I don’t think I’m that great of an artist. This isn’t a plea to be reassured or an attempt to fish for compliments, I’m just being honest. And I say this because what I draw rarely looks like I wanted it to look in my head. I’m often satisfied with my work, but I rarely look at it and think, “Yeah, that came out just like I wanted it too.”
I have to confess that this was a paper doll of contrasts. I like certain parts (her hair and her shoes) and I dislike other parts, but I think all in all, it came out well enough for me to post it. I wasn’t totally pleased with her mouth, so that got changed a bit with Photoshop to make her look less angry. Her hair style is based on one a student in one of my graduate courses wore her hair in. I always thought it was neat and I loved how huge the side buns were with her hair teased out a bit.
Somehow, she made it look sophisticated rather than absurd.
Enjoy the paper doll. There will be another one up on Monday.
In a fairly unrelated note, check out these beautiful kimono’s made from African fabrics. I am totally in love with these, but then I am obsessed with anything which mixes cultural garments.
Back in May, a reader named Harper told me that I would make a little four year old boy really happy if I did this set. Since I’m always in favor of making small children happy (and because I always need Puck ideas) I decided to go for it. Here we have two Puck superheros in black and white. Tomorrow they will go up in full color, so that people who prefer their paper dolls in color can get their fix as well.
I am going to confess right now that I have no real idea if the cape will really work. I tested it once with scrap paper and it sort of worked… I think the application of tape might assist in it’s functionality for the average child. Sorry about that. It seemed like a cool idea at the time, but in hindsight, perhaps it needed more testing. I usually try not to post things which I know don’t really work quite right. Placement of the slits might also need to be altered to accommodate the tabs properly.
Additionally, I’d like to wish a very Happy Hanukkah to those readers who, like me, will be lighting candles tonight and mumbling things in Hebrew while trying to fake remembering all the words to those darn prayers you only say once a year. (Maybe I’m the only one who fumbles through the second verse, but surely, I’m not.)
Anyway, best wishes, happy holidays and feel free to drop me a note in the comments. I love hearing from you guys (and see… eventually I do actually do the ideas people suggest… it just takes some time.)
Today, Marisole is an alien. I’ve been wanting to draw an alien futuristic set with guns and platform heels and absurd over the top clothing, so I did. I previewed it a while ago when it was in my sketchbook. As sometimes happens, I drew more clothing for this set than could fit onto the page, but these things happen sometimes.
In all the years, I’ve been drawing Marisole paper dolls (three now, I think… I started in 2010) and I have very rarely changed her appearance as dramatically as I did for this paper doll. The eyes I’m not totally pleased with, but I like the rest of it. The last time was when she was a zombie, I think. Anyway, I decided she was so different that she almost wasn’t a Marisole paper doll at all.
Playing around with Marisole’s face is a continuation of my thinking about where the series is going in the next year. December is usually the month when I start thinking about these things. Chances are the blog will be a little slow this month, I am traveling to visit family around the the holidays.
College paper doll, I believe. Actually, I’m certain it’s a college paper doll, because I distinctly recall drawing her while sitting at a very large table and playing Dungeons and Dragons. I’m not sure which is more geeky- the paper dolling or the D&D playing… Hard to say really.
I went through a phase of drawing lots of paper dolls wearing knee high boots and thigh high stockings. I’d say I’ve gotten over it, but I haven’t really. I just came to dislike the limitations it put on their colothing options. It is odd to think that I probably drew this paper doll seven years ago.
My art is still improving, but I have a long way to go before I feel totally comfortable about where I am.
By the way, I wanted to thank everyone who sent me such lovely links during my search for Native American paper dolls. I need to go through them carefully, but I hope to have a better post on the topic with a little lest annoyance and a little more substance before the end of November, but it probably won’t happen until December.
