Hey! Why isn’t That Paper Doll Available in Black and White?

The most commonly asked question I get on this blog is, “Can you make (insert paper doll title here) in black and white?”

The answer is usually… “Depends.”

Step back in time with me to when the world was young and the blog was fairly new before Disaster struck.

During the first few years of PTP’s existence, the paper dolls were only done in black and white and in the heavily shadowed style of Curves or Shadow and Light.

I drew Marisole in early 2009, long before the site crashed, and used her to teach myself how to color paper dolls in Photoshop. My plan, at the time, had been to add a color paper doll, Marisole, once a week to my black and white site.

But then… in December of 2009… Disaster.

I  crashed the blog and my backups didn’t load properly and I didn’t know how to fix it. So, I decided to delete it and start over. You can read the public post about that here.

Even then, I never ever thought I’d publish Marisole in black and white. I never thought I would publish a Pixie in black and white. I never thought about any of this.

The result of my lack of forward thinking is that there are paper dolls on this site for which the original Photoshop files are long gone. I have PDFs and I might have random old scans, but rarely do I have the original Photoshop file. Tracking down the files, extracting the line work (if I can) and processing the new black and white version takes time.

Sometimes, it works well and I get a good black and white copy. Sometimes, it doesn’t and I won’t post sub-par work on my blog.

And that causes me some tension…

Do I work on converting old work to black and white or do I work on new work?

I don’t have limitless time (does anyone?) and so, I prioritize. For me, creating new work is more interesting and more fun than going back, dredging up old files and reformatting them, if I can.

Does this mean you should stop asking for paper dolls in black and white that you want to see?

Absolutely not, sometimes I can do it, but at this point I have done most of the “easy” sets (particularly for Marisole) and the remaining sets are much harder.

So, keep asking, but don’t be surprised if my answer is “Nope.”

Questions? Thoughts? Lemme know in a comment.

Black and White Marisole Monday Paper Dolls Today!

I get asked fairly often for various old paper dolls to be produced in black and white. Considering the number of paper dolls on the blog and the fact that files are not always saved in formats that makes extracting the line work simple. In fact, this might be one of the last sets of these I do for a long time, because I am running out of files that are simple to convert and ending up with sets for which I only have the full merged final PDF. Pulling the black and white out of those files and not ending up with a black and white paper doll of very dubious quality is a challenge.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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Nautical Girl was first posted in 2010. Despite being four years old, I still really like her hair and her dress, though I could take or leave her shoes.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print}{Click Here for the Full Color Version}

Sweater Style was originally conceived as one of four sets which were going to each be a seasonal set. I think this was the fall or winter set (I truly do not recall…). I never did get the series finished and so I just have posted a few of them. At the time, I was living in Illinois where it was very cold in the winters. I rather miss winters when it would actually freeze.


Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print}{Click Here for the Full Color Version}

Draw because I thought I really needed more jeans in my paper doll sets, Stylish in Denim was a lot of fun. It is one of the rare paper doll sets where I owned at the time a fair number of the actual clothing pieces. It was also an early experiment in purses.

Two quick things I mentioned on Friday, but I wanted to repeat. Email updates aren’t working at the moment. I’m looking for a new WordPress plugin. Also, you can follow me on Twitter @paperpersonas which will let you know when the blog updates, what I am working on and other rather inane details of my life.

Curvy Printable Fantasy Paper Doll Set In Color or Black and White

I draw a lot more paper dolls than I post. This is why I sometimes am unsure about posting sketchbook images, because there are things which end up never migrating into the blog, or migrate onto the blog so much later than I meant them too.

And when I create a new series of paper dolls, as B&B is still in my mind, I often draw a lot and then lose interest for a while. This is my basic pattern of paper doll production. I am passionately fascinated with a series for a few weeks and then, after a while, I lose interest and move onto other things. One of the reasons I try to build a backlog is that if I didn’t have one, I would post nothing but say… Pixies for two months and then nothing but Flock for two months and… you get the idea.

