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.

Country Lolita inspired Paper Doll Clothes

Like to Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white and color. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing There’s something about Lolita style clothes that I find appealing. I think part of it is that I love the Victorian inspired details of the outfits, but I also think it’s fascinating to see how a non-Western culture like Japan interprets Western European and American Victorian children’s clothing into something for adults.

There is a tendency when we talk about cultural adaptations to speak strictly of Western nations adapting Asian clothing and there’s a lot of great research on that topic, but non-Western countries are also adapting Western dress and transforming the meaning into something entirely different for their cultural needs. I find this back and forth to be one of the more interesting aspects of cultural contact.

To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, the act of observation doesn’t just change the object being observed, it also can change the observer. (Soul Music I think… but maybe Reaper Man… Can’t recall which at the moment.)

Plus, you know, pretty clothes.

So, Lolita, like any good alt-fashion scene, has many sub-genres that are confusing to me, as an outsider. Never the less, I did some research and wanted to so something in the County Lolita sub-genre. If regular Lolita is all about puffy skirts and ruffles, Country Lolita seems to be all about puffy skirts and gingham. Here’s a blog devoted to the style called, Country Lolita and here’s a post about Country Lolita from F Yeah Lolita, a great Lolita blog. (There is not gingham here… I can’t draw it to save my life.)

Chloe an Asian paper doll with two pairs of shoes in black and white. Part of the Ms. Mannequin series, she can wear any of the Ms. Mannequin clothing

{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 Clothesr}{Click Here for Friends for Dolls}

I wanted to play with the style, but I wouldn’t say my interpretation is strictly accurate. It’s more about seeing what happens when I try something new and the excuse to draw some giant cherries.

Honestly, I think I had mixed success. The yellow skirt has a better shape than the blue skirt. Both the cherry and the apple pattern came out cute and feel bright and country to me, but border prints are super popular it sems and . I wish I had gone with a darker blue to balance out of the pale yellow, but I’m not sure about that. When I look at it, sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. I settled on knee socks rater then tights, because I thought they would fit better on the page. I do want to know how you all think I did, so there’s a poll…

How did I do on my Country Lolita?

  • I have no idea what Country Lolita looks like... (58%, 21 Votes)
  • Nailed it! (33%, 12 Votes)
  • Not so much... Should have used gingham (8%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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By the way, there is a doll to go with this set. She’ll be up sometime next week.

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
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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
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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.

Dragon Queen: Fantasy Printable Paper Doll

Dragon Queen fantasy printable paper doll I had grand plans to get my 1300s Marisole Monday & Friends set done yesterday, but obviously that didn’t happen. So, we have Bodacious and Buxom instead and dragons! (Sort of.)

So, when I posted my blog goals for 2015, I didn’t mention in my ten posts for Bodacious and Buxom that I had this post waiting quietly in the wings. Technically, I finished it when I finished the 1940s paper doll set, but I saved it as I don’t like to post two of the same series in a row.

I also have a nearly finished regency combined with steampunk set and a weird sort of farm girl thing in the works.

But today there are dragons, or at least humanoids who have some reptilian features. One of the things that my alchemist paper doll taught me is how many long dresses I can fit on a single page of the B&B series. The answer seems to be two dresses with a pair of shoes and some accessories. As a result, our Dragon Queen has two gowns, a sword, a mirror, a book and some shoes. Somehow I always imagine dragons as very vain creatures.

Dragon Queen Fantasy Paper Doll in Black and White for Coloring
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In my mind, today’s paper doll is either a dragon in humanoid form or from a species that believes they are descended from dragons. Her homeland is mountainous and rich in minerals. I imagine her people are sophisticated and tend to rely on their innate magic rather than technological accumen to solve their problems. Isolationists, they are uninterested in contact with other humanoid species, but maintain slight contact with the Dwarfs, for their technology and metalworking skills, and minor contact with the Elves, for their magic. Humans are, well, beneath them.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
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I chose a rich jewel toned color scheme for this paper doll set. I knew I wanted some sort of green skin, but I didn’t want it to feel too “lizard” like. I went with a rich teal. I also wanted her dresses to coordinate with her skin, as though they were chosen specifically to do so. I imagine she is wealthy enough to have her clothing tailored to match her coloring.

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.
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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.

Audra in Other Colors

Link to Audra, a printable paper doll with a fashionable wardrobe of coats First 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, a printable paper doll with a fashionable wardrobe of coats in black and white for coloring
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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.

Audra, a printable paper doll with a fashionable wardrobe of coats in color
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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.

