Dead Roses: Gothic Fashion Paper Doll

There are paper doll sets that go together all smooth and easy and I’m like, wow… this was so simple. And then… then there are sets like this one. It took me four tries to get everything to fit on one page and when it finally came together properly, I found myself thinking- “Why was this so easy? It as hard the last three times I tried it…”

Seriously… ugh…

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On the upside, I have here, in honor of Halloween and October and things, a traditional Gothic paper doll. When I was in high school, a longer time ago than I like to admit, the big trends were Gothic and Punk, now both seem to have given way to Steampunk and various forms of Gothic Lolita sort of styles.

And yes, I am using capitalization in the proceeding paragraph for emphasis, because I Like doing that.

Clearly spending a Sunday afternoon trying to get little paper pieces of clothing to fit on a page puts me in a grouchy feisty mood… so I shall go away now and work on the rest of this weeks posts.

I don’t think its too much of a spoiler to say that the color version will feature a lot of black. She is Gothic after all.

Silk and Steel: Printable Paper Doll with Armor

Color schemes are always challenging. I wanted to keep the colors simple, since so much of it was going to be “silver grey”. As I see it, the “leather” can either be brown or black, but I think it looks off when there is a mix. After some debate, I settled on black and then decided to use white as a contrast color, rather than the more traditional dark shade. The rich red color has a lot of blue into it which keeps it from feeling too “blood red” and softens it against the black and the white.

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Okay, so a question…

Dreamed asked: If you could travel to any time era, in any part of the world, when and where would you go? Why?

Wow… hard question. I have no idea… not very helpful is it?

I guess if I had to go somewhere and visit a period of history, I would want to visit Mainz in Germany when Gutenberg was printing his bible in the mid-1400’s, just so that I could see the press. A little odd, but as a rare books person, I just really want to see it.

I would not want to have to wear the clothing of the early 1400s… that just does nothing for me.

On an utterly unrelated note, I found this beautiful Valentine paper doll on Flickr. I love the way water color looks when it’s well done. Makes me almost want to try traditional media… almost.

Silk and Steel: Paper Doll in Black and White

Marisole has been a lot of things over the years… She’s been a zombie and a pirate and a ninja and a member of Star Fleet, but she’s never just been a warrior chick and I thought she should be, plus I have a friend whose really into Xena and she was remarking that Marisole has been a lot of princesses, but she hadn’t ever really been ready for a fight.

So, here she is, ready for a fight. Though… I confess her armor isn’t really very… practical. Still, she’ll look cute and that’s half the battle.

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Toni Cross

    asked: Did you like playing with dolls as a kid? As in, the non-paper kind? If so, what doll was your favorite? If not, what toy was your favorite and why?

I love dolls as a kid. I still love dolls, though over the years, I have come to realize what I really loved was miniature clothing and things. I loved all the tiny clothing and accessories more than I loved the dolls themselves.

My favorite dolls were Ginny dolls by Vogue. My Ginny’s had all sorts of adventures, but my fondest memories of the Ginny dolls are when my Grandmother came to visit and she would knit and sew them clothing. I still own all the tiny outfits my grandmother made for them and the wooden furniture my grandfather made.

I should mention, Toni has a blog of her own where she has posted a few beautiful paper dolls, I particularly like her baby paper doll named Sammi.

Roccoco Fantasy- Printable Princess Paper Dolls

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Just for Boots, I didn’t make anything pink in this set. 🙂

Originally, there was pink in it, but I do use a lot of pink… which is odd, because I don’t like pink that much in the real world… So, I decided to be anti-pink for a while. Plus I think these dresses are fro-froo enough without adding pink into the mix.

Not that I have anything against pink, mind you… just a thought, really.

And now for a question:

Julie asked: What advice would you give an aspiring paper doll artist? Are there Fashion Illustration books you recommend? How about Figure Drawing books?

To aspiring paper doll artists (and I’m not sure I’m not that far from ‘aspiring’ myself), I’d say the following:

    Draw a lot
    Look at paper dolls you like and try to figure out what you like about them
    Don’t be afraid to copy a style you like- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
    Reference images are your friend
    Draw what you like and what you love, not what you think is popular or other people will like
    Have fun and stretch yourself… even though that’s scary a lot of the time

As for books, I would recommend… I think that’s worthy of it’s own blog post. So, I will work on putting together a list. If i had to name one, it would be Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm. It’s old, but it’s solid and I still use my copy when I need to draw a face in profile. (You might notice, I don’t do that much… cause I suck at it, but I use Hamm whenever I think I want to try again.)

Here’s a question for my readers, would you be interested in knowing what books I use and/or recommend about historical costume or figure drawing?

