A Pair of Lovey-Doveys: Thought’s on Sewing Up These Baby Gifts

So, in my last pattern review, I made a teddy bear for my sister. I also whipped up two of these little Lovey-Doveys, also designed by Abby Glassenberg.

(I swear I sew patterns other than hers, but I have been in full on ‘baby gift’ mode.)

While I made these on Sunday after making my Teddy Bear, I wanted to post about them separately, because they are a totally different pattern.

And now, onto the review…

bear-bunny-lovey-dovey

All the pieces cut out and waiting on the table to be sewn up.

Time to Complete: About 2.5 hours (I made two and did them over three days, so I’m not positive on the time investment.)

Number of times I pulled out “Jack the Seam Ripper”: 2

I made a bunny and a bear “Lovey-Dovey” or “Blanket Animals”. I bought a set of Lovey Dovey patterns from Abby Glassenberg Designs like last year in the deluded belief I would make them for a co-worker’s grandchild. Obviously that didn’t happen.

When I was at Hancocks for their clearance sale, the pattern (Simplicity 1681) was on-sale (Abby licenses some of her designs to them) for a very reasonable price. So, I picked it up for the bear pattern and also used it for the blanket animals rather than printing out my pattern, because I am lazy and was out of printer ink.

Clear as mud? Lovely.

lovey-dovey-collage-2

Picking out fabrics and cutting out an ear. I live dangerously and cut out my tissue paper patterns.

So, anyway, since the parents have decided not to know the gender of the baby, I picked up neutral fabrics for the ear linings. I probably could have raided  my stash, but why waste a good excuse to buy fabric, especially sale fabric?

I didn’t want to do a classic white bunny, since that seems like a bad idea given that babies are messy little creatures, so I instead I went with some grey fleece for the bunny and light brown fleece for the bear. I didn’t want to make both critters out of the same color fleece.

I love how the bunny and the bear turned out. 

lovey-dovey-collage

The back of one bear showing off his tail and my bunny with his adapted tail.

When with cutting the back of my first teddy bear and then inserting the tail, I somehow didn’t catch all the layers when I sewed it up again afterwards and had to fix it by hand. However, it worked much better the second time I tried (practice works!) and so the Lovey-Dovey bear tail came out well. The pattern called for using pom-pom for the bunny tail, but since I don’t like pom-poms, I gathered a circle to make the tail.

Uses of Jack:

Jack came out twice for this set. First, I attached one of the bunny ears to the wrong side of one of the head pieces and it had be to removed to re-attached. I also messed up while hand sewing on the bears ears and out came Jack once more.

He’s a good little seam ripper.

But, all things considered, Jack hasn’t gotten to spend much time out of his box this time. I say this, but I know that soon enough Jack with make a reappearance. (He always does.)

Final Thoughts:

According to Abby’s blog, While She Naps, her Lovey-Dovey patterns are her best sellers. I can see why.

They are fast and so cute. I want to make more of them. I want to make a whole menagerie of little blanket animals for every baby I know and possibly for babies I don’t know.

And I love that by just switching out the head and the tail, you can make a new creature. Once you figure out the process, it’s pretty fast.

I did all the machine sewing for both creatures and then sat down with some Netflix to embroider the faces and attach the the heads to the bodies. I tend to work tyhis way, doing the machine work and then in the evening or the next day, doing the handwork. It’s funny, when I create paper dolls I work the same way. I ink a bunch, than I scan and bunch, than I color a bunch. I guess I just like working in batches. 

So, I highly recommend this pattern, but I would buy it direct from Abby Glassenberg Designs (unless you too have a Hancock that is closing near you), because I think her photo instructions are SO much better than the ones in the Simplicity package which confused me in a few places. (Ear attachment, for one.)

bear-bunny-lovey-dovey-5

My finished bear and bunny. By the time I got this photo, it had gotten dark.

She also has this great video on how to ladder stitch that I watched before I started. Technically, I have ladder stitched before, but it was a nice reminder and I think I did better after watching and it was linked in her pattern, or I wouldn’t have known it existed.

Has anyone else made a Lovey-Dovey?

Next, I’m working on some cloth dolls by Jess Brown. Also a gift, so taking notes while I sew and I will share them once they have been mailed off.

And after that… Well, I haven’t decided, though there is a replacement bear to be made.

