I draw paper dolls… (Plus here’s a chick with some fantasy dresses)

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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.

Except this…

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.

Marisole Monday: A Princess in Black and White

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So, my drawing is still open (will be until Next Tuesday, winner will be announced with the Dictionary Girls post of that week), but I wanted to start answering some of the excellent questions I was asked. Since one of the questions was about Marisole and here is Marisole, it seems fitting to answer that question now.

Dee asked: Where did the original idea [for Marisole] come from, was the first doll based on anyone special.

The answer is yes, she was. Well.. sort of. The first Marisole paper doll was drawn in 2009, according to the note I have scribbled on the original art work, but I never got around to posting her until the site crashed. As a result, she was posted for the new site version in January of 2010 and made her debut.

She is based, vaguely, on Halle Berry in the James Bond movie Die Another Day which is a pretty bad movie. Jinx Johnson, played by Halle, walks out of the water in a tiny orange bikini and a spiky hair cut. The hair was what made me think Marisole looked like Halle. The rest of the paper doll’s features owe their proportions to the Bratz dolls mostly.

Beyond the Jinx Johnson connection, I wanted to do a paper doll that wasn’t white. I’d noticed that there just aren’t a lot of brown skinned paper dolls out there on the internet. (My attempt to collect some African American paper doll printables taught me there still aren’t a lot of them.)

I went utterly cartoony with Marisole because I was self-conscious doing strongly ethnic features. The history of black paper dolls, especially, is full of some remarkably cruel depictions and I wanted to make sure Marisole wasn’t one of them.

It is possible she’s a cruel depiction of compound eyed, huge headed bug people… but that can’t be helped.

Also, making the paper doll cartoony meant she could be any skin tone or style I wanted which is part of why I still like drawing and coloring her after 2 and a-half years. She’s been dark, light, and dead.

I’ve even made her an alien.

Today’s incarnation of Marisole is a fairly standard pseudo-Victorian set whose pieces I couldn’t seem to arrange properly and so lose the title. Oh well… these things happen. I hate coming up with titles anyway. Tune in next week for the color version. It’s going to be… bright.

Flirty Eyes and Puffy Sleeves

So, first of all, I want to thank everyone whose entered my drawing and asked me a question. The questions have all been really interesting. It’s fascinating to think about what maybe I have or haven’t said on the blog that perhaps I should have said… and if that’s not the most convoluted sentence ever… I don’t know what is.

The drawing is open until next Tuesday and then I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner.

And now…. A few words about the printable paper doll of the day….

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The Shadow and Light paper dolls are drawn in a style I developed in college after complaining that most black and white paper dolls needed to be colored to look good. I wanted to draw some paper dolls that were graphic enough to stand alone without being colored, plus I was reading a lot of comics in those days and had a love of the heavy shadowed style of Frank Miller’s Sin City and Marcelo Frusin, who was drawing the Hellblazer comics at that time with Mike Carey was writing it. I stopped reading comics when I got to graduate school, far to much to do and not enough time to do it in, but I hope to get back to them and at least finish Lucifer which I never did get done with and darn it, I wanna know how it ends.

Okay, I know how it ends, but I still wanna read it…

This particular paper doll has “flirty eyes” which is a term used to describe dolls that look to the side rather than forward. It’s a pretty common term in antique and collectable dolls and “flirty eyed” dolls were particularly popular in the 1900s with Googlies and Lenci dolls.

Argh… ’tis a Pirate Lass: A Pirate Paper Doll Set

So… this is practically late. I mean… it’s like 11:50 here in Illinois, but I really really wanted to get a Shadow and Light doll up since it’s been a while since I did one and I have been feeling bad about that.

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Back in the 1980’s I was pretty young, but I remember wearing overall shorts, which were the latest thing, and having a weird affection for when I was old, because I was going to wear thigh high boots. I don’t know why I was so into the idea, but I remember drawing lots of paper dolls sporting thigh high boots and miniskirts in elementary school. Perhaps I saw Pretty Woman at too young of an age…. Oddly, my mother was never concerned as far as I could tell with my thigh high boot obsession.

As an adult, I have never worn thigh high boots… a pity perhaps.

Needless to say, my love of shoes was founded young and even now I love shoes (which I think comes through on my paper dolls.)

And, as you might notice, our pirate is sporting some pretty darn sexy boots.

Marisole Monday: Sweet Cream in Black and White

Today’s paper doll is new and in black and white. Next week, she’ll be in color. I just don’t have the colored version done yet and I thought I would post a black and white version first. These are all pieces of clothing I found while looking through magazines in the airport. I really love the full skirted dress with the buttons. I would wear it, but then I love those full skirted vintage looking dresses.

