Essential Elegance: A Fashion Paper Doll in Color

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories.I’ll be among the first to confess that I am pretty matchy-matchy in my own dressing. I do want my shoes to match my purse and my belt. I realize that’s horribly old fashioned, but I just can’t help it. Unless I’m carrying like teal bag and then I can have on any shoes I want, but if I have a brown bag and black shoes, than I spend the whole day feeling discombobulated. (Dumb, perhaps, but true.) Anyway, I tend towards the same tendencies when designing paper doll clothes.

I think part of it is that the better the colors in the paper doll’s clothes match, than the more outfit options open up. It’s an issue of “playability” in my head. I want every Marisole Monday & Friends set to have a doll and paper doll clothes that could stand alone and be fun by itself. I mean, we all have gotten paper doll sets and cut them all out and then be sad when we realize that really there’s only a few clothing options.

However, I also want every set to be able to share with the other sets. That’s the main reason why, for example, all the Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls share the same pose. If they can’t share than what’s the point?

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories. Free to Print from paperthinpersonas.com

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When selecting colors for today’s Monica paper doll, I close to go with a lighter brown for her skin, because I liked how it looks with the lime green. The red top and the white dress were the two pieces that inspired the whole set of paper doll clothes, so it wasn’t hard to decide to keep them their base colors. The blue was choosen to tone down the bright red and it’s strong contrast with the bright green.

Personally, my favorite part of the set is how the white and black booties came out, but that’s just me.

As always, I’d love to hear what anyone things in the comments and if you like the blog, support it on Patreon.

Essential Elegance: Fashion Paper Doll Celebrating Minimalism

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Let me start with something wonderfully basic about my paper dolls: I do not believe paper dolls should be frumpy. Okay, maybe if that’s the theme you’re going for, than I suppose they can be. However, I think paper dolls about fashion should, you know, actually be fashionable. So, if I am going to draw fashion paper dolls, I am going to try to actually pick a fashion style and go for it.

Way to many “fashion model” paper doll sets end up with rather horrible outfits. I mean, I get it. They are for kids and, let’s be honest, kids have ideas of fashion that are a little unsophisticated. Being not a kid, I feel like fashion and paper dolls should combine to make something delightful.

And, of course, fun to play with.

All this brings us to Monica who is rocking a fantastic wardrobe of minimalist pieces from the Fall Fashion magazines. I’ve done one minimalist fashion paper doll before- Mia Goes Minimalist. I think Monica’s outfits are a little more fancy than Mia’s were.

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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I suppose if you weren’t feeling minimalist, than these could also fall into the futuristic fashion category (especially the dress on the far right). I confess that dress, which I think was in InStyle, inspired the whole paper doll set. Not gonna lie. I just wanted an excuse to draw it.

I do feel like I’ve drawn a few of these pieces “before”, but then I suppose since I’ve gotten to something like 200 Marisole Monday & Friends designs, if things didn’t feel familiar than I would be doing something wrong. (Also, how many ways can you draw a pair of simple trousers? Not that many.)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to everyone in the US! I’d say this paper doll was thematic, but I really don’t think she is.

Anyhow, I’m always up for feedback in the comments and, of course, do please support the blog if you love it through Patreon.

Tea & Ruching: A Fantasy Princess Paper Doll

Another one of my princess paper dolls, today we have an African princess with two fantasy gowns and lots of accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.comAs I mentioned when I posted the black and white version of this princess paper doll last week, rarely can I look back and share several stages of paper doll creation. From the sketchbook stage to the coloring stage. There’s a sort of allusion that I think is common in blogging. It’s always presented as current, as immediate.

Sort of the “I just threw together this perfect brunch for my family on Tuesday and I wanted to share it with you all” idea. The truth is that while sometimes I work against the wire- barely have the paper doll done before I post it- I think most people understand that generally there’s a long wait between idea, rough sketches, final sketches and posted paper doll.

So, as you all probably know, I love drawing princess paper dolls. It’s an excuse to let out my girly side and create fluffy over the top dresses around whatever themes strike my fancy. For this princess set, I wanted to use some of the motifs and styles of African wax print fabrics.

An elegant princess paper doll inspired by African wax print fabrics. She's got two fantasy gowns and lots of fun accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Originally, I have conceived of a pink, green and purple color scheme, but it really didn’t work in practice. So, back on Pinterest, I selected this wax print fabric to be my basis for my colors. The orange, red, blues and yellow color scheme seemed like a lovely change of pace from the pinks and purples that are generally associated with princess paper dolls. Plus the white really lightened up the outfit.

