Essential Elegance: Fashion Paper Doll Celebrating Minimalism

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Let me start with something wonderfully basic about my paper dolls: I do not believe paper dolls should be frumpy. Okay, maybe if that’s the theme you’re going for, than I suppose they can be. However, I think paper dolls about fashion should, you know, actually be fashionable. So, if I am going to draw fashion paper dolls, I am going to try to actually pick a fashion style and go for it.

Way to many “fashion model” paper doll sets end up with rather horrible outfits. I mean, I get it. They are for kids and, let’s be honest, kids have ideas of fashion that are a little unsophisticated. Being not a kid, I feel like fashion and paper dolls should combine to make something delightful.

And, of course, fun to play with.

All this brings us to Monica who is rocking a fantastic wardrobe of minimalist pieces from the Fall Fashion magazines. I’ve done one minimalist fashion paper doll before- Mia Goes Minimalist. I think Monica’s outfits are a little more fancy than Mia’s were.

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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I suppose if you weren’t feeling minimalist, than these could also fall into the futuristic fashion category (especially the dress on the far right). I confess that dress, which I think was in InStyle, inspired the whole paper doll set. Not gonna lie. I just wanted an excuse to draw it.

I do feel like I’ve drawn a few of these pieces “before”, but then I suppose since I’ve gotten to something like 200 Marisole Monday & Friends designs, if things didn’t feel familiar than I would be doing something wrong. (Also, how many ways can you draw a pair of simple trousers? Not that many.)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to everyone in the US! I’d say this paper doll was thematic, but I really don’t think she is.

Anyhow, I’m always up for feedback in the comments and, of course, do please support the blog if you love it through Patreon.

Xavier: Elven Archer Paper Doll

A fantasy elf paper doll with a three piece wardrobe. Free to print in color or black and white from paperthinpersonas.com Xavier is the third paper doll in the Sprite paper doll series. Xavier is getting to be an elf paper doll today, though he won’t always be an elf. And since he can share clothing with Zachary, should you decide he needs to be a cyberpunk elf (Shadowrun, anyone?) that’s totally an option too.

Like any good elven archer, our elf paper doll has a back up plan in the form of a sword. Since, sometimes you need to fight people up close and personal. I chose a bird and leaf motif for the weapons and the armor which I thought would seem suitably nature oriented. I always thinks of elves as being nature oriented which might be a horrible stereotype. (Is it possible to stereotype a fantasy creature?)

I think the bird and feather motif his more obvious with the female elf which I shall be posting next Friday as we continue January Sprites! (Yeah, I totally just decided to call it that.)

Xavier, one of my boy paper dolls, gets to be an elven archer in this fantasy paper doll set. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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So, I like the Lord of the Rings movies, I really do, but it’s tough to not feel like one has to interact with them when designing elven stuff. My main goal was to create two outfits- one casual and one military. After all, you can’t just walk around in armor. Well, I suppose you can… but it wouldn’t be very comfortable.

I wanted to chose colors that were not too bright, but also felt organic and natural- colors from nature, I guess you might say.

Xavier, one of my boy paper dolls, gets to be an elven archer in this fantasy paper doll set. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com

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I’m gonna be honest here now. I have been really struggling with artist’s block the last few weeks or, as I like to call it, “the wheel is spinning, but the gerbil is dead”. In short, I just have no urge to do anything blog related, let alone actually draw new content.

But I’m trying to stay on track and stick to my guns about getting two paper dolls up a week. I do have a tiny bit of backlog waiting, so I think I’ll be okay.

As always, comments are appreciated. Thoughts on other themes I should explore with the Sprites?

Tea & Ruching: A Fantasy Princess Paper Doll

Another one of my princess paper dolls, today we have an African princess with two fantasy gowns and lots of accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.comAs I mentioned when I posted the black and white version of this princess paper doll last week, rarely can I look back and share several stages of paper doll creation. From the sketchbook stage to the coloring stage. There’s a sort of allusion that I think is common in blogging. It’s always presented as current, as immediate.

Sort of the “I just threw together this perfect brunch for my family on Tuesday and I wanted to share it with you all” idea. The truth is that while sometimes I work against the wire- barely have the paper doll done before I post it- I think most people understand that generally there’s a long wait between idea, rough sketches, final sketches and posted paper doll.

So, as you all probably know, I love drawing princess paper dolls. It’s an excuse to let out my girly side and create fluffy over the top dresses around whatever themes strike my fancy. For this princess set, I wanted to use some of the motifs and styles of African wax print fabrics.

