En Pointe: A Black and White Ballerina Paper Doll

A black and white printable Asian ballerina paper doll with costumes from the ballets Giselle, Scheherazade, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, and Don Quixote. Today, my Monica paper doll ballerina is being joined by Mia, also getting to be a ballerina. Mia’s costumes are from (left to right) Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Scheherazade and Romeo and Juliet. I do feel rather that Monica got the better known ballets since most people have heard of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, but haven’t heard of Scheherazade, despite being an amazing piece of music.

When I was first compiling my list of ballets to draw for these paper doll sets, I wanted to show the range of ballet costumes beyond the tutu. Romeo and Juliet is usually costumed in a renaissance inspired style and Scheherazade is usually done as an orientalist fantasy set in the Middle-East. So, those are my two nods to the “non-tutu” look for these paper dolls. After all, not every dance costume is a tutu.

Mia has practice clothing as well- a simple wrap skirt, leg warmers, a long sleeved leotard, tunic top and flat soled dancing shoes. Of course, she can share her warm up clothes with Monica and between the two of them, I think there is a nice variety of options. I didn’t, to be frank, want to spend a lot of time on practice clothing. It is not nearly as fun to draw as fancy tutus.

A black and white printable Asian ballerina paper doll with costumes from the ballets Gisselle, Scheherazade, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, and Don Quixote.

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There are some mix and match options as well from Monica’s set. Monica’s Copellia tutu, for example, would also work for the first act of Giselle, before Giselle dies. I am particularly pleased with how the transparent overlay on Mia’s Giselle tutu came out, actually.  

I have been spending a lot of time looking at the work of Charles Ventura and Pat Stall, both of whom had a mastery of black and white line-work that I can only dream of one day achieving. I have been collecting their work, along with other black and white paper doll artists, on my black and white paper dolls Pinterest board for a while.

Studying the techniques of artists you admire is a great way to learn how to try new things.

Does anyone know if Charles Ventura or Pat Stall are still alive? I really feel like I should write them and tell them how much I love their paper dolls.

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Printable Paper Doll in Color

Ragamuffin Girl- Steampunk paper doll inspired by Newsies in full color You’d think after having done hundreds of paper dolls that I would actually never struggle to come up with color schemes. And yet… I still have trouble.

The problem with steampunk or anything steampunk inspired, is that there’s a lot of brown. (This is actually the same problem I have with gothic things as well- too much black.) So, I selected several diverse shades of brown to use and then set them off with some ochre, orange, olive green, and teal. Pale blue was added so that every shirt wouldn’t be cream. I wanted to avoid red or pink- these are both colors I love and colors I tend to fall back on when I am trying to come up with color schemes and I also thought they were too girly for this menswear inspired set.

The tiny braids in Mia’s braided hair created a new series of challenges. There’s three choices when highlighting a feature like that- go darker than the main hair color or do lighter than the main hair color or go a radically different color than the main hair color. I knew I didn’t want to do option three and I decided the lighter braids looked better than darker braids.

Ragamuffin Girl- Steampunk paper doll inspired by Newsies in full color

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I will confess that this set took forever to color and while I really like how it turned out, doing the layout of all these pieces was a pain as well. I need to remember my “10 to 11 pieces plus 2 pairs of shoes” rule when I’m drawing or else doing the layout takes forever. This set was 13 pieces and 2 pairs of shoes, plus a lot of these pieces are big. Anyway, it might not seem like a big difference, but it does make a difference.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys Mia in her steampunk get up. Next Monday, there will be ballerinas. Actually, we’ll have a whole month of ballerinas- because I might have gotten a little carried away. :)

Ragamuffin Girl: Steampunk Paper Doll

Ragamuffin Girl. I previewed this paper doll back in April, but even when I previewed it, the paper doll set had been sitting in my sketchbook for a month or more. I was dreading work on it, not because I didn’t like the paper doll, but because the idea of coloring all the detail was terrifying.

