Frocks and Gowns in Color

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe So, 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.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

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.

Hazel’s Fresh Fashions: A Paper Doll Coloring Page

Link to a contemporary black paper doll coloring page with an extensive wardrobe. As part of the Mini-Maidens series, Hazel can share clothing with any of the other Mini-Maiden paper doll. Sometimes, I create paper dolls and I have a lot to say about them. I can wax philosophical about what I was thinking and feeling and….

Other times, I just have a paper doll that I’ve drawn and I really haven’t got much to say about her. Today’s paper doll falls into the category of I don’t have a lot to say about her.

Partly, I think this is because I drew her last year and she’s been sitting quietly in my unfinished folder waiting to be finished. By the time I was ready to post her, I hadn’t really anything to say. I do think it is important to post a variety of different paper dolls and I am not giving up non-historical sets while I’m on my historical paper doll drawing binge.

Hazel’s summery paper doll wardrobe is fairly basic. She has two bottoms, five tops and three dresses. Her two pairs of sandals are a little chunky, but that seems to be the style as of late. There’s a total of 26 outfit options here which I think really makes the paper doll versatile. She can share clothing, of course, with the rest of the Mini-Maidens paper dolls.


A contemporary black paper doll coloring page with an extensive wardrobe entitled, Hazel's Fresh Fashions. Hazel is in black and white for coloring
{Download a PDF to Print} {View a 150 dpi PNG}{Check out some More Mini-Maiden Printable Paper Dolls}

On Monday, I posted a poll about which historical period I should research next. The options were intentionally selected to be fashion eras that I either knew very little about or have generally thought that I didn’t like. If you haven’t voted, please do.

What historical period should I research next? (And therefore make a paper doll of...)

  • Ancient Greece and Rome (33%, 32 Votes)
  • Rennissance Italy (22%, 21 Votes)
  • The Mod Look of the 1960s (21%, 20 Votes)
  • The 17th Century (16%, 15 Votes)
  • The 1830s (8%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 96

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The poll closes on the 29th. So far it seems that Greek/Roman has surged ahead. I am surprised. I confess that I thought Renaissance Italy would win by a landslide. Never the less, vote if you wanna and we’ll see where it ends up. :)

Sweet & Saucy in Color: A printable paper doll

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe Last week, I talked about where this paper doll set was inspired from. This week, I want to talk a bit about color choices.

Color scares a lot of people. It scares me too. Truthfully, I use a lot of tools to help me develop color schemes. Some are as simple as searching Colour Lovers for a theme, but other times I use tools from ColourLovers to calculate diferent types of color schemes. My other favorite color scheme website is Design Seeds.

Normally, I try to keep my color schemes to five or six colors. There just aren’t enough pieces in the average paper doll set to justify more colors then than that. Even today’s set with all the pattern has only seven different colors, not including the warm soft brown of her skin tone. Choosing a skintone color is actually just as important as selecting a color scheme, because depending on the surrounding colors, all colors look different. I tend to think of the skintone choice as part of the color scheme selection, just as much as I am picking out colors for clothing, but I do try to keep to my palette, except with Asian skintones that generally have a strong yellow undertone. That can be very hard to not look jaundiced, so there’s often trial and error when I am coloring those paper dolls.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

In today’s paper doll, I knew I wanted a rainbow scheme and I wanted it to feel a little bit like candy- bright and sweet colors. Pink stands in for my red, but other then that I have a purple, a blue, a yellow, an orange and a green. White acts as a neutral, rather than black, and that keeps the set feeling light and bright. The only black appears as the soles of her boots. Her nails are multicolored as are her hair ties to keep the sense of mismatched style.

I really am quite pleased with how she turned out.

Sweet & Saucy: A Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

A printable paper doll coloring page with a clothes I first previewed this paper doll set back in 2014 when I did a preview of all the contemporary Marisole Monday & Friend’s sets that I had drawn in a clump. I tend to work in clumps, as my regular readers know.

The other three sets that were draw at the same time as Saucy and Sweet were, in no particular order, Southwest Boho (color and black and white), Simple Sophisticate (color and black and white) and A Bouquet of Florals (color and black and white). Unlike the other three sets, Sweet & Saucy didn’t come right out of the fashion magazines.

She was actually inspired by a Japanese steet fashion known as Decora or sometimes just Harajuku in the USA. Harajuku is actually an neghborhood where street fashion is pretty common, but the more accurate term for the look is, according to my reseach, Decora. Truth be told, these outfits are pretty tame for Decora (examples here).

