The Sketchbook Cometh

The best thing about the photocopier at my job is that it can scan and email me things. I don’t use it for paper doll scanning (the resolution isn’t high enough), but it makes these sketchbook and doodle posts really easy.

Some contemporary clothes for a Mini-Maiden. Don’t ask me which Mini-Maiden. I haven’t a clue, yet. I really am pleased with the set through. I really like the curly hair, especially.

Here’s the doodles I did for a dark circus inspired Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll set. As it turned out, I didn’t use all of these designs, as you can see below.

A page of the dark circus Marisole Monday & Friends set that I inked last weekend. I really love her shoes and her wig. We’ll see how all the whole thing comes together. I am thinking a black, white and red color scheme with some gold to accent it. I also might do some clown makeup on the paper doll’s face for this set.

Doodles…. Lady of the Manor Version 2, Mostly…

I am someone who struggles with expectations. What are people expecting me to do or expecting me to complete? I worry often that I am letting people down, though I know intellectually that I am my harshest critic. At times like this, when my actual real life and my blog are in conflict (as they are at the moment), I struggle with letting go and relaxing enough to get anything creative done.

As I post doodles rather than paper dolls, a part of me feels guilty. This is not, a little voice in my head says, what people come to your blog for. This is not what they want.

I do my best to ignore little voices like that, though today it feels harder than other days. (Also I know it’s not true, because I have had readers tell me that it is not true.)

A while ago, I posted Lady of the Manor V.2 sketchbook images. So here are two pages of the doodles which lead to those sets. I’m still working on cleaning up the line work, but I have high hopes that she will be up soon.

So, the dress on the left never got drawn, but became a different dress. The riding habit on the right pretty much looks like it does in that little doodle. The dress with the layers of ruffles came out wonderfully (I can’t wait to share that one). The one of the right… I actually have no idea what that was supposed to be now… I should do better notes.

The dress on the left came out nearly just like that dress with a few additional pattern details. The dress on the right was the first design for several “casual” dresses of a similar style. As the first “stand alone” paper doll set of the year, I couldn’t be more pleased with how she’s coming along. I should let myself do more of these, because I do have fun with them.

The blog will continue. It’s been around for a long time… longer than really any other project of mine. I have no intention of abandoning it, I just am having some pretty serious trouble getting motivated at the moment.

Doodles of Marisole Monday Paper Doll Sets

On July 18th, the New York Times wrote a great obituary of Tom Tierney, who died on July 12th. I’ve been debating what to say about his passing for a week, because I feel very odd speaking of the death of a man I never knew, nor knew anyone who knew.

I guess what I can say with confidence is that I will miss his art and that my thoughts are with those who knew him. I can trace my love of paper dolls back to my mother, but Tierney’s historical research made his paper doll books wonderful resources for learning about fashion designers and historical figures and I learned a lot from them as a child. For that, I am very grateful.

Meanwhile, you might have noticed that this is not a paper doll post. Instead, I’m pleased to offer some doodles from my current “doodle/notebook” for two future and one past Marisole Monday paper doll sets.

So this set might look familair… it’s actually been finished. This was the doodle page that lead to the Margot in Wonderland set from last week. As you can see, very few of these pieces got made into the final set. The drop waisted dress and the pants with the tea cup patches both made it into the final paper doll set.

This set was inspired by 18th century design, but I’ve rather lost favor with it. I don’t know if I’ll actually draw a final of it, but that was the idea. The truth is that I don’t know how many huge skirted ball gowns I can do in any one period of time. I’d almost rather do a historical set than a fantasy set based on a historical period, I think for the 18th century.

So, I’ve been really into Qi Lolita and Wa Lolita lately. I want to do some over the top ball gowns based on those styles. Wa Lolita crosses traditional Japanese dress with victorian ruffled styles and Qi Lolita does the same thing with Chinese traditional dress. Personally, I just don’t know what I am going to do about hair for this set. I have to think about that. I’ve drawn the dresses, but I don’t know what to do about the hair. I’m thinking about it a lot.

Sketchbook… Returns!

I am in this rather frustrating state with my paper doll activities where I have a lot drawn and a fair bit scanned, but very little that has crossed the threshold into the DONE category. So I am on my way to rebuilding the blog backlog, but it is going to take time. These things always do. In the mean time, here’s a sneak preview of what I have been working on.

I really like the Mini-Maidens for two reasons. 1. I think they’re cute. 2. They are in black and white. Black and white paper dolls take about a quarter of the time that full color ones do. I can draw the tabs on the original drawing, rather than have to add them later with Photoshop and they don’t need nearly as much post processing. So, when I need to “make stuff fast” then I find that I go back to the Mini-Maidens paper dolls and give them some love. This is going to be a 1960’s period mini-dress set. All dresses and all vintage. I don’t know which of the Mini-Maidens will get this set yet.

