Fashion Doll Friday: Archering and Evening Dresses for Flora

flora-archery-evening-dresses

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New things I learned this week:

1. Archery was actually a common sport among upper class women in the early 19 century. Along with riding, it was one of the few athletic activities women were allowed to do. Flora’s archery dress is based on one from the Manchester City Galleries.

2. It is entirely possible for me to completely forget what day it is and therefore mess up my planned Curves post. (Sorry guys. It’ll go up next week. My bad.)

3. There are more people interested in a colored version of 2.0 Curves, then a black and white shadowed version, but the shadowed people are much more vocal… Hmm… Who should I listen to? Maybe I’ll outline it and try it both ways… My concern with shadowed has to do with what I feel like is a loss of detail due to the shading… I need to give it more thought, obviously.

Speaking of the Curves 2.0 epic adventure, I hope to have the new series up sometime before the end of the month. I don’t like starting a new series without at least a few posts drawn and prepped. It means I’m not struggling with keeping it going. That’s all the news for now. Enjoy Flora’s Archery and Evening Dresses.

Marisole Monday: Happy 4th of July

To celebrate the 4th of July, I thought I would check out books from the library, sit down and set to work on drawing some historical costumes for Marisole set in the 18th century since the Revolutionary War (Or, as the Brits call it, the Rebellion of the Colonies) was in the 1770s. I’ve only done one other set of historical costumes for the paper doll and they were regency dresses (One set one in July and one in August in 2010). This is about as far from the Regency aesthetic as you can get- the French Revolution did have a way of changing fashion, also of decapitating an awful lot of people. Those wiley French.

marisole-18th-century-paper-doll-1

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So, I’ll confess that when I have to name my favorite periods of historical fashion the 18th century doesn’t get a lot of attention. I’m just not that huge of a fan, but when I was in England I went to the Fashion Museum in Bath and I saw an actual 18th century gown in person. Despite my tendency to dismiss such costumes as too poofy, too over the top, too absurd for my taste, the actual dress was among the most astonishing pieces of craftsmanship I have seen.


marisole-18th-century-paper-doll-2{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print}{Click Here for the rest of this series}

The frustration of drawing historical costumes for Marisole is that her proportions are so darn strange. While I like how she looks, it means that historical dresses (which rely on a specific silhouette) look off. As I drew these costumes, I realized I was going to a have to allow myself to be a little more liberal then my natural leaning for historical accuracy allows and, besides, I don’t really know enough about the 18th Century to be hyper critical of my own work. I won’t say these costumes are historically accurate, I will say they are historically inspired.

Anyway, if you’d like to read more about 18th century costume, I recommend the excellent 18th Century Blog which is full of beautiful pictures and things, as well as, the exhibit Historic Threads. As for books, I used An Elegant Art, Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail and, of course, Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction, even if you never plan on sewing one of her patterns, this book is worth every penny just for the historical information. Someday, I will own all of Janet Arnold‘s books… Someday.

Enjoy the paper dolls and, for those in the United States, have a great 4th of July.

Edit 8/23/13: One of these paper dolls is now available in black and white for coloring.

Pixie & Puck: Roxanne

The purple paper doll dress was based on Natalie Portman’s Oscar gown, though truth be told I don’t think I did a very good job on it. I was drawing it without reference images which always means I’m a little less accurate then I would like. Liana did a wonderful version during the night of the Oscars. I recommend it highly. It’s looks much better then mine.

pixie-roxanne

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I’ve mentioned in the past that I can always tell when I’m drawing on auto-pilot and this is a set I drew when I wasn’t really prepped for. I didn’t have any reference images, or thumbnails, I was just kinda winging it. Personally, I think it’s weaker for the lack of prep work. I always draw better when I have something (thumbnail doodle or photo reference) to work from.

On a semi-unrelated note, I love paper dolls with fronts and backs like these ones from 1935. I wish I had the paper engineering skills to draw some of them on my own.

Also, I have a poll in the sidebar. The future of Curves 2.0 is in your hands.

