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.
A while ago I drove to Atlanta to get on a plane to fly to Seattle to celebrate my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was a great trip, but as anyone who has ever had to leave a car at the Atlanta airport knows, it can be really expensive. Fortunately, a good friend of my boyfriend was kind enough to let us leave my car in her driveway while we took two weeks and headed back to my frozen northland home aka Alaska.
While we were waiting for our flight, one of her daughters informed me that she wanted to be a knight. We had a lovely conversation about knights and I decided that clearly she needed a knight paper doll. So, today I am pleased to present a noble knight paper doll for Rebecca Grace.
When I am designing a paper doll and thinking about children (rather than just thinking about what I think is cool) than I try to make the pieces fairly large and easy to manipulate. I also wanted to make the underwear a little more covering, but I didn’t want to make the paper doll unable to wear other clothing from the Pixie paper dolls. After all, someday she might want to be a paper doll astronaut or a paper doll pirate or a paper doll vampire.
The truth is that I had a lot of fun drawing these armor sets and while I still don’t feel like I know a lot about armor, I do feel that every child should be encouraged to play out whatever roles they want. In a world where young girls are encouraged to be princesses and when many dolls and toys offer little more than “fashion” as a reason for existence, a few more knights might not be a bad thing. Knights have a fair bit of agency, but princesses tend to simply get saved.
I spent a chunk of my weekend coloring my Margot in Wonderland paper doll from last week. Today, Margot gets to be a blond and has, of course, a wardrobe of Alice inspired paper clothing pieces. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been inspired by Alice many times before and drawn her many times over the years.
After some time I decided to go with a jewel tone color scheme that was a bit bright. I wanted to capture the richness of color that could be captured with color lithography from the 19th century. I was also heavily inspired by this Lolita outfit. I really loved the rich colors since they are not the pastels or black that I normally associate with Lolita fashion.
As I mentioned with my Turn of the Century Pixie Paper Doll, I often collect ideas on my Pinterest boards, so you can check out the Lolita board I keep to see where some of these outfit pieces came from. Nothing was directly taken, but I find ideas and inspiration makes drawing paper dolls faster and easier than it would be without them.
The top hat’s floating tab is meant to be attached using the same method as I outlined in my instructions for attaching wigs and hats to paper dolls. This is one of my favorite methods of doing wig and hat attachment for the paper dolls I design and so I use it often.
I am so pleased to announce that there is a new Featured Artist page up. This time I got the pleasure of interviewing Irma of Papernukublogi. Irma’s blog is bilingual in Estonian and English, which I find completely impressive. Her paper dolls are usually black and white with a wonderful simplicity and almost a folk art quality. There is something very charming about all of her paper dolls. I am consistently impressed by her creativity and variety of her art from 1940′s vintage ladies to some darling children. Irma shares with me a love of crisp line work and the possibilities of black and white paper dolls.
Irma is an art student, who has also studied music. She kindly also provided a beautiful black and white paper doll name Anka to print and color after her interview. I couldn’t be more happy that Irma was gracious enough to allow me to feature her here (even if it is two days later than I had originally hoped.)
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.
I have been traveling a lot over the last three months. One trip every month which has made for scattered time for myself. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I normally work from a long backlog and that having a backlog of paper dolls allows me to plan my life.
Well… I’m out of backlog, so the fact that today’s paper doll happened was a shcok to me. I did not think I would get her done, but I am pleased that I did.
Alice in Wonderland paper dolls are something I have drawn before. I think in total I have done three paper dolls that I’ve posted.
Today’s paper doll version of Alice in Wonderland uses Margot, whose been a bit neglected. Her costumes owe a lot to both Neo-Victorian and Lolita styles.
I had an awful lot of fun putting together the rabbit pattern and the card pattern for the two skirts. I attempted to draw a more realistic top hat than I have in the past, but I’m not pleased with it. There’s something off about the perspective, I think. However, I shall eventually get over my problems with hats. I just have to keep trying, so expect to see more hats.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are books I love, but that I don’t think have aged very well in many ways. The general lack of agency for Alice, not to mention the fact that most of the jokes don’t really resonate with modern life (how many of us had to recite in school? I mean… really?), means that when most of us think of Alice, we think of iconic characters and symbols without actually remembering the story. The Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, or Dweedle-Dee and Dweedle-Dum are all so familiar it hardly matters that the Mad Hatter is a reference to the mercury poisoning common to men in that profession during the Victorian era.
