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.
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.
People who have been reading this blog for a while already know this, but I love twenties fashions. I love the hats. I love the shoes. I love the stylized art deco drawings of the hats and the shoes. Seriously, this era is among my favorites for children and women and men (though less so for men, gotta confess.)
Nevermind the fact that as a woman with serious hips, I would look awful in these styles. I don’t want to wear 1920s dresses, I just think they are beautiful on other people. (Mostly people made of paper who wear whatever I want them too, because I am their creator.)
One of the lovely things about paper dolls is that I can enjoy clothing that I would never want to wear myself.
I think part of what appeals to me about the 1920s is that people had outfits. It was not an era of mix and match clothing like we have today. People had outfits where hats matched their dresses and gloves and bags. I love the idea of matching outfits, as I have mentioned before. My obsession with trousseaux of clothing is well documented throughout this blog.
So, let’s talk about sources… One of the interesting things about twenties fashion is that, in the United States, 1923 is the date before which things are out of copyright. That means that things after 1923 begin to fall under various copyright extensions and other rules. Libraries often steer clear of digitizing works that are post 1923, because of concerns about copyright violation. So, I tend to rely on books more than digitized documents for my post-1923 fashion history needs.
To be honest, I don’t recall exactly what I used for this paper doll set, but I know I at least looked at these, as they are part of my history book collection. I know a few of her dresses come specifically from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties.
So, this is going up a little late today. Sorry about that, but life got crazy this weekend. I want to talk a little bit today about coloring last week’s paper doll and a little about diversity in the paper doll world.
So, when I color a paper doll set, I start with a pallette. I knew I was going to be giving Monica a fairly rich brown skin tone, so that opened up and closed down certain color options. For example, I tend to avoid putting brown colored clothing on brown colored paper dolls, unless the tones are really different, since it can blend too easily. Since she was going to have a rich skin-tone, I decided that bright and color dresses made a lot of sense.
The strapless gown with the belt was based on this gown by Andrew GN and since it had a red top and a pink bottom, that informed the blues and the greens as contrasting colors in the other gowns.
I’m a big believer in paper doll diversity. I think it is really important to have a variety of concepts and skin-tones and, ideally, a variety of concepts in a variety of skin-tones. Truthfully, I tend not to think of my paper dolls in terms of ethnicity, but in terms of color. It it less about, “this paper doll is African-American” and more about “this paper doll is a dark brown with red undertones.”
I used to think I was the only one who thought this way about paper doll skin-tones until I read this post from Julie over at Paper Doll School. I was comforted to find out that we both tend to think in terms of “color” not in terms of ethnicity.
The result of coloring things, perhaps?
What I do know is that no matter how I think about skin-tone, it is crucial to me that I offer readers of all backgrounds and colors paper dolls that reflect them. People should be able to see themselves in the toys they play with.
Yes, I know a lot of my readers are adults, but adults play with toys, too. At least, they should. 🙂 I do.
As a kid, I liked drawing evening gowns and I like to think my paper dolls lead the sort of high style lives where they would need fancy dresses. Plus, we are coming into Prom season, so it seems fitting to draw some prom worthy dresses.
Though, I must say, the older I get the less I find prom dresses to be anything other than gaudy. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare. I did a prom paper doll set back in 2010 based on the dresses I saw for sale in that year.
Monica’s evening and cocktail dresses are all based on real gowns except for the one on the far right with the flower. I totally made that up.
Every printable paper doll set needs to stand alone. This is very important to me. I’d like to think you could just print out and play with this paper doll without needing to print out and play with any others.
In order to do that, I try to have enough paper doll clothes in each set for some variety. I don’t really know how my habit of “two pairs of shoes, at least one pair of pants, one dress, roughly equal tops to bottoms” habit developed in Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll sets, but I certainly have a pattern.
I was feeling like today’s paper doll wardrobe had more tops than bottoms, but it’s really not. Just two more tops for the paper doll than bottoms. There are still about fifty outfit combinations, but maybe the fact that some of the patterns don’t really match each other is what I’m noticing. For example, I wouldn’t put the floral pink and navy top with the navy floral skirt.
Nearly everything I’ve seen for florals this season seems to be fairly dark, so I went with navy for a lot of the background color. The pieces are all meant to feel lady like without being childish. I think florals can fall into the “too sweet” category fairly quickly. Nothing against that look, but it wasn’t what I wanted for this set.
Speaking of florals, and patterns in general, I have a quick poll…
Which is better- solids or patterns?
Both are good (72%, 34 Votes)
Patterns, Way more Fun (15%, 7 Votes)
Solids, Way more Flexible (13%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 47
By the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet… Julie of Paper Doll School is posting a paper doll outfit for every day in December. Support her amazing project by dropping her a comment if you can. It’s such a fun paper doll series.
Florals are in this season (or so the fashion magazines inform me). This suits me just fine, as generally, I like a good floral pattern and I have been having fun drawing them. Plus I think complex patterns make for more fun when coloring.