Fashion Doll Friday: A Pair of Dinner or Evening Gowns for Flora

So, confession time- I am getting a little sick of the regency period. I think I’ll be spending some time over the next few days doing research and thinking about ending the series. Can I kill two series in like three weeks… is that allowed? I’m just not excited by Flora much right now… Plus she has like 30 costumes which seems a pretty good number…. Though that might just be fishing for an excuse.

regency-dinner-evening-gown

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I shall have to give it more thought.

In the mean time, feel free to color and cut out these pretty regency dresses for Flora and, while you’re at it, vote in my current poll. So far I am shocked at the show of support my heavily shadowed paper dolls have gotten. I always thought of them as the black sheep of the blog (and I have the frustration with them that the shadows obscure details, especially on faces), but they’re getting lots of support, though color is winning at the moment. I rather thought it would.

Curves: Tea in the Garden

I almost never sit down to a blank piece of paper with no idea what I am going to draw for the paper dolls. If I did, I think I would draw the same thing over and over again. I can always tell when I’m on “auto-pilot” with my work, even if others can’t.

curves-printable-paper-doll-tea

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However, I’m a little embarrassed to admit the idea of these paper dolls came from a box of tea. It’s not even a type of tea I regularly drink, but I was in the tea isle picking up usual Lemon Ginger tea (which I often drink in the mornings rather than coffee) when I came across the box and I thought, “I think that would make a neat paper doll.”

I never said my mind was a logical streamlined sort of place.

Speaking of my mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about the new Curves series I’m working on. I’ve decided a few things already, but one thing I haven’t decided is color or black and white or shadowed. So, that’s the poll question. I openly confess I might not do what the poll decides, but I’m curious what people think.

Curves 2.0 Template Sketches Or What Happens When I Try to Scan Pencil

 

template1So, the last post about this new paper doll series was about the inspiration. This one is about the template. Every paper doll I draw is traced from a template that I usually draw on lined paper. It’s cheap, has lines for portions and I don’t feel guilty if I go through like seven or twelves sheets of it. I actually ended up with like fifteen versions of this template before I had one I thought was final.

Rather then sharing all fifteen (because the differences become pretty damn minor at some point), I’m only sharing three. I’d say this was because I think these three most well illustrate my process (and they do do a fairly good job of that), but really it’s because the idea of scanning 15 of basically the same thing was enough to strike fear into my heart. Not that I don’t love to share, but there is a limit.

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So, on the left is the first doodle with lots of lines and a rough idea of the size and the pose. I knew I wanted to have the legs together, so she could be easily turned into a mermaid if I wanted too. On the right, is the second stage of the process around midway, I’m a little unsure about the feet though… it does make shoes difficult and I love shoes. I always fret a bit about paper doll poses and I have to think about the type of doll and what I plan on drawing. I never know exactly what I plan on drawing for clothing, so that becomes another issue entirely.

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Lastly, here’s the final. She’s not perfect yet- there will be a few more changes when I actually trace her onto sketch book paper. I want to give her larger breasts and a slightly fuller hips. I’m also unsure about her left hand placement. More editing is fairly inevitable.

I know I’ll probably put her into some sort of polka-dotted swimsuit and I think she’ll have wigs which means she’ll need a short hairstyle of some sort to start off with. I’ve only ever done one bald paper doll to give wigs and my friend informed me that she looked like a chemotherapy patient. I never did that one again.

Now that I’m getting ready to really start drawing, I need to make decisions about things like- do I want to work in color? Will I have heavy shadows? what size do I want the paper dolls to be? How many dresses per post? Do I make them mix and match or outfit based? Are they going to be a new doll every post or will I have a set of dolls and just draw new outfits? Is there going to be a theme? Will I step out of the vintage feel for costumes?

Ugh… I hate making decisions. Maybe I’ll have a poll.

Marisole Monday: Tones & Shades

I gave a preview of these paper doll pieces a few days ago, though I had to stay up fairly late to finish them. Han Chinese clothing was a major influence over this set, particularly the quju. I also wanted to do with some Asian costumes what has, traditionally, been done with European dress in most fantasy. I’ve been sort of on this fantasy costumes inspired by regional dress kick. There’s even this elf inspired by Africa which I just finished, though she’s not ready for posting.

marisole-fantasy-printable-paper-doll

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The major delay for me with these was so much pattern and how to make it look good together while still keeping the color schemes interesting. Color used to scare me. Actually, it still does scare me a little, but I think it can smell fear, so I keep up a brave face. Color Scheme Designer is one of the tools I use to help be figure what colors go together. It’s fun, fairly simple, and usually I don’t feel like a complete moron while using it.

