Mini-Maiden’s Are Secretely Ninjas


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Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: Ninjas and How Bad I am at Drawing a Katana
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Yesterday, I did a way more detailed explanation of why I drew this ninja outfit then I am going to do today. Mostly, it was because I didn’t have many ninja paper dolls. I especially wanted a ninja coloring page paper doll outfit. Why you ask?

Well, because I was asked for one.

Not recently, mind you, but years and years ago I was emailed to see if my Ninjas Vs Pirates paper doll set for Marisole Monday and Friends was available in black and white. It wasn’t and it won’t be, because I no longer have the master files for it. So, when I decided to draw ninjas, astronaut and circus themed paper dolls, I knew I needed to do one in black and white. Why those these topics? I explain in yesterday’s post.

So, here it is! Of course, my more recently Marisole Monday & Friend’s ninja is also available in black and white, but now there’s another option if you perfer Mini-Maidens to Marisole Monday & Friends. Everyone should have options.

Seriously, I swear this logic made sense in my head at the time.

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Also, I hope everyone has a great weekend. Mine should be quiet which, frankly, is exactly how I like my weekends to be.

Need a Mini-Maiden paper doll to wear today’s outfit? Pick a Mini-Maiden Paper Doll Here.

An Elven Empress: A Paper Doll in Color

logo-empress-colorI collect costume history and dress books. I’ve been collecting them for years. I used to deny that it was a collection, but as it has grown I have grudgingly come to accept that “collection” is the the only word for it.

The colors in this set are based on a Japanese language book I have on Kimonos. I don’t have much of a clue what the book is about (I don’t know any Japanese), but I picked it up for a dollar from a booksale in college and its been traveling around with me ever since. I keep swearing I’ll give it away to someone who read Japanese, but somehow I can’t seem to part with it.

Funny how that goes, isn’t it?

I don’t have many other kimono history books, though I do plan to expand my “ethnic” clothing collection soon. (I put “ethnic” in quotations, because I find that term problematic for a whole slew of reasons that I don’t want to get into right now. Needless to say, all clothing is about ethnicity, even if you don’t realize it.)

Anyway, these colors are quite bright, so if I understand kimono color culture correctly, they would be most appropriate for an unmarried young woman. Of course, none of these are actual kimono, so I suppose I could just have decided that in the strange elven fantasy culture these are from anything I say goes.

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I’ve had a lot of fun with this set. Next up is a contemporary fashion set and a naming poll. After that, I really haven’t decided what I am going to do. I need to buckle down and get some sketching done for my next few historical sets and give the Poppets some love. They’ve been neglected as of late.

Thoughts on what I should draw for the Poppets? Drop me a comment. Or just drop me a comment, because you care.

You do care, don’t you? (Imagine me giving you puppy dog eyes here.)

An Elven Empress: A Black and White Fantasy Paper Doll

logo-empress-bwYesterday was Mother’s Day and I hope everyone who should of called their mother did actually call their mother. Anyone who is a Mother, Happy Belated Mother’s Day. My own Mother reads this blog and she is, I must say, about the best Mother a girl could have. I love her very much and her support has always meant a lot to me.

One of the thing I inherited from my Mother was a love of Asian clothing, particularly the amazing textiles that go into kimono. Seriously, if you’ve never just gazed in amazement at Japanese textiles, go check out this kimono or this one or this one.

I’ll wait.

Anyway, I tend to think of today’s paper doll as a cousin to my Tones & Shades paper doll that I did back in 2011. Like Jai from last month, this isn’t actual Tang Dynasty dress or actual kimonos, rather it’s a strange fantasy mixing of a lot of different styles into one.

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Some of my inspirations in no real order include Korean women’s hairstyles, Tang Dynasty style Chinese dress, a ball jointed doll outfit, a kimono and an actual Tangy Dynasty sculpture. I probably forgot some sources, but I think that’s everything. I tend to collect my sources on Pinterest, so feel free to follow me there if you want some glimpses at my various obsessions.

