Last year, there was a real influx of pastel colors into fall and winter looks. It’s been going on for a while. I’m not sure this is still on trend (my September fashion magazines were pretty slim this year, sadly), but I drew these paper doll cocktail dresses a while ago. I wanted to contrast the black with the pale colors.
I also wanted to play around with shape.
Plus the A Pose Dames don’t have any cocktail dresses and that seemed just criminal. Poor paper dolls. They need something to wear to evening parties, after all.
Today’s paper dolls are a double set of Benedita paper dolls, part of the series of sets I created with two dolls each.
I struggle with setting limits. I am the kind of person who doesn’t bake one cookie recipe when I feel like baking cookies. I make two or three. And while my coworkers appreciate my baking spasms, it occasionally creates problems in my creative life.
So, when I started the Dames and Dandies I knew from the start that I needed to set a few limits or would I end up completely overwhelmed. One of those limits was to start with four dolls of four different skin-tones in each pose. Another limit was to start with just three poses.
I regret the second one occasionally, because I think- what if I had a curvy set of poses or a taller or shorter set of poses or a pose in a wheel chair or…
You see how these things spiral for me very quickly. Paper doll diversity is super important to me in both theme, skin-tone and body shape, but I am a one woman show.
Anyway, the Double-Sets like today’s two Benedita paper dolls were a way of tackling a problem I knew existed. I wanted there to be more versions of each paper doll and I wanted them quickly. So, by fitting two dolls onto each page I could get to a more robust collection of options a bit quicker than if I did one doll per page. Plus, I didn’t have to come up with themes beyond different hair styles.
With Benedita, I wanted to do hair styles and colors I hadn’t used for her before. So, I did a lighter brown bob and blond waves. She also has two different eye colors, but it’s so subtle that I don’t think anyone can tell.
I have more double set to share, so fear not the rest of the dames will get their versions.
I’ve always preferred clothing to dolls. So, I would rather have a smaller number of dolls and lots of clothing options. It occurs to me that you all might not feel the same, so let me know in a comment. Do you prefer lots of dolls or lots of clothing?
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True thing- I was asked if I had plans for a male ninja back on my lady ninja costume design by Victoria on behalf of her six year old son. And you know, when parents tell me their kids have asked for things, I am a total sucker. It’s like, “AWWW… of course I’ll draw that for the child I’ve never met/seen/may not be real.”
And now you all know how to get past my defenses.
Now, I don’t know anything about ninjas, but I do have a fear friend who is a talented marshal artist. So, I hope she will forgive my badly drawn katana. One of these days, I’m going to get better at drawing katanas, but that isn’t going to be today.
I wanted a ninja costume design that was interesting and also felt layered- the sort of thing you could imagine someone adding to as they had lived in the outfit. When I work in all black, I worry about the paper doll ending up looking “dull” and sort of lifeless. I love how flat color looks, but it can also look… well.. flat. I don’t know if that makes any sense. So, I try to add depth by using several shades of the same color. In the case of largely black sets, I try to use several shades of dark grey and then another color if I can.
In this case, I added in some dark navy blue to accent the black. I thought about using red, which you see a lot in ninja Halloween costumes, but I thought it was too bright against the black.
I did use a bright purple base though, because I do love color.
Of course, if you want a more colorful ninja there is the black and white version and you can color that one anyway you want. If you follow me on social media or are a Patron, you may recall seeing this set along with my knight armor when I posted a sketchbook picture at the beginning of the month.
If you’re going to be an astronaut, why not be a sexy retro scifi astronaut?
The correct answer to that question is probably- Because it’s utterly impractical.
But practicality pretty much never been a consideration in my paper doll universe, because it gets in the way of me getting to draw insane armor and retro space astronauts.
See, one has to have proper priorities.
So, let’s talk inspiration. I have always been fascinated by retro futuristic fashions. I keep a Pinterest board to collect inspiring images of the genre. The classic being the late 1960s work of Pierre Cardin, but the period was full of strange and delightful sci-fi creations like Barbarella. It’s one of the oddest films… I digress.
The point is, I suppose, that I like messing around with different genres. I think I’d get frightfully bored if I stuck to just one thing all the time. So, today we have a foray into retro space and yesterday there was a medieval fantasy gown and tomorrow there’s a ninja. That’s all okay.
I’ve love to hear what you think of today’s retro sci-fi outfit? Impractical, sure, but fun maybe?
Meanwhile, you can see the sketchbook page this came from on my Instagram feed. If you want more sketchbook pictures, I tend to post them to Patreon first for my patrons before I share them with anyone else.