I usually do my patterns as one motif, or parts of a motif, and then place them using photoshop. I used to think this was cheating, but have decided it saves time and actually creates a better finished product.
All of these florals were created this way and the bird pattern on the sweater which I keep forgetting isn’t a floral. Birds are not flowers, after all.
Meanwhile, I have once again attempted to draw an afro. I wanted to do a slightly larger afro than my last attempt in this paper doll set. Every time I try an afro for a paper doll, I tell myself the next afro will be better. Part of the challenge is conveying the right texture. Still, I think I’ll figure it out eventually.
Until then, I will keep erratically drawing afros on paper dolls for practice.
Not much else to say, except that I successfully finished my 50,000 word novel Sunday as part of National Novel Writing Month. This is the sixth or seventh year I have attempted the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days and only the second time I’ve won.
Also, if you have been getting emails from the email notification system, could you please let me know in a comment? I’m not getting them, but I can’t tell if it is the code or it is my email settings. Thanks.
Among other things I did last night, I took the time to tabulate the number of pages of paper doll content on the blog and update my sidebar. I’m up to 527 pages of printable paper dolls, including my magnetic paper dolls and my random stand alone paper dolls. Yay!
So far this year, I’ve posted 44 different Marisole Monday & Friends sets. For anyone interested, that’s 19 sets in color and 25 sets in black and white. Today’s set in color is totally a favorite. I love her braids, the color scheme and how her bow came out.
So, when I finished a bunch of Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls, I was initially totally proud of myself. Now, it’s several weeks later and I truly couldn’t tell you what I had planned on saying about this paper doll set when it really comes down to it.
I suppose I could say something about how the colors are based on the sunset or about how important I think it is to have fantasy characters with brown skin, but really I don’t know that I haven’t already said all of that before.
I could also express my shock when I once asked a student what she was doing over the weekend and she told me going to the salon to get micro-braids put in.
And I said, “But that won’t take your whole Saturday.”
And she said, “Yeah it will. About six hours.”
And I was stunned into silence.
So, let us hope that the elves have magic or something to speed that process along. If I had magical powers, I would totally use them to make sure I never had a bad hair day and also do my dishes. If you had magical powers, what would you use them for?
Sometimes, I struggle to get started on things, especially when I don’t really want to do them. Saturday night came around this week and I really didn’t want to work on this paper doll. I admit it, the orange dress was giving me fits and I was starting to loath my Pantone Spring 2014 Color Report inspired color scheme.
So, I literally set a timer.
Instead of blowing it off, I took out my cellphone and set a timer for 25 minutes. I told myself I would work on today’s Monica paper doll set for 25 minutes and then I would go do something else. Surely, I could suffer through 25 minutes of coloring. Of course, once the 25 minutes was up, I was so far along that I decided I might as well finish.
And here she is, all colored and everything.
I use a timer to do all sorts of things. From cleaning my apartment in fifteen minute bursts to inking for twenty minutes, I find that once I have done something for a short period of time intensely, I often keep going since I’m already in the middle of it. I hate not finishing things, but sometimes I struggle to get started on them.
As I mentioned before, this set’s color scheme is based on Pantone’s Spring 2014 Color Report and includes several of the Pantone colors. I’m not totally in love with the color choices, but I wanted to stretch myself beyond the colors I tend to naturally gravitate too. Plus, I have done other Pantone inspired color schemes like my Seagulls and Seaside that used the 2013 color report and my Fashion Girl set from 2010 that used the 2009 and 2010 Spring Reports.
Happy Monday everyone. Today’s paper doll is a beachwear set, which has been a very common request. It is modeled by Monica who I’ve felt is rather neglected over the last while. I try to give all of the Marisole Monday and Friends paper doll styles some love. Monica is the newest member of the family and therefore has the fewest doll sets to her name.
So, today’s paper doll has a fair bit of paisley. I wouldn’t have attempted these patterns until I was comfortable using Photoshop to make complex patterns since redrawing the same paisley shape would have been killer. Instead, I drew one of each design and then placed them using photoshop. Paisley is one of the classic patterns, up there with polkadots and plaids. Paisley originally comes out of Persia, but it’s been being used around Europe as well for centuries.
I have to confess that while I am happy at how the patterned pieces in this set came out, I am not looking forward to the complexity of coloring those detailed patterns. I wanted the pants to be like the loose patterned pants which seem to be popular this season, but I rather think they came out just looking fairly clownish.
Never the less, it’s not uncommon for me to dislike one or two pieces of any paper doll set. I guess if I have to dislike one piece than this isn’t such a bad piece to dislike. Also, I didn’t give her any heels which is very odd for me. I rather like heels, but I suppose even paper dolls need to be comfortable sometimes.
Lastly, the current contest/drawing for a custom paper doll is open until Midnight Central Time on the 18th. Enter if you like.