Flock Fairy Tales: Oriole as Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Morgiana's Outfit Options
Like a lot of kids, I grew up surrounded by fairy tales. Long after I was “too old” for picture books, I would settle down in the fairy tale section of the children’s department of the library and devour version upon version of my favorite stories. I was fascinated by the variables of each story and how they would change and how they were illustrated.

Today, in what maybe the last of the Flock Fairy Tale series (or at least the last one I have planned), we have Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. In case you’re wondering why this is the “last” of the fairy tale series, it is because I am out of Flock magnetic paper dolls. Starling, Wren, Phoebe, Oriole, Dove and Swan is the whole family. So, either some of them get more than one fairy tale or I need to drew some more friends to join them.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is an interesting tale for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t have any known origins in Middle Eastern sources and the earliest text version is French. The tale was added to the story collection One Thousand and One Nights by the French translator, Antoine Galland, who called his volumes Les Mille et Une Nuits. Gallad’s work was published in several volumes between 1704 and 1712. There has yet to be found a legitimate Arabic or other textual source before Gallad’s version. (Interesting fact: Gallad also added the famous story, ‘Aladdin’ and there are no known versions that predate his version either.)

Whatever debate might be had of the “authenticity” of the tale, the story is at least three hundred years old and certainly has a strong female character in the form of the slave girl Morgiana. Morgiana not only ends up stabbing the last of the thieves to death, but outwits most of them. I won’t summarize the whole thing here, I like these two versions of the tale, but there are plenty of others around.

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I confess that I didn’t make a t-shirt for Oriole as Morgiana, not for any specific reason, just because I forgot. However, she does have a book (unlike Cinderella who I forgot to give a book). Her wardrobe is mostly based on belly-dancing clothes and has, of course, a little bit of a steampunk neo-victorian vibe.

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So, it may not be obvious but all the fairy tale flock paper dolls are done with a base color scheme of about a dozen or so colors. The idea from the beginning has to been to have a fair but of mix and match options, though- as it has been pointed out to me by a few friends, some sets mix and match better than others.

I keep meaning to do a sort of “filler set” of just clothing pieces without any specific fairy tale in mind which would give more clothing options in more solid colors for the flock fairy tale magnetic paper dolls, but it keeps getting pushed onto the back burner. Perhaps if I write it down, it will force it a bit more towards the forefront.

If you’ve missed any of this series, they are Robin as Cinderella, Starling in East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Swan and Dove as Snow White and Rose Red, Wren as Little Red Riding Hood, and Phoebe as Rapunzel.

On that note, I am kinda sick, so I best go back to bed.

Classy Color Blocking: A Printable Paper Doll in Color

A printable coloring page of a paper doll with a seventeen piece contemporary wardrobe. Today’s color scheme is based off the Pantone Colors of Spring 2015- though I confess I don’t really like the Pantone colors of Spring 2015. Still, I try to do Pantone paper doll sets, because it gets me out of my comfort zone. Every once in a while, that’s crucially important.

Since the theme of this paper doll set was color blocking, I obviously had no pattern in it. The pieces were based on fashion magazine content that comes out in Spring. While I confess that the color scheme isn’t my favorite, I really like how both pairs of shoes came out and the blue top with the orange and yellow accents. I’d totally wear that top which is not something I can say about most of what I draw for paper dolls.

In the real world, my taste is fairly conservative and leans towards tweed trousers or boho blouses.

A printable coloring page of a paper doll with a 17 piece contemporary wardrobe.
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I don’t have much else to say about this paper doll set. She’s named Maeghan which I explained last week and you can see more of her with the rest of the Maeghans in my new, Maeghan category. I’d love to say that new exciting fascinating things will happen on the blog in the coming week, but I am pretty sure it will be pretty much just paper dolls.

And while I like to think paper dolls are new and exciting, its hard to argue that they are also what people come here expecting. Surely no one shows up thinking that this place is going to be full of cat GIFs or delightfully trained mongooses.

For the record, I have no idea what you would train a mongoose to do or even if you can train mongooses.

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
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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

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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

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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.

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