Whenever I post a wedding gown I seem to start by saying that I don’t often draw wedding gowns. Yet, since I seem to have posted several wedding gowns this year, maybe I should stop saying that. I guess what I would say is that I was never one of those people who was obsessed with weddings or wedding gowns. I like pretty dresses, of course. I draw a paper doll blog for goodness sake.
But there’s a ton of baggage wrapped up in wedding dresses.
I think that’s part of why I have such mixed feelings about the genre.
The medieval wedding gown here is part of the Fantasy Maiden Series. Fundamentally, there’s no reason I couldn’t have recolored it in bright purple or something and not called it a wedding gown. However, the source gown was described as a fantasy medieval wedding gown and who am I to argue?
As long time readers will know, I am a wee bit obsessed with bridal trousseaux and I kinda found myself thinking of the Fantasy Maiden Series in that context. Once I did that, I knew I had to draw a wedding gown.
While this certainly isn’t the last of the Fantasy Maiden Series, I thought it might be neat to see all the gowns together.
The Fantasy Maiden Paper Doll Gowns Thus Far…
It’s very easy for me to lose track of what I’ve done and feel like there is never enough. So, for me, putting together these little galleries reminds me that I have achieved something. That there are a few different gown options. It’s helpful for me to see things as a collection and not just a series of posts. I hope it is helpful for you all as well.
What do you think? Should I keep going with the series? Comment if you like and let me know.
I’d like to add a Happy New Year to everyone who (like me) is celebrating today. Shana Tova! Happy 5779! May you all have a sweet wonderful year.
I thought it would be fun to end the week with a fancy paper doll gown since I posted my paper doll tuxedo last week. So, here’s an evening gown for the B pose ladies based on this evening gown from Marchesa’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection. I loved the shape of the original gown.
In case you are wondering, the low cut neckline of the gown is possible because of the skimpy underwear of the B pose ladies. Without those handy leaves, the neckline on this dress wouldn’t be possible. That’s why I tend to draw such skimpy undergarments for my paper dolls. I don’t want to be limited in my neckline options.
Today’s gown isn’t a perfect reproduction of the Marchesa Pre-Fall 2016 evening gown. To start with, my gown isn’t made from lace and the skirts are a lot fuller. I wanted this to feel like a confection. The sort of light weight floating thing that would move beautifully when you walked if, you know, paper dolls could walk.
Marchesa is one of my favorite designers. I adore the elegant evening wear the line produces even though I don’t think I’m skilled enough to draw most of it. The highly detailed textiles they use are hard to render in ink. I think perhaps I just need more practice.
Secretly, I also like drawing evening gowns, because they tend to be complete unto themselves. I don’t have to think about tops and bottoms. I can just draw the gown and maybe a matching bag. They feel like less work than separates and, unlike cocktail dresses, I don’t feel a strange need to always draw two. One evening gown will do.
So, I guess you could say I also look at evening gowns as a lazy option.
All fashion styles (main-steam and not) go through evolution. The goth fashion of my teenage years is not the goth fashion of today. Sure, there is some similarities- lots of black, references to death, and corsets. However, like all fashion, it has trends like anything else. When I was younger, goth fashion was a lot of long flared skirts, corsets, crop tops to show off belly-button rings and boot-cut vinyl pants.
Today’s goth fashion (as far as I have observed) is a lot more leggings, tunic tops and large picture hats.
So, I wanted to capture that when I was designing today’s set of goth paper doll clothing. The first challenge was the leggings. A lot of Gothic style leggings are heavily patterned. I chose skulls (something I’m not great at drawing) and roses to go on mine with a background of polka-dots. Conceptually, I wanted the shoes to feel a bit Victorian boot like, but I’m not sure I succeeded in that. I think I should have made them more chunky.
The blouse is based on several I saw online, primarily this one. The hat comes from images like this and this. I wanted it to be clear that the corset belt it part of the blouse, not a separate piece, but I’m not sure I succeeded. Frankly, this whole set is one that I feel like I could have done better on.
The red shirt with the coffin was really my attempt at a gothic t-shirt that wasn’t a band reference, a pentagram (I have several pagan friends and I try not to depict religious symbols in my art that aren’t my own) or a sarcastic saying. Lettering is challenging at the scale I tend to work at.
I made the shirt red, so I could make the coffin black. Otherwise, you can’t really tell it is a coffin.
And on the coffin is a wee little skull.
So, that’s how I ended up with today’s goth paper doll fashions.
All right, so how did I do with my goth fashion attempt? Are there any goth fashion affection-adios out there who can tell me if I am totally off the mark? Let me know in a comment.
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