Paper Doll Studio Issue 114

So, kinda a belated review of the latest issue of Paper Doll Studio. It arrived in April while I was on my Hiatus, but I knew I wanted to talk about it upon my return. For those of you who don’t know, Paper Doll Studio is the magazine of the Original Paper Doll Artists Guild (OPDAG) and comes out four times a year. Each issue has a theme and artists submit paper dolls relating to that theme for the issue. For example, Issue 114’s theme was “Holidays.”

review-pd-1

Once I get an issue of Paper Doll Studio, I immediately read it.

I really enjoyed it, of course, I always do. I mean, it’s like getting a surprise in my mail box when it arrives. I don’t usually check the mail (mail-checking and garbage are my boyfriend’s jobs), but I always get so excited when he comes up the stairs and hands me the distinctive package from Paper Doll Studio Press.

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The featured artist for Paper Doll Studio was Cory Jensen.

Each issue has a featured artist and this time it was Cory Jensen. While I very much enjoyed Mr. Jensen’s article on his work (and his art is quite compelling), the amateur copyright scholar in me wondered about the legal ramifications of drawing paper dolls of other’s intellectual property and the ethical ramifications, as well. Not something he touched on in his article, but I rather wish he had. I think its a serious question that anyone who draws fan-art should be considering.

Along with Jensen’s article, there was a fun piece by David Wolfe on his tradition of creating paper doll cards for Christmas, but I’d have liked some more advice on how someone could do a similar project, rather than just a recap of what he’d done. My favorite articles are always the ones that talk about process and are a little practical, so I enjoyed very much Judy M Johnson’s article on Paper Doll Methods and Materials. (Judy is a dear woman who, after I cold called her once while I was working on a conference paper on World War 1 and 2 paper dolls, talked to me for over two hours on the telephone.)

Julie’s St. Patrick’s Day paper doll got a full page spread which made me cheer for her. She deserves it and you can print out her paper doll here. I always try to pick a favorite paper doll from each issue. This time I struggled a little, but I settled on two. Karen Hunter, an artist I was not familiar with, did a fantastic Halloween paper doll and Larry Bassin had four paper dolls in the magazine. I have always, and probably will always, love Bassin’s work and he was a big influence on the flat color style I use in my own paper dolls. I mean look out at that fantastic line-work.

pd-review-collage

Karen Hunter’s paper doll is on the right. Larry Bassin’s work is on the left.

Every time I get an issue of Paper Doll Studio magazine, I swear that “next time” I’ll get my act together and submit something. Well, menswear is up next and I am going do it this time! I just… you know… need to get my act together.

Jenny, editor of the Magazine, was interviewed on this blog a few months ago. By the way, if you don’t already subscribe, I highly recommend it to anyone who loves paper dolls. It’s under 30 dollars a year and you get four issues of fun paper doll content. Here’s the link to subscribe.

My First Teddy Bear: A Review of Simplicity 1681

Time to Complete: 3 hours

Number of times I pulled out “Jack the Seam Ripper”: One

I wanted to make a quick fun baby gift for my Sister and Hancocks was closing. So, I popped in to check out the sale and picked up Simplicity 1681, designed by Abby Glassenberg, at a pretty good discount. I’ve always admired her soft toy design and her blog, “While She Naps.” So, I was really pleased to get the pattern and get to try it out. Plus, I wanted to see the differences in directions between her self published work and her licensed work. That way I would know in the future if I wanted to buy the Simplicity versions or directly from Abby.

Confession- I finished this guy in April, but didn’t want to post about him until he was in the hands of my Sister. Nothing worse than your sibling learning about her baby gift from a blog before the gift arrives.

I’ve never made a bear before, so I was pretty nervous. I think the small size was particularly challenging. Somehow, I didn’t notice that the pattern said the bear was only 12 inches tall. Tiny little guy.

I picked up some dark brown fleece and some quilting cotton to line the ears with. Since my Sister has decided not know the gender of her baby, I picked out fun striped fabric that could be for a boy or a girl.

Brown and colorful striped quilting cottons for the teddy bear I made from Simplicity 1681.

Picking out gender neutral baby fabrics is actually pretty tough.

There’s a step in the pattern where you fold in all the limbs and sew on the back of the body. That would have been easier if I had noticed that the directions said to “lightly stuff” the limbs. Opps.

After that, you tuck the head into the neck-hole and sew around the neck to attach the head. I looked at that and thought, there is no freaking way I am managing to sew that on my machine. I am just not that good.