Simple Sophisticate: Printable Paper Doll in Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to a printable paper doll of a young woman with a contemporary wardrobe in pastels So, today’s paper doll set did not turn out like I thought it would. I tend to be of the opinion that anyone whose spent anytime doing anything artistic eventually has projects that just don’t come out as intended.

Sometimes, this is a bad thing and sometimes it is a good thing. Part of having deadlines, which come with any regularly updating enterprise, is that they force me to accept what I have created and then move onto the next project.

I find that to be a rather comforting thing. While I had intended this printable paper doll set to be done in bright colors, I ended up rather hating the bright color schemes and switched instead to a pastel scheme.

Pastels are, apparently, quite in fashion this winter.

printable paper doll with a contemporary wardrobe in pastels
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I’m wrapping things up for next year which starts this week (shocking, really). There will be a few things going up with a 2014 date on them as I post backlog content. It is rare for me to end the year with anything in backlog, so I am rather proud of myself.

Meanwhile, enjoy today’s paper doll and there will be another one later this week.

Playing in Puddles: A Poppet Paper Doll Dress-Up Set

Playing in Puddles: A Poppet Paper Doll Dress-Up Set with a Rain coat, boots, umbrella and dress. Embarrassing confessions of a paper doll blog owner: I drew this set of clothes over a year ago. Over a year!

And I am just now posting them.

There is no good reason for this, except I sorta got wrapped up in other things. Never the less, here they are, just in time for snow rather than rain. Originally, I had planned on calling this set, “April Showers”. It is not april. April is a LONG way off.

In the meantime, I am calling it “Playing in Puddles” and I am very pleased with how these printable paper doll clothes turned out.

Playing in Puddles: A Poppet Paper Doll Dress-Up Set with a Rain coat, boots, umbrella and dress in colorBPlaying in Puddles: A Poppet Paper Doll Dress-Up Set with a Rain coat, boots, umbrella and dress in black and white for coloring

{Download a PDF in Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Download a PDF to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG to Color} {More Poppet Printable Paper Dolls}

Petal is modeling this set. She’s my latest Poppet paper doll and you can print her here, if you haven’t already. Of course, you can print all the Poppets and their clothes. I’m rather pleased to say that there are now 5 different Poppet dolls and six pages of Poppet clothing, not including the outfit that comes with each doll.

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday time with family and friends.

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

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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.

Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on the historical period of 1880s in black and white or in color Oh man, what to say about the last few days…

Well, I have been working on backend server CPU issues with my shared hosting service. Nothing really serious, but stuff that has to be dealt with for the blog hosting to continue to be cheap enough for me to justify continuing to keeping it online and free.

Still, I owed a paper doll to my last drawing winner, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, and I was not about to put off finishing that for another week, because I would keep feeling guilty about it.

Lina requested an 1880s period Marisole Monday & Freinds paper doll with a ballet outfit and several other dresses. I had some trouble getting all the pieces to fit on a single page, so I omitted some shoes from the image.

Should you want proper shoes to go with this set, then I recommend checking out On the Board Walk in color or black and white or Mia Goes to the Bathing Place in color or black and white. Both of those sets both have button up style boots which, while not period, are close enough to not look totally awkward.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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Lina was kind enough to send me reference photos and specific colors for the hair, skin and eyes of the paper doll, but left the color scheme mostly up to me. I wanted to use some rich colors, because by the 1880s chemical dyes were common and rich colors were very much instyle. There is a habit to think of the 19th century as sepia colored, because of sepia photos, but it was actually a rather garish era.

At least post, chemical dyes being invented.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for More Marisole Monday & Friends Printable Paper Dolls}

So, Lina also asked for a tutu based on this painting by Degas. The painting dates from 1871, a little earlier than the other costumes in the set. I omitted the sash, since I based the dress on the center figure. I don’t think the layers of the skirts really look like tulle, which bothers me. Liana has some great tulle on her blog.

The ballgown was based on this fashion plate. The gown was red, but I made it peacock blue based on a description in English Women’s Clothing in the 19th Century by Wilett-Cunnington that mentioned peacock blue ballgowns. I hate drawing lace, but it came out all right, I suppose.

The last two outfits are a swimming costume and a house dress. Old swimming costumes were extremely complicated and not very easy to swim in. Generally, I think of them as wadding costumes. Lina sent me this picture and I based it off that.

The house dress is classic 1880s style with bustle, drawn up skirt and long pleats. It’s a pretty typical gown for its period. Lina sent me this photo and I based the dress off of it. I omitted the pattern on the dress, because I knew it would reproduce poorly in the small scale of the paper doll set.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you haven’t ever checked out Lina’s blog, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls than I recommend taking the time to do so. She makes wonderfully interesting historical paper dolls.

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