Rose Princess Ballgowns: Printable Paper Doll in Color

rose-princess-logoI had a lot of different ideas about how to colors last week’s paper doll. I thought about a traditional princess scheme which would, of course, involve a great deal of pink. I also thought about something in pale blues and teals.

In the end though, I wanted to try to color these dresses as more of a “dark princess” look for the printable paper doll. Therefore I went with black and lavendar, traditional mourning colors. I accented the dresses with a set of white roses and a set of red roses. Most of my color schemes are a bit more diverse in their color selection. For this one, I stuck with a narrow selection of shades intended to keep things fairly simple.

I confess that coloring these gowns was quite fast thanks to the large swatches of one color.

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I gave our princess black finger nails and black toenails to emphasis the slightly “gothic” feel of the princesses gowns. The gothic elements are also apparent in her bleached hair. This is not my typical princess, at least not the typical princess I keep in my head.

Julie, of Paper Doll School, and I are hosting a paper doll round robin with a beautiful base doll Julie created. Read more about it and join us, if you like. The deadline is Saturday the 24th at 12pm EST. :)

Hope everyone has a lovely Monday!

Knight in Armor: Paper Doll Knight in Color

logo-knight-armor-colorOne of my good friends has nicknamed this paper doll, “Beardy Swordsman!”. I have decided to go with the poll name winner and call him Mikhail. Personally, I was rooting for Mikhail to win and that was my vote. I feel a little guilty because Mikhail won by just one vote and that might have been me. Still, I’m allowed to vote in my own polls, right? I didn’t vote more than once…

I decided to make a knight paper doll as the first of the Mikhail paper dolls, not out of any particularly grand plan, but because I think a lot about the sort of stories you might want to play out with the paper dolls. Back when I was a kid and I played with paper dolls, the narrative provided by the paper doll book rarely worked out as written. With a wedding set, I might decide I actually liked the Maid of Honor paper doll better than the Bride paper doll and she was going to run off with the Groom and the Best Man was actually the older brother of the….

Well, you get the idea.

So, when I create paper dolls I think about the types of stories you might want to tell. Since every doll of a series can share outfits with every other doll of the same series, Mikhail and Marcus can exchange clothes. Now along with being airship mechanics or casual dates, they can also be knights who rescue princesses or knights who get lost in swamps and need to be rescued themselves.

Several years ago, I met a young lady who was four (I think) and who very much wanted to be a knight. I thought to myself, “Good for you.” I drew a knight paper doll for her, but every time I draw a knight, I think of that young lady.

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I have done a lot of dark haired guys, so I decided to make Mikhail a blond. Frankly, coloring armor is fairly dull. It is made of steel. It is going to be silver. There’s just not a lot of variability in that. I went with a lot of gold accents on the armor, because I have decided that Mikhail is a noble night and can afford to spend a fair bit of cash on his armor. Plus it broke up the grey.

In a totally unrelated note, as many of you know, I am currently conducting a survey. (At this point, my daily readers are like… Can she shut up about the Survey already?) I would ask that if you haven’t filled it out, please do so. It’s about developing products to open a Paper Thin Personas store in the next year. It should only take about 15 minutes and would be uber-helpful and I’ll send you a thank you paper doll if you leave me your email at the end. (The emails are deleted out of the survey results immediately to keep things as anonymous as humanly possible. So, don’t worry about that.)

Check out the Survey Here!

Thanks again to everyone whose already done the survey! I’ve learned a lot from everyone’s comments and responses. Maybe at the end, I’ll do a post about some of the stuff I learned? I don’t know… does that violate the principle of an anonymous survey? Thoughts from my readers?

Brooches and Smokkr: A Viking Paper Doll

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in color. She also has shoes and historical accessories.In truth, we know very little about what Viking women wore, so that makes drawing a Viking paper doll sorta exciting (and scary). Unlike the 10th century Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings did not have a manuscript culture. Their art was generally metal work or stone carving and highly stylized. Making things more rather than less complicated, textiles rot extremely quickly in soil and those which remain in tact are often saved by their proximity to other materials such as metal, while metal breaks down it releases salts that protect the textile.

