Shayna: African American Paper Doll

logo-shayna-msmannToday’s paper doll is named Shayna. Shayna is a Yiddish name that means “beautiful”. I also liked it, because it was close to Shauna which was the name of my best friend in college and, also, one of my roommates for several years. Shauna, it should be noted, looked nothing like my paper doll Shayna. I don’t really draw paper dolls of my friends, even though I do sometimes name them after them.

Shayna is yet another paper doll with micro-braids. I would apologize for this, but the truth is that I really like how micro-braids look and they are fun to draw. Shayna is the same skin tone as Kira another one of the Ms. Mannequin paper dolls, so they can share shoes.

I’m sure Kira is grateful, because she doesn’t have any flats and might want some. The bases of the paper doll are the same color, so if there is ever confusion about who can share with each other, I hope this clears it up.

As always with paper doll skin-tones, I really do like this warm soft brown color. I think it is rich and natural looking. Plus, it is a shade which still prints beautifully on my home printer. I love my darkest shade of brown, but it doesn’t have much contrast with the black line-work. You can check out my skin-tone pallet if you want to see the commonest eleven skin-tone colors are. I’m not totally pleased with some of those colors, but I also haven’t had a chance to refine the pallet.

I haven’t really got a lot else to say about Shayna. I think she’s cute. She’s getting to me closer to my 10 Ms. Mannequin paper doll posts in 2015 goal. That always makes me happy.

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As we move towards 2016, there are going to be lots of changes to the blog.

First of all, the blog is moving to a fixed schedule with posts on Monday, Friday and an erratic posts on Wednesday. This is actually the schedule I have had it on for the last few weeks. There will always be a paper doll on Monday and Friday. Wednesdays will be everything from historical costume book reviews to interviews to sketchbook content. All sorts of things I’d like to do with that day of the week. And, once in a while, probably an extra paper doll or two.

In the meantime, if you have fifteen minutes and don’t mind spending it answering a thrilling survey… I am currently conducting a survey of my readers. If you have already taken the time to answer, THANK YOU! If you haven’t please consider it.

Click Here to Take the Survey.

If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts you’d like to share with me- Survey or otherwise- please feel free to drop me an email (paperthinpersonas@gmail.com) or post a comment. I might not respond to every comment, but I try to answer all the ones that ask questions.

Knight in Armor: A Knight Paper Doll for Boys

Marisole Monday & Friends Knight paper Doll for boys logoMeet the first Friend of Marcus! He doesn’t have a name yet- there’s a poll to vote for one below. Once he has a name, I’ll start calling him by it. For now, I think of him as Marcus’ bearded friend.

I’ve been wanting to do a knight with armor male paper doll since I added male paper dolls to the Marisole Monday & Friends collection. I waited a while though, because armor is actually rather hard to draw. I do think knight paper dolls make great paper dolls for boys and I am trying to be diverse in my paper doll creations.

I was complaining about how boring men’s hairstyles were and then I remembered- facial hair. Mustaches, beards, goatees, soul patches- There are many fun options for paper doll facial hair. So, this guy got himself a beard.

A knight paper doll for boys or girls with four pieces of armor, weapons and a helmet. He's free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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After doing some experimenting, I think the helmet works best for the printable paper doll if it is placed underneath the armor, rather than on top of it. He’s got a broad sword and an axe.

So I have narrowed my options down to four different names. Help me decide which one I should choose by voting below. The poll is open until Sunday.

What should I name my new male paper doll?

  • Mikhail (38%, 31 Votes)
  • Maxwell (37%, 30 Votes)
  • Maurice (20%, 16 Votes)
  • Murphy (6%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 82

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One last thing I wanted to mention- I’ve decided to do a survey of my readers about potentially opening a shop to sell my paper dolls and setting up a Patreon account for Paper Thin Personas. The survey should only take about 10 or 15 minutes of your time. If you complete the survey and include an email at the end, I will send you a “THANK YOU” paper doll within the next week.

Click here to begin the survey (Survey is currently closed.)

Right now, my plan is to have the survey open for the next two weeks, depending on the response rate. Thank you!

Brooches and Smokkr: A Viking Paper Doll

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in color. She also has shoes and historical accessories.In truth, we know very little about what Viking women wore, so that makes drawing a Viking paper doll sorta exciting (and scary). Unlike the 10th century Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings did not have a manuscript culture. Their art was generally metal work or stone carving and highly stylized. Making things more rather than less complicated, textiles rot extremely quickly in soil and those which remain in tact are often saved by their proximity to other materials such as metal, while metal breaks down it releases salts that protect the textile.

This means that what remains we have of Viking garments are fragmentary at best. While working on my Viking paper doll, I did my research, as always, and then made decisions based on my understanding of Viking garments. My understanding isn’t perfect. I am not an archaeologist, nor do I study Viking cultures extensively. My post Wednesday, Viking Women’s Dress in the 10th Century  covers my sources and what I understand about Viking garments.

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in black and white. She also has shoes and historical accessories.

