Shadow & Light 10: Black and White Printable Paper Doll

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Today, I had my last finals and my paper due. Classes for the last semester are officially over and I am extremely happy. If you haven’t spent time on Teri’s Paper Doll Scans, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderful collection of paper dolls.

Shadow and Light 4

The best thing about the Shadow and Light paper dolls is that I decided to number them rather then title them. Perfect solution to my natural problem of coming up with titles.

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I’m always excited when I stumble across paper dolls in while I’m not actually looking for them. Final Fashion is a great fashion illustrators blog which features lots of beautiful fashion paper dolls. They are available for purchase, but every one can also be seen to just gaze longingly at. One of my pet peeves is when people have paper dolls for sale, but you can’t really see each page of the paper doll or the clothing. There’s a few artists I will buy on faith, but generally I like to see what I am getting. My favorite is her Vionnet paper dolls. Madame Vionnet is a somewhat under appreciated designer from the early 20th century who introduced the world to the bias cut dress. Unfortunately, her style was very much of its time and hasn’t really survived to be present which is a pity.

On a semi-related note to the Madame Vionnet ramble, I am curious if people would be interested in knowing which fashion books I use when I’m doing research. I’ve been on this Japanese kimono book kick for a few weeks (literally, my table is covered in them) and I’m trying to decide if fashion/costume book reviews are something people would like to see. Thoughts from the masses?

Shadow & Light 2

I love contrast of heavy structured pieces with light draped pieces. So, I wanted to sort of play with that and draw nifty harness looking things. See… I was trying to justify my wacky-ness with some sort of artistic statement, but I don’t really take myself that seriously.

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On a semi-unrelated note, I’ve become rather obsessed with Blythe dolls lately. At first, I thought they were creepy- all big eyes and weird mouths, but lately I’ve come to actually think they are sort of cute. Mostly I like their little tiny clothing. Not surprising to anyone who knows me, I’ve always been more of a doll clothing, then a doll sort of person. The same is true for paper dolls. As a child, I was just as happy to have just one paper doll and lots of dresses (if not more happy) then to have a lot of dolls.

I’d like to do some sort of Blythe paper doll, but I’m still working on keeping up with what I’ve committed too and I don’t think I’m ready for that quite yet. If I do decide, it might not be serial which brings back the “What to do with non-serial” paper dolls problem.

On an utterly non-related note, I am now going to walk away from my laptop and curl up on my couch with fresh sweet corn and Harry Potter movies. Summer classes are over and life is good.

Pixie & Puck: Thorne

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I sort of think of Thorne (named after a friend from high school who looked nothing like this, but that is not here nor there) as perhaps the boyfriend of Jay or at least that they come from the same world. It’s the same world I tend to assume my Cyborg and Vera come from. Perhaps a futuristic place with lots of neon and flying cars.

Sort of Fifth Element meets Mad Max. Of the two, I’d take the visual style of the Fifth Element over Mad Max pretty much any day.

Curves: Fur Trimmed Gothic

So, this is a stupidly titled paper doll, but her sleeves are fuzzy, so that should be worth something. ๐Ÿ™‚

Curves is a complicated series for me, in part because it fore fills two goals. I began it when I did all my paper dolls for the blog in the heavily shadowed style of Curves, but I wanted to do a full figured paper doll since the ones I had seen online were not very attractive and I thought I could do better.

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Two years later, Curves is my only regularly updating paper doll in the heavily shadowed style I developed in college and still often use for non-paper doll drawing. I like the style, because I believe it doesn’t need to be colored, it has a strong enough graphic presence without adding color. A lot of people color them, and that’s fine with me, but my goal was to make a black and white paper doll that didn’t need to be colored.

There were some side effects of this. The heavy shadows, strongly influenced by Frank Miller’s graphic novels, make for a fairly “dark” paper doll. In several ways, the details are often obscured and lost while the tone is also distinctly heavy. Being a bit of a noir movie lover, I don’t mind the tonal shift, but I do think it lends its self to some styles better then others. Gothic, vintage, and some fantasy clothing comes out looking wonderful, but the average jeans and t-shirt leave something to be desired.

I don’t want to give up my heavily shadowed dolls, because I do like them. I also don’t want to stop drawing a full figured paper doll since I think its important. Unfortunately, I also getting somewhat bored with Curves after two years. I think there needs to be a Curves 2.0. I just haven’t figured out yet how to pull that off or what it’ll look like when I do.

Progress reports and thoughts on the subject will be forth coming. Until then, enjoy the furry Gothic costumes for this new Curves doll and anyone’s thoughts on the matter are welcome.

Pixie & Puck: Jay

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Obviously, I have been watching to much of Demolition Man while practicing my shiny textures. Actually, on Friday, I did just that. A girlfriend and I got together for pizza, a cupcake each from the bakery and movies.

First we watched Demolition Man which is basically everything good about a Sylvester Stallone movies distilled down in to a thick glorious syrup. After Demolition Man (I kinda want to draw the police uniforms from the future now, but I need to make more notes before I try), we watched My Fair Lady.