A printable paper doll coloring page with clothes
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

She also is a nod to some paper dolls I drew in college who all seemed to have pigtails and platform boots. I have no idea why I was so obsessed with that look, but I clearly was. Anyway, as far as my paper doll sets go, she’s got a lot of outfit options. With six tops and five bottoms, there’s over 30 outfit combos before the two pairs of shoes double it to sixty and the dress makes sixty two. (Though the sweater doesn’t layer great with the fluffy skirts, so that might be a problem.)

Enjoy her! She’ll be up in color next week.

Hazel’s Fantasy Gowns: Black and White Paper Doll

black and white black printable fantasy paper doll with braids Today’s printable paper doll is Hazel getting to rock some fantasy gowns. Sometimes I feel odd posting a lot of the same styles of things in a row, as I know I have readers who are into all sorts of different things, but I have certainly been on a fantasy gown drawing kick. Never fear, the March fashion magazines are out and Monday there will be something “completely different.”

That is to say, my other contest winner will get her paper doll set and it is not a fantasy set in the traditional sense.

I suppose in some senses every set is a little bit fantasy. I mean, most of these pieces of clothing, even my contemporary ones, don’t exist in real life. However, I think it is more useful to think in terms of fantasy as a genre. Since I think it helps people find what they might like around here.


black and white black printable fantasy paper doll with braids
{Download a PDF to Print} {View a 150 dpi PNG}{Check out some More Mini-Maiden Printable Paper Dolls}

Later this week, I’ll show off some of the stuff from my sketchbook (likely tomorrow or Friday) and then Monday there will be a Marisole Monday Post and then I’m not sure what’ll go up next. I have a few different things done.

As always, enjoy the paper doll!

Jayla: A Black Printable Paper Doll with Florals!

Link to Jayla, printable paper doll in color and black and white I have had a deeply frustrating month of February. My car was in the shop for a week and I got sick. I’m getting over it, but I haven’t been as productive as I would have hoped. We has a snow day on Wednesday and I was hopeful that I would get a bunch done.

Of course, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped.

Jayla is an older paper doll. I showed a preview of her with this set of Pixie preview posts. I think of her has being kin to my floral set for Monica. Both paper dolls have a girly style with lots of floral pattern.

Link to Jayla, a printable paper doll in black and white for coloring with a contemporary wardrobe
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

I knew I wanted a “dark” background for my florals, but I didn’t want to incorporate too much pink. I tend towards pinks and reds naturally, so sometimes I have to fight that urge. Instead, I chose green, purple and blue as my color scheme. I really wanted to use the lime green with a warm purple, as I love lime and purple.

Link to Jayla, a black paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe. Part of the Pixie series, Jayla can share clothing with the other Pixie paper dolls
{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Jayla’s wardrobe is not the most mix and match friendly. I think she really has about 11 or 12 outfit combinations that make sense and then 13, if you don’t care if things match. Personally, I think she could borrow some shoes from Adannaya who has the same skintone or some pants and skirts from Clarisa or a dress from Fiona. There’s plenty of paper dolls around I’m sure who would be happy to share.

Victoria: A Valentine’s Day Paper Doll

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in color and black and white Over the years, I have done a lot of Valentine’s Day paper dolls. I think it might be the only holiday that I reliably get a paper doll posted for.

My first Valentine’s Day paper doll was back in 2011. Then in 2013, I did this black and white Valentine’s Day paper doll. In 2014, the Poppets got a Valentine’s Day themed outfit. This year, I wanted to do something a little different.

Inspired by Victorian and Art Deco valentines, I designed two 18th century inspired gowns with a Valentines Day theme. Hearts, of course, but also stripes and polka-dots. Plus ruffles. Ruffles are very important. Our paper doll got a wild up-do and a heart encrusted bodysuit to wear under her gowns.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in black and white for coloring
{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Originally, I planned on using a traditional red, pink and white color scheme. However, I just didn’t like how bright that made the dresses. So, I went to ColourLovers and searched for a scheme that was a little more subdued. I ended up using Happy Valentines color scheme. I often use ColourLovers both to find inspiration for color palettes and to build my own color palettes using their tools.

Link to Victoria, a Valentine's Day printable paper doll in color
{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day. I am making stew for me and my boyfriend and we’ll be eating it while watching Box Trolls. I am very excited about both the stew and the movie.

Meanwhile, there’s supposed to be snow on Monday and I have become a true Southerner, buying milk and eggs, just in case. I certainly wouldn’t mind an unexpected day off work, since I don’t get President’s Day off.

Lady in a Castle: A Printable Paper Doll

Printable paper doll of a fantasy princess with four dresses One of my pet peeves is that fantasy movies always default to the assumption that the characters involved are white-skinned. I just saw Into the Woods which I recommend highly- I am a huge Sondheim fan- and I noticed they had some brown-skinned extras which is great, but all of the main characters were white skinned.

