Six Paper Doll Drawing Tools I Can’t Live Without


Let us, for a moment, talk about supplies. One of the thing that keeps me drawing paper dolls is that I don’t need a lot of gear. I can get by on a pretty small set of art supplies.

Here’s what I use:

1. A sketchbook.

I keep trying out new sketchbooks. I’ll go to the store and I’ll stand looking at the sketchbooks and I’ll think… this time I’ll try this kind and then I try it and I don’t like it and I go back to my Carson Universal sketchbook. Seriously, I seem to always go back to this sketchbook. It takes both ink and pencil well. It’s a nice size. Also, it’s not too expensive.

By the way, I don’t date the pages of my sketchbook, but I do date the cover. That way I know when I drew the stuff inside.

2. Mechanical Pencils

I like cheap mechanical pencils with lead size .07. I buy them in bulk. I lose them all the time, but they’re cheap, so I don’t mind. I like Bic brand, because they have decent erasers. I tend to use the pencil eraser when I’m not thinking and if it’s a bad eraser than it ruins what I’m working on and I get mad.

3. uni-ball Vision Micro Point Rollerball Pens

These .5 mm black ball point pens are what I use for all my inking needs. I adore them. They are cheap, fairly smear proof (not entirely smear proof) and can make smooth lines. They work well on my sketchpads and they are much cheaper than actual art pens. Make sure you ge the .5mm size though, the larger sizes don’t work so well for delicate line-work.

4. Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser

Buy a few different erasers and decide what you like the best. I love these erasers, because they are soft enough not to damage my paper and I do a lot of erasing.

5. Brush for Eraser crumbles

I bought this brush on a whim. I am totally addicted to it now and sometimes take it with me when I travel. Seriously, I am not kidding. It sweeps up all those little annoying left over eraser bits and brushes off you image. How is this not the best thing EVER?

6. Drafting Templates

I use these to draw circles (because seriously, who can draw a decent circle? Not me) and other geometric shapes. I like that they are small and thin. I have one for squares too.

So, that’s it. That’s my gear. What do you use to do your art?

An Interview with my Featured Paper Doll Artist of the Month: Toria of the Paper Closet

Vet paper doll by Toria of Paper Closet. Posted with permission. I am totally excited about my new Featured Artist Page. One of my goals for the new year has been to feature other artists I think draw beautiful paper dolls and this my first-
Toria of A Paper Closet.

Toria, was kind enough to be interviewed as my inaugural artist of the month. I adore Toria’s work and
her blog is beautifully designed and consistently updated. Her paper dolls are fabulous.

Read Toria’s interview and download a free, unique, printable paper doll set featuring a man (I know… people who aren’t me draw them) and women with beautiful historical costumes over on my Featured Artist Page.

And the Contest/Drawing Winner Is…

Originally, I was going to have just one winner, but then I took a good long look at the wonderful and constructive comments I got from my readers and I’ve decided that I should do more than that.

So, I decided to have two winners of my drawing. This does mean that it might take a little longer for their winning paper dolls to be finished.

Congratulations to Gwendolyn and Jo– my winners. Jo emailed me directly, so her comment does not appear on the site.

If I don’t here back from my emails to them (which I will send in the morning when I am a wee bit more coherent) in a week, there will be a second drawing for a new Winner.

In case anyone is interested, what I did to find a winner was number all the comments and emails in chronological order, ignoring places where people posted more than once. I ended up with 23 entrants, including three people who chose to email me rather than post a comment on the blog. Because I placed those three entrants into my chronological list where their emails would have fallen if they had been comments, the numbers don’t line up with the comments perfectly.

Number 19, which was Gwendolyn, and number 23, which was Jo, according to my list, were the number produced by Random.Org at 12:03 and 12:05 tonight.

On that note, I am crawling into bed which is what rational people do after midnight. Seriously, next time I do a drawing, I’m going to schedule the end at like 3pm in the afternoon when sane people end these things.

[yop_poll id=”3″ tr_id=”3″]

I’m trying out a new polling code thing. We’ll see if I like it long term.

Where do Ideas Come From? Finding Inspiration for Paper Dolling

Remember yesterday when I posted those sporting costumes? Well, today I want to talk about sources of inspiration.

Sometimes, everything I see seems paper doll related. Ideas flow from carpets or co-workers hair styles into paper doll form, almost like magic. Other times, it feels like the wheel is spinning, but the gerbil is dead. Nothing looks good. Ideas don’t exist. I hate everything I draw and nothing looks good. I know what I want to make, but I can’t seem to make it happen.

I went through one of these slumps lately. I knew I needed to do sports costumes for Greta’s Trousseau, but I hated everything. The fencing costume was the worse. I kept looking at fencing gear and feeling uninspired…

So, I finally did what I usually do when I can’t come up with ideas. I started collecting source images. Somewhere, I thought, there must be cute fencing gear and… what do you know? There was.



1. Fencing Jacket from 1902

This was the first women’s historical fencing jacket I found and I thought it was beautiful. Plus, I was struck at how stylishly it was constructed. I mean, check out those sleeves. I knew I’d want to change the collar and the placement of the buttons, but I thought it was a viable option for a top.

2. Edwardian women’s fencing attire

Thanks to Costume and Construction on Tumblr, I found this picture of this very bad ass looking women holding a sword with a Gibson girl bun. Seriously, she looks amazing, also I think she could totally hurt anyone who insulted her bun. Originally I conceived of the fencing outfit has having a skirt, but after I drew it I felt odd that her skating costume and riding habit didn’t have skirts, but her fencing outfit did. The skirt got nixed in favor of leggings.