A while ago, I did a diesel punk paper doll for the Flock, only I didn’t know there was such a thing as diesel punk at the time, so I called a punk noir, which I think is a much better name. This is part of a planned sequel set with two dolls and at least one page of extra clothing for them. Flock magnetic paper doll sets tend to take me forever to finish, so don’t hold your breath on this one. Flock is the collection for which I have the most scanned that never actually has gotten finished. Embarrassing, but true.

Lastly, though not least, a pair of Pixie paper doll sets. The top set is a fantasy warrior set and the bottom set is a Renaissance inspired fantasy set. You might notice that none of the warrior’s weapons have “blades”. Since I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, I tend to add the handles and blades in Photoshop.

Also, on a totally unrelated note, one of the things I plan on slowly doing is going back an enlarging some of the images on the site in posts. I really think some of them are too small and I have been reading about proper image sizing for blogs a lot lately. So, there might be some changes around here. Nothing major and unless you spend a lot of time lurking about the archives, I doubt most people will even notice. 🙂

And now for a quick poll…

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Have a great weekend everyone. 🙂

Some Hints of Things to Come… Sketchbook

So, I have been busily trying to rebuild my comfortable buffer of paper dolls and planned posts (a very difficult process actually) and so am pleased to share some of the paper dolls in my sketchbook which will eventually be making it onto the blog (or not… sometimes they seem to just stay in the sketchbook and never make it onto the blog.) Also, I’m pleased to say there will be a new Featured Artist on Friday. (Assuming I get my act together and get it done.)

As I mentioned a while ago, I met a four year old who really wanted to be a knight. So, I decided to draw her a knight paper doll. I wanted to keep the armor realistic and, despite my Xena loving youth, avoid the chain-mail bikini phenomenon. I wanted to use Pixie because I thought the simple body shape would make the paper doll fairly easy for a child to manipulate. The set below the knight is an ancient Egyptian inspired set. Not much to say about that paper doll design.

One of my more popular sets is Lady of the Manor. I’ve been wanting to do another fantasy noblewomen, but this time I’ve been inspired by the dresses of the Renaissance. I plan on adding patterns to a lot of these dresses in Photoshop, just like I did with the Alice in Wonderland paper doll from Monday.

On the left is her riding habit and on the right is her nightgown. Wigs are a big feature of the Lady of the Manor set and will be used on this paper doll set as well. I haven’t decided how many dresses she will end up with yet, but I would like to do two dresses to a page and have the set be at least five pages which would be nine dresses in total.

Thoughts on these new paper doll sets?

Requests I’ve Gotten Over the Years…

I got an email a few days ago from a reader who wrote:

I was wondering if you ever do requests you get. Not to sound mean or anything, but I know people request things, but it seems like they don’t ever get done.

Now I know this excerpt sounds kinda snarky, but it wasn’t a snarky email at all. It was a very nice email. Anyway, I thought I should explain what happens to requests and why I promise nothing…

Requests get added to the List and what, you might ask, is the List? The “List” is a large piece of legal sized yellow paper that I have stuck in my Red Binder. ideas-list

So, what happens to things on the List?

Well, not a whole lot. I pull it out when I feel like I need an idea or I want to draw something, but I’m just not sure what. I use the List when I’m low on ideas. I use it to both keep ideas that readers have given me, but also ideas I’ve had myself that I want to remember. I used to keep a list in the beginning of each of my sketchbooks, but I found that I tended to forget about those ideas once I filled but the sketchbook. Ideally, the List should be the master-list of all the ideas I had or have had suggested, in truth it is closer to a list of things I think I should do someday.

Some of the ideas have been done, like a fairy Marisole Monday and Friends paper doll, while some haven’t and probably won’t ever be. At times I forget it exists for weeks, or I stare at it when I’m having a hard time doing art and decide I hate every single one of the ideas.

Every few weeks, or months or whenever I think the paper is too old or too crowded, I transfer everything I haven’t done on the old list onto the new list. Somehow ideas I have no intention of ever doing manage to migrate to the new list despite myself (Ballerina, Hogwarts), but the list continues.

Ever onward.

As for how long it takes, all I can say is it always takes me a long time to finish things. I posted this steampunk pixie in my sketchbook in October of 2012 and she was posted in January of 2013. Three to four months is a pretty normal turn around time for me.

As for requests, keep them coming. I love to hear from my readers and I love to get ideas from my readers. I just can’t promise anything. 🙂

Greta Trousseau Doodles

Lately, I’ve been working a lot on Greta’s Trousseau… mostly trying to come up with more ideas and make a list of planned outfits.