So, I hand back-stitched the head to the body instead. I hope it’s secure enough. This is for a baby after all… but my sister can sew so I’m sure she can fix it if there is a head related mishap. Teddy bear decapitations ruin everyone’s day. (I wrote this before I found out what eventually happened to the bear… I can proudly say the head did not come off.)

Also, working with polar fleece is a dream. I’d never done it before, but it has no grain. It doesn’t ravel and it is pretty resilient to seam ripping. The only problem is that Hancock had a 2 yard minimum on their fabric cuts (since they were closing). Now, I’ve got A LOT of brown fleece. So, much that I could make an army of bears. Since I mostly sew doll clothes and dolls, I don’t know what I’ll do with 1.5 yards of left-over fleece.

Occurrences Of Jack the Seam Ripper:

Just one actually, which was kinda shocking. The first time I tried to embroider the face, I was copying the design on the envelop. It’s cute, but I wasn’t keen on how it looked when I did it.

I am not a smiling stuffed toy kinda girl. (Not shocking to anyone whose seen my paper dolls…)

 

A photograph of the embroidery on the face of my teddy bear head.

My redone face and my messy dining room table where I sew.

So, I tried to take out the embroidery with Jack, but ended up cutting a hole in the fleece. It wasn’t hard to stitch up a new face and try again though.

While I didn’t use Jack much, I did have to actually secure a fair number of things by hand. So, I used my sewing needles and thread more than Jack this time.

A back and front views of Simplicity 1681, a teddy bear pattern designed by Abby Glassenberg.

Here’s my finished bear and look, he has a cute tail. And I really should have given him a once over with the lint roller before photographing him.

Final Thoughts:

Pretty much all my problems came from the small size and my errors- not issues with the pattern design. Despite a few struggles I still ended up with a pretty darn cute bear!

I’d recommend this pattern to others who have never made a bear before. It was a bit more complex than I was expecting, but not absurdly so. That head attachment though… you gotta be kidding me.

I’ll also admit that I judge a good pattern by how much I want to make it again. I don’t think I’m desperate to make another bear, but if there’s a baby shower I need a gift for, a bear would be an easy one. I’m pleased with the results (though he is a little wonky) and I am so glad to get to send him off too my Sister.

You can pick up the pattern direct from Abby Glassenberg or from anywhere Simplicity patterns are sold. I would buy it from Abby, since I did decide I liked her photo directions better than the Simplicity directions.

An Epilogue:

teddy-bear-dog-attack

Poor bear.

So, I wrote up this post, scheduled it and then got a phone call from sister informing me of “horrible news.”

My mind immediately went to family disaster of some sort. Fortunately, no one human was in the hospital.  It turned out that her Sweet Dog and the Other Dog she was house sitting got their paws (or teeth, really) on the bear while she was showering. When she emerged, the dogs had torn up the teddy bear beyond repair.

After I finished laughing at the image of Sweet Dog enjoying the bear and she finished blaming it all on the Other Dog, I promised I would make another bear for her as soon as I could.

So, I guess I’ll be making my second teddy bear much sooner than I thought. Time to go cut some more fleece.

Also, I can safely add to my review that while the teddy bear was enjoyed by the dogs, it did not fair very well structurally, so I would not recommend it as a chew toy.

And Then Everything Changed….

Having run the blog for six years, the time has come for some changes. So, things are going to be shifting around here. Please be patient while I get it all sorted.

Here’s a few things you can expect:

1. Monday’s are now paper doll days!

Every Monday, there will be a free paper doll. Sometimes, it’ll be a Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll. Sometimes it won’t, but every Monday there will be a free paper doll. 

The truth is that the current schedule is NOT sustainable. I have come to realize that. So, I have deciding that going from 76 paper dolls a year to 52 is a logical first step in lowering my stress and maintaining my sanity. 

2. More Diverse Content

One of the things my month long break taught me was that I am simply getting a bit bored with paper dolls.

Now, I want to return to another passion- sewing dolls & doll clothes. So, I am going to use this blog as I used it many years ago to hold myself accountable to my art, I am going to use it to hold myself accountable again to my sewing. 

This  is a strange new journey I’m heading out on. I hope you’ll join me. 

meet_jack

As sewing will be coming to the blog, allow me to introduce: Jack the Seam Ripper. A good friend of mine who will, I suspect, make a lot of appearances here.

