Marisole Monday: On the Boardwalk in Black and White

Somehow, this Marisole paper doll reminded me of trips to the seashore. When I was a child, I remember my family went to Atlantic city for a few weeks one summer. My father’s family is from the East Coast, so the whole group met there. While I remember only vague things from the trip, I recall distinctly walking down the boardwalk with my father and eating black cherry frozen custard which my father would buy for me from a stand on the boardwalk. I still remember how the purple custard was rolled in rainbow sprinkles until they covered it completely.

Every time I eat frozen custard, I think of my father.

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And now, for a question:

Ana asked “how many drafts of any one finished doll do you go through?”

The short answer is that it depends the doll. Dolls are drawn off templates which have seven to twelve drafts. Clothing is lightly penciled and than inked. I don’t usually draft the clothing full-size unless I am having trouble with something and then I do.

There’s also a more detailed long answer. If you want to read it, continue below.

Okay, so here is the detailed version:

I draw paper dolls in stages. The first stage is a doll template. Doll templates evolve over many drafts. Those drafts begin as very very rough and eventually become fairly smooth and detailed. When I was working on the Dictionary Girls, I posted a post where I showed bad scans of the stages of there development.

So, once I have a template, I trace the template and lightly draw it. Than I do a detailed pencil version over than a light penciled version and than I ink that. I took some photos of this a while ago with a set of dresses and you can see them here.

If I screw up a doll, and I often do, it’s in the inking stage usually. So I am always careful not to draw any clothing or anything else until I’ve inked the doll. I draw from templates, so that if I end up hating the doll, I can draw her over again without needed to redraw the body which is the hardest part for me. Plus I can fix things through the power of Photoshop.

I hope that answers the question. 🙂

Short shorts and Some Questionable Sleeves… A Black and White Paper Doll

So, I went out to the movies tonight and saw “Snow White and the Huntsman” with some friends. I concluded that the Twilight Chick (whose name I had to look up on IMBD) can’t act, that I rather liked Charlize Theron when she’s evil and that the movie was better than Mirror Mirror, but I’ll take the Disney version over either any day. The costumes were pretty beautiful, especially the Evil Queens, but there’s apart where Snow White rides into battle not wearing a helmet- apparently being a princess means you’re immune to concussive head injuries.

 

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So, before I crawl into bed, I should answer a question.

Monica asked: Do you prefer online paper doll research, or real book research? Internet or Library? =]

Well, that’s a kinda complicated question. The answer is: It depends on what I am researching and why.

If I want inspiration for a modern or a fantasy set, than I usually stick to the internet. I use it for looking at clothing websites or checking out the latest designer shows a Style.com. It’s really useful.

If I want historical costume, I usually go to books. I own about a dozen different costume books in my own collection, plus I regularly have at least a dozen checked out from the library. The exception to this are the websites of museums and libraries, which often contain digitized primary source documents or photos of items in their collections. Books are great for context. The internet is great for pictures. Some of my favorite internet resources are linked on my Research Resources page which I just finished updating, though I have some more to add later.

The truth is that I don’t really like staring at a computer while trying to draw and I would much rather have a book open in front of me than a computer screen. Though I usually draw from drafted tumbnails, so even with fantasy costumes, I rarely have a computer open when I am actually drawing.

I hope that answers your question, Monica.

So, has anyone else seen either of the new Snow White movies and what do they think of them? Should I do so a Snow White paper doll? Or an Evil Queen?

Dictionary Girls Go all Neo-Victorian…

Today’s Dictionary girl is a take on neo-Victorian things. I’m not entirely pleased with the drape on the skirt… but I decided to go for it. I do really like the hair and the boots. I think I’ve mentioned I have a thing for boots.

So, onto the drawing… The random number generator informed me the winner of my drawing was number four- D Garrett who has her own wonderful blog on black doll collecting. Email me, please, at paperthinpersonas (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know what sort of paper doll you would like. 🙂

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Since she won, it seems only fitting to answer her question.