Jai: A Fantasy Paper Doll

logo-china-pixieThis isn’t an accurate depiction of Tang Dynasty dress. Though at times it seems to me that this would be obvious, most people (myself included) aren’t very familiar with the dynasties of China, let alone what they were wearing. Oddly, I never feel like when I draw stuff like this or this or this, I have to say it’s not accurate historical European dress, so perhaps my ned for a “disclaimer” is partly an assumption on my part about what my readers are familiar with.

So, anyway, these gowns were inspired by Hanfu and Tang Dynasty dress if anyone is keeping count. Of course, they aren’t accurate and they aren’t meant to be. I just had a lot of fun looking up gowns like this one and this one on Pinterest.

I find balancing research intense projects with non-research intense projects really helps keep me feeling sane. So, fantasy often seems to counter balance historical sets. I just finished, for example, penciling the largest 18th century set that I have ever drawn and then drew a space princess with a ray gun.

It’s all about contrast.

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I went with a muted color scheme that I found on Design Seeds. I wanted it to feel a little less bright and more nature inspired than a lot of my color schemes tend towards. I have a lof of bright colors. I think the gray greens and soft lavenders go a long way to keeping things feeling soft and delicate.

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I swear I had a reference from a contemporary Asian historical drama film when I drew her hair, but now I can’t seem to find the picture on Pinterest. Normally, I’m quite compulsive about saving these things, so I’m a little surprised to be so flummoxed.

Oh well… perhaps I shall find it later.

In the meantime, enjoy Jai and her fantasy gowns.

Faye’s Runic Adventures: A Printable Paper Doll

logo-faye-runicNothing exists in a vacuum. This means that anything which is created inevitably is developed from previously existing content. This doesn’t bother me. I love combining diffrent parts to get a unique whole.

Today’s paper doll was primarily inspired by this drawing I found on Pinterest which is originally from what appears to be a live action role playing game in England called Empire from the fictional country of Wintermark’s costumes.

Who knew?

This image was not my only inspiration. I was also influenced by traditional Japanese hairstyles and vikings. Everything is better with vikings or pirates or pirate vikings….


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Seriously, I should do a set of pirate vikings. I can picture it now… horned helmets and jolly roger flags.

On second thought… maybe I shouldn’t do that.

Moving on… Faye’s world is a harsh one. Her people are known for their skill in leather and silver work. Of a fairly high status, she wears her hair in an elaborate style decorated with a metal ornament. The society travels long distances, mostly by river, and are known for their belief in astrology and careful tracking of the movements of the stars. Their calendars are prized throughout the world for their accuracy. They exist in small townships and a few larger groups. They do not have a centralized government, as we would call it, and form alliances through trade agreements and marriage. They are a largely matriarchal society.

I do have a lot of fun inventing this stuff. 🙂

Garden Ballgowns: A Paper Doll and Her Dresses to Print

garden-ballgowns-color-logoAs I explained with the black and white version of today’s paper doll set, both of these paper doll 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 dresses. 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?

An Asian paper doll and her two fantasy ball gowns, three wigs and two pairs of shoes. Inspired by Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita fashions.

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I based the color scheme on this kimono which I found online. Every time 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. That’s part of my paper doll philosophy. Is it okay to have one of those? Because I totally do.

A Chinese New Year Paper Doll

Happy New Year! Apparently, this year is the year of the Snake. My limited understanding of the Chinese Zodiac informs me that it’s both the year of the Snake and the year of Water. I really don’t know much about the Chinese Zodiac.

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Anyway, I have been on a Chinese traditional dress kick since last year. I decided to draw a qípáo or cheongsam which is the figure hugging high collared dress of kung fu movie fame. The dress isn’t that old, but evolved around the 1920s in Shanghai. The original qipao was wide and loose and long and trimmed with bands of embroidered fabric.