3. A New Patreon Scheme

The Patreon system is undergoing some changes. I haven’t got all that sorted, but “watch this space” as they say. 

4. A Continued Commitment to Regular Posting

I have learned so much from running a blog. I have learned, not just about drawing, but about SEO and Social Media and engagement. I have learned wonderful things. I am committed to keeping the blog updating regularly. And that isn’t going to change. 

I am happy to answer questions about these changes if anyone has one.

Hiatus for April

haitus-april-2016

So, as you might have guessed from the graphic, the blog will be in haitus from April 1st until March 2nd. I’m making this annoucement today, not tomorrow (the last day in March), because I know people expect a Wenesday post and I thought more people would see it.

Why a Haitus? You ask.

Well, I’ve been struggling to build up the sort of backlog of paper dolls I really need to maintain the schedule I want to maintain. Futhermore, there’s some complicated things going on in my life both personally and professionally. This will give me a month to work on backlog without having to worry about how I don’t have something ready for Monday or Friday.

It is my hope that the mental space will allow me to experiment with some new things.

When Will I return?

I’ll be back on Monday the 2nd of May with the usual Marisole Monday post.

Any questions or thoughts? Let me know.

You can still, of course, contact me via email at paperthinpersonas@gmail.com.

While you’re waiting for my return, why not check out some of the archives? There’s over 500 pages of paper dolls on the site, so there should be some you’re never seen. The Magnetic & Printable Paper Doll Index breaks them down by subject and theme, or you can just work through the monthly archives. Though the archives start with December 2009, there was no paper doll that month, so might I advise starting with January 2010.

A Guide to Marisole Monday & Her Friends!

Recently, I was asked by a reader named Amy asked me to explain the various Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls who I refer to by name. So, I have decided to post this little guide today to explain each of the different paper dolls.

The truth is that the names are just a way for me to refer to faces which I use over and over again. It is not as though I have written little backstories for each of them or anything. It is just a better method than refering to them as numbers or Greek Letters like some sort of paper doll SWAT team.

“Alpha paper doll, this is Delta, do you hear me?” “Stat.” Okay… I digress. (But now really want a paper doll SWAT team.)

When I first introduced Marisole Monday, I had no intention that there was ever going to be more “faces” or base dolls added, but well… things evolve over six years, don’t they?

So, here we have the guide to the Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls.

 

The Ladies

 

Marisole Monday

Debuted January 11, 2010
3
I feel fairly strongly that the whole Marisole Monday & Friend’s series wouldn’t exist without Marisole Monday, the first of the paper dolls. After I drew her, I thought she looked like Halle Berry. While Marisole’s had every skin color from blue to brown, I will always think of her like I think of Halle Berry- as a smart, sassy, beautiful woman of color. I can’t help it. These days I only give her fair skin at the request of readers on custom paper dolls, otherwise I prefer her to have brown skin like her inspiration.

Her name is spelled Marisole, not Marisol, because I actually didn’t realize that it wasn’t spelled Marisole, normally, for over a year and than it was far to late to change it. 🙂 Her last name is Monday, because I always planned to post her on Mondays.

Picking just a few favorite Marisole Monday sets is almost impossible for me, but I do love In the 1910s (color), Sweet Cream (black and white), Vintage Evening Gowns (color)Pattern & Grace (black and white) and Under the Big Top (color).


Mia

Debuted April 25, 2011

Mia of Marisole Monday & Friends. Mia was Marisole’s first friend. I created Mia at the request of a reader who wanted a Chinese Street Fashion paper doll. I have gotten far more comfortable drawing Asain features since I created Mia (specifically eyes with epicanthic folds), but then I first drew Mia was totally nervous. I remember carefully observing Asian students on the bus at my grad school and doodling their faces in a little notebook I carried. More than a few noticed, but no one asked me to stop.

Of all the paper dolls, Mia has gone through the most minor alterations over the years as her eyes have been adjusted, she’s had a tiny nose job and a few other things. At this point, I finally feel pretty good about how she looks.

A few of my favorite Mia sets include Guardian at the Gate (color), Visiting A Bathing Place (black and white), Southwest Boho (color)Ragamuffin Girl (black and white), and An Elven Empress (color).


Margot

Debuted January 14, 2013

Margot of Marisole Monday & FriendsI drew Margot so I could stop giving Marisole fair skin when I wanted to create a white paper doll. I never liked how Marisole looked with fair skin and since I’ve always thought of Marisole as black, it bothered me to give her light skin. Margot solved this problem.

