Dead Roses: Gothic Paper Doll

I feel a little weird saying this is in color when the color is mostly black…

Not the most cheerful color scheme ever developed for a paper doll. I almost made it all black, but that seemed a bit much, even for Gothic Marisole. If you look closely, you’ll see one of my usual tricks for keeping things from looking totally “flat” is to use shades of the same color. So while everything is “black” there is still some definition between the various parts of the garments. I actually did this Marisole in four shades of very very dark grey which look black, but still allow the line work to be seen.

It’s all an illusion.

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So, Meredith asked: I think a ballerina paper doll would be cool or mabey a pool / summer themed doll also for some ting tiffrent you could do dolls theamed ot colors of the rainbow

how long have you been drawing paper dolls for?
could you do a cow girl paper doll that would be cool and diffrent

To answer the easiest question, I have been drawing paper dolls for as long as I can really remember. It began when my mother would draw me a doll as a bribe for cleaning my room or other activity and then I had to draw the clothing. Eventually, that evolved into drawing my own paper dolls, though I still prefer clothing to the dolls.

As for your requests, I have added them to my list of ideas. I usually keep a running list of ideas, but since most paper dolls are drawn weeks (sometimes months) before they eventually get posted, I can’t promise anything as far as doing any of those ideas. And I probably won’t to the ballerina, because tutu’s scare me.

To answer a related question, Tawny asked: What is your favorite sort of paper doll to draw? I mean… I think eeery thing you do is great, but what do you like to do the most?

I like drawing everything. I do find I tend to return to certain themes a lot. I like things that are a little alt-fashion inspired and a little fantasy inspired. I often draw from fashion magazines, because it makes deciding what to draw simpler. I always fear that I will fall into a rut and draw the same thing over and over again. I try to keep things interesting using reference images and other materials.

Got a question you want me to answer on the blog?Ask me here.

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.