We’re traveling to the turn of the century today for Viola, a printable paper doll with her wardrobe from 1895 and 1900. She can be printed in black and white or in full color. Viola’s name was selected from the Social Security Baby Name Index as popular in the 1890s. Fashion in the mid to late 1890′s exists between huge puffed sleeves and the rather horrid pigeon breasted look. Not being a fan of either style, I never thought I would do 1890s paper doll, but I found I liked the fashions at the end of the century, so here she is.
Honestly, the way I look at history has been heavily influenced by the historical paper dolls I had as a child, sparking my interest in social history and fashion history. So, I think historical paper dolls are great printable paper dolls for kids and I’ve only recently discovered that a number of people who use my paper dolls for home schooling activities. All of this increases the pressure to get the paper doll “right”, lest some child’s understanding of 1890′s dress be damaged by my paper doll creation. (Not that I think this would be devastating for the child in question- there are far worse things in this world.)
The mid to late 1890s wardrobe that Viola has is based on museum objects, primarily, and a few costume plates. The Met, The Museum at FIT and MFA Boston, as well as the UK National Trust were a few of my sources. When I am researching a new paper doll, I tend to collect my sources on my Pinterest boards (feel free to follow) and today’s printable paper doll is no exception. I gathered her clothing sources on my Turn of the Century board, before I started drawing.
The carriage toilette in green is from this fashion plate I found on flickr, though I confess to usually trying to avoid finding things on flickr, since I don’t always trust the accuracy of the sources.
Were I to draw today’s historical paper doll again, I would have included a pair of gloves and another pair of shoes, but that would have made her three pages and I wasn’t about to that. Of course, should you wish to add gloves, than I will direct your attention to the Regency Pixie Paper Dolls whose gloves could certainly be adapted here.
Meet my new Mini Maiden printable paper doll named Isadora. This is the first Isadora paper doll, though there will, of course, be others. Her name is for Isadora Duncan, the famous dancer who died in a rather horrible car accident. A rather morbid name for a paper doll, perhaps, but Duncan revolutionized dance and I do really love the name Isadora. I loved the name long before I knew of it’s rather dark history.
My Isadora paper doll is not a modern dancer who revolutionized dance culture, but rather she is armed with several machetes and a knife and comes from a post apocalyptic wasteland desert where she fights mutants and scrounges for water.
You know, the usual things one does in bad B-movies from the 80′s with bombed out towns and questionable clothing choices.
I have been traveling a lot lately, three trips in three months. One of the places I am visiting in Las Vegas. At night, the “strip” is all rather glitzy, but during the day it just feels fake. Never the less, as I flew over the desolate beauty of the desert before coming into the airport, I was struck by the vastness of it all. I was inspired to draw todays paper doll long before flying over the desert, but while I flew over the desert I was reminded that she was done and ready to post.
Sometimes, I struggle to get started on things, especially when I don’t really want to do them. Saturday night came around this week and I really didn’t want to work on this paper doll. I admit it, the orange dress was giving me fits and I was starting to loath my Pantone Spring 2014 Color Report inspired color scheme.
So, I literally set a timer.
Instead of blowing it off, I took out my cellphone and set a timer for 25 minutes. I told myself I would work on today’s Monica paper doll set for 25 minutes and then I would go do something else. Surely, I could suffer through 25 minutes of coloring. Of course, once the 25 minutes was up, I was so far along that I decided I might as well finish.
And here she is, all colored and everything.
I use a timer to do all sorts of things. From cleaning my apartment in fifteen minute bursts to inking for twenty minutes, I find that once I have done something for a short period of time intensely, I often keep going since I’m already in the middle of it. I hate not finishing things, but sometimes I struggle to get started on them.
As I mentioned before, this set’s color scheme is based on Pantone’s Spring 2014 Color Report and includes several of the Pantone colors. I’m not totally in love with the color choices, but I wanted to stretch myself beyond the colors I tend to naturally gravitate too. Plus, I have done other Pantone inspired color schemes like my Seagulls and Seaside that used the 2013 color report and my Fashion Girl set from 2010 that used the 2009 and 2010 Spring Reports.
Before I announce the winner, I wanted to list all the contest entries, so everyone could read the wonderful ideas proposed by my readers.
I would love to see a vintage wedding dress paper doll. Perhaps a dress to represent each era, especially the 1920s and 1950s. She could also have some different bouquets, hairstyles/veils, and retro shoes.
I would like to see something different i want to see a heather all dainty with makeup and her done in a French knot and her clothes must be all frilly and of course must be dry cleaned. she drives a fancy red mustang. she is something like your fashion=girl=
Something Laura Ingalls Wilder-esque. Or, one with my daughter’s sense of style, 5 years old–short florescent yellow skirt, snake-skinned cowboy boots, pink shirt with paisleys. Seriously, I don’t know where she gets her fashion ideas from.
