Marisole Monday Medieval Maiden


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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: Medieval Dresses, Sort of…
A black printable paper doll with curly hair and her medieval fantasy dress up gown, shoes and stockings. A paper doll to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

A black printable paper doll with curly hair and her medieval fantasy dress up gown, shoes and stockings. A paper doll to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

So, today’s paper doll doll is Monica of the Marisole Monday & Friends crew with a fantasy dress up thing going. Her gown is vaguely medieval, vaguely not. Sometimes, I just want to draw a pretty dress. Nothing more, nothing less.

And this was one of those times.

I went with a pastel color scheme, because I thought that would look best against Monica’s rich skin tone.

Not sure which Marisole Monday & Friend’s doll is which? Here’s a guide I created last year when people had questions. I need to update it. I probably should write similar guides for all the paper dolls. Would folks find that helpful?

I confess that now that I have been looking at the colors in today’s paper doll dress for a while, they have begun to remind me of a sunrise. The blue dress being the pale sky and the pink and peach the colors of the clouds as the sun rises.

Along with her gown, Monica has white boots and stockings to fill out her paper doll fantasy dress up experience.

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Need a more outfits for today’s Marisole Monday & Friends Paper Doll? Find More Ladies Clothing Here

Marisole Monday & Friends Masquerade: Monica as a Hummingbird


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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations:  Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, Chokers, and Yellow Hibiscus Flowers

A beautiful hummingbird inspired masquerade dress and black paper doll to wear it from paperthinpersonas.com. Also available as a coloring page.

This was the only dress I based on a specific bird subspecies. I knew I wanted to so the Red Throated Hummingbird from the start. Hummingbirds come in so many color combinations, I really felt like I had to pick just one to focus on with this paper doll masquerade gown modeled by the wonderful Monica.

Of course, the choker is red to match the red throat of the hummingbird. The flowers decorating the wig and the gown are yellow hibiscus which are a hummingbird friendly flower. If my Raven masquerade gown was a gothic fantasy, than this gown is much more romantic and soft.

I have some wig instructions if you’re not sure how to make the pocket by pasting on the backing piece. Read them here.

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Tomorrow will be the last bird masquerade gown- a gown based on the Loon.

Need a more outfits for today’s Marisole Monday & Friends Paper Doll? Find More Clothing Here

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: A Dinner or Carriage Dress


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Printable paper doll steampunk inspired dress with a matching hat. Also available in black and white for coloring from paperthinpersonas.com.

Happy Wednesday!

All righty, Dinner or Carriage dresses were worn to evening of later afternoon events that were formal, but not formal enough to warrant full-dress. Carriage dresses are often identifiable, because they are are more fussy and formal than promenade dresses.

The basic order of formality is a walking suit is less formal then a promenade toilette which is less formal than a carriage dress. A dinner dress is less formal than a evening dress, but may also be worn to evening events like come concerts or lectures. Opera was its own insane category.

Who ever said Victorian dressing was simple?

Continuing my 19th century fashion magazines descriptions, here is today’s:

A pale blue bolero jacket with pale blue sleeve puffs worn over a lavender corset with brass button accents. The neckline of the corset is filled with a pale blue high-necked blouse. The matching skirt is lavender and trimmed in pale green with three rows of blue ruffles. The hat is a bowler style trimmed with dark purple fabric roses and a wide blue ribbon band. Without the hat, this ensemble would be a lovely dinner attire and with the hat would be appropriate for afternoon visiting or carriage rides.

I have to confess, I have never been one of those people who romanticizes history. I’m pretty much certain that I like air conditioning, indoor plumbing and antibiotics too much to want to live in the past, but sometimes when I’m working on fantasy romanticized history pieces like this series, I start to think, “Hmmm… it might be fun to get to put on fancy dresses and go to a ball!”

So tell me in a comment what era of history you’d like to visit sometime. I’ve never been able to settle on one, but I think it might be fun to visit the Library of Alexandria or the Aldine Press in Venice.

(My library geek is coming out in those choices.)

Thoughts from all of you? What time period would you like to visit?

If you missed Monday, pop over to that post for Monica and if you love the blog, consider becoming a patron. 

Monica’s Neo-Victorian Wardrobe: The Doll & Her Visiting or Promenade Toilette


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Monica, an african-american neo-victorian paper doll with her walking suit. Also available in black and white for coloring. From paperthinpersonas.com.