This means that what remains we have of Viking garments are fragmentary at best. While working on my Viking paper doll, I did my research, as always, and then made decisions based on my understanding of Viking garments. My understanding isn’t perfect. I am not an archaeologist, nor do I study Viking cultures extensively. My post Wednesday, Viking Women’s Dress in the 10th Century  covers my sources and what I understand about Viking garments.

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in black and white. She also has shoes and historical accessories.

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Though I came away from my research with the conclusion that there is more supposition than certainty in Viking dress research, I couldn’t be more pleased by how my printable paper doll came out. Her two apron-dresses or smokkrs over shirts were both designed based on the work of some excellent scholars. I chose a closed smokkr, because I agree with Ewing’s and Geijer’s views on the shape of the smokkr. I added an apron on one, based on the work of Bau and Ewing. To the other, I added pleats based on the reconstruction of a smokkr by Hilde Thunem. She has a key, a cup, a comb and a small knife. From the brooches on her left smokkr hang a pair of scissors, a small knife and a needle case.

Her shoes are based on finds at Viking York and her stockings and garters are based on the work of Ewing who argues that Viking men wore garters. I have no reason to believe if men were wearing them than women weren’t. Besides, Scandinavia is rather chilly to be wandering around bare legged.

A paper doll of a viking woman from the 10th century with two historical outfits based on the work of scholars in Viking dress in color. She also has shoes and historical accessories.

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When selecting colors, I tried to be aware of what colors were known to be used by Vikings. There were several references to brown twills in the articles I read (sources here) and the Kostup find is known to have been blue. Her brown smokkr, or apron-dress, has different colored straps, because linen loops were sometimes used on wool smokkrs. Linen, unlike wool, doesn’t take dye very well. I wanted to make a nod to that practice. Both the serks or shirts, I left undyed in lighter colors. One shirt is pleated, as is found in many Birka graves, and one is unpleated. The paper doll has a hair covering as referenced in Ewing’s book, Viking Clothing.

I made my Viking paper doll blond really only because when I think of Vikings, I think of blonds. Perhaps an unfair assumption, but there you go.

As with my Anglo-Saxon paper doll of the same century, I strongly recommend reading my little article and then reading my sources. I would also caution that most of the research on Vikings is not published in English. Until more of the articles are translated into English, I did the best I could with what sources were readily available.

I know people have been waiting on this printable paper doll, so I hope the wait was worth it. I certainly am nothing but pleased with how she came out.

As always, if you like the paper dolls and want to support the blog than check out my Patreon. :)

Baton Twirling Majorette: Printable Paper Doll in Color

logo-majorette-colorI’ve been pretty sick this weekend, and I wasn’t sure I was going to get this up, but I’m on antibiotics now and am writing this between naps.

(When I’m sick, I nap a lot.)

I always say that I don’t do a lot of blond paper dolls, but I think I might do more than I realize. I do have a deep love of red hair. Anyway, I’ve done maybe thirty blond paper dolls over the years and a lot of those were because of multiple colored hair like on my Delaney paper doll or Spikes and Pleats paper doll set. Anyway, the girl who asked for this paper doll is blond, so I decided a blond paper doll made the most sense.

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An random interesting fact- The the white and red uniform is actually based on a photo of what the majorettes at the university I work for wore in the 1960s. We no longer have majorettes. I thought about doing the uniforms of some of the other area university majorettes, but a lot of the costumes were bit too skimpy or involved a lot of illusion netting. Because I want the paper doll outfits to be interchangeable among the various paper dolls regardless of skin tone, I tend to steer clear of putting skintone on the outfit pieces…. except shoes, where I can’t seem to avoid it.

As I mentioned earlier, I am sick, so I don’t know if I’ll get much posted this week. I have some stuff ready, but nothing pre-scheduled.

Audra in Other Colors

logo-audra-pink-blondFirst things first, I’m sure many people are curious about who won the contest (I mean, at lease the people who entered it.) As I did last year, I decided to have two winners of my end of the year drawing/contest. Congrats to Mag15 and Kitrona who were selected by the highly scientific process of counting the unique comments and using Random.Org to select a winner.