D. Garrett asked, Have you determined if any one of your paper dolls is more popular than the others?

Yes, I have. My most popular paper doll is Marisole Boldly Going which has had nearly four times the number of hits of any other paper doll I’ve ever drawn. Closely following Marisole Boldly Going is my first Marisole in black and white Modern Girl in Black and White which I drew in response to requests for a black and white Marisole paper doll. In general, Marisole is my most popular paper doll.

I don’t really know why she’s so appealing to people. I find her pose a little problematic unless you slit up along the side of her body to free her right arm from her side and I confess that when I see her a part of me sees a style of paper doll I wouldn’t draw today. I may have to redraw her face one day… her faceted eyes kinda freak me out. (They didn’t when I drew her, but now…)

That’s all neither here nor there.

I hope that answers your question, dgb. Let me know what sorta paper doll you’d like. 🙂

Marisole Monday: A Princess in Black and White

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So, my drawing is still open (will be until Next Tuesday, winner will be announced with the Dictionary Girls post of that week), but I wanted to start answering some of the excellent questions I was asked. Since one of the questions was about Marisole and here is Marisole, it seems fitting to answer that question now.

Dee asked: Where did the original idea [for Marisole] come from, was the first doll based on anyone special.

The answer is yes, she was. Well.. sort of. The first Marisole paper doll was drawn in 2009, according to the note I have scribbled on the original art work, but I never got around to posting her until the site crashed. As a result, she was posted for the new site version in January of 2010 and made her debut.

She is based, vaguely, on Halle Berry in the James Bond movie Die Another Day which is a pretty bad movie. Jinx Johnson, played by Halle, walks out of the water in a tiny orange bikini and a spiky hair cut. The hair was what made me think Marisole looked like Halle. The rest of the paper doll’s features owe their proportions to the Bratz dolls mostly.

Beyond the Jinx Johnson connection, I wanted to do a paper doll that wasn’t white. I’d noticed that there just aren’t a lot of brown skinned paper dolls out there on the internet. (My attempt to collect some African American paper doll printables taught me there still aren’t a lot of them.)

I went utterly cartoony with Marisole because I was self-conscious doing strongly ethnic features. The history of black paper dolls, especially, is full of some remarkably cruel depictions and I wanted to make sure Marisole wasn’t one of them.

It is possible she’s a cruel depiction of compound eyed, huge headed bug people… but that can’t be helped.

Also, making the paper doll cartoony meant she could be any skin tone or style I wanted which is part of why I still like drawing and coloring her after 2 and a-half years. She’s been dark, light, and dead.

I’ve even made her an alien.

Today’s incarnation of Marisole is a fairly standard pseudo-Victorian set whose pieces I couldn’t seem to arrange properly and so lose the title. Oh well… these things happen. I hate coming up with titles anyway. Tune in next week for the color version. It’s going to be… bright.

Pixie & Puck: Sophia…

One of the things I think a lot about is “playability” which is a term I’m not sure is actually a real word, but what the heck, I use it anyway. What I mean when I say “playability” is how much a single paper doll sheet (one Pixie, One Puck, One Marisole) can be played with. Does the printable paper doll have options? Can she (or he) be dressed up in different styles? Are there choices?

The problem with this, of course, it that pretty soon you run into wondering if printable paper dolls like Sophia are a good idea. There’s no real way to fit more than two full dresses onto one page and with one or two pairs of shoes that really only renders up two to four outfit options.

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On the other hand, I really like both of her dresses and I think, particularly the one with the leaves on the sleeves, are really beautiful. I don’t want to stop drawing such things even though perhaps Sophia isn’t as versatile a paper doll as say Kandi (who has 18 outfit options). So instead I just assume Sophia will raid the closets of Gianna, Grace and Masquerade. She’ll have a nice set of dresses once she’s done.

I just realized, linking to all those other Pixies, that I haven’t done enough fantasy maiden Pixie paper dolls. Clearly this is a problem I shall have to fix. Though perhaps not immediately, I have next weeks Pixie printable paper doll already finished. And she’s a cutie.

By the way, I have a drawing for a custom paper doll going on. Enter if you haven’t.

Flirty Eyes and Puffy Sleeves

So, first of all, I want to thank everyone whose entered my drawing and asked me a question. The questions have all been really interesting. It’s fascinating to think about what maybe I have or haven’t said on the blog that perhaps I should have said… and if that’s not the most convoluted sentence ever… I don’t know what is.