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Though I came away from my research with the conclusion that there is more supposition than certainty in Viking dress research, I couldn’t be more pleased by how my printable paper doll came out. Her two apron-dresses or smokkrs over shirts were both designed based on the work of some excellent scholars. I chose a closed smokkr, because I agree with Ewing’s and Geijer’s views on the shape of the smokkr. I added an apron on one, based on the work of Bau and Ewing. To the other, I added pleats based on the reconstruction of a smokkr by Hilde Thunem. She has a key, a cup, a comb and a small knife. From the brooches on her left smokkr hang a pair of scissors, a small knife and a needle case.

Her shoes are based on finds at Viking York and her stockings and garters are based on the work of Ewing who argues that Viking men wore garters. I have no reason to believe if men were wearing them than women weren’t. Besides, Scandinavia is rather chilly to be wandering around bare legged.

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in color. She also has shoes and historical accessories.

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When selecting colors, I tried to be aware of what colors were known to be used by Vikings. There were several references to brown twills in the articles I read (sources here) and the Kostup find is known to have been blue. Her brown smokkr, or apron-dress, has different colored straps, because linen loops were sometimes used on wool smokkrs. Linen, unlike wool, doesn’t take dye very well. I wanted to make a nod to that practice. Both the serks or shirts, I left undyed in lighter colors. One shirt is pleated, as is found in many Birka graves, and one is unpleated. The paper doll has a hair covering as referenced in Ewing’s book, Viking Clothing.

I made my Viking paper doll blond really only because when I think of Vikings, I think of blonds. Perhaps an unfair assumption, but there you go.

As with my Anglo-Saxon paper doll of the same century, I strongly recommend reading my little article and then reading my sources. I would also caution that most of the research on Vikings is not published in English. Until more of the articles are translated into English, I did the best I could with what sources were readily available.

I know people have been waiting on this printable paper doll, so I hope the wait was worth it. I certainly am nothing but pleased with how she came out.

As always, if you like the paper dolls and want to support the blog than check out my Patreon. 🙂

Calash Bonnets & Chemise a la Reine: Late 18th Century Paper Doll Dresses


logo-late-18th-centLate 18th Century gowns before the waist begin to rise at the turn of the century are often defined by simpler lines. You can see in some of them the beginings of the aesthetic and gave rise to the Greek inspired looks of the Empire period in France and the Regency period in England.

Working left to right, as is my usual practice, she has a caraco jacket with a peticoat based on this caraco and quilted petticoat from the Museum of Antwerp and this outfit circa 1785-1790 from the V&A.

The middle dress is based on a robe à l’anglaise from the Kyoto Costume Institute that is dated to the 1780s. I have seen very few other examples of this style of gown in museums, though I would be curious to know how wide spread the style was. The belt is particularly distinct in these gowns and I can only recall having seen one other.

On the far right,there is a gaulle, or chemise a la reine. This radical style was introduced by Marie Antoinette in the early 1780s. I based my version of this iconic garment off a portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife from 1788. To understand the shock such a garment would have induced in the 18th century, consider the reaction people might have if the First Lady of the US suddenly started talking around in her bra and panties in public, rather than chic clothing. Never the less, as is often the case with fashion, the simple lines of the gown caught on and it wasn’t long before all sorts of women were being painted in elegant and simple versions of the chemise a la reine. In fact, this gown could be seen as a direct predecessor to the simpler styles of the Regency and Empire periods. Very few of these gowns seem to have survived from the 18th century, but here is one example from the Manchester Art Gallery.

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There are two distinct hats to go with today’s paper doll gowns. The first hat is a formal hat and comes from a portrait of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard from 1785 held at the Met. Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was an accomplished female painter in 18th century France. She was inducted into the French Académie Royale in 1783. Also, she clearly had excellent taste in hats.

The other hat is what was called a Calash. Calashes were a type of bonnet that was boned and could fold down for storage (and also was tall enough to get over the crazy high hairstyles of the century.) Calashes can be found easily in museums. Here are a few examples of them- one, two, three from the Met and one from the MFA in Boston. The Calash isn’t just an 18th century thing, either, these bonnets can be found in the 19th century as well.

The shoes are fairly standard 18th century style and aren’t based on anything specifically. I just thought my three paper dolls might need another pair of shoes.

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The color selections were all dictated by the original garments colors, except for the caraco jacket ensemble on the left. The one I wanted to do in warm autumnal colors since the chemise a la reine always seems a summer or spring sort of style to me.

This brings us to the end of this little series. If you missed any, check out the entire 18th Century Pixie series.

Space Princess: An Intergalactic Princess Paper Doll

logo-space-princess-bwMany eons ago (okay so, like three months ago in June), I did a little poll about what paper doll I should draw next for Marisole Monday & Friends. The winner was ballerinas, but the second place winner was space princess.

To be honest, I was much more excited about the idea of a space princess than I was about ballerinas. Having fulfilled my ballerina paper doll promises, I can now move on to space princess paper dolls.