These are some plans for a ballgown for Greta. I want to do something summery and so I liked the idea of roses on the bodice and skirt. I think it will be short in front with a skirt in back which will match back to the styles of her wedding gown and a croquet dress I’ve drawn, but not yet posted. I have a fair number of dresses I still need to finish up with and post.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking seasonally and therefore am working on a winter walking costume for Greta trimmed in lush fur, since that seems fitting. Her fur trimmed Promenade Costume (slightly more formal than a walking costume) is going to have a skirt and jacket and some sort of thigh high spats. I’m excited.

As I mentioned the last time I posted doodles, I actually draw these in a lined notebook, but I use a Xerox machine to scan them and it doesn’t scan the blue colored lines on the paper. Odd, but true.

Doodles of Future Paper Doll Sets

I had to make a tough call today.

I was working on my Marisole Monday paper doll, coloring the set, and I just didn’t like it. It was 8pm on Sunday night when I decided this. Now sometimes when I decide I hate things, I finish them anyway, but this set is for the one of the winners of my drawing and I would feel horrible giving as a drawing prize, as set I didn’t like.

So, instead, here are some doodles for future Marisole Monday & Friends sets.

I have had some requests for “working” Marisole sets. The truth is that I don’t really know what would do into a working Marisole Monday set, outside of drawing a bunch of suits or something. But a lab coat seems doable, so I’ve been sketching and thinking about a scientist. I think this kinda set is all about the accessories, so I have to give some thought to that. Drawing lab equipment is hard.

I’m very pleased with the plans for this set. I love the theme of Spring Showers with lots of fun florals. I’ve recently been learning and playing with creating repeating patterns in Photoshop from hand-drawn motif elements and so I think florals would be a fun way to play with that ability. So, I’m quite excited at the prospect of this set.

All right, I hope everything enjoys these doodles. There will be a real paper doll tomorrow (an Ms. Mannequin post, I think) and something on Thursday as well. 🙂

If you’d rather get an email when the site updates, just stick your email in the upper left corner of the sidebar and you’ll get an email each time I do a new post.

Doodles… How Paper Doll Sets Begin!

One thing to start off with before I forget, I set up an email service that will email you when the site updates. There’s a place for an address in the sidebar.

During the January polling period, several people expressed interest in seeing more of the nuts and bolts of the paper dolling process. Eventually, I hope to write a full tutorial, but that’s a very time consuming process and I need to think about structure. In the meantime, I thought I would post some of my thumbnail doodles.

I carry a half-sized lined notebook (the lines don’t appear on the scans… I’m not sure why) in my purse and often doodle designs in it when I’m planning a paper doll set.


These designs are for a future Flock Fairytale set based on Cinderella. The Brother’s Grimm version in which she goes to three balls, people chop off parts of their feet and there are lots of birds.

Birds are a major players in the Grimm version of Cinderella, as they assist her in a variety of ways. I wanted to feature birds as a motif on one of her ballgowns. Since the paper doll set will be magnetic, each gown needs to have a bodice and separate skirt for mix and match options.


The bird gown was the idea that started the whole set, so it got several pages of doodles as I tried to figure out the placement of the shoulder mounted birds, so they wouldn’t look dead or like they were about to attack her or something.

Cinderella also needs servants clothing. I wanted to keep with my “steampunk/neo-victorian” fairytales theme, so heavy soled boots, leather garters and patched stockings seemed typical. If the ballgowns are going to be very “girly”, I wanted the servant clothing to feel a bit more like Victorian street urchin wear, or maybe a reject from the cast of Newsies.


I’ve been hesitant to post doodles like these before, because I doodle a lot of paper doll sets that never get made. Still, I’ve scanned some sketchbook images that never got posted or finished, so I think that’s okay. Would people like to see more of these?

Sketchbook Once More… Paper Dolls of the Future

The first preview from the my sketchbook in a while. As usual, the photos are poorly taken by my iPhone, but the advantage of the sketchbook is that it doesn’t move or complain about being photographed.

So, sometimes I draw fairy things… I’ve had a few request for this set over the last few months and I finally decided to sit down and go for it. The fairy mix and match wardrobe should be up really soon…. possibly as the next set of Marisole Monday posts. I don’t know yet, it just got scanned yesterday.

Fantasy dressed for Marisole Monday and Friends. I love the elaborate hairstyle, it was inspired by my Africa Elf paper doll from so long ago.

Remember the new curvy printable paper doll series I mentioned a while ago? Well… here’s some clothing for her in the future. An Alice in Wonderland inspired set of outfits.

Do any of these potential paper doll sets excite you? I’m excited about the fairies, personally.