How I color my paper dolls…

The number one question I get is- How do you color your paper dolls?

And my usual answer is- Photoshop and the BPelt filter.

Still, I keep getting the question, so clearly that answer does not satisfy.

So, this post aims to illustrate the steps that go into the average paper dolls coloring and to answer questions I get about the process I use to make paper dolls. In other words, this is how I color paper dolls. Hopefully, you’ll find some of it interesting and useful, or at least fun to look at.

I’ve tried to include everything someone would need to copy the way I do things, but I’ve been doing this for a long time and I might forget to say something important. So, bear with me as I try to show how I do things with lots of screen captures and a sneak peek of Coastal Princess’s colors.

Assumptions:

1. You already have Photoshop (I use CS3, but others will work) and you have installed the BPelt Flatting Plugin for Photoshop, available here for free.

2. You have an image you’ve scanned and cleaned up that you want to color. That image must contain only black and white. If there is ANY other color in the image, this process won’t work.

So, armed with an image saved in black and white, we begin the epic battle with the world of coloring paper dolls… Fortunately, short of paper cuts, we should be okay.

More Below!

How to Draw a Shirt for a Paper Doll

Marisole paper doll template I think I’m grossly unqualified to be writing this post.

I don’t have any formal art training after high-school. In fact, I think of myself as an avid doodler more than I think of myself as an artist, but I’ve had a few requests for thoughts on drawing clothes for paper dolls, so I am going to try to offer a tiny tutorial on how I draw.

I encourage people to draw their own clothing for the paper dolls. That is how I learned to draw by drawing for my own paper dolls and those my mother drew for me. I think the best way to learn is to do it over and over again. I have some of my old paper dolls from high school… perhaps I shall post them for people to see my early works.

If you want to learn how I draw a t-shirt, the post continues below. I don’t normally do that, but this ended up LONG, mostly due to the photos. Speaking of the photos, I am really bad at them… so, please forgive the remarkably poor iPhone pics.

More Below!

How to Make a Stand for Any of the Paper Dolls

For this to work, the doll has to be printed on card-stock or been glued to some. It won’t work if the doll is just made of flimsy paper. I used Florence to demonstrate this method, but it will work with any of the paper dolls that have bases.

Sorry about the image quality. I only have an iphone for picture taking and I know it’s not ideal.


Cut out the paper doll and place her on top of a spare strip of card stock, at least three or five inches wide. Carefully draw a line in a curved line down from the doll to the bottom of the card stock. I recommend doing this in pencil. I did it in bright red pen so it was visible.


So, after you cut out the stand, it should look like this. Draw a line a quarter inch in to make the tab to glue to the back of the doll. I’ve drawn the red line where I would fold back this tab.


Fold back the tab and then glue it to the back of the doll. Double sided tape would also work fine, I think, but I always used glue.


And now the paper doll can stand on her own.

Magnetic Paper Dolls

Magnetic Paper Dolls

I have become fairly addicted to the idea of magnetic paper dolls, so my first ever tutorial for the blog is about how to make magnetic paper dolls with a set of images I created for the purpose. I used to dismiss magnetic paper dolls as the misbegotten children of paper paper dolls, but I promised a friend I would make her some magnetic paper dolls.

She came to visit and while we were hanging out watching a movie (and I was drawing for the blog), she commented how when she had a school library of her own, she wanted to have a set of the Marisole paper dolls that would be magnetic for the children to play with. This got me thinking about magnetic paper dolls in a different way. How hard would it be, I wondered, to turn Marisole magnetic.

Well, since she just got her first job as a school librarian (Yay!), I gave her the in-progress set when I saw her last. She loved them, but was worried that the kids might ruin them. I said I would post the PDF’s of the images on the blog, along with directions so that she could print out new ones if she needed too. Of course, it took longer then expected.

Anyway, here are magnetic versions of Marisole (Pixie magnetic paper dolls are forthcoming). Enjoy them and I would love the hear for anyone if actual children like them. They managed to entertain me for a lot longer then I should admit in public, but I don’t have any readily available children to test them out on.

You can expect to see future editions to these as I convert old sets to the right size and remove their tabs. Enjoy.

{The Directions to Make Magnetic Paper Dolls}

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