I’ve decided her white shoes are a sign of wealth, because can you imagine trying to keep white shoes white? I mean, I don’t own any for that exact reason.

Now, if you’re thinking, but she needs more clothes… Than I recommend considering borrowing gowns from the Yellow Princess, Rose Ballgowns or Garden Ballgowns. All those sets share the big-skirted look of today’s princess paper doll.

Thoughts on today’s princess paper doll? Feel free to leave a comment. Also, on Friday, there will be Elves!

Tea & Ruching: African-American Princess Paper Doll

A black princess paper doll to print and color with two ball gowns, a hair pick, tea set and other accessories. Today’s princess paper doll has been a long time coming. Back in September, I posted the penciled and inked versions of today’s paper doll set and then I posted a screen capture of the colored version in December and now, in January, you get the final black and white with the final color version going up next week.

Generally, I finish the colored version and the black and white version about the same time, but I space the posts out by a week for my own sanity. Plus the colored version of this particular paper doll set gave me fits. I won’t even get into how many variations I made in color choices, but it was brutal. I’ll save that rant for next week’s post.

Okay, so my initial inspiration was African wax print fabrics which I have always had a deep fondness for. If you look closely at her patterned dress, you’ll find a motif inspired from this design and more on my Pintrest board of African Prints & Fashion. Primarly coming out of West Africa, these prints have a complex history which I confess I am not an expert on. Slate is a nice article on African Wax Prints highlighting some of those complexities.

A black princess paper doll to print and color with two ball gowns, a hair pick, tea set and other accessories. Free to print and color from PaperThinPersonas.com

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Beyond my fascination with African wax print cloth, I wanted to do a rather traditional princess. To me, that means big skirts (blame it on growing up in the late 80s) and things that are a big over the top. Of course, big hoop skirts always remind me of the 19th century, so her stockings and shoes owe something to that era.

I’ve been taking a Creativebug class where you draw something every day for the whole month of January. The January 2nd assignment was tea cups and you can see my version over on my Instagram account. (Yeah, I just joined Instagram. We’ll see if I like it long term.) Her teacup was drawn weeks ago, but I don’t think I’m great a teacups, so practice is important.

My hope is to get into the habit of drawing a little everyday in a way that is NOT directly paper doll related. We’ll see if I succeed, but I think it would really help my art.

Meanwhile, drop me a comment if you’d like to share what you think about the paper doll. :)

Zachary Goes Cyber: Printable Paper Doll

logo-zachary-cyberHappy 2016!

I thought it would be fun to start the new year off with my new printable paper doll series- The Sprites. So, for the whole month of January, every Friday will be a new Sprite paper doll. The Sprites are really close to being Pixie & Puck 2.0, but I wanted to give them a whole new name since they absolutely can not share clothing with Pixie and Puck..

Unlike Pixie and Puck, the Sprite printable paper dolls will feature the same faces over and over again, much like Marisole Monday & Friends and the Mini-Maidens. Unlike Marisole Monday & Friends, all Sprite paper dolls will be in paired themes. So, today we have Zachary, a male cyberpunk paper doll and the next Sprite post (which will be next week) will be a female cyberpunk paper doll.

There will not always been two Sprite paper dolls in a row, just to clear that one up. I mean, I suspect there usually will be, but I also suspect that me promising there will be will only end in a stressed out Rachel. No one wants that, right?

Meet Zachary, the first of my new paper doll series. Zachary is a black paper doll with a cyberpunk style. He's got a five piece wardrobe. Print and color from paperthingpersonas.com

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So, after some debate, I decided to name my Sprite base paper dolls in reverse alphabetical order. Why? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d love to claim I’m starting with a male paper doll to appease my readers who love male paper dolls, but in reality it was because there aren’t a lot of names that start with Z. I was thinking of using Zoe, but then I was reminded I already had a Zoe paper doll. Therefore, Zachary it was. Plus I have known several different Zacharies and they have all been delightful.

Meet Zachary, the first of my new paper doll series. Zachary is a black paper doll with a cyberpunk style. He's got a five piece wardrobe. Print from paperthingpersonas.com

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So, I went pretty traditional with my cyberpunk color scheme- black, white, yellow and red. I knew I wanted to do a two toned hair style and so I liked the idea of a bleached/non-bleached look.