The tunic on the left has “horse hoof” sleeves which were a standard part of Manchu dress during the Qing Dynasty in China. I shortened it to make it a little more modern. There’s also a pair of jeans, a pair of trousers and a modern qipao with a matching skirt, which is apparently not an uncommon way to wear one.

Speaking of all things Chinese, I was heavily inspired by the Kurhn dolls like this one which I guess are sort of Chinese Barbie dolls. Anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely New Years Day, I plan on eating dumplings in celebration. (Also, because I have them in my freezer.)

I am currently debating if I should give today’s paper doll some friends, because I really liked the pose and I had fun drawing her (though I’m not totally pleased with the hair).

An Elf with an Obi: A Black and White Paper Doll

So, today I wanted to draw a paper doll that was a little edgy and inspired by Asian traditional dress with obi’s and mandarin collars (though there is some debate as to the evolution of the mandarin collar… and whether it evolved from Chinese contact with European military uniforms or European contact with Chinese dress… I’ve read both versions in respected literature on the subject, so I have no opinion except to say we don’t know and leave it at that), but I realized I tend to draw Asian looking paper dolls when I’m drawing Asian inspired costumes and that seemed a little… odd, so I instead made her an elf with braids, resulting in a sort of African elf in an obi.

I’m sure if I was more awake today and if I really wanted to, I could probably read some interesting orientalist thing into all this, but I’d rather just stick with the “it’s a paper doll and it’s neat” side of theoretical endeavors.

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Anyhow… as you might have noticed on the right side of the blog a few things have changed. I’ve added tags in an attempt to try to create a genre sort of listing which crosses paper dolls styles. So, if a person wanted to see all the fantasy paper dolls or felt a need to look at every blond paper doll, the option would be available. The three tags I am sort of uncomfortable with are Asian paper doll, Black paper doll and Hispanic paper doll. I did them, because I erratically get emails asking about paper dolls of one of those three groups and I thought the tag might help people find them, but I also feel rather uncomfortable applying racial labels to my paper dolls, especially with Marisole who only has two facial options to begin with.

So, I’m tossing this out to the peanut gallery: Asian paper doll, Black paper doll and Hispanic paper doll tags are useful or awkward or likely to offend people? Thoughts?

Flirty Eyes and Kimono Sleeves: Paper Dolls!

“Flirty eyes” is a term used by doll collectors to describe the side glancing eyes popular in dolls of the early 20th century. I happen to love the look of the side glancing eyes- I think they have more character than front facing eyes and give the paper dolls a slightly mischievous look.

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Ash wrote: I notice that you draw a lot from fashion magazines, which is actually pretty cool. So do you enjoy the early history of Paper Dolls? Do you have a favorite paper doll artist (one who isn’t online)?

I am utterly fascinated by the early history of paper dolls and I am trying on the blog to show off things I find on the web that are both historical and neat. My favorite paper doll artist, at the moment, is Nandor Honti who did a series of paper dolls for MaCalls magazine in the 1920s. Along with the figures, Honti’s paper dolls also include furniture and other items, crossing the fuzzy line between paper doll and paper toy and becoming something much more interesting. I have no idea how many paper dolls Nandor Honti did, but I dream of someday owning a set of the originals. They are so darn inventive.

Got a question you want me to answer on the blog?Ask me here.

Pixies Printable Paper Dolls in Black and White

Since my primary concern for the next few weeks is class work, thesis writing and job searching, I thought I would just post some Pixie paper dolls I have already posted in color, but post them in black and white. I felt a little guilty doing it as just one, so there are two this week- Blossom and Masquerade– both are paper dolls which I think would be fun to color as they have some pattern in their clothing and bows.. a lot of bows…

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Plus I have been getting requests for paper dolls in black and white, so I guess I could pretend I was listening to people rather than just doing what I knew I could get done and posted without having to spend too much time on it. Despite the practical concerns of getting something up to, as I like to say, “feed the blog”, I know people like to color and I think its important to give people the chance to do that.

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These are also both paper dolls which I really liked the full color versions of (which you can see here and here), so I hope people also like the black and white versions.