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So, I disappeared there for a few days. I got busy and then I got overwhelmed and then I got lazy. But life has settled down a little, though I must confess not very much, and I am able to get some time in to work on feeding the blog. The truth is that while classes are over I have a few things to finish before I graduate and then, only then, can I consider myself done. Plus I am moving soon, so that’s another series of problems to worry about.

I saw the James Bond film Quantum of Solace tonight with friends and I had no idea what was going on for most of the film. I was rather disappointed. I really like James Bond, but…. I dunno. It was an odd film.

Marisole Monday: Beneath the Waves in Black and White

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So… slightly slacker post from me today. I as out of town last week in Alabama and just got back. I prepped this while sitting in the Chicago airport waiting to get on a plane to go home. I posted Beneath the Waves in color last year in June. I found the file and decided to put it up in color. I have been getting more and more requests for paper dolls to color, so here is another one.

I love spring when the rains come and the paper doll blogs are in bloom. Actually, I joke, but I have stumbled across a few new blogs over the last few days. My latest find is called Miss Missy Paper Dolls, slightly unnerving for me since I have a good friend named Missy, never the less, I am enjoying the posts as I work my way through her archive. I recommend her blog to those of us who like such things (and if you don’t like such things, what the heck are you doing here anyhow?).

Meet Ethan…

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{PDF Download of all four pages for Ethan and his Wardrobe}

Confession time: I think men’s clothing is boring.

I know I shouldn’t, but I do.

Historically speaking, there’s some neat stuff for men, but right now it’s all trousers and shirts and jeans and shirts and suits and maybe some swim trunks and really… that gets old.

Still, my poll in January (and I, like apparently the candidates for president, take polling seriously) said that what people wanted to see was male paper dolls.

Originally, Ethan here had a girlfriend or just a friend… I shouldn’t make assumptions about my paper doll’s sexual orientation. However, I thought she looked like she’d just been hit with a brick or something, so I decided not to post her or draw her any clothing. She won’t be returning to the blog unless I decide I really feel like it and I doubt it.

Instead, I gave him a some clothing (including a styling Star Trek uniform) and have posted him.

Pixie & Puck: Prudence and Constance in Black and White

Happy Earth Day! There’s an Earth and we should be grateful or else we’d not exist. So, I’m glad for that. Beyond that, I try to avoid politics on this little corner of the web. There are other corners of the web for politics. Here is the corner of paper dolls.

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Two of my favorite recent paper dolls are Constance and Prudence, who I’ve always thought of as best friends, and so today I present them both in black and white for coloring enjoyment. Each paper doll was meant to have a distinct casual and slightly indie style. Prudence is a little bit vintage and Constance is a little bit tomboy. The t-shirt styles for the Constance paper doll are based on mandala designs which are simplified for the small size.

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So, today, I’d like to also call attention to a new blog with some delightful black and white paper dolls called Inflammation Of…, which is about both paper dolls and raising a child with chrons disease. I have had several thank yous sent to me over the years from parents with health issues in their families who like the paper dolls and I always feel very touched that my paper dolls can help in any small way for people in need. Plus there’s a whole set of clothes for her paper dolls inspired by Scoopy-Doo and who isn’t in favor of paper dolls inspired by Scooby-Doo? I loved Scooby-Doo when I was a kid.

(Actually, I still sorta love Scoopy-Doo, but I try to be more of an adult and not admit these things in public.)

Spirit of the North: Black and White Printable Paper Doll

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So, I have good news, bad news and slightly indifferent news. The good news is- Hey, look it’s a paper doll post. The bad news is that it will probably be the only one for the whole week. The indifferent news is that the paper doll is in black and white. I chose to post Spirit of the North in black and white since the dolls dresses have a lot of pattern to them and I thought it would be more interesting to color than some of my other paper dolls.

I think it might be cheating to recycle content like this… But so far people have been nice about it. 🙂

Pixies Printable Paper Dolls in Black and White

Since my primary concern for the next few weeks is class work, thesis writing and job searching, I thought I would just post some Pixie paper dolls I have already posted in color, but post them in black and white. I felt a little guilty doing it as just one, so there are two this week- Blossom and Masquerade– both are paper dolls which I think would be fun to color as they have some pattern in their clothing and bows.. a lot of bows…

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Plus I have been getting requests for paper dolls in black and white, so I guess I could pretend I was listening to people rather than just doing what I knew I could get done and posted without having to spend too much time on it. Despite the practical concerns of getting something up to, as I like to say, “feed the blog”, I know people like to color and I think its important to give people the chance to do that.

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These are also both paper dolls which I really liked the full color versions of (which you can see here and here), so I hope people also like the black and white versions.