Not unsurprisingly, she debuted with red hair and freckles as part of an 1860s historical set.

A few of my favorite Margot sets include Lilies & Birds (color), Lady at Court (black and white), Twirling Majorette (black and white), A Coastal Princess (color) and In Wonderland (color).


Monica

Debuted February 10, 2014

5Monica was originally going to be named Magnolia, until an observant reader reminded me that I had already used that name. Opps.

Monica’s face was a complete re-draw, rather than just a alteration of features or a new pair of eyes. She was inspired by African supermodels like Alek Wek, Ajak Deng and Ataui Deng. When I drew her, I had been working on this idea of each of the paper dolls having a “usual” skin tone. So, for a while I would default to different shades for each doll. This isn’t something I am still doing, but at the time Monica defaulted to her own custom Hex skin color of #502e22 .

A few of my favorite Monica sets are On Future Streets (color)Paisley Summer (black and white), Bouquet of Florals (color)Prima Ballerina (color) and Jazz Age Baby (black and white).


Maeghan

Debuted March 2, 2015

Maeghan of Marisole Monday & FriendsMeaghan is named for one of my best friends. I designed her, because when I create Tibbets and Kirtles, my paper doll from the 1300s, I has just used Margot in a set called Weekend Denim. Anyway, I had no desire to create another Margot doll in such a short time frame, so I create Meaghan. I had planned on her being a one-off, but I actually really liked her and ended up using her again shortly after.

Eventually she needed a name, so I asked my good friend Maeghan if she would be willing to loan her name to a paper doll set, and she agreed. So Meaghan was born.

A few of my favorite Maeghan sets include Tibbbets and Kirtles (black and white), Maiden of the North (color) and Rose Princess Ballgowns (black and white).


Other Friends

Debuted At Various Times

other-freindsSo, sometimes I decide a paper doll set needs a different face. Maybe I’m basing it off a character I created or maybe I’m just bored. Either way, when this happens, I stick that paper doll into the “Other Friends” category.

In Other Friends there have been aliens, fairies and one Shadowrun character. It’s as catch all category and one which will keep growing, I suspect.

It’s really tough to pick favorites in this category, because they are all different. A few I really love are Sewing the SeventiesFabulous Fairy (color) and Space Princess (color).

The Gents

 

Marcus 1.0

Debuted July 22, 2013- Currently Retired. 

marcus1 After many many requests, I attempted to draw the first “male” in the Marisole Monday & Friends series in July of 2013. Drawing men is not my strenght, but I wanted to try. Unfortunately, he was totally out of proportion to Marisole and I was never pleased with how his face looked. So, after two sets, he ended up getting shelved.

It was a long time before I attempted Marcus 2.0.

There are only two Marcus 1.0 sets that were ever drawn. You can see all four versions (two black and white and two color) over here.


Marcus 2.0

Debuted October 27, 2014

marcusAbout a year after Marcus 1.0, I tackled Marcus 2.0. Is he perfect? Nope, but I am a lot more pleased with him than I ever was with Marcus 1.0. Part of this was finally settling on a way to draw male mouths that looked not too girly and not too frowny. Marcus, like Marisole, was intended to be of African descent and he defaults to a medium-brown skintone.

I have tried very hard to avoid assigning Marcus a role. I realize it is traditional in paper dolls for the male paper doll to be the boyfriend of the lady paper dolls, but I tend to think that he could jut be a friend, not interested in ladies or he could be a brother (or all of the above). Who am I to decide what role in Marisole and the other ladies lives Marcus plays?

Up to this point, there have only been five Marcus 2.0 sets, so I don’t know if I cam pick a “favorite”. I would say though that I have a soft spot for my most recent set- Sensational Suits (black and white) and Airship Mechanic (color).


Mikhail

Debuted September 28, 2015

mikhailMikhail is the latest member of the Marisole Monday & Friends family. In fact, he only has one set, so far. I created him, because I wanted guy paper doll of European descent. So, he came into existence for many of the same reasons Margot did.

Mikhail’s only got one set at the moment which is him as a knight.

Yes, I do plan to add more sets for him in the future. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.


And that’s it. So, now you know who Marisole is and who her friends are (or enemies).