So, here we are in week two of the new system for PTP. It’s very exciting. I am feeling excited. Also a little nervous, I must confess.

Monica is our model today. She is, of course, from the Marisole Monday & Friend’s series. This whole week will be a neo-Victorian/Steampunk inspired week with hats, skirts and jackets. As I know I’ve said before, I have a THING for the whole idea of different outfits for different activities. When I’m in Victorian fantasy land, I like to decide which outfit goes with which Victorian activity.

A lady of quality in the Victorian era had a variety of gowns at different levels of formality. At one end of the scale was the house dress or morning dress and at the other end of the scale was a ballgown or full-dress.

Monica’s suit today is a promenade costume, I think. To channel my inner-19th century fashion magazine (everyone should have an inner 19th century fashion magazine), here how I would describe it:

A promenade or afternoon visiting costume in purple wool with a matching jacket. Underneath the jacket, the model wears a lavender shirtwaist. The jacket is trimmed in pale teal and aqua velvet and satin. A wide band of lavender satin decorates the skirt and then several rows of aqua ruffles. The chapeau is dyed to match the suit and trimmed in rosettes of aqua silk, feathers and brass buttons. The entire ensemble is quite smart for street or afternoon wear.

Sometimes I am conflicted as to whether I like the term Neo-Victorian or the term Steampunk better. The truth is that I think this set is more Neo-Victorian in its styling. One of the tropes of Steampunk is high technology made through steam-power and there’s none of those aesthetics in this paper doll. However, no matter how I feel about it, I confess that the SEO for steampunk is far better than the SEO for neo-Victorian.

Thoughts from the audience on that one?

Oh, and a few “housekeeping” things. The link to the coloring page version of today’s paper doll is at the top with the links to the PDF. As always, I strongly urge you to print from the PDF copy and to print it however you have been printing them from the beginning. That will assure that the new stuff and the old stuff still fits.

Last but not least, please consider taking a second to support the blog by becoming a patron.

Dreaming Princess: A Paper Doll Princess

logo-dreaming-princess-bw Whenever I meet young girls and ask them about paper dolls, which I confess I don’t do very often, they seem to often ask for Princesses. I don’t know what it is about paper doll princesses, but it seems to be a popular trend. As a child some of my favorite paper dolls were those of Peck-Grande which featured beautiful fairytale paper dolls with fantastic dresses (Here’s some images from their Beauty and the Beast paper doll or Sleeping Beauty paper doll). As far as I can tell, princess seems to translate to “amazing over the top gowns” and that works for me.

(The feminist in me always wants to give a lecture on the patriarchal nature of historical princess-dom right now, but the lover of pretty dresses in me doesn’t care.)

When I design complex patterns for paper doll clothing, I like to try to keep the outfits themselves fairly simple. I think it is easy to get the pattern “lost” in the lines needed for pleats and folds. So, when I decided I wanted to play around with complex patterns for these gowns, it wasn’t a hard decision to know that I needed a simpler silhouette.

Early Italian renaissance dresses (from about the 1490s) have always had a soft place in my heart. Someday I do want to do an actual “historical” paper doll from this period, but until then, I had fun playing with the silhouette in this paper doll princess set. These styles might look familiar if you remember Her Ladyship from 2014, she was inspired by the same time period.

A paper doll princess coloring page featuring four elegant dresses and two pairs of shoes. Free from paperthinpersonas.com.

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The model for today’s gowns is Monica. You can find more paper dolls featuring her here. Confusion about which Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper doll model is which? I wrote a guide a few months ago.

Every time I design a princess paper doll download with these sorts of elaborate patterned fantasy gowns, I swear that I won’t do it again and then I do. Insanity is doing the same thing over again, expecting different results, they say, but here I found myself once more painstakingly coloring an insanely complex pattern and grumbling about it.

My original plan was to go very traditional with the colors here. In the actual Renaissance, the expense of dye meant that darker colors were more fashionable and expensive than lighter colors. So, that was my first plan- black, red and gold would have abounded.

But then I realized that if I was going to use a dark brown skin-tone for the doll (which was my plan all along) and then went black and red with the clothing, it was going to be a really dark paper doll set. Plus dark colors on these kinda elaborately patterned outfits obscures the black line-work. I spent to darn long coloring this to obscure the nuances of those patterns. So, gold, red and black when out the window for rose, lime and teal. Nothing says spring to me like rose, teal and lime.

Plus, I think the brighter spring colors are nice for a May set. It’s spring here in Alabama, after all.