An elegant princess paper doll inspired by African wax print fabrics. She's got two fantasy gowns and lots of fun accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Originally, I have conceived of a pink, green and purple color scheme, but it really didn’t work in practice. So, back on Pinterest, I selected this wax print fabric to be my basis for my colors. The orange, red, blues and yellow color scheme seemed like a lovely change of pace from the pinks and purples that are generally associated with princess paper dolls. Plus the white really lightened up the outfit.

I’ve decided her white shoes are a sign of wealth, because can you imagine trying to keep white shoes white? I mean, I don’t own any for that exact reason.

Now, if you’re thinking, but she needs more clothes… Than I recommend considering borrowing gowns from the Yellow Princess, Rose Ballgowns or Garden Ballgowns. All those sets share the big-skirted look of today’s princess paper doll.

Thoughts on today’s princess paper doll? Feel free to leave a comment. Also, on Friday, there will be Elves!

Yumiko- Digital Girl: Cyberpunk Printable Paper Doll

Yumiko- Digital Girl is a cyberpunk paper doll with a 12 piece wardrobe in black and white to color or in full color from paperthinpersonas.com. One of the rules of long term blogging (or anything really) is build with the assumption of growth. So, while I feel kinda absurd refering to the Sprites as a series, because this is only the second one and so it’s more like a sequel situation, I also recognize that in two years when I look back on this post (or more likely, when someone else does), it still needs to have all the links and make sense.

Speaking of building with the assumption of growth, I am currently converting from using my server to host my image files to using WordPress’ native image management tools. This is prep for a larger shift in the blog inferstructure. If I do my job right, y’all shouldn’t notice a thing; however, if you do find some posts those images are screwy, just drop me a note and I’ll look at it.

There are over 756 posts on this blog, so converting all those images over is going to take a bit of time and I wouldn’t be surprised if I miss something accidentally.

All right, so about today’s paper doll. Yumiko is a Japanese name. Again, there aren’t a lot of names for women that start with Y. I almost went with Yasmine, before I remember I already have a Yasmine paper doll. One of the problems of having drawn over 500 paper dolls for this blog is that at some point, you kinda run low on names.

Yumiko- Digital Girl is a cyberpunk paper doll with a 12 piece wardrobe in black and white to color from paperthinpersonas.com {Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Sprite Printable Paper Dolls}

Anyway, Yumiko is the first Asian Sprite paper doll, though I confess that’s a little meaningless. I mean, there’s only two Sprite paper dolls right now. I also started the Pixie series off with an Asian paper doll named Zoe. I’d say there was something intentional with my starting series off with Asian paper dolls, but I’ll be darned if I know what it is.

Yumiko’s theme this week is cyberpunk, just like Zachary’s cyberpunk set last week.

Yumiko- Digital Girl is a cyberpunk paper doll with a 12 piece wardrobe in color. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Sprite Printable Paper Dolls}

I chose a very different color scheme for Yumiko-Digital Girl. I knew from the start that I wanted to give her pink hair and black lips, so than it was a matter of selecting colors that I thought would coordinate with those two colors. I really like how she came out.

Thoughts on the new series? Feel free to drop me a comment.

And if you’d like to support the blog in 2016, consider becoming a patron.

Blog Goals for 2016

Goals for PaperThinPersonas.com for 2016!

Normally, I have a long list of goals that I know I want to get to this time of the year. Some of them are personal, some are professional, and some are blog related, but I’ve struggled to come up with a strong list this year.

I think I might be a little overwhelmed this year.

Still, I settled down last night and came with a sketchbook and carefully wrote out a list. I spoke with my patrons and seriously thought about what I wanted.

Writing a blog for as long as I have means you are learning constantly. To be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed right now. I somehow didn’t think about the “need” for posts past the end of December and now I am scrambling a bit. I’ll get back into the flow of things soon.

Goal #1: Create 10 Male Paper Dolls in 2016

Seriously, I need to do this. I need to draw more men. So, here we go. Ten male paper dolls in 2016. Let’s live the dream. :)

Goal #2: Create 10 Historical Paper Dolls in 2016

Yeah, this was a goal last year, but that’s okay. I really want to try this again this year and if it is a goal than I will go for it. My patrons voted for fantasy sets to be the focus, not historical, but last year I did over ten fantasy sets without it being a goal. Fantasy tends to be my fallback, so I suspect I’ll still hit ten even if I don’t make it my “focus.”

Goal #3: Focus on Sprites, Bodacious & Buxom and Ms Mannequin

I polled my patrons and they all voted for these three series to be the focuses of this year. I agree they all need some more love. I was surprised how many people loved Ms Mannequin series, since that’s one of the series that I have mixed feelings about.