3. Two women fencing 1885

The idea of women fencing in bustles amuses me. (Not that these chicks are wearing bustles, but still… it is 1885.) The masks in this set were what I based her mask on. I liked that they didn’t cover down over the neck like some fencing masks do (though neck coverage is probably safer).

4. 1920’s Fencing Outfit

Another Met piece, because the V&A totally let me down on my fencing search. I love the bleeding heart on the top and the flirty style. I would totally learn to fence if I got to wear this. The bleeding heart motif I thought would be really cool on a fencing jacket and added something a little dark and almost flirty to the otherwise rather plain outfit.

This is how I get out of slumps. I collect and then I draw. I often use my Pinterest board to collect my source images. Mostly I use them as electronic bulletin boards. What inspires your art? How do you find what makes you want to draw?

January! Time for My Usual Poll…

Every January for the last few years, I have posted the same poll. I’ve asked readers to tell me what they want to see on Paper Thin Personas. I usually make a list of a few different things I think I’d like to do and I let people tell me what they want.

This time things are going to be a little different.

This time I’m asking for a tiny bit more involvement. If you want to vote in the usual annual poll, it’s over on the sidebar and will be there for the next two weeks and I encourage everyone to do it. I really do pay attention to the results. Heck, that’s how the Poppets and the Pucks and my poorly drawn male companion to Marisole happened (he’s getting a reboot… someday).

BUT… if you want to possibly win a custom paper doll AND get some input on what you’d like to see… than post a comment as well (or email me if you’re concerned about privacy) and answer two of the following three questions:

    A. What would you like to see on PTP in the next year? (This can be anything. More contests, a paper doll of a librarian, or tutorials or something that’s on my poll)
    B. What brings you to PTP? (I get most of us come for the paper dolls. Some of us come because they know me (Hi Mom & Dad), but what draws you in and what makes you return or not return?)
    C. What do you dislike most about PTP? (Please be honest. You don’t hurt my feelings. I promise. Do my spelling errors bother you? (Hi Dad) Do the sometimes broken links really get on your nerves? Do you wish you could just find every black and white Marisole Monday paper doll easily?)

If you answer one of my questions (either here or through email) then you will be entered in the drawing. If you won a contest last year, it’s a new year, so you can still win this one. The drawing/contest is going to be open until Wednesday the 15th of January.

Otherwise, my usual contest rules apply (see the FAQ) and the prize is a custom drawn paper doll from any of my series. I will contact the winner via the email entered in the comment form, so make sure that email actually works. If I don’t hear from my winners in a week after the email is sent, I’ll draw another name.

By the way, this is my 499th post. Next one is going to be 500. Maybe I’ll do something special.

Edit: Congratulations to Gwendolyn and Jo winners of my drawing. The contest is officially closed, however, feel free to continue telling me what you think you want. 🙂

Ellie, a Childhood Paper Doll

Okay, so after I posted Riven, a few people asked to see more of my childhood work. Today, therefore, I offer Ellie.

When I look at Ellie, I see a lot of how far I’ve come and also how far I still need to go. I still don’t feel like I know how to draw very well, but I like drawing and, as I always say, gusto makes up for a lack of skill sometimes. Anyway… here’s Ellie, a paper doll of my childhood (and also of the midriff bearing days of the 90s).



I drew Ellie 15 years ago. I was in middle school and I remember being quite proud of her. I distinctly recall carefully drawing her clothing. Clearly, it was the 90s and I was clearly used to working in Crayon. I worked in crayon for a lot of my childhood drawings. I was convinced it was better than colored pencils. In hindsight, I wish I’d learned to use colored pencils or markers earlier on, because those skills would be useful now that I’m older. Never the less… this is Ellie… She’s still pretty cute.

By the way, I just realized we’re mid-Kwanzaa here in the United States (I don’t know if it’s celebrated outside the US…), so I’d like to wish a Happy Kwanzaa to anyone who is celebrating.

Nine Fantastic Printable Paper Dolls from December’s Past

I think I’ve mentioned already that Paper Thin Personas is turning three in January and entering it’s fourth year of life. It’s been three years since the site crashed and I had to start over from scratch. I couldn’t be more pleased with where the blog is now.

But I thought it might be interesting to look back and where PTP came from… So, for today I have combed through the archives and found nine paper dolls from December’s Past that I thought were worth featuring. Step back with me and take a look at what I was drawing two years ago. 🙂

Three Printable Paper Dolls of December 2012

Marisole Monday: In Space!

December 3th, 2012 & December 10th, 2012

december-2012-1Marisole Monday went to space as an alien in color and to be colored. I remember being conflicted about posting the ray guns. There’d been some gun violence around the time I was working on this paper doll set. People were talking about the dangers of toy guns and children. I didn’t get a single complaint about my ray guns.

Shadow & Light Number 22

December 27th, 2012

december-2012-2This paper doll has the dubious honor of being the paper doll set that I spent way to much time on the shading, only to realize I’d done it on the wrong side and having to correct it all on photoshop. I loved the outfit on the right so much that I thought it was worth it. 🙂 Actually, I love both these outfits.

Puck as SuperHero

December 9th, 2012 &December 8th, 2012

december-2012-3I got a request for some superhero Puck paper dolls. I confess openly that I wasn’t totally pleased with how the two of them seemed while I was drawing them, but I wanted to draw some male paper dolls aimed at boys and I thought for sure that boys would be into these options. In the end, I was quite pleased how they came out.

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