Since, I’ve been struggling to get things finished over the last few weeks, I have devoted myself to digging through my folders and finding old things I haven’t finished and finishing them up. Truth is that I have a fair number of orphaned drawings which got scanned and then never got cleaned up and colored. This is one of those orphaned sets. I first drew this when I first drew B&B.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}
I often go back to themes I’ve done before. Styles which have, for best or for ill, been used in previous paper doll experiments or have shown up in other forms on the blog. I think everyone does this. Whenever I think I am “always drawing the same thing”, than I am reminded that some of my favorite paper doll artists (like Boots and Liana) have themes they return to as well.

I mean, can I help that I have a love of corsets? And leggings tucked into boots.

So, the legging, boots and tops with swords have down up many times before like in this paper doll set and this paper doll set (the cape) and this paper doll set and this paper doll set (the leggings) and… I digress.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
{Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}
Also, I clearly have a thing for redheads. I have always had a thing for redheads. My grandmother was a redhead and I have always wished that I inherited that gene, sadly, I did not. Plus, I saw the movie Anne of Green Gables at a young and impressionable age.

Meanwhile, a few other announcements. Once again, my email system for mailing people with blog updates seems to be having trouble. I shall do my best to try to fix it.

And I have finally moved into the 21st century and am now on Twitter. You can follow me @paperpersonas though it’s not strictly blog related and there are plenty of comments about librarianship and my general life that happen as well.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments are always appreciated.

Doodles…. Lady of the Manor Version 2, Mostly…

I am someone who struggles with expectations. What are people expecting me to do or expecting me to complete? I worry often that I am letting people down, though I know intellectually that I am my harshest critic. At times like this, when my actual real life and my blog are in conflict (as they are at the moment), I struggle with letting go and relaxing enough to get anything creative done.

As I post doodles rather than paper dolls, a part of me feels guilty. This is not, a little voice in my head says, what people come to your blog for. This is not what they want.

I do my best to ignore little voices like that, though today it feels harder than other days. (Also I know it’s not true, because I have had readers tell me that it is not true.)

A while ago, I posted Lady of the Manor V.2 sketchbook images. So here are two pages of the doodles which lead to those sets. I’m still working on cleaning up the line work, but I have high hopes that she will be up soon.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

So, the dress on the left never got drawn, but became a different dress. The riding habit on the right pretty much looks like it does in that little doodle. The dress with the layers of ruffles came out wonderfully (I can’t wait to share that one). The one of the right… I actually have no idea what that was supposed to be now… I should do better notes.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

The dress on the left came out nearly just like that dress with a few additional pattern details. The dress on the right was the first design for several “casual” dresses of a similar style. As the first “stand alone” paper doll set of the year, I couldn’t be more pleased with how she’s coming along. I should let myself do more of these, because I do have fun with them.

The blog will continue. It’s been around for a long time… longer than really any other project of mine. I have no intention of abandoning it, I just am having some pretty serious trouble getting motivated at the moment.

A Paper Doll And Her Full Color Ball Gowns to Print

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with ballgowns inspired by Wa and Qi Lolita styles As I explained with the black and white version of today’s paper doll set, both of these dresses are based on Wa lolita and Qi lolita fashions. I really find fusions of different cultures fashions fascinating, plus sometimes drawing absurd dresses make me happy and Mia doesn’t get as much love as I think she should.

When I draw in black and white, I sometimes dread coloring, especially when the coloring means hyper detailed patterns like those in today’s paper doll. I’ve been doing more playing with color and pattern lately. I like patterns, but they are a lot of work. Even though I usually just draw one motif and use Photoshop to manipulate it on each dress. The size of these pattern motifs made their placement on the dresses important. Though I wanted it to feel organic, I also wanted the detail of the complex patterns to shine through.

No point in drawing complex things if no one can appreciate them, after all. In my mind, that’s like sewing a fantastic wardrobe for an ugly doll… why bother?


Asian paper doll to print with two ballgowns based Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita 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}

I based the color scheme on this kimono which I found online. Everytime I reference kimono, I am reminded of the fantastic posts on Liana’s Paper Doll Blog about Japanese dress. She’s far more an expert of this topic than I.

Personally, I thought it was very a beautiful kimono and I really liked the color combination. What looks black isn’t actually black, it is a very dark purple-red color. I used the same color for her hair. I like doing that, because I think a color scheme should be about making a harmonious set.

