The Vivian Project: Redrawing Childhood

Today, I am pleased to announce that my Patreon support page is live. So, if you’d like to donate to support Paper Thin Personas, this is one way you can do so. Feel free to support at any level you’d like, because all is appreciated. However, for those of you who support at 5 dollars a month, you get to join the Vivian Project.

What, you might ask, is the Vivian project? Well… let me explain.

I moved recently and part of the moving process was going through my massive collection of every single paper doll I ever drew as a child. Some I kept. Some I tossed and then, at the bottom of a box, I found Vivian.

Viviean lives in a cookie tin and she was a huge part of my youth and now I am going to re-draw her. Viviean began in June of 1998, but I have no idea when I stopped drawing clothing for her. I think sometime around freshmen year of high-school, maybe a little longer.

Viviean was traced from an advertisement (I think in Seventeen or something) for a prom dress designing contest. I did not enter the contest, but I used their little fashion figure to create a paper doll for whom I drew over 200 outfits.

How do I know that? Because I literally indexed her whole collection on pieces of paper. Each outfit is numbered on the back and there is a corresponding description of the outfit on one of the pages of clothing index. Each set of outfits, usually five, were placed in a small envelope and sub-labeled such as “Futuristic Fashions” or “History Lesson 1910-1940”. Seriously, I should have known I was destined to be a librarian once I started indexing my own paper dolls.

Viviean is has an outfit for just about every occasion a person might ever find themselves in. (And a few, I doubt anyone would likely find themselves in.) For formal occasions, she might slip on Outfit #2: “Long dark blue ball dress with whiet (white) gloves”. I tried to get the gloves to stay on, but they didn’t fit very well.

Or if she feels like rocking out, she has Outfit #144, part of the Rock Star Clothing set, including “a very short leather jacket, yellow dress and black boots.” I didn’t see a short leather jacket in the envelope though, so perhaps it has gone missing? Or maybe it got misfiled?

After being a rock star, Vivian might need to relax by slipping into into Outfit #174, “a yellow-green terri (terry) cloth bath rope (bathrobe).” I clearly struggled with spelling at that age. Actually, I still can’t spell worth a darn, but that’s why there is spellcheck.

And if after relaxing, she wants to fight bandits, than Outfit #156 “Xena- brown leather top with gold decoration” is available. I love the tiny chakra.

The process of re-drawing Viviean into the new Vivian has been fun. She has the same hair, a very similar pose and the same bright pink and lime green swimsuit of her former-self. She’s different as well, because I’ve changed as an artist a lot since Viviean was created. Vivian isn’t a copy, exactly. I think of her more as an “ode” to who I was when I drew her all those years ago.

So, why do all this? Well, because I have wanted too for a long time, but also because I was looking for a project that I could do with my Patreon subscribers. So, if you would like to get involved, you can.

If you choose to join the Vivian Project than every month you’ll receive a redrawn outfit (or two) from the original Vivean clothing collection and, of course, a Vivian doll of your very own.

One month you might receive Outfit #6, a fuchsia above the knee length dress, and then next month you might get Outfit #164, a dress meant to represent the fall with leaves on top, a wreath and cloak, colored orange/red. Patrons will get to vote on the dresses that will be included sometimes and sometimes I’ll just pick something I think is fun to work on. Either way, there will be two versions of each outfit. One is a redraw of the original and other my sense of how I would draw the same concept today.

For twenty-five dollars a month, you’ll get to customize a “Friend of Vivian” paper doll by picking out her face, hair style, skin tone, hair color, and eye color. So, if you want a freckled blue haired paper doll, than this is your chance. There are over a hundred options for that customized paper doll.

There’s other support levels too from one dollar up and beyond. No pressure, of course, as I’ve said before. If you have to choose between something like rent or paper dolls- choose rent! The blog isn’t going anywhere.

Support me here if you’d like. Thank you.

Questions? Ask in a comment or send me an email.

A Little Retro Style: Printable Paper Doll

A contemporary printable paper doll of a young black woman with a 17 piece wardrobe. Like any good printable paper doll should, today Marisole is showing off her full color autumn paper wardrobe complete with some sassy boots. The colors I chose are rich jewel tones for these paper doll clothes. I wanted something that said autumn to me and nothing says autumn like jewel tones.

There are color schemes I come back to over and over again in various forms and one of those is teal, dark pink, and green. I just love these colors together. I do confess that I sometimes I tell myself I can’t use “pink” or I must use “green” and that forces me out of color scheme ruts.