Roccoco Fantasy: Paper Doll in Black and White

marisole-printable-paper-doll-fantasy-9-3-12{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for the rest of this series}

First of all, Happy Labor Day to those in the USA who get the holiday off. Had I realized it was going to be Labor Day when I posted this paper doll, I would have come up with something thematic… but instead we have crazy Rococo dresses. This is what happens when I work several weeks a head.

Though not Labor Day thematic, I love the 18th century… not historically speaking (I really don’t care much about the French revolution or the American revolution or… I digress), but the period is full of wonderful over the top dresses and wigs. I love the wigs.

Not that I would have wanted to wear them, since they were nearly impossible to clean and made of human hair or sheep’s wool…. and that gets gross fast. There are even reports of rats living in women’s wigs…. All I can say to that is “ewww”

Still, crazy wigs are cool in theory, if not in reality.

Now, for a question:

Dorothy D Lafferty asked: So when will you do a “librarian” paper doll?

Probably not anytime soon… though I do seem to draw a lot of books as accessory items for my paper dolls… so that might say something about me.

I suppose I should eventually do a librarian paper doll, but I don’t know what she would wear. What does a stylish librarian wear?

Unless she’s Batgirl…. Because Batgirl was a librarian… and then I would need a paper Batgirl costume and I don’t know if I’m up for that.

On the other hand, I got to say, Yvonne Craig is pretty darn hot as Batgirl.

And I do have one friend for whom the idea of a Batgirl paper doll would make absurdly happy.

What do you all think a librarian paper doll (Batgirl or not) ought to wear?

On the Board Walk in Color: A Neo-Victorian Paper Doll Set

It is rare that I have the plan for a color scheme in mind before I start drawing, but I knew I wanted this set of paper dolls to be done in a red white and blue color scheme with a nautical twist.

I was playing around with my Photoshop settings on this one and I am not totally pleased with how the line-work came out on the color version. I shall have to look into what I did and think about it a bit more. I didn’t notice it as much on my smaller laptop screen, but working on it on a larger screen it has become very obvious.

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So, I think it’s now question time…

Gillian asked: when did you start drawing paper dolls? and how did you learn to draw?

Well…. I started drawing paper dolls… I don’t even remember when I started drawing paper dolls. My mother used to draw dolls for me and my sister when we were kids. She’d draw the doll as a bribe to get us to clean our rooms or do the dishes and then we would have to draw the clothing. So, that’s when the paper doll thing got started.

I learned to draw mostly by doing a lot of it. I took art classes in high school and middle school, but mostly I am self taught. I’d love to have some time in the future to take some figure drawing classes. I don’t think I do a very good job on my figures. I nearly always draw from a reference image. I don’t really have the ability to draw well without one.

I hope that answers your question Gillian.

By the way, I was trying to do a darker, maybe Latino skin tone here, but I think she came out looking sickly. Too much yellow in the skin, perhaps.

Marisole Monday: On the Boardwalk in Black and White

Somehow, this Marisole paper doll reminded me of trips to the seashore. When I was a child, I remember my family went to Atlantic city for a few weeks one summer. My father’s family is from the East Coast, so the whole group met there. While I remember only vague things from the trip, I recall distinctly walking down the boardwalk with my father and eating black cherry frozen custard which my father would buy for me from a stand on the boardwalk. I still remember how the purple custard was rolled in rainbow sprinkles until they covered it completely.

Every time I eat frozen custard, I think of my father.

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And now, for a question:

Ana asked “how many drafts of any one finished doll do you go through?”

The short answer is that it depends the doll. Dolls are drawn off templates which have seven to twelve drafts. Clothing is lightly penciled and than inked. I don’t usually draft the clothing full-size unless I am having trouble with something and then I do.

There’s also a more detailed long answer. If you want to read it, continue below.

Okay, so here is the detailed version:

I draw paper dolls in stages. The first stage is a doll template. Doll templates evolve over many drafts. Those drafts begin as very very rough and eventually become fairly smooth and detailed. When I was working on the Dictionary Girls, I posted a post where I showed bad scans of the stages of there development.

So, once I have a template, I trace the template and lightly draw it. Than I do a detailed pencil version over than a light penciled version and than I ink that. I took some photos of this a while ago with a set of dresses and you can see them here.

If I screw up a doll, and I often do, it’s in the inking stage usually. So I am always careful not to draw any clothing or anything else until I’ve inked the doll. I draw from templates, so that if I end up hating the doll, I can draw her over again without needed to redraw the body which is the hardest part for me. Plus I can fix things through the power of Photoshop.

I hope that answers the question. 🙂