It is rare that I have the plan for a color scheme in mind before I start drawing, but I knew I wanted this set of paper dolls to be done in a red white and blue color scheme with a nautical twist.
I was playing around with my Photoshop settings on this one and I am not totally pleased with how the line-work came out on the color version. I shall have to look into what I did and think about it a bit more. I didn’t notice it as much on my smaller laptop screen, but working on it on a larger screen it has become very obvious.
Gillian asked: when did you start drawing paper dolls? and how did you learn to draw?
Well…. I started drawing paper dolls… I don’t even remember when I started drawing paper dolls. My mother used to draw dolls for me and my sister when we were kids. She’d draw the doll as a bribe to get us to clean our rooms or do the dishes and then we would have to draw the clothing. So, that’s when the paper doll thing got started.
I learned to draw mostly by doing a lot of it. I took art classes in high school and middle school, but mostly I am self taught. I’d love to have some time in the future to take some figure drawing classes. I don’t think I do a very good job on my figures. I nearly always draw from a reference image. I don’t really have the ability to draw well without one.
I hope that answers your question Gillian.
By the way, I was trying to do a darker, maybe Latino skin tone here, but I think she came out looking sickly. Too much yellow in the skin, perhaps.
So, I know I said these would be up last week (or maybe the week before that), but some things came up and I didn’t get around to it. The irony is that I drew this set last year and it’s been sitting on my desktop waiting to be finished for a while.
I tried to make sure each page of this set was a consistent color scheme, so that each page can be printed and played with alone, along with combining with the other pieces in the set. I walso wanted to play a little with the options of a magnetic set of paper dolls which are different than the options for a non-magnetic set of paper doll. I think magnetic paper dolls have interesting options, but are not the same as paper paper dolls for various reasons.
The thing about this blog is that writing is hard. Drawing is hard too, but somehow less hard then writing. I think it’s because I draw in stages- pencil and then ink and then shade and then scan and then re-size. Sometimes those events occur in a slightly different order, but I always have multiple pieces in multiple stages of work. Yet, writing I find I stare at a white screen and have to think of something to say.
Ideally, something intelligent and nuanced to say… Okay, maybe not nuanced, but at least intelligent. Or coherent. I think I at least get coherent. Usually.
Boots wrote a really wonderful post a few weeks ago about momentum and how hard it is to keep it up. She’s right. When I get into a groove I can prep several paper dolls in a row and schedule them all and feel like I’m getting somewhere and when I’m not in a groove… well… it all takes much longer. Enjoy this pastel spring like Marisole. This paper doll is also available in black and white which I posted last week.
Today Marisole printable paper doll is going cybergoth since there’s just not enough neon and shiny in Marisole’s eclectic paper wardrobe. This is the first new Marisole in a depressingly long time… I confess I spent time I probably should have spent revising a paper on this, but after five hours in the library my mind is pretty much non-functional anyway. And it’s nice to come home to paper doll coloring as a relaxing project to work on.
Now, I did recently get my hands on Gothic: Dark Glamour by Valerie Steele. While I normally I like Steele’s work, I was a bit disappointed by this book. It didn’t have the lavish pictures I have come to want in any costume book I buy. Still, it did have a fairly nice description of cyber-gothic and helped me narrow things down to black with neon accents. The hair was the hardest part of this paper doll, but I am actually quite pleased at how it came out. The other piece I am most proud of is the shiny black corset. Shiny fabrics are something I am still practicing and I am totally excited at how perfect the corset turned out to be. It’s rare that I really feel like I’ve achieved what I wanted with texture. Texture is hard.
If this were a dating game show, I would describe Mara as a charming young woman with a love of flowers and long walks through the woods. Since this isn’t a dating game show, as far as I know, I think I’ll just stick with saying that Mara is a one page paper doll with a wardrobe of nine pieces that can be mix and matched to make up 18 different combinations.
In case you’re wondering how I got to that number, the calculation looks like this:
((Number of Tops * Number of Bottoms)+ Number of Dresses)*Number of Shoes= Outfit Combinations
It gets a little more complicated if you add in jackets and other layering pieces, but usually it works out well and, of course, it doesn’t consider things like how well the pieces match with each other. Yes, I might be a little OCD to have come up with a formula for calculating paper doll wardrobe options. (Only sort of math I can really imagine doing…)
Later or tomorrow, there will be something fun and new for the first day of Hanukkah (a holiday no one likes to try to spell) which starts tonight at Sunset.
I am crazy busy getting ready for classes. I have nothing intelligent to say about this paper doll. Enjoy her. Play with her. Cut her out. Get her married. Take her home to meet your Mother… (Okay, maybe not the meeting your Mother thing, cause that could be kinda creepy)
Anyway, the point is to enjoy her.