Every set should be a complete work, rather than just a collection of clothing pieces and should be able to stand alone, even if it is part of a larger collection of paper dolls.

Hello Natalie! A New Printable Paper Doll

link to a brunette printable paper doll in full color and black and white Okay, so years ago there was this show called Forever Knight which I confess I loved when I was in middle school and high school, as it was shown on Sci-fi as reruns. In fact, in graduate school when I found out the library had the whole series of DVD (okay.. so that library had some weird DVD options… they also had all the seasons of Law and Order) I openly confess to re-watching all the adventures of the vampire cop.

So, when I created a brunette paper doll with curls, I had to name her after Natalie Lambert played by Cathrine Disher who was the coroner best friend of the vampire cop. I still don’t know how the show ever got made, since it is such an absurd premise to begin with- Vampires Fighting Crime! Still, there’s a lot of other stupid TV shows that made it, and Forever Knight at least didn’t fall into the trap of having every show end with a happily ever after.

Truth be told, I watch very little contemporary TV, except home decorating shows. I do keep meaning to finish the first season of Orange is the New Black.

Black and White fantasy paper doll

{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 Clothes for Her}{Click Here for Friends for Her}

So.. confession… her eyes kinda bug me…. But despite that, I do like how she came out.

I was going to make her blond and she was blond for a while, but I noticed that I have a lot of blond printable paper dolls here. It’s one of my pet peeves that in sets of doll with lots of skin colors, the white doll always seems to be a blond or a redhead. I do the same thing a lot, because after a while brown hair gets boring and it’s not like I can apply red hair to a brown skinned doll and call it natural (though red highlights to appear naturally in some dark haired people). Anyway, this is a long involved way of saying that today’s paper doll is a brunette, though in the future there maybe more paper dolls with the same skin color and other hair colors.

And that’s all for today. I do want to know though… Has anyone else ever watched Forever Knight or am I the only one?

Black and White Paper Doll With Wa and Qi Lolita Inspired Ballgowns

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with ballgowns inspired by Wa and Qi Lolita styles Today, we have a pair of ballgowns which were heavily influenced by wa lolita and qi lolita fashion styles. I showed off the rough sketches last Monday. Wa lolita and qi lolita are substyles of the Japanese street style lolita. F Yeah Lolita (a blog I have come to rather enjoy reading) discusses lolita in detail, but I actually think the wikipedia article is nice for people who know nothing about it.

Anyway, both wa lolita (infulenced by Japanese traditional dress) and qi lolita (influenced by Chinese traditional dress) are styles I think are fascinating, because cultural fusion always interests me. However, I try to be careful about how I borrow from cultures which are not my own, because I am very aware of the problematic and complicated issues of cultural appropriation which underlie children’s toys and visual representations of culture. I could ramble on about that topic until… well, for a every long time… but I figure most people are really here for the paper dolls, so I’ll restrain myself.


Asian paper doll to print with two ballgowns based Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita 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}

A few of my ideas came from this dress by FanplusFreind and this dress, also by FanplusFriend. I first discovered qi lolita through this dress which is actually a doll’s dress. The shoes are just sort of random inventions, though the ones on the right with the stockings were influenced by rocking horse shoes which are pretty cool (though maybe hard to walk in… I don’t know, I’ve never worn them.)

I can’t wait to share these in color next week, though I openly confess the pattern on the left dress is giving me fits. Every-time I do a complicated pattern, I swear I will never do it again and then… well… I do it again. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

Oh, and before I forget, the fast of Ramadan officially ends this evening I think, so Happy Eid al-Fitr to any of my readers who are Muslim. I don’t know much about Ramadan, but the mosque by my apartment has been busier than usual this month.

A Futuristic Cyberpunk Paper Doll Named Ololara

By my nature, I tend to be a private person, particularly online. It’s not that I’m irrationally scared of stalkers (rationally scared of stalkers maybe…), but I do feel that it’s important not to post anything on a blog that you wouldn’t want your boss/mother/random stranger to read. So, I tend towards the general rather than the specific. It’s a habit I urge anyone who wants to do this for a while to get into.

Remember, the internet has a LONG memory.