I’ll be the first to admit that if someone had told me that when I first posted Marisole Monday  that I was going to still be drawing sets for this series six years later, I would have laughed and laughed. Here I am though and she remains the MOST popular paper doll on the blog by a long shot.

I think part of that staying power is that the paper dolls can share clothing. So, if you love a ballgown, but don’t love the doll it goes with- pick a new one.

Thoughts? Comments? Does this clear up any confusion?

Valentine’s Day Paper Dolls from Paper Thin Personas

Valentine’s Day in on Sunday and while I won’t be drawing a “new” paper doll for it this year, I wanted to share the Vantine’s Day paper dolls I’ve drawn for it in the past. Instead on Friday, we’re going Post-Apocolytpic and I think we can agree that after the end of Civilization, there will be no time for Valentine’s Day.

(This was not my cosmic plan, but life just worked out that way this year… I’ll try to make it up with other successful holiday paper dolls.)

So, I love drawing Valentine’s Day paper dolls, because I think it’s a wonderful excuse to draw hearts and make things cute and pink and over the top. I really really enjoy getting to play with my more girly-side when I draw these sorts of paper dolls.

Valentine’s Day Paper Dolls

Click on the image it will take you to the paper doll post where you can download and print a PNG or a PDF file

The paper dolls featured here are (left to right):  Valentine’s Day (two color schemes), Victoria: A Valentine’s Day Paper Doll, Happy Valentine’s Day, Valentina, and Celebrate Valentine’s Day

My favorite of all these paper dolls is Victoria, my nod to old 1900s Valentines, but don’t tell the others. I wouldn’t want to induce paper doll jealousy.

Obviously, the Poppets paper doll outfit for ‘Celebrate Valentine’s Day’ needs a paper doll to wear it, so here’s where you can find all the Poppets dolls.

Anyone have big plans for Valentine’s Day? (Mine involve a nice dinner at home and maybe some TV.)

Alice in Wonderland Paper Dolls

Oh, Alice… How I adore you and have for many years. Today is Lewis Carroll’s Birthday and I thought I would honor it with a showcase of the Alice in Wonderland Paper Dolls which have appeared on the blog. (The actual title of the book is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it has been shorted so often that everyone seems to call it Alice in Wonderland.)

I still remember my Mother reading me and my sister Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when we were children. I have an Alice paper doll set reprint from Ladies’ Home Journal that I keep framed on my wall. So, you might say, Alice and I have a long history together.

Alice paper dolls… well, I have drawn a few.

And chances are that I will draw more. There is something about Alice that I find myself returning to over again. It’s odd, actually, because are large amount of the humor in Alice is about Victorian educational practices that we are long removed from. Still, I think there is always a place for nonsense in childhood and adulthood.

Alice in Wonderland Paper Dolls

Click on the image it will take you to the paper doll post where you can download and print a PNG or a PDF file. 

The paper dolls featured here are (left to right): In Wonderland (black and white), In Wonderland (color), Shadow & Light #8- Alice & the Mad Hatter, Alice: Modern Edition and Curves: Down a Rabbit Hole. 

So, my question to all of you of is this: Do you like Alice In Wonderland? Is there another Victorian piece of children’s literature, you prefer?

Should I keep drawing Alice or just get over it? 🙂

Interview with Paper Studio Press Founder Jenny Taliadoros

The Paper Studio Press LogoJenny Taliadoros is the publisher and founder of Paper Studio Press. You can purchase Paper Studio Press books through Paper Doll Review (where I buy a lot of paper dolls for my collection), Amazon or the Paper Studio Press, directly. Paper Studio Press has published some of the paper doll artist greats including Tom Tierney, Marilyn Henry, David Wolfe, Jim Howard, Brenda Sneathen Mattox, Norma Lu Meehan, Judy M Johnson, Sandra Vanderpool, Eileen Rudisill Miller, Bruce Patrick Jones and Charlotte Whatley. Taliadoros is also an editor of the Paper Doll Review Magazine and Paper Doll Studio Magazine, which is the publication of the Original Paper Doll Artist’s Guild (OPDAG).

Plus, she’s really nice. 🙂

I contacted Jenny last year, around the same time I spoke to Dover Publishing. My original goal was to get this Q&A published in December, but that month turned out to be far more crazy than I intended. Plus, my visitor numbers always plummet in December and I thought this was an important post to go up when my readership was high. After all, Paper Studio Press is one of the only paper doll publishers in the United States today.