I imagine, in my head, that his neon green eyes are actually cybernetic, but hey- you can decide if they’re natural. (Though I don’t think anyone has neon green eyes naturally.)

Thoughts on the new series? Ideas for the New Year? Drop me a comment and, as always, if you like the blog, I always appreciate support through Patreon.

Warm in Winter: A Printable Paper Doll

logo-warm-colorI think maybe I drew this paper doll, because I want it to get cold in Alabama. It just hasn’t happened yet and it’s annoying me. So, I might not need my cute purple winter coat, but at least Marisole has her cute paper winter coats.

My wardrobe would be so much larger if I could just wear winter coats that I drew on pieces of paper. Seriously, that would be pretty cool.

So, let’s talk color scheme, shall we? I use ColourLovers to track my color schemes and this scheme was one I created called Seaweed and Salt. I always name my color palettes in ColourLovers totally random things. The inspiration color was that electric green color which I created named Acid Cabbage AttackHex Code C2DB06. It should work for all your bright green color needs. :)

(See, I know someone who reads this was thinking- Obnoxiously bright green is totally what I need in my life.)

As much as I make fun of Acid Cabbage Attack (and yes, I did name it), I actually think that bright green is a lovely color against Marisole‘s skin-tone.

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My only regret about this set is that I chickened out of making one of the coats Acid Cabbage Attack colored.

Clearly, I am having way to much fun with my background-color xtml code. Also Acid Cabbage Attack makes me think of that TV show about the evil tomatoes, or as it a movie? Did this actually exist or is my memory just inventing things?

(Thanks to Google, I now know the movie was Attack of the Killer Tomatoes)

So, what do people think of today’s Marisole? I’d love to hear in the comments and if you enjoy the paper dolls, consider supporting the blog on Patreon.

Warm in Winter: African-American Paper Doll Coloring Page

logo-warm-bwHappy Hanukkah to everyone who is celebrating along with me.

Anyway, onto the paper doll, it was important to me to get a coat based set up before it was, you know, March or April. :) So, here is some cute coats along with a fantastic updo and some boots for Marisole Monday and all her friends.

So, I used to think I was really bad about matching up the season to the paper doll set of clothing and I was about to write this whole post about how proud I was for getting these coats up now and not in, you know, June. Then I went through my archives looking for an example of a totally off seasonal post from Marisole Monday & Friends and I couldn’t really find one,

I guess I’m better at pairing up sets to the right season than I ever thought I was. Live and learn, I suppose.

Anyway, today’s printable paper doll is all about the coats. My favorite is the biker jacket. Which one is your favorite?

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I love hairsyle magazines for hair ideas, especially for black hairstyles and for short hairstyles- two areas I often think I need help with. I try to pick up hairstyle magazines every few months for new hair ideas. Then I sometimes play a game where I draw things from like every seventh page or I decide I will pick something from an odd numbered page or… You get the idea.

For example, today’s braided style comes from the November 2015 issue of Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles and Care Guide. According to the magazine, the hair style is a combination of cornrows and box-braids. (I’m still learning my braiding terminology.) I don’t think I captured it perfectly (Marisole has a really low forehead, so that doesn’t help), but I’m pleased with the outcome.

Over on my Pateron, my patrons are busy voting for what the blog goals for 2016 should be. If you’d like to vote too, consider joining up to support the blog on Patreon.

I haven’t decided if I am going to do my usual end of the year drawing for a custom paper doll or not. I confess to being very divided on the subject- there’s a lot on my plate right now.

A Little Retro Style: Printable Paper Doll

retro-contemporary-logo-colorLike any good printable paper doll should, today Marisole is showing off her full color autumn paper wardrobe complete with some sassy boots. The colors I chose are rich jewel tones for these paper doll clothes. I wanted something that said autumn to me and nothing says autumn like jewel tones.

There are color schemes I come back to over and over again in various forms and one of those is teal, dark pink, and green. I just love these colors together. I do confess that I sometimes I tell myself I can’t use “pink” or I must use “green” and that forces me out of color scheme ruts.

I confess this is a color scheme that I have done before, or at least, I feel like I have done it before. Maybe I’m wrong… anyway, it feels awfully familiar to me.

retro-contemporary-style-color

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Every once in a while, I return to things in the deluded belief they are going to come out better. Like red hair and dark skin, I return to it even though I feel that I have yet to actually get it right.