So, last week, when I was finally out of everything else I had drawn for Marisole Monday & Friends that I could feed the blog, I found myself finally tackling this paper doll set. Sometimes I have to be forced into these things.

All right, so inspirations for today’s paper doll set include the film Newsies and that’s really about it. Though I confess I do rather see today’s version of Mia hanging out with my airship mechanic Marcus. I mean they both have tools and newsboy caps.

Ragamuffin Girl
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I try to create for all my Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper dolls somewhat evenly. Currently though, this is only Mia’s second set this year. That puts her behind well… everyone else. So, she’ll get some more love soon though since I’ve got a ballerina set in the works for her and Monica. (Yes, I tackled my fear of tutus.)

Today’s paper doll set will, of course, be up in color next week and then… I have no idea what’s next, actually. Probably ballerinas.

Faye’s Fashionable Geometrics: Black and White Modern Paper Doll

Link to a contemporary Asian paper doll coloring page with an extensive wardrobe entitled: Faye's Fashionable Geometrics. As part of the Mini-Maidens series, Faye can share clothing with any of the other Mini-Maiden paper doll. So, I’m posting a third paper doll this week, because I totally only posted one paper doll last week. I guess this is my “apology” paper doll. :)

Faye here is rocking some modern outfits with geometric patterns. As I think I mentioned before, Faye is named for a Chinese student I knew in graduate school. Someone asked me how I name my paper dolls and really it is mostly out of the clear blue sky, though I tend to avoid naming them after people I’ve known who I didn’t like. There’s certain names that shall never grace a paper doll.

I used one of my favorite tools to create the patterns in this paper doll set. It’s called a drafting template and they come in all different styles. I wrote about my favorite tools a while ago. Anyway, I love them and they make from a great starting point for interesting patterns on paper doll clothes.

I usually draw a single repeat or two of my pattern and then construct the pattern in Photoshop. It’s not a hard process, but is it something people would like to learn about? I could do a tutorial I think.


black and white black printable paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe
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Hazel also has a heavily geometrically inspired set of clothes from last year entitled Hazel’s Geometric Style. When I first named today’s paper doll set, I nearly used the same name which would have been awkward. The similar styles I think lend themselves to lots of fun mix and match opportunities though. If you combine today’s paper doll set with Hazel’s Geometric Style there’s 274 outfit possibilities, not even including the accessory items. Pretty remarkable.

An Elven Empress: A Black and White Fantasy Paper Doll

A printable Asian paper doll with fantasy gowns based on Chinese historical dresses Yesterday 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.

A printable Asian paper doll with fantasy gowns based on Chinese historical dresses
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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

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll inspired by historical Chinese dress This 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.

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll in black and white for coloring inspired by historical Chinese dress
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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.

Link to Jai, a fantasy printable paper doll inspired by historical Chinese dress in color. Part of the Pixie series, Jai can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
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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.

Chloe: A New Ms. Mannequin Paper Doll

Like to Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white and color. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing This sorta accidentally went up on Monday, but the files weren’t actually loaded on my server, so the links were kinda problematic and it wasn’t actually supposed to go live yet. I took it down when I noticed it and fixed the PDF files. So here it is as an actual real proper post. :)

I went back and forth about the order in which to post these sets. Technically, I drew the clothing first and then drew the doll to go with it. Since I had things to say about her clothing, so the paper doll’s Lolita inspired clothing got to get posted first. Now, I can post the paper doll who I drew while thinking that she would wear this clothing. Now, that doesn’t mean she has to wear that clothing she does have other options.

Chloe has the same skintone as Stella, my other Asian Ms. Mannequin paper doll. I did that on purpose, so the two paper dolls could share shoes. The colors of the dolls bases will indicate which dolls can share shoes, so Chose’s base is purple- just like Stella’s base. I hope that makes sense. Chloe’s shoes were designed to match the country Lolita inspired paper doll clothes from last week. Stella’s shoes are a little more neutral, so the two dolls can share.

