I don’t usually name my Curves paper dolls, but then I don’t usually need too. In this case it seems necessary, because how could I present the famous Adele without an introduction? Who else has fought for truth, justice and all other noble things while also being a smart young lady with an innate sense of style? With her glasses firmly over her eyes, her walking stick in hand and her gloves loaded, Adele faces off with the Mars Men, the strange otherworldly beings from the next dimension and still manages to lay a proper table for tea. Truly a lady to be admired by us all.
Is it obvious I’ve been spending a lot of time with Victorian three volume novels?
On an unrelated note, one of my goals for the last few days of drawing has been to stretch myself a bit with the paper dolls, so expect to see more pattern and more detail. The plaid on the vest is an example. I’ve always been scared of plaid, but I think it turned out okay.
There are certain periods of history to which I am naturally attracted and then there are certain periods to which I couldn’t care less about. I find the Renaissance is not an era which I naturally am interested in, but there is a RenFaire (I’m not sure how to spell that, actually…) around here every year and though I haven’t yet gone to the Faire (apparently the added “e” is required) it got me thinking about Renaissance costume.
Now, I admit I don’t know much about Renaissance clothing, but it’s a very interesting time because the first costume books were published in the late Renaissance- the second half of the sixteenth century to be precise. The most famous of these books was by Vecellio who described not just the fashionable clothing of Venice (where he was from and where the book was printed), but also all over Europe and the world.The book was titled Degli habiti antichi et moderni di viverse parti del mondo or in English “The clothing, ancient and modern, of various parts of the world” and it has just recently come out in full translation by Thames and Hudson. Unfortunately, the copy my library has was checked out, so I had to make do with John Peacocks The Chronicle of Western Costume which, though I have heard many complaints about it and I do have a few of my own, is an excellent general source. Both of these dresses come from Venice in the late 1400’s. The hair is my own attempt at a simple head-dress and the SCA reference is a nod to the highly likely lack of actual historical accuracy.
Any organization which calls themselves the Society of Creative Anachronism does not take itself too seriously and neither do my paper dolls.
Generally, I find myself feeling dismissive of “flower fairies”. Complicated and often dark folklore seems to always turn into light children’s stories over time, but I still am a purist when it comes to my fairies. I like them grim and dark and full of blood. Of course, the blood has mostly been taken out to make them more acceptable to most parents (not to children who, on the whole, seem to not mind blood so much). Despite my usual distrust of anything deemed “darling” or “cute”, I began this drawing because I wanted to practice drawing flowers. So, I did and the result is… a lot of flowers.
Keeping with my own slightly grimmer views on the world of fairies (and yes, I know I could spell it differently, but writing faeries would make my feel like a pretentious git with a need to spell out the digraph), I have done this Curves paper doll’s face very differently from her other paper doll friends. They are mostly human, after all, she is… Other. But as Other as she might be, I can’t stand her chin. I just… think it looks weird. It didn’t look weird when I sketched it…
Her hair is my favorite part inspired by the thirties and twenties when women wore their hair in finger waves tight to the skull like Josephine Baker who was an entertainer, exotic dancer, movie star, French Resistance fighter and all around amazing woman. Seriously, cool lady.
And I do regret that my fashions for her aren’t quite as fantastic as a paper doll inspired by the remarkable Josephine Baker deserves, still I had fun with them and I wanted to do something a little retro, but not an actual vintage piece. So… there you go then.
As some of you have no doubt already figured out, I draw ahead of time as much as I can. It’s easier to work in spurts when I have a few hours to devote to the blog rather then doing fifteen minutes here and twenty minutes there. So on Saturday, after I had run my errands and washed my laundry, I settled down in front of some old Star Trek episodes on DVD and drew paper doll clothes for a few hours.
For next Monday’s Marisole I had my fashion magazines out and windows from clothing websites up on my computer screen. To draw for Florence, I pulled out books of Victorian fashion plates and printouts of doll furniture. But when it came time to draw for Curves, all I had to do was find my thumbnail doodles and put then down next to my notebook. It was entirely liberating not to be bogged down with references.
Of course, it wasn’t as though I didn’t have some limits. The thing about Evil Sorceresses is that it’s a slippery slope and once you are one, you can’t wear just anything. Sure, some might say it’s a bit cliche or even over done, but the Sorceress has to maintain her reputation. And most Sorceresses don’t start bad, they just sort of slide that way. Something about being beautiful and powerful seems to just go to their heads. And once they are an accepted memeber of the Evil Soceress Guild, they can’t wear just anything.
What would people say, after all, if you showed up to a gathering wearing flannel or flowers? Well, flowers are okay if they’re evil flowers. Not, you know, daisies or something.
I’ve been working nearly full time to make up hours lost while I was in classes. It’s been time consuming, exhausting and I just kinda want to curl up and sleep. Still, I promised myself I would do better with paper dolls and the blog. I hope by trying to schedule more and have more things pre-planned that it will smooth some of the rough edges of things.
Anyway, it is late and I am tired. Enjoy the paper doll.
When I was a kid, I always wanted one of those cakes with the doll sticking out of it. You know, the kind where the skirt is made up by cake and the doll comes out the top. (Here’s a picture, for those of you who weren’t doll obsessed children in the early 90’s) Now, whenever I see the dresses of the mid-1860’s when the hoop was at its widest, I think of those doll cakes. Of course, all fashion is about swings. A item of clothing reaches its most extravagant and then slides out as something else enters to replace it, just as the length of shirts have gone from belly-shirts to tunics in the last fifteen years or so, the hoop skirt’s width moved from all around towards the back until it eventually transformed into the bustle. By the mid-1870’s, it was hard to see how it had ever once been a full hoop skirt.
The advantage of such a wide skirt is that it calls attention to a tiny waist and the women of this ear were well aware of the allure of that feature, so belts were much in vogue. Curves has traveled back in time for a moment, to embrace this gown from 1861.
Now, I knew I couldn’t fit Curves in period hoops and the size of the skirt on the same image, so I put the paper doll in a modern set of underwear. Perhaps, she is a Civil War re-enactor. That gets me out of the whole- why isn’t she wearing a corset and hoops and all the things a woman in 1860 wore under her dress.