Since February is African American History Month (Or Black History Month, depending where you are), I spent some time searching around the web for paper dolls free to print that showed the browner side of the human spectrum.
Here are 14 that I found in my hour of searching, though I suspect there are more out there. Frankly, I was a little saddened at the lack of ethnic diversity in the paper dolls I could find on the web.
If you’d like to read about the history of black paper dolls, Arabella Grayson has a massive collection and some wonderful articles on her website about them.
1. Patty Reed Designs has two beautiful African American paper dolls as PDF’s to print.
2. Liana’s Paper Doll Blog currently on hiatus, has Grace who can wear any of the dresses Liana has drawn recently. There is also Iris who can wear any of the old series of dresses.
3. Phylicia Rashad from the Cosby Show is the free printable paper doll from Dover’s Classic TV Moms Paper Dolls.
4. Also from Dover, Ruby Dee, actress, and Beyonce, singer, from Famous African-American Actresses Paper Dolls.
5. And more Dover, Halle Berry dressed up as Storm and Cat Woman from Bruce Patrick Jone’s paper doll book Action Stars Paper Dolls. I own this one, and I can’t say enough nice things about it. The art is fantastic and the text is hilarious.
6. African American Paper Doll 1 and African American Paper Doll 2 from Twopeasinapod123’s Blog.
7. Brenda from the Paper Doll Garden is an adult African American woman paper doll with 10 pages of beautiful clothing.
Also from the Paper Doll Garden, Brittany, Sandra, Kim and Addy are all from the Little Girls series along with a few other cute friends (my favorite is Mandy with her glasses).
8. Andy Swist has drawn a set of True Blood paper dolls which includes the wonderful Tara and Layfette, complete with his glittery speedo underwear.
9. The only thing maybe better than True Blood paper dolls are Red Dwarf and Fire Fly paper dolls. These hand drawn ones from Anita’s Paper Dolls include the ever stylish Cat from Red Dwarf, played by Danny John-Jules and all the ladies of Fire Fly including Zoe played by Gina Torres.
10. Jackie Ormes is considered the first African American woman cartoonist. Along with the cartoon, she drew beautiful paper dolls illustrating a stylish well dressed African American woman named Torchy Brown. You can find Torchy paper dolls scattered around the web from sites like Marge8’s Paper doll blog and Token Black Girls. More information on Jackie Ormes can be found in the 2008 Paper Doll Convention blog.
11. The 2008 Paper Doll Convention Blog also has a work by Peggy Jo Rosamond who was a wonderful paper doll artist (I own three of her books and wish I owned more) did The Lady of Sudan Goes to Paris which is a paper doll of an antique doll.
12. Another newspaper paper doll, Siberia appeared in the comic strip Brenda Starr, Reporter in 1942 as maid for the heiress Daphne Dimples, Brenda’s rival. Siberia had a boyfriend, Dusty Rose and both were shown in stylish clothing and accessories. I haven’t found a lot of Siberia paper dolls on the web, partly because I don’t think a lot were made. And newspaper paper dolls were rarely kept. Both of these Siberia paper dolls are from Paper Collector.
13. 19th Century Paper Dolls features the beautiful work of Boots whose complicated story line for the family from before, during and after the Civil War I can’t even begin to follow. However, her art is beautiful. She has one fully finished African American paper doll named Olivia whose available as a PDF to print and Sandy who isn’t yet a printable PDF.
14. Shannanigan on Deviant Art has Eloise a beautiful sexy witch paper doll. I love her art. Someday I hope to color my paper dolls with the same skill that she does hers (and hers are amazing). You can purchase her work on Paper Betties, her personal website.