I confess this is a color scheme that I have done before, or at least, I feel like I have done it before. Maybe I’m wrong… anyway, it feels awfully familiar to me.

A contemporary printable paper doll of a young black woman with a 17 piece wardrobe.

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}
Every once in a while, I return to things in the deluded belief they are going to come out better. Like red hair and dark skin, I return to it even though I feel that I have yet to actually get it right.

There’s a term for doing the same thing over again expecting different results. They call that, “insanity.”

Anyway, I once again tried red hair and dark skin. I think this attempt was better than several of my other attempts (Mint and Roses, I am looking at you).

There’s a big announcement coming up Wednesday, so stay tuned for that.

Masquerade Gowns! A Paper Doll Collaboration

Happy Halloween All!

So, today I am pleased to share what Julie, Boots and I have been working on for the last few months together. Back in 2010, I organized our first Halloween paper doll collab. This year we thought it would be fun to do it again!

We did something different this time though. We asked our readers to participate. Now, I confess that I was wary of this idea.

What, I thought, if no one sends anything in?

Well, I should have had more faith in y’all, because we got some wonderful submissions both from other paper doll bloggers out there and from regular readers. A total number of gowns our lady ended with with was twenty-two. A wonderful wardrobe for any paper doll.

I should say thanks to everyone who sent in gowns. So, a huge thank you to A. Rockafellow, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, Isabel, Aged 9, Elizabeth of, Savannah A. and Missy A. Their gowns are in this download.

Thank you as well too Ella, age 5, Anna, age 8, Laurel Stein, Alpharella Shagdal, Gena, Irma of Pabernukublogi, Melinda, and Melissa Smith of Miss Missy Paper Dolls who contributed paper doll as well.

After a little editing on my end to make sure everything was in the right scale for the doll, I am pleased to post my part of the Masquerade paper doll. The only changes I made to people’s submissions were to add tabs to those gowns that were sent in without them. We divided the submissions by name of contributor, but tried to keep sets that came in together as one set. That seemed the most “fair” way to cut up the dolls extensive wardrobe.

And of course, my set includes my gown above.

Download The Paper Doll Gowns Here

Now, if you want the doll herself, you’ll need to hop over to Paper Doll School for the doll and the first set of outfits. And then you can visit Boot’s wonderful new site Pop Culture Paper Dolls to round out your collection.

A huge thank you again to everyone who sent in dolls and to Julie and Boots. We should do this again sometime.

(But not for a while. I need to recover. :) )

Until Monday, I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

Poppet Pirate: Printable Paper Doll

Halloween Poppet Paper Dolls Last week I posted a fairy costume for the Poppet paper dolls. This week, we’ve got a pirate costume for the Poppet paper dolls.

Some people had store bought costumes, but in my family that was strictly out. All of our costumes were always homemade. When I was designing this pirate costume for the Poppet paper dolls, I imagined a little girl getting one of her father’s shirts, perhaps and a scarf from her mother’s drawer and a pair of old pants that got cut off and patched and a plastic sword and getting to be a pirate. I have distinct and fond memories of brainstorming with my mother what I wanted to be for each Halloween.

One year, my best friend went as a girl in a poodle skirt and I went as a poodle.

Another year, I was a head of garlic. Yes, I wanted to be a head of garlic and bless my mother, she didn’t even blink. She came up with a way to use white garbage bags to make a head of garlic costume for her very odd first-grade daughter.

It should come as no shock that I was an odd child.

I imagine therefore that this costume is homemade. Pirates are always a fun easy homemade costume to go with.

A Paper Doll Pirate costume for HalloweenA Paper Doll Pirate costume for Halloween

{Download a PDF in Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Download a PDF to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG to Color} {More Poppet Printable Paper Dolls}

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween on Saturday. Julie, Boots, and I will be sharing our Collaborative paper doll! I can’t wait for everyone to see her. She came out great.

Paper Thin Personas Product Survey Results!

This is a LONG post. Just as a warning, you know, before you get started. :)

So, a few weeks ago I did a survey of my readers. I asked a bunch of questions and I got some great feedback. Today I am going to show some of the data that I am comfortable sharing that came out from my survey results.

I’ll be honest- I’ve never tried to write up something like this. I want to be transparent as I go out into this world, but there are also things I’ve not yet fully processed and things that I feel like aren’t really anyone’s business but mine. Despite running a blog for the last five years, I am actually rather private by nature.

