Beautiful Boho: A Black Paper Doll in Color

boho-logo-colorSummer in Alabama is probably my least favorite season. First of all, it is very hot and humid. Secondly, there are cockroaches. Thirdly, it rains in the afternoons, but the rain doesn’t actually cool anything down.

We are having a freakishly hot June. It’s been in the high 90s for the last week and it is not looking to cool down at all next week. I am miserable in this heat, but I suppose it could be worse.

Someone who is not miserable in the heat (or at least isn’t showing it) is Marisole in today’s colored version of Beautiful Boho. A big part of color selection for me is finding colors I wouldn’t normally think to combine. Part of this is instinct, but I borrow most of my color schemes from various sources around the internet and then alter them as needed. Design Seeds more muted palettes were what I used on this paper doll set. I wanted to use colors that felt like they were modern and came from nature.

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I went back and forth about what to do about Marisole’s glasses in this set. Originally, I had them plain silver, but it just seemed so… well, plain. So, after some debate, I decided to make them a soft grey-teal color. It’s a color that shows up a lot in the paper doll set, but it is also fairly neutral. I also had a lot of fun painting her toe nails with her different sandals.

I don’t think I mentioned this last time, but the paper doll’s hair is based in part on the last hairstyle in this fantastic video of 100 years of black hairstyles 1910 to 2010. My only complaint about the video is that it ignores wigs which were commonly worn by black women, particularly 1940s through the 1960s. Never the less, it is a fascinating time-lapse piece.

Later this week there will be the first Flock post of 2015 (embarrassing but true).

Peach in the Park: A Victorian Printable Paper Doll

logo-peach-parkToday’s Poppet paper doll is all about Victorian children’s clothing of the late 1860s and early 1870s. I love Victorian children’s clothing. I just love it. I even love it in the 1840s when I generally think all the clothing looks really stupid.

I think it is a combination of my natural fascination with childhood studies and exposure to books like The Little Princess at a young and impressionable age. It is likely also because I have a fondness for the idea of antique dolls with little wardrobes of perfectly sewn clothing pieces. The Little Princess was full of dolls. Anyone else remember that book?

And I am not talking about the Shirley Temple movie version where her father wasn’t really dead. I’ve never forgiven them for changing that part.

Anyway, we have Peach, a new Poppet paper doll, with an elegant promenade costume from Godey’s Lady’s Magazine in 1969. Her fashion doll also has a Promenade costume from that same fashion plate. I couldn’t find a decent reproduction of the plate online. Because Godey’s plates folded out, when people digitize the bound volumes they rarely take the time to fold out the plates. The result is that the text is reproduced, but not the folded plate. This is one of my pet peeves about mass digitization projects.

Back to the paper doll- Peach has, of course, a French fashion doll with her who I have left unnamed. Her fashion doll has a walking dress of her own with a hat attached. I have rarely drawn something as small as the fashion doll and I am worried a little about the fit of the gown. I did a quick Photoshop fit test, but you might want to leave some black border for wiggle room on that one. I love the whole paper dolls with their own dolls which are also paper dolls thing. It is hard to pull off though.

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Anyway, I used several sources when working on today’s paper doll. The doll herself is based on the brown-complexioned bisque bebe dolls produced in France and Germany by companies like Steiner, Bru, Jumeau and many others. You can see some examples of these dolls on my Pinterest Board about Antique dolls. These dolls were most common in the late 19th century. As I mentioned above, her dress is from an 1869 Godey’s Lady’s Journal fashion plate. I used Dover’s excellent book- 80 Godey’s Full-Color Fashion Plates, 1838-1880 (ISBN: 978-0486402222), now out of print, for the 1869 plate. I know there are lots of sources online today for fashion plates, but too many of them omit the context of the plates, since plates were often cut. That is why I like having books of fashion plates in my collection for reference.

Next week, I will share a related Poppet clothing set with some underwear from the 1870s- when even children wore staybands or corsets- and two more outfits and a ballgown for her doll. Also, another pair of shoes with stockings.

I really do have to draw more historical children’s clothing for the Poppets. I had far to much fun with this set.

Remember that you’ll need to cut along the shoulders of the paper doll, so that she can wear her dress.

Lois: A Paper Doll of the 1930s

lois-logoI love the styles of the early 1930s and I wanted to create a paper doll that showed them off, so here is Lois- a paper doll of the early 1930s. That is to say, everything in it comes from 1930-1932.

It’s common to speak of the last century of fashion as though it happened in neat decade compartments. In reality, fashion doesn’t care what decade it is. It moves based on cultural and social shifts, often subtly, and then you look around and notice that the silhouette has shifted. Rarely, fashion changes dramatically over a short period, but only very rarely.

So, when looking at the early 1930s, as this paper doll does, you might be struck at how close these dresses are to the late 1920s. In truth, they are very similar, because fashion just doesn’t change that quickly. The Great Depression will catch up with the styles of the 1930s, it just hasn’t yet. All of these dresses are drawn from images in the book Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs published by Dover. The Sears series from Dover is an inexpensive way to gather up books the show what people wore, rather than what fashion magazines thought people should be wearing. I own almost all of them.