A black princess paper doll download featuring four colorful gowns and two pairs of shoes. Free from paperthinpersonas.com

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If today’s Monica princess color page needs some friends or more dresses, there’s literally dozens of options, but I think A Noble Lady, Pattern & Grace, Queen of Dusk and Book Loving Princess all make nice accompanying black and white paper doll sets as they are in a similar silhouette. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with deciding today’s Monica freelances as a circus performer or pirate, but I thought if people wanted more “princessy” looks than the four paper doll sets I mentioned above would work well. As many of you know, versatility is very important to me in my paper doll related activities, so I try to point out where one set might interrelate to another set.

After all, I don’t expect y’all to keep track of the 500 paper dolls on the site, especially since I can’t always keep track of them myself.

In case you’re wondering why both the color and the black and white version of today’s paper doll are being posted, there will be a post explaining ALL on Wenesday, or at least MOST. 🙂

It is nice to be back.

Essential Elegance: A Fashion Paper Doll in Color

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories.I’ll be among the first to confess that I am pretty matchy-matchy in my own dressing. I do want my shoes to match my purse and my belt. I realize that’s horribly old fashioned, but I just can’t help it. Unless I’m carrying like teal bag and then I can have on any shoes I want, but if I have a brown bag and black shoes, than I spend the whole day feeling discombobulated. (Dumb, perhaps, but true.) Anyway, I tend towards the same tendencies when designing paper doll clothes.

I think part of it is that the better the colors in the paper doll’s clothes match, than the more outfit options open up. It’s an issue of “playability” in my head. I want every Marisole Monday & Friends set to have a doll and paper doll clothes that could stand alone and be fun by itself. I mean, we all have gotten paper doll sets and cut them all out and then be sad when we realize that really there’s only a few clothing options.

However, I also want every set to be able to share with the other sets. That’s the main reason why, for example, all the Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls share the same pose. If they can’t share than what’s the point?

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories. Free to Print from paperthinpersonas.com

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When selecting colors for today’s Monica paper doll, I close to go with a lighter brown for her skin, because I liked how it looks with the lime green. The red top and the white dress were the two pieces that inspired the whole set of paper doll clothes, so it wasn’t hard to decide to keep them their base colors. The blue was choosen to tone down the bright red and it’s strong contrast with the bright green.

Personally, my favorite part of the set is how the white and black booties came out, but that’s just me.

As always, I’d love to hear what anyone things in the comments and if you like the blog, support it on Patreon.

Essential Elegance: Fashion Paper Doll Celebrating Minimalism

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Let me start with something wonderfully basic about my paper dolls: I do not believe paper dolls should be frumpy. Okay, maybe if that’s the theme you’re going for, than I suppose they can be. However, I think paper dolls about fashion should, you know, actually be fashionable. So, if I am going to draw fashion paper dolls, I am going to try to actually pick a fashion style and go for it.

Way to many “fashion model” paper doll sets end up with rather horrible outfits. I mean, I get it. They are for kids and, let’s be honest, kids have ideas of fashion that are a little unsophisticated. Being not a kid, I feel like fashion and paper dolls should combine to make something delightful.

And, of course, fun to play with.

All this brings us to Monica who is rocking a fantastic wardrobe of minimalist pieces from the Fall Fashion magazines. I’ve done one minimalist fashion paper doll before- Mia Goes Minimalist. I think Monica’s outfits are a little more fancy than Mia’s were.

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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I suppose if you weren’t feeling minimalist, than these could also fall into the futuristic fashion category (especially the dress on the far right). I confess that dress, which I think was in InStyle, inspired the whole paper doll set. Not gonna lie. I just wanted an excuse to draw it.

I do feel like I’ve drawn a few of these pieces “before”, but then I suppose since I’ve gotten to something like 200 Marisole Monday & Friends designs, if things didn’t feel familiar than I would be doing something wrong. (Also, how many ways can you draw a pair of simple trousers? Not that many.)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to everyone in the US! I’d say this paper doll was thematic, but I really don’t think she is.

Anyhow, I’m always up for feedback in the comments and, of course, do please support the blog if you love it through Patreon.

Prima Ballerina: A Ballerina Paper Doll in Color

logo-aa-ballerina-colorSo, one of my first jobs while working in library school was to assist with the digitization of a massive collection of costume design drawings from a group known as the Motley Group (not to be confused with Motley Crue). This let to me eventually finishing my library degree and going onto a degree in Theater History with an emphasis on the history of technical design work.