Meanwhile, onto the paper dolls…

Sometimes, I get a little carried away playing with color schemes. I think the color scheme can really change the whole look of a paper doll set. It can go from sweet to saucy to historical. It’s a fun aspect of drawing and designing paper dolls.

The first color scheme is winter white with pale blue/grey in neutrals. The various colors to set off the neutrals are a deep grey purple and two shades of pink. The doll’s skin color is a warm redbrown and her hair is black. The darker skin tone will be set off by the winter white.

audra-pink-color-scheme {Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}
I rarely do blond paper dolls, but I really loved the bright pink coat and it reminded me of Barbie. Barbie is blond, so Audra became blond for this set. The neutrals are several shades of light warm grey. The accent color is a denim blue.

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Clearly, I was enjoying my pink and blues. Both these sets came out much more similar in color scheme than intended. I had a great deal of fun coloring these sets.

Marcus as Steampunk Airship Mechanic Paper Doll

logo-airship-colorI play Pathfinder, a Dungeons and Dragons like game, most Friday nights with a group of friends at a local game shop. Generally, I have to know what my character is wearing before I can actually play the character.

Weird, but true.

Clothing is a direct expression of how my character thinks and functions in the world. Some people think about their characters in terms of unique weapons or speech patterns, I think about my characters in terms of what sort of shoes they would choose while trekking through a ruin.

Years ago, I discovered the work of Sheryl A Knowles who drew paper dolls of her RPG characters. Just by looking at the outfits of the paper dolls, I knew the sorts of characters she was creating.

I rarely draw my own characters (here’s an exception), but when I work on a paper doll set, I want to convey the world and personality through the paper doll outfits.

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Marcus here is a mechanic. So, his clothing is utilitarian. The double breasted vest is in his “good” clothes, with a belt for his money pouch and a decorative pointless armband. His tie is loose. His other brown vest is more of a work outfit. He wears vests to keep grease off his shirts. With this outfit, his tie is tucked up, so that it doesn’t get caught in machines. He’s on his feet a lot, so he has two pairs of boots. The cap keeps his dreads from getting in the way while he’s working (because hair in engines = pain) and his leather satchel is where he stores his tools. Work gloves, a scarf for cold weather and some tools complete the set.

You can also tell a little about Marcus’ personality here. His dreads are decorated with beads and I know from people who have them that dreads take some maintenance. Clearly, he’s someone who cares about how he looks. Is he perhaps somewhat of a ladies man?

Paper doll sets can be tiny windows into lives and worlds. That’s part of the fun.

Malina: An Autumnal Printable Paper Doll

logo-malina-autumnAs I move towards the end of the year, I always find myself beginning to think about the future and what has been done this year. One of the doll artists I admire is Mimi Kirchner and she does these wonderful year end posts where she talks about all the dolls she has made. I never seem to get on the ball about doing something like that. I suppose because with holiday travel and other concerns, I don’t always have time to sit back and think about where the little hobby of mine has taken me.

It’s November all ready though… and December is around the corner. Next thing I know, it will be January and then we’ll be in 2015. I guess I better start thinking.

Meanwhile, today we have a new Pixie paper doll. Malina is the female form of Malcom. It’s a scottish name. I don’t know why I decided that this paper doll seemed Scottish to me. There was no ‘logical’ reason why. Maybe because Scotland is chilly and she has sweaters? Yes, we’ll go with that rather stretch of a connection.

malina-autumn-pixie-paper-doll-bw{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Malina is my 13th Pixie Paper Doll post of the year, though technically my Pixie posts have been longer this year than last year. This year I did a three page Regency set of paper dolls for the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson, a two page Steampunk paper doll set and a two page Turn of the Century paper doll set. Anyway, there will be another few Pixies before the year is over, I assure you.

malina-autumn-pixie-paper-doll{Download a PDF to Print and Color} {Download a PNG to Print and Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

Malina’s wardrobe is based on the “sporty” trend of 2014, much like Adannaya from earlier this year. The color scheme was inspired by apples and orchards and other fall harvest things, like gourds. (I bought a set of decorative gourds to put on my dining room table… I feel so festive.)