Usually.

Did I mention I think her wigs are nifty? Because I do. That is all.

Pixie & Puck: Irene

Writing is hard. Drawing is hard too, but somehow less hard then writing. I think it’s because I draw in stages- pencil and then ink and then shade and then scan and then re-size and then color and then add tabs and then do layout and then re-size again and then post. Sometimes those events occur in a slightly different order, but I always have multiple pieces in multiple stages of work (at least I do when I’m on the ball and things are going well). Yet, writing I find I stare at a white screen and have to think of something to say.

pixie-irene

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Ideally, something intelligent and nuanced to say… Okay, maybe not nuanced, but at least intelligent. Or coherent. I think I at least get coherent. Most of the time.

All I can really say about this paper doll is that I am pleased with how she came out. I really love the muted color tones- achieved by using a mostly transparent wash of grey over all of the clothing after it was colored. I find getting muted tones is a lot harder then getting obnoxiously bright tones on a paper doll and everything looks different on different screens of course. Her toenails in her sandals are another little favorite of mine-rainbow toes.

From my Sketchbook…

I had a request to show some pages from my sketchbook. I openly confess to not being much of a photographer and I have learned a few useful things about photographing sketchbooks after a day of frustration. Mostly, I’ve learned that I’m quite bad at it. Of all the pictures I took, only two really came out decently, both of the same set of paper doll costumes.

sketchbook-1

Obviously, this is the penciled set. The costumes were an attempt to do with traditional Asian costumes what fantasy normally does with Western European costume- make them identifiable, but obviously not really period. I usually think of this stage as “detailed pencil” which is the stage right before I ink. There’s lighter penciled outline stage before this, but I’ve never been able to get a decent photograph or scan of it. I draw really really light.

sketchbook-2

The same set of paper doll costumes inked. Slightly abnormally for me, I pretty much followed my pencil lines exactly on this set which isn’t usually how I draw. The background is a crocheted blanket my good friend made for me which was sitting on my couch and made a more attractive thing to photograph then my plastic topped table or the couch itself- a unattractive relic in burnt orange and khaki plaid.

Anyway, assuming I get them finished (and they are nearly done) these costumes should be viewable in full color on Monday as a Marisole post, along with another dress which belongs to this set that I completely forgot to photograph. Opps.

I posted these largely because I had access to a digital camera and a specific request for them. I’m not sure I’ll do another post like this… while this one has had a fairly fast turn around (I took the pictures on Thursday, got them posted today and have already begun to color the paper dolls), sometimes there are weeks (or even months) between a drawing, inking and scanning before I get around to posting things. I even have some scans from last year that I doubt will ever see the light of day. I hate to post images of something in progress and then not post the finished piece until months later (or never), so I don’t know what to do about that possibility.

Fashion Doll Friday: A Pair of Day or Afternoon Dresses

I usually try to do a lot of research before I draw for Flora, but I wasn’t up for the work today, so I just sort of tossed together these dresses.

I’m not sure I should admit that… hmm….

regency-patterned-dress-day-dress

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For even more black and white paper dolls, I would recommend a new (well, old blog, but new to me) blog I found. Mostly Paper Dolls is a blog devoted to, in fact, mostly paper dolls (and some coloring pages and other things thrown in for good measure). Some of them are beautifully colored by hand, but most are black and white images from old newspaper microfilm. I really like this set from 1922, particularly the girl paper doll with the very period dresses. Perhaps I will color it myself someday… Anyway, if you have a few minutes and you feel like pouring through many pages of black and white paper dolls, I recommend Mostly Paper Dolls highly. The image quality suffers (mircofilm reproduction is usually shoddy, I’m afraid), but the quantity and wonderful variety more then makes up for it.

I’m having fun pouring through her archives, and I suspect others will too. 🙂