I know one of the common arguments against skin-tone diversity in classic fantasy or fairytales is that they are often European in origin and it wouldn’t be accurate to have brown skinned characters; however, I’m not sure the argument for “accuracy” really holds up. First of all, there was a lot more diversity in Europe a lot earlier than most people realize. Secondly, if there are going to be giants and magic, can’t we accept the idea that some of the characters might be darker skinned? Does that really deeply violate suspension of disbelief? We are talking about a genre of story with singing harps, talking animals, and pumpkin coaches.

This is all a really complicated way of saying that I try to give my fantasy paper dolls a variety of skin tones, including weird ones like green, more green and orange. Um… Is it bad I just noticed I have two green skinned paper dolls? I could have sworn one of those had blue skin. I should keep better track of these things.

A printable fantasy paper doll coloring page.
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Moving on from her skin tone, I stuck with the pale scheme I had planned and tried to focus on greens, blues and purples while using yellow and pink as accent colors. I think it came out pretty well, though coloring those detailed patterns took forever. Every time I add a bunch of pattern, I promise myself that it is the “last time” and then I do it again- because I really do like pattern.

Changing topic a bit, one of the most common questions I get is “Why don’t you sell your paper dolls?” I decided to answer this question for Abby of While She Naps. Abby took my thoughts about hobby and business, combined them with those of some other very talented crafters, and created a really great post about business, craft, and why we do what we do. I recommend going and reading it post-haste.

Meanwhile, Vikings are winning my “What historical period should B&B visit” poll which means, I suppose, I should go learn something about Viking dress. If you have not voted, please do. It is highly likely that I will not totally ignore the outcome. It is also highly likely it will take forever for me to get it done, because I am me.

A Bouquet of Florals in Color!

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to a printable paper doll of a young woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe Every printable paper doll set needs to stand alone. This is very important to me. I’d like to think you could just print out and play with this paper doll without needing to print out and play with any others.

In order to do that, I try to have enough paper doll clothes in each set for some variety. I don’t really know how my habit of “two pairs of shoes, at least one pair of pants, one dress, roughly equal tops to bottoms” habit developed in Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll sets, but I certainly have a pattern.

I was feeling like today’s paper doll wardrobe had more tops than bottoms, but it’s really not. Just two more tops for the paper doll than bottoms. There are still about fifty outfit combinations, but maybe the fact that some of the patterns don’t really match each other is what I’m noticing. For example, I wouldn’t put the floral pink and navy top with the navy floral skirt.

Printable paper doll of a young black woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Nearly everything I’ve seen for florals this season seems to be fairly dark, so I went with navy for a lot of the background color. The pieces are all meant to feel lady like without being childish. I think florals can fall into the “too sweet” category fairly quickly. Nothing against that look, but it wasn’t what I wanted for this set.

Speaking of florals, and patterns in general, I have a quick poll…

Which is better- solids or patterns?

  • Both are good (72%, 34 Votes)
  • Patterns, Way more Fun (15%, 7 Votes)
  • Solids, Way more Flexible (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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By the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet… Julie of Paper Doll School is posting a paper doll outfit for every day in December. Support her amazing project by dropping her a comment if you can. It’s such a fun paper doll series.

A Boutique of Florals: Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to a paper doll coloring page of a young woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe I showed off this printable paper doll in my sketch book back in October along with Southwest Boho and a few future paper doll sets. She was inspired by September’s wonderful fashion magazines.

Florals are in this season (or so the fashion magazines inform me). This suits me just fine, as generally, I like a good floral pattern and I have been having fun drawing them. Plus I think complex patterns make for more fun when coloring.

I usually do my patterns as one motif, or parts of a motif, and then place them using photoshop. I used to think this was cheating, but have decided it saves time and actually creates a better finished product.

All of these florals were created this way and the bird pattern on the sweater which I keep forgetting isn’t a floral. Birds are not flowers, after all.

I digress.

Printable paper doll coloring page of a young woman with an afro and contemporary wardrobe
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

Meanwhile, I have once again attempted to draw an afro. I wanted to do a slightly larger afro than my last attempt in this paper doll set. Every time I try an afro for a paper doll, I tell myself the next afro will be better. Part of the challenge is conveying the right texture. Still, I think I’ll figure it out eventually.

Until then, I will keep erratically drawing afros on paper dolls for practice.

Not much else to say, except that I successfully finished my 50,000 word novel Sunday as part of National Novel Writing Month. This is the sixth or seventh year I have attempted the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days and only the second time I’ve won.

Did anyone else do National Novel Writing Month this year?

Also, if you have been getting emails from the email notification system, could you please let me know in a comment? I’m not getting them, but I can’t tell if it is the code or it is my email settings. Thanks.

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