I think I would want an ancient Greek paper doll with togas and things. Something like the Greek Chic paper doll, but historically correct, if you know what I mean.
I’m all about jackets, so I’d suggest a set where the jackets are the show pieces and their are only a few other basic items. Leather, moto, tweed, sleeveless (also called vests), buckled, zipped, snapped, cropped, tailed, etc.
A poodle skirt doll with red hair, blue eyes and tan skin. the poodle skirt is blue with a white poodle. Marisole style doll
A female greaser or native American marisole doll. A military Flock doll with an outfit for each branch, maybe with Oriole?
I would want a Hobbit paper doll. WITH FUZZY FEET AND CURLY HAIR!!!
I’d want a doll to represent the 70th anniversary of D-day; complete with full army dress uniform, a civillian suit of clothes. He’d be in the tenth armored division with black hair, a striking set of blue eyes, tall, and little skinny
i think a robin hood or knights templar themed marisole would be awesome. maybe throw in a nice dress for court events.
“purple skinned mermaid action hero who fights with a scythe” yes! oh wait…. i’m still hankering for an Atzec fantasy (lots of jaguar and quetzal feathers)! : D
I would also like an Aztec Marisole, or a red-haired Marisole, with her hair down to her knees in a french side braid with roller skating clothes, an ipod with headphones, and a dress with split sleeves.
Rachel, I am giving you a challenge! I want an autism acceptance Marisole doll. (not awareness anymore–thanks to Sandy Hook, we are too aware) Here’s your challenge: -no puzzle pieces -ditch the ribbon -tone down the blue I hope you can do it. If you can’t, i’ll think of something
Storm cleanup Marisole – someone who has all the things they need to clean up after a natural disaster. I realize the Tyvek suit won’t be too cool, but I like the idea of a paper doll willing to get dirty to help someone.
I would like to enter. I’d want a Flock inspired by the fairytale Twelve Dancing Princesses which was one of my favorites when I was a child. (Via Email)
I’d like to enter. If I win I’d like a dark skinned, ’70s-inspired paper doll, with huge Afro, hoop earrings and ’70s style clothing — bell-bottom pants, mini and maxi length dress or skirt, halter top in paisley, ’70s flair all the way.
I would like for you to do a summer themed Marisole with some flowey, floral print sundresses and cute skirts and things like that.
A Pin up doll that looks like Joan from Madmen mixed with a Lumberjack lady
If I had to pick anything I would pick a doll based on Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House On The Prairie series. so the long brown plaits, white lace dresses, and maybe a raincoat to go with it. thanks
think that two paper dolls that are twins would be an awesome thing to have. I think that it would be cool to have the twins have opposite styles. Maybe one could have a rough and tumble style while the other is a cute type.
I would love to see some of the Shadow & Light outfits for the Marisole’s. I would really like to see the more steampunk looking ones.
I would love to see Marisole with clothing inspired by 1,001 Arabian Nights!
I would love to see a Steampunk version of Amelia Bloomer’s Bloomer Costume. Just because it’s Steampunk doesn’t mean that you must have a bustle!
I would love to see a Flock based on the Princess and the Pea, solely for my love of nightclothes.Or a a 1980s Marisol (or Mia, specifically).
I’d like to see a historical doll, maybe from the Tudors with underwear and a few dresses. Thanks. (Via Email)
Black and white, so I can color her myself, with nice firm dark lines to make bucket fills easier. I’m torn. I love the pixies, but marisols tend to have more clothes….A modern suburban homesteader. Gardening tools, chickens, blue jeans and boots and t-shirts with green slogans on them. Style taken from L.L. Bean with a generous admixture of thrift store finds. And she needs a buffalo plaid flannel shirt and a denim jacket and good old classic Birkenstocks with fleece socks, and of course glasses, preferably with short wavy hair (if there’s a colored version, the hair should be at least half grey).
Would love to see a western/cowgirl themed Marisol & Friends. With denim skirt & pants, western boots, gingham, bandana print, western hat, etc. Or maybe a Cowgirl and Indian theme, so they could be either.
I think I doll based on one of the major fashion icons would be a lot of fun to play with, and to draw! Isabella Blow, Diana Vreeland, Frida Kahlo, Catherine Baba, Iris Apfel – they all had/have such unique, wonderfully bold senses of style and there’s plenty of reference material to draw from. Imagine all the hats, and just the sheer abundance of colour and accessories – you could go nuts with it!
Thank you to everyone who entered. I really enjoyed reading the entries. The Winner, selecting using Random.Org is number 23. Congratulations Lina! Lina has her own blog which you should check out as well.