The project worked like this: I drew the doll and then with the guideline of “something Halloween oriented” they all drew a costume or two, as did I. I can not express how pleased I am with how she turned out and with all the hard work of my co-artists. Everyone did such beautiful work from Liana’s creepy scull encrusted regency dress to Boot’s (AKA Elena) even creepier La Llorena to Toria’s delicate Wilis. Download her and you can find out about mythological creatures from Morocco to Mexico.
This printable paper doll set began as a chance to experiment and practice drawing pattern. It ended as an experience best summed up as… “Why did I ever decide I wanted to draw that stupid scrawling floral pattern and it’s a total pain to ink and it’s a total pain to color and I hate my life…”
Not shockingly, this set took me longer to finish than it should have. The full-color version goes up next week and you can all decide if it was worth the agony of the floral pattern from the pits of Hell.
Seriously, my hatred for that floral pattern is still fresh and warm.
Moving rapidly along, the paper doll that was supposed to go up with week was going to be Halloween themed, but since she didn’t get finished, we have a back up fantasy paper doll set instead.
Also, can I add, that from this paper doll’s accessories she leads a really surreal life- a sword for fighting, a letter for writing, a book for reading, yarn for knitting and a pitcher for… I don’t know… recreational water pouring? There’s no glass so I guess… she drinks from the pitcher? Hmm…
Clearly someone (and that means me) didn’t think this through. She wasn’t going to have a sword, but I had an extra from Silk and Steel and I figured that she could share the love.
By the way, if you have an opinion on the fate of the Dictionary Girls let me know.
So, Calla started out as a hip-hop infused paper doll project born out of my own ignorance of the genre. I don’t think that, in the end, she looks terribly hip-hop, but I did my best.
Calla began when one of my student workers and I got into a conversation about Chicago hip-hop style that ended with her giving me the names of several brands including Apple Bottoms, Rocawear and Baby Phat. Using their designs as a starting point, I carefully researched and then drew Calla’s face.
For the next three days, I’ll be posting a different version of this paper doll in color each day.
Somewhere between the “head” being drawn and the clothing being drawn my own natural inclination for pin-tucks and pleats took over. So… I guess Calla is less of a hip-hop paper doll than she was meant to be. I still think she’s really really cute.
Each of these swatches is a little different. And each one was adapted and became one set of colors I used when coloring a version of Calla including the skin and hair colors, but not the eye or lip colors.
I’m curious about which one people like the best, so I have a poll in the sidebar. It will be up for a few days. 🙂
As I mentioned last month, I have been very interested in the 1940s lately. It’s not a period that I’ve been interested in normally, but watching a rather lot of Foyle’s War has infected me, I suppose.
The thing about the 1940s, which makes it a little difficult, is that in the middle of the decade there’s a rather important event known as World War II (though I tend to share the view of scholars who argue there weren’t two wars, but rather one war with a twenty year cease fire in the middle). The full skirted suit is of the style that came out of the war in 1947, thanks to Dior’s New Look. The other suit jacket and skirt are both based on the short lived fabric restrictions known as “Uility clothing” in England. In fact, these restrictions are one of the reasons vest for men fell out of fashion in the United States and England.
I’m pleased about this set, though her hair isn’t quite right. I have trouble with hair and I think something about the style makes her look somewhat… angry.
Irma asked: How much time in a week do you spend drawing paper dolls?
I tend to work in bursts. Some weeks I do lots and lots of drawing and inking and other weeks I can go and never touch them. My goal is always to have the images, at least, ready far enough ahead that I don’t have to play catch up too much. I know there is no way I could possibly draw, ink, scan, color and post a set all in one evening. It just wouldn’t happen. I don’t have that kinda time, so I work in sections. For example, I already have the rest of this week’s paper dolls ready to post and, though I haven’t written the blogs yet, the images are prepped and uploaded to my server.
I tried to keep track of how long this set took me to get ready from scan to prep, so I could at least tell Irma that much, and I found that it took me four hours from the scanning to the posting, granting that I was watching an episode of the West Wing at the time and took a few breaks.
By the way, if you haven’t been to it, Irma’s blog is fantastic. I love her black and white paper dolls.
“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.
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