I keep finding myself going back to my thoughts at the beginning of today’s post. How does one calculate the value of a hobby? What level of achievement is needed to actually feel that this blog accomplishes it’s goal?

Hmmm…. I haven’t really got answers to that question.

Flock Punk Noir… Noir Punk… Diesel Punk… Whatever

logo-flock-noir-wrenBack in the early days of the interweb when I built my first, and perhaps best forgotten, paper doll site, images were generally small. They look a long time to load and things like Pinterest didn’t exist- neither did really any Social Media.

In those days images were best kept small, but today we can get away with much larger images and I like large images. They are pretty. One of the things I have been doing is working on reformating a lot of the images on the blog to be larger and easier to see.

This is a very long way of saying that today’s Flock magnetic paper doll post is in a different format then my other Flock posts. Let me know what you think in a comment…

Meanwhile, I am dabbling again with Noir Punk, or as I think most know it, Diesel Punk. Personally, I like my name better. Basically, it’s vintage styled clothing of the 1930s and 1940s combined with a punk aesthetic.

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I do not offer a link to the PNG to print for my magnetic paper dolls, because you shouldn’t print them from the PNG. The PDF allows the image to be properly sized to the page and therefore to the dolls.

Anyway, here is Wren, named for a bird, showing off her shoes and hats. I really do like the hats and I think they are fun for the Flock magnetic paper dolls. Magnetic paper dolls are fun.

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Wren is here with some retro clothes and corsets, because that’s what everyone needs. I love the boots, personally. Next week, there will be another set of these with Wren showing off page two of these outfits.

I’ve dabbled in this style before and you can see that Starling set of Punk Noir if you like. I’m not sure how I feel about the colors on this set, but for the moment, I like them.

Thoughts? Ideas? Drop me a note in the comments.

Margot in Wonderland… Full Color Paper Doll to Print

logo-aliceI spent a chunk of my weekend coloring my Margot in Wonderland paper doll from last week. Today, Margot gets to be a blond and has, of course, a wardrobe of Alice inspired paper clothing pieces. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been inspired by Alice many times before and drawn her many times over the years.

After some time I decided to go with a jewel tone color scheme that was a bit bright. I wanted to capture the richness of color that could be captured with color lithography from the 19th century. I was also heavily inspired by this Lolita outfit. I really loved the rich colors since they are not the pastels or black that I normally associate with Lolita fashion.

As I mentioned with my Turn of the Century Pixie Paper Doll, I often collect ideas on my Pinterest boards, so you can check out the Lolita board I keep to see where some of these outfit pieces came from. Nothing was directly taken, but I find ideas and inspiration makes drawing paper dolls faster and easier than it would be without them.

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The top hat’s floating tab is meant to be attached using the same method as I outlined in my instructions for attaching wigs and hats to paper dolls. This is one of my favorite methods of doing wig and hat attachment for the paper dolls I design and so I use it often.

By the way, yesterday I put up a new Featured Paper Doll Artist interview with Irma of Pabernukublogi. Check it out when you have a chance. :)

Mia Goes Minimalist and Monochrome…

logo-asian-minimalist-paper-doll-white-blackI am both very excited and a little nervous about today’s colored version of last week’s Minimalist fashion paper doll.

Why nervous?

Because color is something I love. I adore color and pattern and surprise and color… well color is something today’s paper doll set lacks.

Minimalism in fashion usually relies on a black and white color palette and is considered to be austere and simple. It has been popular for several years on the runways. I didn’t go as wild as I could have with shape, because I wanted everything to be wearable. This is not, after all, a fantasy paper doll set where I don’t care about realism and/or whether or not a person might actually be able to function in these crazy clothes. I am very pleased with the outcome (and this was the fastest coloring job I think I’ve ever done.)


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Were I to make a list of things I’d never done before on the blog, I think doing a paper doll set entirely in black, white, and grey would end up on the list. I’m not certain, and I don’t really want to go pouring through over 500 posts to find out, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never done it before.

While I do agree that many of these shapes mirror Seagulls and Seaside, as was pointed out by a reader last week, I think the color really changes the tone of the entire set. I’m most pleased with Mia’s shoes (I love drawing shoes, though I really think one pair came out a little clunky) and the collared blouse.