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.
Debuted January 11, 2010
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).
Debuted April 25, 2011
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).
Debuted January 14, 2013
I 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).
Debuted February 10, 2014
Monica 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).
Debuted March 2, 2015
Meaghan 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).
Debuted At Various Times
So, 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 Seventies, Fabulous Fairy (color) and Space Princess (color).
Debuted July 22, 2013- Currently Retired.
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.
Debuted October 27, 2014
About 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).
Debuted September 28, 2015
Mikhail 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?