Goal #4: Submit something to OPDAG

I am so so embarrassed that I have never sent something to the OPDAG magazine. It’s rather sad, but true. I need to get over my nerves about it and just go for it. It’s not like it’s juried or anything, after all.

Goal #5: Sell Stuff! (Probably paper dolls!)

Actually sell stuff. This might seem like a small goal, but it actually is complex. There’s business paper work and taxes and a whole realm of stuff. I strongly believe it’s important to do that stuff right the first time. It’s all overwhelming! But that’s the goal.

Goal #6: Draw a little, every day, not paper doll related

Okay, so not directly paper doll related- aka- no paper dolls. I mean, I’ll probably practice hands or doddle dresses or experiment with hair styles. I want to loosen up, draw more and learn to be more confident in my art. To start out, I am taking this class on Creativebug and posting my daily drawings on Instagram.  (Be nice to me, I’m still learning to use Instagram.)

So, those are my goals. Let’s see how 2016, shapes up.

Wondering how to become a patron? You can do that here. Thoughts on these goals? Drop me a note in the comments.

Tea & Ruching: African-American Princess Paper Doll

A black princess paper doll to print and color with two ball gowns, a hair pick, tea set and other accessories. Today’s princess paper doll has been a long time coming. Back in September, I posted the penciled and inked versions of today’s paper doll set and then I posted a screen capture of the colored version in December and now, in January, you get the final black and white with the final color version going up next week.

Generally, I finish the colored version and the black and white version about the same time, but I space the posts out by a week for my own sanity. Plus the colored version of this particular paper doll set gave me fits. I won’t even get into how many variations I made in color choices, but it was brutal. I’ll save that rant for next week’s post.

Okay, so my initial inspiration was African wax print fabrics which I have always had a deep fondness for. If you look closely at her patterned dress, you’ll find a motif inspired from this design and more on my Pintrest board of African Prints & Fashion. Primarly coming out of West Africa, these prints have a complex history which I confess I am not an expert on. Slate is a nice article on African Wax Prints highlighting some of those complexities.

A black princess paper doll to print and color with two ball gowns, a hair pick, tea set and other accessories. Free to print and color from PaperThinPersonas.com

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Beyond my fascination with African wax print cloth, I wanted to do a rather traditional princess. To me, that means big skirts (blame it on growing up in the late 80s) and things that are a big over the top. Of course, big hoop skirts always remind me of the 19th century, so her stockings and shoes owe something to that era.

I’ve been taking a Creativebug class where you draw something every day for the whole month of January. The January 2nd assignment was tea cups and you can see my version over on my Instagram account. (Yeah, I just joined Instagram. We’ll see if I like it long term.) Her teacup was drawn weeks ago, but I don’t think I’m great a teacups, so practice is important.

My hope is to get into the habit of drawing a little everyday in a way that is NOT directly paper doll related. We’ll see if I succeed, but I think it would really help my art.

Meanwhile, drop me a comment if you’d like to share what you think about the paper doll. :)

Zachary Goes Cyber: Printable Paper Doll

logo-zachary-cyberHappy 2016!

I thought it would be fun to start the new year off with my new printable paper doll series- The Sprites. So, for the whole month of January, every Friday will be a new Sprite paper doll. The Sprites are really close to being Pixie & Puck 2.0, but I wanted to give them a whole new name since they absolutely can not share clothing with Pixie and Puck..

Unlike Pixie and Puck, the Sprite printable paper dolls will feature the same faces over and over again, much like Marisole Monday & Friends and the Mini-Maidens. Unlike Marisole Monday & Friends, all Sprite paper dolls will be in paired themes. So, today we have Zachary, a male cyberpunk paper doll and the next Sprite post (which will be next week) will be a female cyberpunk paper doll.

There will not always been two Sprite paper dolls in a row, just to clear that one up. I mean, I suspect there usually will be, but I also suspect that me promising there will be will only end in a stressed out Rachel. No one wants that, right?

Meet Zachary, the first of my new paper doll series. Zachary is a black paper doll with a cyberpunk style. He's got a five piece wardrobe. Print and color from paperthingpersonas.com

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So, after some debate, I decided to name my Sprite base paper dolls in reverse alphabetical order. Why? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d love to claim I’m starting with a male paper doll to appease my readers who love male paper dolls, but in reality it was because there aren’t a lot of names that start with Z. I was thinking of using Zoe, but then I was reminded I already had a Zoe paper doll. Therefore, Zachary it was. Plus I have known several different Zacharies and they have all been delightful.