The drawing is open until next Tuesday and then I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner.

And now…. A few words about the printable paper doll of the day….

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The Shadow and Light paper dolls are drawn in a style I developed in college after complaining that most black and white paper dolls needed to be colored to look good. I wanted to draw some paper dolls that were graphic enough to stand alone without being colored, plus I was reading a lot of comics in those days and had a love of the heavy shadowed style of Frank Miller’s Sin City and Marcelo Frusin, who was drawing the Hellblazer comics at that time with Mike Carey was writing it. I stopped reading comics when I got to graduate school, far to much to do and not enough time to do it in, but I hope to get back to them and at least finish Lucifer which I never did get done with and darn it, I wanna know how it ends.

Okay, I know how it ends, but I still wanna read it…

This particular paper doll has “flirty eyes” which is a term used to describe dolls that look to the side rather than forward. It’s a pretty common term in antique and collectable dolls and “flirty eyed” dolls were particularly popular in the 1900s with Googlies and Lenci dolls.

Pixie & Puck: Kandi

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Normally, I do my futuristic, cyber-punky sets in blacks with neons, but I wanted to play around with white as a base color, rather than black.

Since I was using white, the citrus candy colors seemed proper to accent the clothes and the candy colors gave this paper doll her name- Kandi. Her dark skin tone was chosen to contrast with the white and pink scheme. I’m mostly pleased with how she came out, though I have some mixed feelings about the hair. It was originally black with pink highlights and I wonder if perhaps I should have kept it that way.

In the end, I’m fairly pleased with how she turned out. I like her clothes and her hair is okay, though I’m not totally pleased with it.

In my head, Kandi is from the same world Thorne, the Cyborg, Jay and Vera, though perhaps a happier more brightly colored part of that world… maybe the tropics.

Argh… ’tis a Pirate Lass: A Pirate Paper Doll Set

So… this is practically late. I mean… it’s like 11:50 here in Illinois, but I really really wanted to get a Shadow and Light doll up since it’s been a while since I did one and I have been feeling bad about that.

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Back in the 1980’s I was pretty young, but I remember wearing overall shorts, which were the latest thing, and having a weird affection for when I was old, because I was going to wear thigh high boots. I don’t know why I was so into the idea, but I remember drawing lots of paper dolls sporting thigh high boots and miniskirts in elementary school. Perhaps I saw Pretty Woman at too young of an age…. Oddly, my mother was never concerned as far as I could tell with my thigh high boot obsession.

As an adult, I have never worn thigh high boots… a pity perhaps.

Needless to say, my love of shoes was founded young and even now I love shoes (which I think comes through on my paper dolls.)

And, as you might notice, our pirate is sporting some pretty darn sexy boots.

Pixie & Puck: Prudence and Constance in Black and White

Happy Earth Day! There’s an Earth and we should be grateful or else we’d not exist. So, I’m glad for that. Beyond that, I try to avoid politics on this little corner of the web. There are other corners of the web for politics. Here is the corner of paper dolls.

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Two of my favorite recent paper dolls are Constance and Prudence, who I’ve always thought of as best friends, and so today I present them both in black and white for coloring enjoyment. Each paper doll was meant to have a distinct casual and slightly indie style. Prudence is a little bit vintage and Constance is a little bit tomboy. The t-shirt styles for the Constance paper doll are based on mandala designs which are simplified for the small size.

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So, today, I’d like to also call attention to a new blog with some delightful black and white paper dolls called Inflammation Of…, which is about both paper dolls and raising a child with chrons disease. I have had several thank yous sent to me over the years from parents with health issues in their families who like the paper dolls and I always feel very touched that my paper dolls can help in any small way for people in need. Plus there’s a whole set of clothes for her paper dolls inspired by Scoopy-Doo and who isn’t in favor of paper dolls inspired by Scooby-Doo? I loved Scooby-Doo when I was a kid.

(Actually, I still sorta love Scoopy-Doo, but I try to be more of an adult and not admit these things in public.)