Yes, a bit of a change of pace but there’s dancing and singing and Rex Harrison in tweed. How can Rex Harrison in tweed ever be a bad thing?

I might have a thing for tweed.

Moving gracefully away from my thing for tweed, I have a poll right now up about the blog schedule. People should vote. Its more for my information then for any major site changes.

Pixie & Puck: Cyborg

Obviously, I have been playing around with shiny a bit lately. I did it for the Marisole Superhero post. I have another shiny post in the early stages of work. I rather like the shiny effect, though there should be a more effective way of doing it then what I have been doing. I just don’t know what that might be at the moment.

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I am really lucky to have supportive friends. When I sit around while we watch movies or hang out and draw paper dolls their reactions are usually, “That’s neat.” Rather than making fun of me for being a mid-twenties graduate student whose drawing paper dolls.

When I was in high school and through most of college and I drew paper dolls, it was a tightly kept secret I shared with only a few people. I did say I collected, but it was always- because I have since I was a child… I never wanted to confess I really did still enjoy paper dolls.

I’ve gotten over it. Maybe it’s time or maturity or something else, but I no longer get nervous telling people about my weird hobby… most of the time. It’s still not something I advertise.

Dark & Steamy: Gothic Steampunk Printable Paper Doll

Today’s paper doll is a little gothic and a little steampunk. That’s okay right? It’s not like mixing oil and water or something.

Erin, who won my little Trivia contest from last Monday, wrote me the following description of what she wanted for her custom Marisole paper doll.

I know that I want my doll to be very pale with brown hair… As for style of clothes and what not, I know that I love Victorian and Steampunk style. Belts, buckles, zippers, lace, keys, and corsets. That kind of stuff. I have included a few links as inspiration I guess, but feel free to disregard them. I dislike the color yellow, LOVE red, black and purple, but other than that… I’m not overly picky.

I asked for a little clarification on shades of brown (she said red brown) and exactly what sort of colors for metals she liked and then set to work. Like a deadline, it was oddly liberating to be paper dolling based on someone else’s guidelines. I’ve done other steampunk sets, but this one quickly got a gothic steampunk paper doll flare- I think the color scheme is what pushed it into gothic territory for me. I’ll always think of those as a gothic colors. I do hope she’s pale enough, because outside of doing another vampire paper doll, I couldn’t imagine going paler than this color. I think it reads as “pale” rather than reading as “corpus.”

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Since one of my favorite features of Victorian dresses was the fact that women got to wear all sorts of different clothing for different activities, I decided to treat the paper doll as though she was an actual Victorian lady- all be it in an alternative steampunk universe- in need of costumes for the range of standard Victorian lady activities.

Here we go.

The Morning Dress: Morning dresses were always more casual then other costumes. Erin sent me a reference link to this beautiful costume. I loved the colors and the drape. To make it a little more Victorian feeling, I added sleeves. Though technically a morning dress would never be worn outside the house, I added a hat since the reference costume featured one. Also, I like hats.

The Walking Costume: The other set of reference images I got was for a beautiful 1880’s reproduction bustled suit and I confess the early 1880’s when skirts were tight, before the huge bustle emerged is one of my favorite times in Victorian fashion. I made the suit purple (to match the purple/red color scheme), created a totally non-period hat and added some accents in silver and brass.

The Afternoon Dress: Mostly an excuse to draw a wild leather corset (well, I imagine its in leather, I suppose technically it could be any fabric you like), the afternoon dress was inspired by the corsets of 1910. The net/lace overlay was my attempt at lace, though I have mixed feelings about how it turned out. Afternoon dresses were also often visiting costumes, so she had to have a hat.

The Ball Gown: No costume set could be complete with out a ballgown and as I love drawing corsets, no ballgown couldn’t not have a corset top. The far left costume of this fashiion plate inspired the oddly bondage-esque skirt. I got a little carried away with my lock and key motif I think, but I had fun doing it.

As regular readers know, I’m a wee bit obsessed with Victorian inspired costumes. I’ve done two other steampunk/neo-Victorian Marisole paper dolls. There was the slightly candy like one (a lesson in how colors don’t look so bright before I process the images for Web and then seem to get brighter) and a more traditional color scheme.

I will probably do another trivia contest thing next week. So, keep your eyes open for that.

Curves: Gothic Goddess

Hmmm… I just realized I misdated this paper doll… opps. I’ll fix it later. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love how the hoop set looks under her skirt, I think they look like bones. Originally I was going to draw the costume on the left for Marisole and I spent a lot of time sketching it and re-sketching it and it never looked right. I’m glad I eventually decided to make it forย Curves. I think it looks much better.

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There’s something about the heavily shadowed paper dolls that I draw that seems to lend itself to gothic styling. I think it’s the contrast. I first started drawing paper dolls in this heavy shadowed style because I liked the idea of paper dolls in black and white which didn’t need to be colored. I wanted them to stand alone as graphic works without needing the injection of color. I think sometimes they work well and sometimes they don’t.

Also, if I’d done this set for Marisole, it would have been another mostly black set of clothing for her and sometimes I just get sick of that. So, I’m glad Curves got it in the end for a couple of reasons.