Meet Zachary, the first of my new paper doll series. Zachary is a black paper doll with a cyberpunk style. He's got a five piece wardrobe. Print from paperthingpersonas.com

{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Sprite Printable Paper Dolls}

So, I went pretty traditional with my cyberpunk color scheme- black, white, yellow and red. I knew I wanted to do a two toned hair style and so I liked the idea of a bleached/non-bleached look.

I imagine, in my head, that his neon green eyes are actually cybernetic, but hey- you can decide if they’re natural. (Though I don’t think anyone has neon green eyes naturally.)

Thoughts on the new series? Ideas for the New Year? Drop me a comment and, as always, if you like the blog, I always appreciate support through Patreon.

A Historical Paper Doll Round-Up: Every Historical Paper Doll From 2010 to 2015

Historical Paper Doll Round-Up: Free Printable Historical Paper Dolls in Fashions from 900 Anglo-Saxon until 1970 American free to print from PaperThinPersonas.comAs a kid, my favorite paper dolls were historical paper dolls. I had everything from paper doll flappers to knights. I still tend towards historical paper dolls in my own collecting, especially those depicting an era that I don’t see very often.

So, for last post of 2015, I thought it would be fun to post a round-up of all the historical paper dolls on Paper Thin Personas from 2010 when I did my first historical paper doll (a teddy bear with regency fashions) until 2015.

As some of you may recall, one of my goals in 2015 was to create at least ten historical paper doll posts in 2015. I surpassed my goal.

I wanted to make paper doll sets representing periods of fashion history that I either didn’t know much about or that challenged me to draw things that I would normally shy away from, because they were intimidating- like the patterns of the Tudor era or the ruffles and pleats of the 18th century.

Mostly though, I wanted to a chance to dig back into my passion for historical dress research which I had let slip a little as I went through grad school. So, today I am going to share every historical paper doll on the blog organized by era of history.

More Below!

Guardian of the Gate: Printable Paper Doll with Armor

warrior-guardian-color-logoThis holiday season I’m visiting family in Arizona. My mom and I went to Tucson to see the miniature museum called The Mini-Time Machine.

It was absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

Anyway, onto paper dolls… I had a lot of trouble coloring this paper doll set. I didn’t want to do bright colors, but I also didn’t want to do everything grey and gold. I ended up developing a color palette based on mossy green and eggplant purple. I named it Watcher at the Gate. I knew I wanted the armor to feel as much leather as it did metal, so I added grey-browns. You can see all my palettes on ColorLovers, though I confess I only recently started saving them there.

warrior-printable-paper-doll-color

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I have created a lot of different paper dolls over the years, as anyone who spends any time digging around the archives could tell you. My favorites are ones where I get to do something different that I haven’t really done before. I think today’s set falls into the category. I can’t think of another paper doll I’ve drawn for the blog which is quite like this paper doll.

So, on Wednesday, there will be a round up of every historical paper doll I have ever posted on the blog (kinda amazing list, actually) and then on Friday… well, actually, I have no idea what goes up Friday. I need to work on that. :)

As always, comments are always appreciated and if you would like to support the blog than consider becoming a patron. There’s fun perks like the Vivian Project and early previews of paper doll sets.

At the Seaside: 1890s Paper Doll Children’s Clothes

poppet-1890s-logoFirst of all, Merry Christmas to anyone who celebrates. Today we have a completely non-thematic paper doll. :) This is what happens to me at the end of the year. I’m just all about getting the stuff I have done posted, so today we have some 1890s beachwear for the Poppets with a sailor suit and a swim suit.

Sailor suits were very popular in the 1890s and they were worn by all different ages of children (and some adults). You can find examples all over the place if you happen to be looking. I used the book Children’s Fashions, 1860–1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree” which happens to be out of print, but is a great resource. Both the swimming costume and the sailor suit come from the illustrations in this book.

One of the interesting things about sailor suits is that they didn’t change in style much. Here is an example from La Semaine De Suzette in 1908. (La Semaine De Suzette was a French children’s magazine that published sewing patterns for the doll Bleuette through out its many year run. There are passionate collectors of the dolls who make the wonderful patterns. Someday I would love to do a paper doll of some of the amazing Bleuette patterns.) Some more examples from various eras include this sailor suit from the 1920s, a magazine illustration from 1890 and an extant example from 1905. Clearly, the sailor suit stuck around for a long while.

victorian-paper-doll-poppet-1890s victorian-paper-doll-poppet-1890s-bw

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Her swimsuit is also from Children’s Fashions, 1860–1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree”. Swimsuits in this era never look like they would be very comfortable or easy to swim in to me. Still I liked the little ruffles on the sleeves.

Posey is modeling today’s 1890s outfits, but Peach probably has the most historical hair style of the bunch with her curls.

I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas with family or not, as you prefer. :)