Our Space Princess is neither a Marisole, a Monica, a Mia, a Maeghan or a Margot paper dolls, rather she is a unique face, because I drew her hair and her features as one. She’s living over in the other friends category with my other alien paper doll (who you can see in black and white or in color).

I don’t always spend a lot of time thinking about aliens or what makes a species, but I imagine that this alien species is a highly advanced race with a strict social structure. Our princesss wears a crown, but also has ray guns for defending herself. Along with her gowns, she has jumpsuits that she wears when leading her people in times of war. She is not a shrinking violet who just stands around, rather she is someone who is willing to fight to defend her people and their way of life.

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I used to fight the whole “princess” thing. These days, I am trying to embrace the fun of the whole concept. I remember the my grandmother used to give us paper doll cards for our birthdays. I know I’ve mentioned this before and while I can’t recall everything from my childhood, I can recall those cards with fairly vivid recollection. I seem to recall this Space Princess card being among them and you have to love a paper doll with a “moon moo moo” (yes, they spell muumuu like that…I don’t know why).

Lastly, I’d like to wish a L’Shanah Tovah or a Happy New Year to all my readers who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah like I am. I made my annual loaf of challah and ate it with apples and honey last night after sundown. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and this year is 5776.

Hope: A Late 18th Century Paper Doll Set

logo-hope-1700sHope is based on the styles at the end of the 18th century. So, something major happened around the 1789 in France. It was, for those who weren’t asleep in high school history class, the French Revolution. To say that “everthing changed” wouldn’t be an understatement and the ripples of the events in France spread across Europe in dramatic ways. It is tempting when looking at the end of the 18th century to simply assume that after 1789 everyone just jumped into Empire styles and that was the end of it, but the reality is that there was a very slow evolution to the high waisted gowns we think of as “empire” or “Regency” dress.

So, I was less interested in worrying about the Empire look and much more interested in the every transitional styles that are easily forgotten and often ignored.

This all brings us rather neatly to Hope. Hope is our paper doll model for the later part of the 1700s. Her dresses will never get up the high waisted styles that characterized the transition into Empire. Rather, I think of her as being a woman of means right before everything gets radicalized. And, for her sake, let us assume she lives in England which was always behind on the fashions a bit anyway and a much safer place to be than France at the end of the 18th century. They don’t call it the Reign of Terror for nothing, after all.

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Hope’s hair is done up in a style known as coiffure à l’enfant. This was a style popularized by Marie-Antoinette in the early 1780s. The style is a frizzy halo of hair with several longer strands curled, braided or left straight. Here is a portrait that shows off the hair style from the Met and here is a fashion plate featuring it from the V&A. I have to confess that I am not totally pleased with her hair. I fear that it looks a little bit too “mad scientist” for my comfort.

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Moving away from her hair for a moment, Hope has undergarments, of course, and then a gown known as a Redingote. Redingote’s started their lives as actual riding coats, but eventually transformed into women’s gowns which were coat like and then cut away to reveal the petticoat underneath. The word “redingote” is believed to be a French transliteration of the English term “riding coat”. Hope’s redingote was based on this gown from LACMA circa 1790. The term “redingote” sticks around into the early 20th century as a term of long coats.

Her hat is from this hat from the MINT circa 1770. Her shoes are based on this pair from the Met from 1780. Her muff and her mitts are both from Colonial Williamsburg.

I think that’s all the sources I need to list for Hope. I might have forgotten something, but I think that’s everything. Next Friday, there will be the last set of outfits for the 18th Century Pixie Series all from the later part of the 18th century.

Round Gown, Court Gowns and a Caraco Jacket: 18th Century Paper Doll Dresses

logo-18th-cent-3Four more 18th century dresses for the Pixie paper dolls today. So, by now I think I’ve already covered the various sorts of gowns women wore in the 18th century with a fair bit of detail.

On the left, we have a caraco jacket and a square hooped court gown. The caraco jacket was inspired by this gown from LACMA. The court gown was based on this gown in style and this gown in color scheme. Square hooped court gowns like this one were the most formal of a ladies wardrobe and, like court gowns generally seem too, stayed in style even after square hoops were disappearing else where.

Moving to the right, we have a dress based on this gown from the MFA in Boston and a round gown from the Met. Round gowns were the least formal of all these gowns.

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Most of my color choices here came from the source gowns above. My favorite of the gowns, the caraco jacket with petticoat on the upper-left was the most painful to color. Those detailed floral patterns get my every time, but I just love the way they look. There is something about 18th century sprawling viney florals that I can’t get enough of. Even in my own house, I have an apron in that style of pattern that I wear while baking and simply adore.

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I should say, I think, word about her hat. There are small dotted lines along the outside edges of the ribbon and you will need to clip those if she is going to wear her hat, as well as cut out the white area. That is best done with a sharp blade, like an exacto knife. I don’t usually use an exacto knife in my paper doll cutting (I am clumsy with those things), but for some things it really is the most effective option.

If you’ve missed any parts of the 18th Century Pixie Series, they all can be found here.