Eventually, I’d like to have two of each of the current Ms. Mannequin skin tones before I branch out into other skin tones, though I do have an alien Ms. Mannequin in the works and her skin is going to be pink skinned or something equally odd.

Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing

{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 Clothesr}{Click Here for Friends for Her}

I choose not to give today’s paper doll an over the top Lolita hairstyle (here a bunch of links to Lolita hair tutorials to show off some of the styles), because I wanted her to be able to dress down or dress up. I think versitility is really important in paper dolls. The variety of stories they can tell is a crucial part of the pleasure children (and adults) get from the toys. At least, I think it is.

So, there will be a sketchbook preview later this week. I hope everyone had a great Easter, if they celebrate, or are having a great Passover. As always, comments are all read and emails are usually responded too eventually. (Mind you… eventually can be quite a few days later.)

Faye’s Runic Adventures: A Printable Paper Doll

Black and White Printable Fantasy Paper Doll Nothing 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….


Faye a Norse and Viking inspired fantasy paper doll page to print and color
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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. :)

Sylvia: An Asian Printable Paper Doll with Contemporary Clothing

Link to Sylvia, an Asian Printable Paper doll Continuing the contemporary theme from Monday’s paper doll, today’s paper doll set is Sylvia showing off her wardrobe. I previewed the paper doll a few weeks ago when I showed the scan straight from my sketchbook. Today, she’s all colored and ready to be printed.

As I always do, there’s two versions of this printable paper doll and her clothes. One is in black and white for coloring and the other is in color for those who don’t like to color. I was never a big “coloring” kid, so I tend towards the full color versions, but I know some of my readers really like the black and white paper doll sets. Mostly, I remember drawing my own paper doll clothes for store bought paper dolls. That was a big part of my childhood.

Sylvia, an Asian printable paper doll with several outfit pieces in black and white for coloring
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Contemporary paper doll sets, like this one, really don’t come with stories. The goal is to create a coherent collection of mix and match clothing pieces. I rarely think much about the history or personality of the paper doll wearing the clothing. Fantasy sets tend to gain back-stories during creation, but contemporary sets rarely do. Fantasy paper dolls require more creativity. I can’t just copy out of a magazine, after all.

Sylvia, an Asian printable paper doll with several outfit pieces in color
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Sylvia’s color scheme is very pink. I wasn’t planning on making it this pink when I started, but somehow pink seemed to fit. I think there’s a little bit of a vintage vibe to this set that I didn’t intend, but ended up pretty cute in the end.

All right, just because I am curious… 5 second poll…

Which are better fantasy paper doll sets or contemporary paper doll sets?

  • Fantasy sets. (79%, 31 Votes)
  • Contemporary sets. (15%, 6 Votes)
  • Actually, I don't really like either one. (5%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Southwest Boho Paper Doll Set in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with a Southwest inspired wardrobe So, with last week’s paper doll I spoke a little about why I decided to dabble in the Southwest trend this season and today I wanted to show off the colors I used for the paper doll set. I knew from the start that I was going to be using a desert inspired color scheme. It is the Southwest, after all.

As a child, we visited the Grand Canyon. I will always think of reds, browns, ochre and sandy khaki when I think of that landscape. I confess to not being much of a desert person by nature; however, I do think they can be astonishingly beautiful.

I did not want to fall into the trap of just using a monochromatic warm color scheme though, so I also decided to include a pale turquoise, a very pale bayleaf green and a darker green for contrast. Normally I try to keep my color schemes to five colors, but this set needed a lot more. (I blame it on that patterned pencil skirt.)


Printable Asian paper doll in full color inspired by the Southwestern fashion trend of Fall 2014
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Things I love: All the skirts. The bag. Those shoes. That cardigan.

Things I’m not sure about: Her hair. The V-neck top. The choice of base color.

Still, I am going to call this one a win.

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