On a quasi related note, I really do like how her hair came out. I am less sure about her dresses, but I think the hair makes up for it. I’ve been wanting to do a darker skinned Asian doll for a while. Her coloring is based on a lovely visiting Chinese student who was in my courses with me last year. We did a project together during which we both brought food to group meetings. I brought oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and she brought the most wonderful meat filled dumplings. As I recall, she was somewhat suspicious of our insistence that we dip the cookies in milk. I guess it’s not something they do in China.
It is entirely possible that my least favorite part of posting paper dolls is coming up with the title. (Adding tabs is a close second on the list of least favorite activities, I should just draw them rather then using Photoshop. I don’t know why I insist on Photoshop. It just makes things more annoying.) I think I might just start numbering the things. Or using some strange code…. Seriously….
So it’s very late and it’s been over 90 here for the last week. I am hot. I am sweaty. I am dying from a combination of humidity and heat. We had a thunderstorm this morning which woke me up and dropped the temp, so that it was only 90 degrees today. How nice.
It’s times like this when I miss the cold damp climes of my Alaskan home.
Anyway, enough about the weather. There are paper dolls. They are wearing stylish fantasy dresses. These dresses were inspired by the Renaissance in the same way Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame was actually inspired by the novel, which is to say only in the smallest and slightest way. Truly, I don’t know what Disney was thinking turning a book in which all of the main characters die into a children’s film, though I recommend the novel to anyone who has a really long plane ride and doesn’t mind being depressed during it. Does it show that I’m not a huge Victor Hugo fan? In the novel’s defense I should say the language is beautiful, but the plot is rather depressing. I can’t fault Hugo’s skill as a novelist, but I’d rather read Dumas.
Hmmm… I think that’s enough literary criticism for one blog post. Enjoy the paper dolls. (You can decide if she should die in a mass grave while clutching the dead body of her love. I won’t judge.)
She is the reason I love Star Trek and part of the reason I love paper dolls. When I was a child, I was allowed to stay up half an hour later with her to finish watching Star Trek: The Next Generation if my teeth were brushed and I was in my nightgown. When I was in middle school, I started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Recently, I have begun to watch the original series on DVD from the library. In short, I am a bit of a Trekkie- though I like to think a fairly harmless one.
I am sure true die-hard Trekkies could tell me everything that I got wrong on these paper dolls, but I can’t really be bothered to care. I will say this though- finding a decent reference photograph for the shoes worn by those characters was a pain in the behind and I’m still not sure I got them right. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. Feet are not often shown in television episodes.
I heard somewhere (trustworthy source that) that there was a rule in Star Trek that you weren’t supposed to show any fasteners. I don’t really get why. I mean, lacing up clothing has been done for centuries, not to mention buttons. I figure people would hard pressed to invent a better system, but I suppose it does subtly convey the sense of “futuristic” in an interesting way.
Blossom is not named after the show from the 80’s, though after I mentioned what I was going to call the paper doll my friend commented about that and I almost renamed her. I can’t really say why I named her Blossom, except that she looked like a Blossom to me. I suppose that answer will have to do. Her costumes were inspired by anime costumes, more then anything else. Several of my good friends are heavily into anime, though I openly confess to not being much of a fan. I do like the outfits though.
I have been thinking a lot about process lately and about ways to make this blog about more then just the paper dolls I post every few days, so I thought I would also scan the thumbnail doodles that became these costumes. As you might notice, there are some differences between the finished product and the draft.That’s fairly common for me. I tend to change things as I am working on them. My only frustrating with this paper doll was the color schemes for the dresses. I went through several dozen and I am still not sure I like all of them. Maybe I’ll published a black and white version as well… Something to think about.
Also, I am very excited to present two paper dolls today. Along with Blossom, there is a version of the Puck paper doll done by Toni L.A. Cross, www.thinkinlikegavroche.wordpress.com, with a much different chin and a quirky expression. He’s an elf and his name is Pavell which is apparently Sanskrit and I think he’s wonderful and very inspired. I especially like what was done with his hand, so he could hold the bow. I want to thank Toni for kindly letting me share him with all of you. It was really fun for me to see what someone else had done based on my work and quite flattering.
Where to start about this paper doll set… Well, it all started with the blue dress which is the strange love child of a kimono, a peacoat and a 1850’s hoop skirt and then sort of evolved from there. Secretly I kinda love it, but publicly I’m a little more unsure. The underwear in yellow and cream came out of the desire to draw absurd underwear (and practice my ruching as I mentioned last week) and then I felt like I needed a second dress to fill in the set, so I drew her odd formal costume with the pleats and underbust corset with the flower. My favorite is the blue dress, though I know I shouldn’t have favorites among my paper dolls.
The poll is, of course, on going. I am not at all surprised that fantasy is in the lead. I always rather suspected it would win out in the end, but I wasn’t sure where everything else would fall in between, so it has been education in its own way.