A Q&A Session With Jenny Taliadoros & Paper Studio Press

Did you play with paper dolls as a kid? And what were your favorites if you did?

Yes! I sure did. Most of my paper doll memories take place at my grandma’s house. We’d cut out paper dolls together, and in fact, she’s the one who taught me how to correctly cut paper dolls, “Keep the scissors steady in one hand while turning the paper in the other.” I had several antique fashion paper dolls that I loved and some contemporary characters of the time (1970s): “Denim Deb,” “Freckles and Sniffles,” and “The Sunshine Family.”

When did Paper Studio Press start publishing paper dolls? Roughly, how many paper doll titles are published in a year?

Classic Fairy Tales Paper Dolls in Historical Fashion by Brenda Sneathen Mattox, published by Paper Studio Press

Classic Fairy Tales Paper Dolls in Historical Fashion by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

I started Paper Studio Press in 2005, not only to give collectors more access to paper dolls, but to create a new avenue for paper doll artists to get their work published. Through the Paper Doll Studio magazine, which I had been publishing for OPDAG, The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild, since 1991, I was already in touch with many talented paper doll artists. So with my new publishing venture, I was thrilled to work with so many of these wonderful artists and get more of their paper doll art on the market. I publish 12-16 books a year, most are beautifully illustrated by artists of today, while some are reproductions of vintage paper doll books of the past.

How do you select which paper doll titles to publish? Has the Internet changed any of this selection process?

I try to match subjects with the strength of each artist. For example, Brenda Sneathen Mattox is a vintage fashion expert and beautifully renders antique fashions, so her titles for PSP include “The Changing Shape of Fashion,” “Love of Lace,” and “Classic Fairy Tales in Historical Fashion.”

Femme Fatales of the Film Noir Paper Dolls by David Wolfe published by Paper Studio Press

Femme Fatales of the Film Noir Paper Dolls by David Wolfe

David Wolfe, a renowned fashion illustrator and trend forecaster, is an authoritarian on classic movie stars so he’s done numerous star books such as Ava Gardner, Donna Reed, Debbie Reynolds, Veronica Lake and Doris Day. He’s also done several paper doll books, containing special collections of film costumes such as “Hollywood Goes to Paris” and “Hollywood Style of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

I don’t think the Internet helps me choose paper doll topics; however, it certainly helps in researching content for paper dolls!

There are very few paper doll publishers left in the United States, how do you see paper doll publishing shifting in the future?

As the population ages, I’m afraid the younger generations are not as willing to collect paper dolls, in book form anyway. With online options like Pinterest, people can create their own virtual collections of paper dolls. Also, it’s easy to find free downloadable/printable paper dolls online, making it less necessary to buy printed books. But I hope we can continue to find that niche market so we can continue publishing books for many years (if not decades) ahead.

Paper Studio Press also publishes reprints of vintage paper doll books. How do you select what vintage titles to reprint?

First and foremost, the art must be very well done and it must have an appealing cover design. The subject can range from sophisticated fashions to cute kids. The title must also clear copyright, and when doing a movie star reproduction that can be tricky. In some cases I’ve paid a licensing fee to reproduce a vintage star book. There are some grey areas in republishing and it’s important to do proper research and consult with an intellectual copyright attorney.

Can you outline the paper doll publishing process? Does Paper Studio Press accept unsolicited submissions?

COUTURE: The Many Faces of the 1920s by Jim Howard published by Paper Studio Press

COUTURE: The Many Faces of the 1920s by Jim Howard

The publishing process always starts with a creative concept. It could be a specific topic for a book or an idea for a series of books. Much of the time I present a topic to an artist. If he or she is excited about the idea I then prepare a contract which outlines the scope of the project and grants Paper Studio Press the right to publish the work. Once I receive the artwork everything gets scanned into Photoshop. At this point I might have to add page layout elements, add tabs to costumes and complete a cover design. The entire book is set up in a page layout program. The final stage is to create a high res PDF which I send to my printer. Because I feel it’s important to have our books printed in the USA, I work with a local printer in Maine.

Regarding unsolicited submissions, this doesn’t work so well with my publishing company. Although we’ve published nearly 130 titles, we’re still considered small with a small budget. Because I’m not able to pay artists high fees, it’s imperative that I have a good working relationship with my artists and that they truly enjoy the projects they do for my publishing company. So I feel it’s important to build a rapport with an artist before we agree to publish a book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring paper doll artists?