Never the less, I’ve already admitted to playing Shadowrun, an table top RPG with some cyberpunk overtones, so I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that when I’m doing a fair bit of that than cyberpunk paper dolls tend to emerge. I guess in the grand scheme of things, admitting to pretending to be in a dystopian future on Sunday nights isn’t really that embarrassing of a confession.


{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color} {More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Ololara was chosen as the paper doll’s name, because I liked how it sounded. I don’t really know much about the name, to be frank. The websites I found it on said it was “African”, but that’s about as specific as saying, “Asian” and ignoring the fact that Africa is a continent, not a language. It maybe entirely invented by the internet, but I thought it was a pretty name anyway.

Printable female knight paper doll with armor and weapons in black and white for coloring
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

So, I wanted to go with a black and white based color scheme for this paper doll set with only a few other accent colors. Bright green is I think a cheerful choice and the blue seemed a nice counter balance. I had some red in the set at the beginning, but I ended up cutting it when I decided that it clashed with my greens and felt a bit harsh.

By the way, I was recently asked by a reader named Amy if there would ever be another Marcus paper doll. The answer is… um… Probably not. Marcus was originally meant to be a companion to Marisole, but actually the proportions are pretty far off for that to happen. I have been very very slowly working on revamping him, but it is taking a LONG TIME. In the meantime, feel free to draw your own male friends for Marisole. Male paper dolls would get more love if I liked drawing men more.

Precious in Floral Paper Doll Clothes for the Poppets

Poppet Posey in her School Clothes Logo I have actually been having more fun with my Poppets paper doll series than I ever thought I would. I am not terribly keen on paper dolls of children, but I do love paper dolls of dolls, so I have been enjoying the Poppets. Something I want to do in the future is create some historical costumes for them. I really love antique dolls with their trousseau of clothing and trunks. When I was a kid, I remember reading A Little Princess over and over again. In the book, the main character, Sarah has a doll name Emily. The part I read over and over again as a child was about Emily and her extensive wardrobe.

So perhaps when Greta’s Trousseau is finished (if it is ever finished), I will work on a similar project for the Poppets. There could be a trunk and a bunch of little dresses and then toys and… Maybe I should worry about that after I have a bit of a backlog rebuilt.

Meanwhile, today we have a historical inspired country feeling jumper and vintage inspired blouse with boots.

Full color Poppet Paper Doll clothes

{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}

The outfit was partly inspired by Irma’s wonderful paper doll Madaleena. If you haven’t read it yet, Irma is my featured artist right now, so go check out her interview and her blog when you have a chance. She does beautiful work.

Doodles of Marisole Monday Paper Doll Sets

On July 18th, the New York Times wrote a great obituary of Tom Tierney, who died on July 12th. I’ve been debating what to say about his passing for a week, because I feel very odd speaking of the death of a man I never knew, nor knew anyone who knew.

I guess what I can say with confidence is that I will miss his art and that my thoughts are with those who knew him. I can trace my love of paper dolls back to my mother, but Tierney’s historical research made his paper doll books wonderful resources for learning about fashion designers and historical figures and I learned a lot from them as a child. For that, I am very grateful.

Meanwhile, you might have noticed that this is not a paper doll post. Instead, I’m pleased to offer some doodles from my current “doodle/notebook” for two future and one past Marisole Monday paper doll sets.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

So this set might look familair… it’s actually been finished. This was the doodle page that lead to the Margot in Wonderland set from last week. As you can see, very few of these pieces got made into the final set. The drop waisted dress and the pants with the tea cup patches both made it into the final paper doll set.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

This set was inspired by 18th century design, but I’ve rather lost favor with it. I don’t know if I’ll actually draw a final of it, but that was the idea. The truth is that I don’t know how many huge skirted ball gowns I can do in any one period of time. I’d almost rather do a historical set than a fantasy set based on a historical period, I think for the 18th century.

Sketches of Future Paper Doll Sets

So, I’ve been really into Qi Lolita and Wa Lolita lately. I want to do some over the top ball gowns based on those styles. Wa Lolita crosses traditional Japanese dress with victorian ruffled styles and Qi Lolita does the same thing with Chinese traditional dress. Personally, I just don’t know what I am going to do about hair for this set. I have to think about that. I’ve drawn the dresses, but I don’t know what to do about the hair. I’m thinking about it a lot.

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