There’s a term for doing the same thing over again expecting different results. They call that, “insanity.”

Anyway, I once again tried red hair and dark skin. I think this attempt was better than several of my other attempts (Mint and Roses, I am looking at you).

There’s a big announcement coming up Wednesday, so stay tuned for that.

A Little Retro Style: Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

retro-contemporary-logo-bwEvery once in a while, I imagine totally re-doing this blog. Abandoning my printable paper doll sheet format and switching to an outfit a day or something else totally different.

I doubt I’ll ever have the nerve to do that, but once in a while it does occur to me that it might be interesting to just “start over”. I had no choice back in 2010 when the site crashed, but it was also rather cathartic to be able to think about clean slating things.

(Don’t worry, the site is not destined for radical change at the moment.)

Today’s printable paper doll is Marisole, of the Marisole Monday & Friends Family, showing off her dynamic autumn wardrobe. It has been a while since Marisole has gotten any love which is funny considering she is the oldest of the Marisole Monday & Friends collection.

I love autumn. I love the turning leaves and the crispness in the air and the excuse to wear boots. I also love that the fashion magazines come out in September and provide a wealth of fun and interesting fashions for paper dolls. This is the time of year when I often draw a bunch of fashionable paper doll ladies, but this year I found between moving and a few other things, I just didn’t have the time to devote to my contemporary paper doll drawing habit.

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For this printable paper doll set I actually drew a crop top which I confess I pretty much NEVER do, but I have had requests and I have noticed they are coming back in style. As someone who remembers the 90s, I would rather crop tops not come back. Still, can’t fight the tide forever.

I was going through some of my childhood paper dolls lately and I kept seeing crop tops and miniskirts. I was a little obsessed at age 12, clearly. I’ll have more about childhood paper dolls to share in the beginning of November.

As always, comment if you want and I hope everyone enjoys the paper doll!

Shayna: African American Paper Doll

logo-shayna-msmannToday’s paper doll is named Shayna. Shayna is a Yiddish name that means “beautiful”. I also liked it, because it was close to Shauna which was the name of my best friend in college and, also, one of my roommates for several years. Shauna, it should be noted, looked nothing like my paper doll Shayna. I don’t really draw paper dolls of my friends, even though I do sometimes name them after them.

Shayna is yet another paper doll with micro-braids. I would apologize for this, but the truth is that I really like how micro-braids look and they are fun to draw. Shayna is the same skin tone as Kira another one of the Ms. Mannequin paper dolls, so they can share shoes.

I’m sure Kira is grateful, because she doesn’t have any flats and might want some. The bases of the paper doll are the same color, so if there is ever confusion about who can share with each other, I hope this clears it up.

As always with paper doll skin-tones, I really do like this warm soft brown color. I think it is rich and natural looking. Plus, it is a shade which still prints beautifully on my home printer. I love my darkest shade of brown, but it doesn’t have much contrast with the black line-work. You can check out my skin-tone pallet if you want to see the commonest eleven skin-tone colors are. I’m not totally pleased with some of those colors, but I also haven’t had a chance to refine the pallet.

I haven’t really got a lot else to say about Shayna. I think she’s cute. She’s getting to me closer to my 10 Ms. Mannequin paper doll posts in 2015 goal. That always makes me happy.

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{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 Clothes}{Click Here for More Paper Dolls to Share Clothes}

As we move towards 2016, there are going to be lots of changes to the blog.

First of all, the blog is moving to a fixed schedule with posts on Monday, Friday and an erratic posts on Wednesday. This is actually the schedule I have had it on for the last few weeks. There will always be a paper doll on Monday and Friday. Wednesdays will be everything from historical costume book reviews to interviews to sketchbook content. All sorts of things I’d like to do with that day of the week. And, once in a while, probably an extra paper doll or two.

In the meantime, if you have fifteen minutes and don’t mind spending it answering a thrilling survey… I am currently conducting a survey of my readers. If you have already taken the time to answer, THANK YOU! If you haven’t please consider it.

Click Here to Take the Survey.

If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts you’d like to share with me- Survey or otherwise- please feel free to drop me an email (paperthinpersonas@gmail.com) or post a comment. I might not respond to every comment, but I try to answer all the ones that ask questions.