’s nothing like winter in Southeast Alaska.
It’s a beautiful place up here.
Oh and by the way, there’s a poll on the sidebar. Please fill it out. I do actually pay attention to what people vote for and I use it to decide what I will do in the coming year. If there’s something you’d like to see and it’s not on the list, please comment.
“Flirty eyes” is a term used by doll collectors to describe the side glancing eyes popular in dolls of the early 20th century. I happen to love the look of the side glancing eyes- I think they have more character than front facing eyes and give the paper dolls a slightly mischievous look.
Ash wrote: I notice that you draw a lot from fashion magazines, which is actually pretty cool. So do you enjoy the early history of Paper Dolls? Do you have a favorite paper doll artist (one who isn’t online)?
I am utterly fascinated by the early history of paper dolls and I am trying on the blog to show off things I find on the web that are both historical and neat. My favorite paper doll artist, at the moment, is Nandor Honti who did a series of paper dolls for MaCalls magazine in the 1920s. Along with the figures, Honti’s paper dolls also include furniture and other items, crossing the fuzzy line between paper doll and paper toy and becoming something much more interesting. I have no idea how many paper dolls Nandor Honti did, but I dream of someday owning a set of the originals. They are so darn inventive.
Got a question you want me to answer on the blog?Ask me here.
So, I was pawing around the internet, as I do, and I stumbled across this wonderful German website that contained some beautiful vintage German paper dolls. The word for paper doll in German is “ankleidepuppen” which literally translates to something like “dress up doll” according to my good friend from Germany, but, she told me, its usually used for paper dolls rather than normal dolls. Paper dolls and paper models are still pretty popular in Germany, though not in the United States.
Right after college, I got a fairly dead-end job working at a local bookstore and toy store. One of the catalogs we received, though never ordered from, was a German catalog that sold beautiful paper models. The prices were far above what we could have possibly sold them for, so we didn’t stock them normally, though I seem to recall a customer who would come in and special order them.
I love beautiful paper toys of all kinds, though paper dolls are, understandably, my first love.
So, true story:
There was this girl in one of my classes last semester who had the most amazing hair. Every class she’d come in with it styled in a different way- sometimes it was in a huge afro and sometimes it was in tons of little braids and sometimes it was straightened and sometimes…. you get the idea.
So, one day she came in with all the small braids coiled up into these huge pair of buns on either side of her head. The way the braids were wrapped around each other made it look like they were woven- almost like baskets. It was utterly beautiful.
I wanted to try to draw that hair style for this paper doll.
I don’t think I really captured it.
Seriously though, I always wondered: How long did it take her in the morning to get ready? I’m lucky if I get my hair brushed and my clothing on.
So, I went out to the movies tonight and saw “Snow White and the Huntsman” with some friends. I concluded that the Twilight Chick (whose name I had to look up on IMBD) can’t act, that I rather liked Charlize Theron when she’s evil and that the movie was better than Mirror Mirror, but I’ll take the Disney version over either any day. The costumes were pretty beautiful, especially the Evil Queens, but there’s apart where Snow White rides into battle not wearing a helmet- apparently being a princess means you’re immune to concussive head injuries.
So, before I crawl into bed, I should answer a question.
Monica asked: Do you prefer online paper doll research, or real book research? Internet or Library? =]
Well, that’s a kinda complicated question. The answer is: It depends on what I am researching and why.
If I want inspiration for a modern or a fantasy set, than I usually stick to the internet. I use it for looking at clothing websites or checking out the latest designer shows a Style.com. It’s really useful.
If I want historical costume, I usually go to books. I own about a dozen different costume books in my own collection, plus I regularly have at least a dozen checked out from the library. The exception to this are the websites of museums and libraries, which often contain digitized primary source documents or photos of items in their collections. Books are great for context. The internet is great for pictures. Some of my favorite internet resources are linked on my Research Resources page which I just finished updating, though I have some more to add later.
The truth is that I don’t really like staring at a computer while trying to draw and I would much rather have a book open in front of me than a computer screen. Though I usually draw from drafted tumbnails, so even with fantasy costumes, I rarely have a computer open when I am actually drawing.
I hope that answers your question, Monica.
So, has anyone else seen either of the new Snow White movies and what do they think of them? Should I do so a Snow White paper doll? Or an Evil Queen?
So… here’s the thing… I said to the apartment people..I need a second bedroom, because I want a work space and a guest space…
What I didn’t say is this:
I draw paper dolls.
I don’t know why.
It’s not because I have an artistic vision or something… I just like them.
It’s a little nostalgia, a little amusement. It’s my hobby.
Why do some people knit or crochet or make pottery?
I don’t know.
I don’t even really know why I draw paper dolls.
Every paper doll is a potential story. What humans wear are physical manifestations of social and cultural forces. We dress ourselves so we can become what we want to be. We dress ourselves as what we think we should be.
Every paper doll is a potential character. What that paper doll wears is about what that paper doll can become. Every time I draw a paper doll, I can create a world.
Also, I like pretty dresses.
This is my hobby.
I don’t knit. I don’t crochet.
I draw paper dolls.
Plus… well… I do need some guest space.