Lois: A Paper Doll of the 1930s

lois-logoI love the styles of the early 1930s and I wanted to create a paper doll that showed them off, so here is Lois- a paper doll of the early 1930s. That is to say, everything in it comes from 1930-1932.

It’s common to speak of the last century of fashion as though it happened in neat decade compartments. In reality, fashion doesn’t care what decade it is. It moves based on cultural and social shifts, often subtly, and then you look around and notice that the silhouette has shifted. Rarely, fashion changes dramatically over a short period, but only very rarely.

So, when looking at the early 1930s, as this paper doll does, you might be struck at how close these dresses are to the late 1920s. In truth, they are very similar, because fashion just doesn’t change that quickly. The Great Depression will catch up with the styles of the 1930s, it just hasn’t yet. All of these dresses are drawn from images in the book Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs published by Dover. The Sears series from Dover is an inexpensive way to gather up books the show what people wore, rather than what fashion magazines thought people should be wearing. I own almost all of them.

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I have mixed feelings about my color choices. I knew I wanted to pick a color scheme where I hats could go with either of the dresses, but I don’t know how successful I was. I really do like how the white hat contrasts with her dark skin and I like how rich the red coat looks, but I’m not so sure about the yellow dress. The early 1930s is a very art deco influenced period and that makes me happy. I love the asymmetrical styles and the often surprising details.

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Unlike my 1920s Pixie Lynn, I actually gave Lois some undergarments. She has a girdle decorated with flowers to go under her dresses. She should, technically, have a slip to go over that and panties to go under it, but its a start.

I would have to pour through all my posts to be certain, but I think this is my second 1930s paper doll ever. The first was way back in 2010 for my original Curves Series and is just called 1930s. I got totally distracted looking through those old paper dolls trying to find the 1930s set I was pretty sure was there. It’s strange to go back and look at things I drew four or five years ago.

Some of them paper dolls I still really like and others I don’t. It rather makes me want to take on a project like Julie’s toddlers where she goes back to older color schemes. I’ll have to think on it. I don’t want to “redraw” old things, but there are some ideas there that I think could be reexamined fruitfully.

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.

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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.

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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.

Audra: A Printable Paper Doll in Black and White and in Color

logo-audra-black-and-whiteIt has been a long time since I did a paper doll devoted to coats (my last one was Delia), but there are so many cute coat styles out this year. I just went recently (okay, two months ago) and bought myself a bright purple winter coat, which I totally love, but there are tons of over beautiful coats on the market.

I also wanted to go with boots, since it is boot season. Most Pixie paper dolls get one pair of shoes, but since Audra’s wardrobe is pretty exclusively coats, I thought two pairs of boots would stretch things out a bit. I didn’t notice how crooked the dress’s neckline was until I posted it. Sorry about that. Asymmetrical is in, right?

Remember to cut along the doll’s shoulders, so she can wear the coats. I think some of them will fit over things and some of them won’t. I wanted to do a few fitted jackets, though I tried to make them large enough for layering. (I confess I didn’t test them extensively.)

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I wanted to play around with coats and also with different color schemes. I actually colored this set three times. This is the first version, I’ll post two more next week. The version below is all blues and purples.

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I tend towards warm colors myself- reds and pinks and things. I wanted to try to do a set with none of those colors, except in her red hair. I went with purples, blues and pale green. Grey is the neutral in this set and I do love the color grey. I must own at least a half-dozen grey pants.

Tomorrow, I’ll announce the drawing winner (it closes tonight at midnight) and show off my two other color schemes for this set.

Simple Sophisticate: Printable Paper Doll in Color

logo-margot-simple-colorSo, 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.

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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.

Simple Sophisticate: A Paper Doll in Black and White

logo-margot-simple-bwA few random things today and then a paper doll set, of course.

First of all, I’m always on the hunt for new paper dolls about the web. I’d like to share the work of Bethany, who shows off her paper dolls on her Pinterest board.

Secondly, it is that time of the year again where I usually run a contest. I haven’t decided what that contest is actually going to look like this year, but keep your eyes peeled. I’ve had several people ask when the next contest for a paper doll was going to be and it’s coming up.

Thirdly, I maybe taking another haitus in January. I don’t know yet. I’ve got a lot happening that month.

Meanwhile… Hey! It’s a paper doll.

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This is the third set of the paper dolls I drew back in September. It was not my favorite of the paper doll designs, but it came out well enough I suppose. I’ll talk more about the challenges of coloring when I post the color paper doll version next week.

I am embarrassed that this paper doll set has sat, just short of being finished, on my computer for literally five or six weeks. Here it is and now I can stop feeling guilty about it.

Sylvia: An Asian Printable Paper Doll with Contemporary Clothing

logo-sylvia-pixieContinuing the contemporary theme from Monday’s paper doll, today’s paper doll set is Sylvia showing off her wardrobe. I previewed the paper doll a few weeks ago when I showed the scan straight from my sketchbook. Today, she’s all colored and ready to be printed.

As I always do, there’s two versions of this printable paper doll and her clothes. One is in black and white for coloring and the other is in color for those who don’t like to color. I was never a big “coloring” kid, so I tend towards the full color versions, but I know some of my readers really like the black and white paper doll sets. Mostly, I remember drawing my own paper doll clothes for store bought paper dolls. That was a big part of my childhood.

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Contemporary paper doll sets, like this one, really don’t come with stories. The goal is to create a coherent collection of mix and match clothing pieces. I rarely think much about the history or personality of the paper doll wearing the clothing. Fantasy sets tend to gain back-stories during creation, but contemporary sets rarely do. Fantasy paper dolls require more creativity. I can’t just copy out of a magazine, after all.

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Sylvia’s color scheme is very pink. I wasn’t planning on making it this pink when I started, but somehow pink seemed to fit. I think there’s a little bit of a vintage vibe to this set that I didn’t intend, but ended up pretty cute in the end.

All right, just because I am curious… 5 second poll…

Which are better fantasy paper doll sets or contemporary paper doll sets?

  • Fantasy sets. (79%, 31 Votes)
  • Contemporary sets. (15%, 6 Votes)
  • Actually, I don't really like either one. (5%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Black and White Marisole Monday Paper Dolls Today!

I get asked fairly often for various old paper dolls to be produced in black and white. Considering the number of paper dolls on the blog and the fact that files are not always saved in formats that makes extracting the line work simple. In fact, this might be one of the last sets of these I do for a long time, because I am running out of files that are simple to convert and ending up with sets for which I only have the full merged final PDF. Pulling the black and white out of those files and not ending up with a black and white paper doll of very dubious quality is a challenge.


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Nautical Girl was first posted in 2010. Despite being four years old, I still really like her hair and her dress, though I could take or leave her shoes.


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Sweater Style was originally conceived as one of four sets which were going to each be a seasonal set. I think this was the fall or winter set (I truly do not recall…). I never did get the series finished and so I just have posted a few of them. At the time, I was living in Illinois where it was very cold in the winters. I rather miss winters when it would actually freeze.


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Draw because I thought I really needed more jeans in my paper doll sets, Stylish in Denim was a lot of fun. It is one of the rare paper doll sets where I owned at the time a fair number of the actual clothing pieces. It was also an early experiment in purses.

Two quick things I mentioned on Friday, but I wanted to repeat. Email updates aren’t working at the moment. I’m looking for a new WordPress plugin. Also, you can follow me on Twitter @paperpersonas which will let you know when the blog updates, what I am working on and other rather inane details of my life.