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I have mixed feelings about my color choices. I knew I wanted to pick a color scheme where I hats could go with either of the dresses, but I don’t know how successful I was. I really do like how the white hat contrasts with her dark skin and I like how rich the red coat looks, but I’m not so sure about the yellow dress. The early 1930s is a very art deco influenced period and that makes me happy. I love the asymmetrical styles and the often surprising details.

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Unlike my 1920s Pixie Lynn, I actually gave Lois some undergarments. She has a girdle decorated with flowers to go under her dresses. She should, technically, have a slip to go over that and panties to go under it, but its a start.

I would have to pour through all my posts to be certain, but I think this is my second 1930s paper doll ever. The first was way back in 2010 for my original Curves Series and is just called 1930s. I got totally distracted looking through those old paper dolls trying to find the 1930s set I was pretty sure was there. It’s strange to go back and look at things I drew four or five years ago.

Some of them paper dolls I still really like and others I don’t. It rather makes me want to take on a project like Julie’s toddlers where she goes back to older color schemes. I’ll have to think on it. I don’t want to “redraw” old things, but there are some ideas there that I think could be reexamined fruitfully.

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.)

Regency Steampunk Fashion: A New Paper Doll

egency Punk: a paper doll inspired by combining steampunk and regency dress elementsThis isn’t my first foray into the whole “regency steampunk” genre, though I don’t know if this genre already exists or not. My first foray was back when I did my Best Friends set and one of their pages was regency steampunk.

This is my second foray into the genre. I think it is largely more successful, mostly because I am a better artist now than I was three years ago. I still struggle with making goggles that really “work”, but I have hopes that eventually I might figure it out.

Steampunk fascinates me just as much as Gothic fashions and Cyberpunk fashions fascinate me. I am always interested in alterative fashion cultures as they reflect some part of our cultural fabric. Despite finding them interesting, I have never had any desire to “dress up” in steampunk. I simply don’t like wearing costumes, a fact which shocks many people when they find out I draw paper dolls.

egency Punk: a paper doll inspired by combining steampunk and regency dress elements {Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}
So, I’ve spoken before about my pet peeve that fantasy people are always white skinned, as a result I gave my steampunk regency paper doll a soft brown skin-tone. I was going to say “mocha” skintone, but I have been trying to avoid using food words to describe skintones. They just kinda creep me out. Something about my skin being called peach or cream, or calling someone else’s skin chocolate or spice, sorta… I dunno. I’m not sure I want to think of my skin as a food product. It’s a little Hannibal Lector, you know?

Anyway, moving on… The colors are based on actual common early 19th century colors including Turkey Red and Indigo. Both of these colors are produced by dyes from India or Turkey. They are such rich colors that I countered them with cream and black. Personally, I love how real natural indigo fabrics look. It’s an amazing color.

Be sure to cut along the dotted lines so she can wear her clothes and the floating tabs should keep her little top hats on her head.

egency Punk: a paper doll inspired by combining steampunk and regency dress elements. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com {Download a PDF of this paper doll in Full Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Full Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}
I’ve never seen anyone else combine the early 1800s silhouettes with steampunk, so maybe it has a name already and I don’t know it. Either way, I am trying to decide what to call this new genre of fashion and therefore have a poll. Plus, you know, polls are fun.

What should we call early 19th century dress combined with steampunk?

  • Regencypunk (29%, 12 Votes)
  • Austenpunk (29%, 12 Votes)
  • Empirepunk (22%, 9 Votes)
  • Just Steampunk, it doesn't need another name (17%, 7 Votes)
  • Other... I'll tell you in a comment (2%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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Frocks and Gowns in Color

logo-frocks-gowns-colorSo, this is going up a little late today. Sorry about that, but life got crazy this weekend. I want to talk a little bit today about coloring last week’s paper doll and a little about diversity in the paper doll world.

So, when I color a paper doll set, I start with a pallette. I knew I was going to be giving Monica a fairly rich brown skin tone, so that opened up and closed down certain color options. For example, I tend to avoid putting brown colored clothing on brown colored paper dolls, unless the tones are really different, since it can blend too easily. Since she was going to have a rich skin-tone, I decided that bright and color dresses made a lot of sense.

The strapless gown with the belt was based on this gown by Andrew GN and since it had a red top and a pink bottom, that informed the blues and the greens as contrasting colors in the other gowns.

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I’m a big believer in paper doll diversity. I think it is really important to have a variety of concepts and skin-tones and, ideally, a variety of concepts in a variety of skin-tones. Truthfully, I tend not to think of my paper dolls in terms of ethnicity, but in terms of color. It it less about, “this paper doll is African-American” and more about “this paper doll is a dark brown with red undertones.”

I used to think I was the only one who thought this way about paper doll skin-tones until I read this post from Julie over at Paper Doll School. I was comforted to find out that we both tend to think in terms of “color” not in terms of ethnicity.

The result of coloring things, perhaps?

What I do know is that no matter how I think about skin-tone, it is crucial to me that I offer readers of all backgrounds and colors paper dolls that reflect them. People should be able to see themselves in the toys they play with.

Yes, I know a lot of my readers are adults, but adults play with toys, too. At least, they should. 🙂 I do.

Chloe: A New Ms. Mannequin Paper Doll

logo-chloe 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.

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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.)