A Steampunk Tale: Paper Dolls and Storybook by Charlotte Whatley, Paper Studio Press

A Steampunk Tale: Paper Dolls and Storybook by Charlotte Whatley

It’s important to get your work out there. Set up a website or blog to show off your paper dolls. If you want to sell them, try Etsy or Ebay or even your own e-store. I recommend starting with self-publishing. Get copies made at a local printshop or office supply store and sell paper dolls as individual sheets or sets or as stapled books. Join OPDAG (The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild) and share your work in the pages of our magazine, “Paper Doll Studio.” If possible, attend regional paper doll parties/events or the national paper doll convention. Visit http://opdag.com/convention.html for more info.

What do you believe makes for a successful paper doll book?

Having the right topic is key. There’s a big fan base out there for classic films so we’ve done very well with our classic star books, especially Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, Esther Williams and Bette Davis. There’s also a big nostalgia market, so we’ve had success with titles such as Cinderella, Nancy Drew, Rosie the Riveter and Fun With Grandma. Paper doll collectors also love fashion history, brides and royalty, so we’ve done dozens of books representing those subjects. No matter what the topic the book must be well illustrated, with an attractive cover design.


Again, a big thank you to Jenny Taliadoros for her willingness to talk about paper dolls with me.

Questions? Comments? A favorite paper doll book from Paper Studio Press? Let us all know in a comment.

My favorite is Classic Fairy Tales Paper Dolls in Historical Fashion, because the Little Mermaid done in 1920s fashion makes me happier than any normal person should be made happy over a paper doll set, but I’ll confess I have a long list of paper doll titles from Paper Studio Press that I down own yet and I want. So, Classic Fairy Tales Paper Dolls in Historical Fashion might get a run for its money once I have a few more. 🙂

 

Blog Goals for 2016

Goals for PaperThinPersonas.com for 2016!

Normally, I have a long list of goals that I know I want to get to this time of the year. Some of them are personal, some are professional, and some are blog related, but I’ve struggled to come up with a strong list this year.

I think I might be a little overwhelmed this year.

Still, I settled down last night and came with a sketchbook and carefully wrote out a list. I spoke with my patrons and seriously thought about what I wanted.

Writing a blog for as long as I have means you are learning constantly. To be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I somehow didn’t think about the “need” for posts past the end of December and now I am scrambling a bit. I’ll get back into the flow of things soon.

Goal #1: Create 10 Male Paper Dolls in 2016

Seriously, I need to do this. I need to draw more men. So, here we go. Ten male paper dolls in 2016. Let’s live the dream. 🙂

Goal #2: Create 10 Historical Paper Dolls in 2016

Yeah, this was a goal last year, but that’s okay. I really want to try this again this year and if it is a goal than I will go for it. My patrons voted for fantasy sets to be the focus, not historical, but last year I did over ten fantasy sets without it being a goal. Fantasy tends to be my fallback, so I suspect I’ll still hit ten even if I don’t make it my “focus.”

Goal #3: Focus on Sprites, Bodacious & Buxom and Ms Mannequin

I polled my patrons and they all voted for these three series to be the focuses of this year. I agree they all need some more love. I was surprised how many people loved Ms Mannequin series, since that’s one of the series that I have mixed feelings about.

Goal #4: Submit something to OPDAG

I am so so embarrassed that I have never sent something to the OPDAG magazine. It’s rather sad, but true. I need to get over my nerves about it and just go for it. It’s not like it’s juried or anything, after all.

Goal #5: Sell Stuff! (Probably paper dolls!)

Actually sell stuff. This might seem like a small goal, but it actually is complex. There’s business paper work and taxes and a whole realm of stuff. I strongly believe it’s important to do that stuff right the first time. It’s all overwhelming! But that’s the goal.

Goal #6: Draw a little, every day, not paper doll related

Okay, so not directly paper doll related- aka- no paper dolls. I mean, I’ll probably practice hands or doddle dresses or experiment with hair styles. I want to loosen up, draw more and learn to be more confident in my art. To start out, I am taking this class on Creativebug and posting my daily drawings on Instagram.  (Be nice to me, I’m still learning to use Instagram.)

So, those are my goals. Let’s see how 2016, shapes up.

Wondering how to become a patron? You can do that here. Thoughts on these goals? Drop me a note in the comments.