So, I’ve done by best to summarize some stuff and write about it. It’s long and has graphs and there are no paper dolls, so proceed knowing all that.

More Below!

A Little Retro Style: Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

A contemporary printable paper doll in black and white with a 17 piece wardrobe of autumnal styles. Every once in a while, I imagine totally re-doing this blog. Abandoning my printable paper doll sheet format and switching to an outfit a day or something else totally different.

I doubt I’ll ever have the nerve to do that, but once in a while it does occur to me that it might be interesting to just “start over”. I had no choice back in 2010 when the site crashed, but it was also rather cathartic to be able to think about clean slating things.

(Don’t worry, the site is not destined for radical change at the moment.)

Today’s printable paper doll is Marisole, of the Marisole Monday & Friends Family, showing off her dynamic autumn wardrobe. It has been a while since Marisole has gotten any love which is funny considering she is the oldest of the Marisole Monday & Friends collection.

I love autumn. I love the turning leaves and the crispness in the air and the excuse to wear boots. I also love that the fashion magazines come out in September and provide a wealth of fun and interesting fashions for paper dolls. This is the time of year when I often draw a bunch of fashionable paper doll ladies, but this year I found between moving and a few other things, I just didn’t have the time to devote to my contemporary paper doll drawing habit.

A contemporary printable paper doll in black and white with a 17 piece wardrobe of autumnal styles

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

For this printable paper doll set I actually drew a crop top which I confess I pretty much NEVER do, but I have had requests and I have noticed they are coming back in style. As someone who remembers the 90s, I would rather crop tops not come back. Still, can’t fight the tide forever.

I was going through some of my childhood paper dolls lately and I kept seeing crop tops and miniskirts. I was a little obsessed at age 12, clearly. I’ll have more about childhood paper dolls to share in the beginning of November.

As always, comment if you want and I hope everyone enjoys the paper doll!

A Fairy Costume for Halloween

Halloween Poppet Paper Dolls For the next two Friday’s I’ll be giving the Poppet’s some Halloween costumes. Today, we have a fairy and next week, there will be a pirate for these printable paper dolls.

So, when I draw things like fairy paper dolls they fall into one of two categories- “Real Fairies” or “Fairy Costumes.” Sometimes I am creating a printable paper doll of a fantasy creature like a mermaid or a fairy and that is a different idea than creating a Halloween costume of that creature.

So when I created this fairy costume, I was thinking strictly of it as a costume sort of experience, rather than an actual creature. I hope that makes sense.

Despite this the wings are intended to be glued to the back of the paper doll or you could use double sided tape. I realize this means they are non-removable, but over the years I have come to conclude that this is the best way to attach wings. I have tried other methods, but they don’t seem to really work very well. Plus there is nothing stopping you from printing several of the Poppets and having “winged” and “normal” versions. After all, that’s part of the power of printable paper dolls. They can always be re-printed.

Victorian paper doll clothes for the Poppet paper dolls coloring pagesVictorian Paper Doll and Dress from the 1870s in black and white for coloring

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Modeling the fairy costume is Petal, one of the Poppet paper dolls. Of course, any of the Poppet dolls can wear the costume.

Halloween is my most consistent paper doll holiday. I’ve done Halloween paper dolls every year starting in 2010. In no real order, they have been a vampire, a costume set, a ghost, another vampire, and a collab between me, Boots, Liana and Toria.

Tomorrow at midnight EST our Paper Doll Round Robin closes. The guidelines are all explained here. Please join us! We’ve had some great contributions so far and we hope for more.

Paper Doll Preview: Nordic Fantasy and Princesses in my Sketchbook

A few weeks ago, I showed the three stages of the paper doll drawing process in this post. Here are two more pages in their “detailed pencil” period and their final inking stage. As I mentioned before, the process of inking is actually one of my favorite stages in the paper doll creation process.

The paper doll outfits in these two pages are actually split between two different sets. One set is a nordic/Viking inspired fantasy set and the other is a princess set. I am a little compulsive about not wasting paper, so I usually draw Marisole Monday & Friend’s sets in pairs. Each set usually takes up a page and a bit.

My Nordic/Viking fantasy set came from all my Viking research. The Viking elements in these garments are the oval brooches holding up the dresses and the style of the knife. I wanted to do patterns that would seem woven into the gowns and fur trimming.

