Pixie: Belladonna

A gothic fairy paper doll with a 12 piece wardrobe from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Last year, one of my most common search terms was “Gothic Fairies” and I felt rather bad about this since I didn’t have any on the site. So, at least now there is a slightly gothic fairy paper doll available for anyone whose looking for a gothic fairy paper doll. Actually, I wasn’t totally sure what a Gothic fairy paper doll was, but my research (google image search) suggests layers of torn garments and pale skin seem to be requirements of the gothic fairy look. I rather think she needs wings, but I don’t know how to add them, so that might be a later addition to the set.

The paper doll is rather a companion to Flora (not to be confused with my wooden doll named Flora. Apparently, I like the name Flora…), who is my other fairy paper doll. I don’t usually draw fairies, but they were fun.

And there’s a poll.

Fashion Doll Friday: Flora’s Short Stays and Morning Dress

So, I just realized I actually have three paper dolls on the site all named Flora (one short run doll, one pixie paper doll and the regency doll) and I don’t even like the name Flora that much… I feel a little like a ditz as a result, but I don’t plan on letting it get to me too much. I mean, all ready pretty much have accepted that I’m a bit spacey (usually I try to blame this on a combination of work, school and everything else).

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Today Flora (the Regency one) has a morning dress and a set of short stays. According to Ewing’s book Fashion in Underwear (which is being reprinted by Dover), the short stays were common through 1800 with this example I drew dating from 1790. There was a dramatic drop in the number of stays manufactures in the early 1800s. I always thought stays and corsets were distinctly different objects, but I have recently learned that, according to both Ewing and a few others, that the terms were used interchangeably for most of the 19th century before “corset” survived into the 20th and “stays” stayed (bad pun, I know) in the 19th century.

Her morning dress is based on this illustration from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery which dates from and, of course, she has a cap to go with it. The morning dress was considered undress by the women of the era (there was also full dress and half dress) and was not usually worn outside of the house. It’s a beautiful garment though and the style of sleeve was called the “Juliet Sleeve” which I think is rather romantic and also.. um… does not bode well for the person wearing it.

Also, there’s a new poll. I’m enjoying polls. They take the stress out of decision making. 🙂

Curves: On the High Seas

One quick announcements, before I forget. One, is that I have been getting some questions about the paper dolls and I thought it was time I added a FAQ. As always, I am reachable by email, but check the new FAQ if you have any questions. Also, if you email me, please understand that I work, I go to class and I don’t always have time to check my email every night. I do get back to people, it just takes me a little while sometimes.

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Ever since I read Treasure Island as a child, I have had a love of pirates that I can’t quite explain. Even at their most nasty (and Long John Silver is nasty), I love the ideas of high seas and high adventure. There’s something about swash-buckling that makes me smile. I blame it equally on my Mother and her love of adventure stories and my own natural inclination. Neither of these paper doll costumes has anything to do with history, but when you’re drawing a pirate paper doll, who needs history anyway?

History was fairly dark and full of nasty things like rickets. I prefer my pirates Hollywood style and rickets-free.

One of the things I have started doing is adding tabs to the Curves paper dolls when I draw them rather than later with Photoshop. I don’t think anyone but me can tell the difference and I think it saves time when I actually scan the paper dolls since I don’t have to add tabs as well as re-size, clean up and futz with. It may be the only time that is saved in psychological, but I’m okay with that. Anything to make me more likely to keep up to date with my posting.

Marisole Monday: Tokyo Meets Georgia

Where to start about this paper doll set… Well, it all started with the blue dress which is the strange love child of a kimono, a peacoat and a 1850’s hoop skirt and then sort of evolved from there. Secretly I kinda love it, but publicly I’m a little more unsure. The underwear in yellow and cream came out of the desire to draw absurd underwear (and practice my ruching as I mentioned last week) and then I felt like I needed a second dress to fill in the set, so I drew her odd formal costume with the pleats and underbust corset with the flower. My favorite is the blue dress, though I know I shouldn’t have favorites among my paper dolls.

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I think fantasy is all about combining different sources in ways that they were never combined in the real world. So, to take the blue dress as my example, the skirt is based on Japanese stencil dyed fabrics, the coat/jacket is quilted much like 18th century women’s petticoat and has a large portrait collar much like my own winter coat. It is tied with an obi style sash/belt (displayed on that website on a beautiful example of Japanese doll making).

The poll is, of course, on going. I am not at all surprised that fantasy is in the lead. I always rather suspected it would win out in the end, but I wasn’t sure where everything else would fall in between, so it has been education in its own way.

Pixie: Flora

A flower fairy paper doll named Flora with a mix and match wardrobe. From paperthinpersonas.com
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When I was a child, I loved the work of Cicely Mary Barker who did wonderful illustrations of fairies and is now quite the commercial enterprise thanks to Penguin. When I was reading them, of course, they weren’t as big as they are now. She died in 1973. My neighbor had an address book with an illustration for each letter (all 26) and I remember being enchanted by them as a child.

Now, I confess I am well aware that actual fairy folklore is considerably darker then the short of cute little flower fairy which the Victorian’s brought us, but the flower ones are easier to draw. What does a Banshee wear anyway? Well… that might be a question to answer at Halloween.

And have I mentioned there’s a poll?