All branches of theatrical design are about communicating information to the audience seamlessly. In Romeo and Juliet, for example, it is traditional to costume the warring families in different colors. Romeos family might be all in reds, oranges and yellows while Juliet’s family might be in greens, blues and purples. This is useful, because it communicates with the audience immediately which character is associated with which group- important in a play with about 20 characters. Opera and ballet also have costuming traditions. In a medium where people don’t speak and the plots are often rather odd, identifying characters by their colors and style is even more important.

So, when I was selecting colors and costume designs for my ballerina paper dolls, I was well aware that there were traditions that I needed to take notice of. I did my best to keep these costumes fairly “traditional” with the exception of the Firebird. I didn’t like either tutus or the unitards that seemed to be common, so I went with something a little more contemporary.

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Working left to right, the first costume was from the ballet Coppélia- usually costumed in a “folk” style which is also often used for the first act of the ballet Gisselle or any ballet where there seems to be milkmaids and/or county fairs. Next is a costume for the Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker. This is a costume I entirely invented when I didn’t like any of the versions I was seeing online. For my firebird, I chose to do a more modern costume, rather than a traditional tutu. If I was going to costume something no in a tutu, the firebird seemed like the logical choice. Monica is dancing the part of Odette in Swan Lake- next week’s paper doll, Mia, will have a costume for Odile. It is traditional that the part is danced by the same ballerina, but I wanted to split up the costumes across two sets. For Swan Lake, I settled on a traditional sort of costume with some feather detailing and a headdress. From Sleeping Beauty, Monica is dancing the part of the Lilac Fairy. Obviously, her costume was going to be lilac.

Prima Ballerina: A Ballerina Paper Doll

logo-aa-ballerina-bwFor years I avoided drawing a ballerina paper doll. I was asked a lot, but I always shied away.

Mostly, because the idea of drawing tutus frightened me. I work in ink. Ink is great for a lot of things, but I have always struggled with transparency and tulle (that stuff they make tutus out of) is known for both its transparency and its texture. That alone was enough to scare me.

Then, on a fateful day last year, I had no choice. I had to draw a tutu for a contest winner. I hated the outcome of my first tutu attempt, but I swore I would tackle tutus again.

I learn to draw tutus (and I still am learning), I have had to learn to let go a little of my natural instinct for controlled linework. I’ve had to embrace the risk of messy linework. That’s been a struggle and while my tutus still aren’t perfect, they are getting better.

african-american-ballerina-paper-doll-black-white
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So, for my ballet costumes, I chose to do some classic ballets that I love. The characters are Swanhilda from Coppelia (or Gisselle before she dies, either way), The Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker, Odette from Swan Lake (though if you color it black, it could be Odile), the Firbird from The Firebird, and the Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty. I chose Monica for this set, because I was thinking about Misty Copeland and also that I’ve only seen one African-American ballerina paper doll before. That would be one doll in Dover’s book- Ballet Dancers. So, here is a second African-American ballerina paper doll. She’ll be in color next week.

Enjoy!

Jazz Age Baby: A 1920s Fashion Paper Doll

Marisole Monday & Friends Paper Doll Logo. Monica with her 1920s clothing is featured in this post. Back when I started this blog, it was the dead of winter and I was going stir crazy in a one bedroom apartment surrounded by snow. Today, the sun in shining and the weather is lovely and I am still at this nearly six years later.

Time does fly.

Okay, so way back in 2011, I did this paper doll called Art Deco Goddess. I was full of ennui when I wrote that post. It is both melodramatic and whiny. Not to suggest that I’m not capable of being both melodramatic and whiny at my age today, but try to at least steer clear of being too melodramatic and whiny.

Anyway, I just thought of it, because Art Deco Goddess like Jazz Age Baby are both 1920s fashion paper dolls and this one can, of course, share clothing with her predecessor.

Jazz Age Baby, however, owes a fair bit to the hair of Josephine Baker and a bit to the fun wardrobes of ladies of the twenties.

A black 1920s fashion paper doll with five dresses, seven hats, and two pairs of shoes. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com
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Now technically, Monica should be wearing stockings and a garter belt and slip and all sorts of 1920’s underwear, but I thought another paper doll might want to borrow her shoes or she might want to get to be fairy or in jeans and so I did not give her period underwear. I’m pretty much okay with this choice. I rarely give my historical paper dolls period undies.

Hope everyone has a lovely Monday!