These sorta Viking dresses were fun to design. I love the big knife!

When I inked these sets I did the outlines first and then added the details. I always worry about smearing my ink and, of course, I did. That’s why I use Photoshop. It lets me clean up mistakes like that.

So, I kinda messed up the inking on the circles. I can live with that.

So, as I mentioned. My paper doll sets need to share pages, because I absolutely hate wasting paper. So, my Nordic sets are sharing some of their space with a princess ballgown which is actually part of a totally different set. Sharing is caring, as they say, so I don’t think any of my paper doll sets mind.

I sorta feel like her hair is a bit dull… but I actually didn’t want to do anything elaborate. So, this is where we ended up.

My least favorite thing in the world to ink is ruching. I never know until I am done how it is going to turn out. It is less about following my pencil lines and more about “instinct” and that always makes me nervous. Still, I think this set of ruching came out okay. I suppose I won’t really know until I finish erasing all the pencil lines. So much erasing…

The furry boots were such a pain to ink. Also, I kinda forgot to do the oval brooches designs. I’ll need to fix that.

Erasing is actually the stage I dread the most, but I do realize that it is important. I tend to put it off as long as possible. Also I like the ink to get a chance to dry a little before I start running over it with an eraser. I recently switched my sketchbook style after five years of using Carson Univerisal Sketchbook to my new Canson Drawing pad. It’s got 70 lb paper which I love.

Rose Princess Ballgowns: Printable Paper Doll in Color

A fantasy princess with two ballgowns, two pairs of shoes and a crown in color for printing. I had a lot of different ideas about how to colors last week’s paper doll. I thought about a traditional princess scheme which would, of course, involve a great deal of pink. I also thought about something in pale blues and teals.

In the end though, I wanted to try to color these dresses as more of a “dark princess” look for the printable paper doll. Therefore I went with black and lavendar, traditional mourning colors. I accented the dresses with a set of white roses and a set of red roses. Most of my color schemes are a bit more diverse in their color selection. For this one, I stuck with a narrow selection of shades intended to keep things fairly simple.

I confess that coloring these gowns was quite fast thanks to the large swatches of one color.

A fantasy princess with two ballgowns, two pairs of shoes and a crown in color for printing.

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

I gave our princess black finger nails and black toenails to emphasis the slightly “gothic” feel of the princesses gowns. The gothic elements are also apparent in her bleached hair. This is not my typical princess, at least not the typical princess I keep in my head.

Julie, of Paper Doll School, and I are hosting a paper doll round robin with a beautiful base doll Julie created. Read more about it and join us, if you like. The deadline is Saturday the 24th at 12pm EST. :)

Hope everyone has a lovely Monday!

Fashionable Paper Doll Clothes for the Ms. Mannequin Series

Fashionable paper doll clothes for the Ms. Mannequin Series.
I make a lot of tea. I don’t always finish my tea, but there is something about heating up water in a kettle, filling my cup with water, adding a little honey and then slowly stirring it. So, I settled down last night with my cup of hot tea next to my usual spot on the couch and I tried to think about what to write tonight about this set of paper doll outfits.

And I got nothing.

Seriously. Crickets.

I designed these a while ago, but I can’t recall when. I colored them with a sea-side ocean inspired color scheme, because well… it is full of colors I like. Teals and blues and celadon greens.

And that’s really all I got.

I realized, as I sit here trying to think of what to write, that maybe that is okay. Maybe it is okay that these paper doll outfits are just outfits.

Not everything has to have an epic story. These are just some nice paper doll clothes. They expand the collection for the Ms. Mannequins. That’s all.

And I think that might be okay.

Sci-fi inspired paper doll clothes from the Ms. Mannequin paper doll series. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, any of those paper dolls can wear these intergalactic fashions

{Click Here for a PDF in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Click Here for a PDF of Black and White} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Black and White}{Click Here for More Clothes}{Click Here for Paper Dolls to Dress}

I hope everyone enjoys them. Prints them. Plays with them or not… up to you all.

And now I’m going to finish my tea and go to bed. And if you’re thinking, but why is this going up on Thursday? It is because I will be traveling on Friday and will be without access to any sort of computer until late late in the evening, so I decided to post a day early. Breaking my own rules already!

As always, enjoy the paper doll clothes.

On and We’re doing a round robin paper doll. Here’s some info about that if you want to join us!