Flora, A Regency Paper Doll: Her Chemise and Petticoat

Flora is a paper doll based on wooden dolls of the Regency era. She has underwear in this plate. She's free to print and color.

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So, I am a little late with this post. I had planned on putting her up last night, as I usually do, but ended up spending more time working on homework then I’d originally planned. After that, I put in some time studying my Latin and crashed early. No paper dolling time really at all. So, I got up early the next morning, finished my Latin homework and then had enough time to prep the images, but not enough time to post. Annoyed more then anything else, I went to Latin, went to work, went to dinner and now, finally, have gotten home.

With a slight delay, I am pleased to introduce Flora, my new regency paper doll and yes, her name was chosen because it was alliterative. Don’t judge me for my adoration of alteration. The paper doll is based on wooden dolls of early 1800’s. Her body is the same as that of a manikin doll shown in The Complete Book of Doll Making and Collecting which contains many photographs of antique dolls. The hair style was adapted from a wooden tuck comb doll though without the comb since it would make bonnets difficult.

Her full slip is based on illustrations from Dress and Undress: A History of Women’s Underwear which is considered to be one of the best works on the topic. I agree that it is fantastic, but I wish it had more pictures. All of the paper dolls underwear designs come from this text which was one of the few that discussed the differences between early 1800’s underwear compared to later when the corset returned. To go with her slip, I have included a simple chemise which was drawn from this one in the Fashion Museum in Bath, England. I adore the Fashion Museum site and wax on about that more on my Research Resources page.

That is all I think I need to say about the paper doll. Of course, if you haven’t all ready done so, you may wish to vote in my poll.

Curves: Angelic Devil

There was a time in my life when I thought I wanted to be a psychologist. I seem to recall even taking a course in the topic or two in college and writing a paper on toys and child development (I know I wrote the paper. I might have written it in a different class). My second- cousin once removed (I think) was a Freudian psycho-analyst long sense retired who took a real interest in my possible choice of career and suggested I read the works of Freud. After about ten pages into them, I decided I didn’t really want to be a psychologist that badly. Never the less, I took away from Freud a certain respect for the discipline and the knowledge of the Super-Ego and the Id. Usually portrayed as an angel and a devil in cartoons, the Id and Superego are both definitely alive and well in pop culture today.

I don’t think anyone has drawn them as a paper doll though.

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Truth be told, I’m not entirely satisfied with this paper doll anyway. The halo and the horns, I don’t know how they would stay on the paper dolls head after she is printed and that kinda bothers me. I try to make sure the paper dolls are actually playable and I know this particular paper doll isn’t. I’m trying to not let it bother me and I’m only mostly succeeding.

Also, I dislike her hair.

But not paper doll is perfect and at least this Curves paper doll is on time.

And there’s a poll. It’s not just about my random curiosity, I can almost promise that the results will be used in deciding what I draw more of… unless I get bored which has been known to happen.

Marisole Monday: Knights and Ladies

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I threw this together on Saturday when I realized I didn’t have a Marisole for Monday. It’s not my best work, but I do love the sleeves on the red dress. I’m working on my ruching (sp?) since I got some books on drawing fashion from the library. So, you can expect to see more of it as I practice. I’m also practicing shiny fabric. Neither has come easily as I thought it would.

I’m trying to stretch myself.

Part of that means trying to draw an actual male who looks like a male rather then like a rather unconvincing woman in drag. The upside is there might be a male paper doll someday. The downside is that that male paper doll might look like a woman in drag. We shall see.

Edit 3/28/2016: There is now a black and white version of this paper doll. Find it here.

Pixie: Yasmine

When I don’t know what to draw for printable paper dolls, I tend to draw formal dresses. I think because formal dresses take up space (I don’t need a lot of them) and I can just kinda be random (which is nice). So, here we have a formal gown sort of post.

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The name “Yasmine” is Arabic/Persian and was later adapted into Jasmine. I’ve always liked it. She’s kinda inspired by this Bollywood film Dil To Pagal Hai (The heart is Crazy) which stars the beautiful Karisma Kapoor who (like our paper doll) has the most amazing green eyes. That’s all I got about that. The only relation to the film, by the way, is that the paper doll and one of the actresses both have green eyes. Anything deeper is just… um… not there.

Curves: Flowers & Ruffles

I’ve always been interested in and concerned with proportion of printed fabric. I blame it on years of making real life doll clothing. I always am concerned my prints are too big to fit my paper dolls properly. Of course, the size of the dolls and the thinness of my pens limit how detailed I can really be (thank goodness), so I am always somewhat limited.

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Recently, I was pawing through fashion shows on style.com (a wonderful source for contemporary designer fashion) and thinking about what I wanted to draw when I cam across Christian Dior’s spring 2009 collection. They were designed by John Galliano, with 17th century Dutch painters serving as the major inspiration. Some of his formal dresses were some of my favorites.

I fell in love with the huge prints on the dresses. The distorted proportions were fascinating and while I don’t think I want to wear a dress covered in tulips the size of my head, I loved that one existed. So, I decided to draw some dresses with giant floral patterns for Curves. After all, why should the skinny models on the runways get to have all the fun?

Among the other things I did for this paper doll was redesign her underwear. While Curves has an illustrious history of wearing her strapless bra and panties (selected mostly because they can easily layered over), I do love undergarments of all eras and I wanted to draw something which might look like it really could support this absurdity of these skirts. Enjoy.