Frocks and Gowns in Color

logo-frocks-gowns-colorSo, 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.

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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.

Jayla: A Black Printable Paper Doll with Florals!

Pixie Logo. Jayla. 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 had 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 printable 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. I also think I drew them around the same time. These darker floral patterns seem to be in style at the moment. For this winter, I think they make more sense than the various pastel options.

A printable paper doll featuring a young black woman and her fashionable floral wardrobe. Ten pieces to mix and match. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com
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I knew I wanted a “dark” background for my florals (keeping with current tends), 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, plus Jayla has a good skin-tone for lime green. I have a horrible skin-tone for lime green, which might explain why I foist it upon my darker skinned paper dolls with such regularity.

A printable paper doll featuring a young black woman and her fashionable floral wardrobe  in greens and purples. Ten pieces to mix and match. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com
{Download a PDF to Print in Color} {Download a PNG to Print in Color}{More Pixie & Puck Printable Paper Dolls}

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.

A Futuristic Cyberpunk Paper Doll Named Ololara

logo-ololara-cyberBy my nature, I tend to be a private person, particularly online. It’s not that I’m irrationally scared of stalkers (rationally scared of stalkers maybe…), but I do feel that it’s important not to post anything on a blog that you wouldn’t want your boss/mother/random stranger to read. So, I tend towards the general rather than the specific. It’s a habit I urge anyone who wants to do this for a while to get into.

Remember, the internet has a LONG memory.

Never the less, I’ve already admitted to playing Shadowrun, an table top RPG with some cyberpunk overtones, so I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that when I’m doing a fair bit of that than cyberpunk paper dolls tend to emerge. I guess in the grand scheme of things, admitting to pretending to be in a dystopian future on Sunday nights isn’t really that embarrassing of a confession.

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Ololara was chosen as the paper doll’s name, because I liked how it sounded. I don’t really know much about the name, to be frank. The websites I found it on said it was “African”, but that’s about as specific as saying, “Asian” and ignoring the fact that Africa is a continent, not a language. It maybe entirely invented by the internet, but I thought it was a pretty name anyway.

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So, I wanted to go with a black and white based color scheme for this paper doll set with only a few other accent colors. Bright green is I think a cheerful choice and the blue seemed a nice counter balance. I had some red in the set at the beginning, but I ended up cutting it when I decided that it clashed with my greens and felt a bit harsh.

By the way, I was recently asked by a reader named Amy if there would ever be another Marcus paper doll. The answer is… um… Probably not. Marcus was originally meant to be a companion to Marisole, but actually the proportions are pretty far off for that to happen. I have been very very slowly working on revamping him, but it is taking a LONG TIME. In the meantime, feel free to draw your own male friends for Marisole. Male paper dolls would get more love if I liked drawing men more.

Pixie Paper Doll In Jewel Tones Named Clarisa

jewel-tones-logoThis is a more wintery than summery paper doll, I think. Clarisa is a version of the German name “Clarice” which means bright, brilliant or clear. Clarisa is the Spanish form of this name. I think it’s a beautiful name for today’s Hispanic paper doll.

Lately, I have been struggling on the blog. The hardest thing for me to learn how to deal with in the last year has been this:

Life is Not Ideal. Deal with It.

Though it might not be the most stirring life motto, I find I need it more and more. Every post isn’t going to ever be perfect. Every paper doll isn’t going to be perfect.

And maybe that is quite all right.

I started this blog, because I drew paper dolls and I thought it would be worth it to have an outlet for that art. I have to learn to accept that everything isn’t always ideal.

So, I might have concerns about the lace and how it turned out. I might have concerns about her lips. I might not really be pleased entirely with everything… I might have wanted to post a different series after last weeks Pixie paper doll…

But… life is not ideal. Deal with it.

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In my head, Clarisa is a Hispanic paper doll or Latino, if you prefer. Why? Because I was chatting with a friend whose half-Mexican, and she was complaining about how I didn’t do enough Hispanic paper dolls. So, this is for her. 🙂

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Originally I conceived Clarisa as being on her way to some sort of party- maybe a holiday party, but that was several months ago when I first drew this paper doll. Obviously, a hoiliday party is less likely in May, at least not one where such dark clothing would be appropriate.

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.

Mia Goes Minimalist…

logo-asian-minimalist-paper-dollI love March. I love March for the fashion magazines that come out in March. March, like September, is a big month in the Fashion magazine world. It’s right after Spring Fashion Week and the fashion magazines are stuffed with the new seasonal looks.

I always like to buy several when I go to the grocery store. I love Vogue for it’s amazing photo shoots, but for paper dolling purposes I want simple clear photos of clothing. (Models jumping around or standing in wierd poses are beautiful and all, but a pain to draw off of.) Generally, I pick from People StyleWatch, Elle, Instyle, Vogue or Bazaar. This time I wasn’t impressed with any of them except Instyle, and there wasn’t a new People Stylewatch to be had, so I just got my Instyle and spent Saturday drawing this paper doll set. (Also watching Escape from New York and Wall-e, but I digress.)

All of Mia’s clothing is based off items I saw in InStyle with a focus on things that were part of the minimalist collections that have been on the runway as of late, especially from Micheal Kors, Carolina Herrar and Ralph Lauren. I didn’t want to do pattern and I didn’t want to do anything elaborate, I wanted to focus on shape.


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I’m really pleased with all the clothes, but a little less pleased with the doll. I decided to make her a Mia after I finished drawing the whole set, because I haven’t done a Mia yet this year, but once I finished her I realized that I have done a very similar hairstyle before for Mia before.

Anyway, I’m still pleased with this paper doll set and very excited to color it. It’s going to be a lot different I think than any other set I’ve done which is, to me, exciting.

Delaney… A Little Bit Sweet and a Little Bit Punk

delaney-logoI have to confess that it is getting harder to name these paper dolls. I nearly called this doll Zoe, before I remembered I’ve already done a Zoe (and we won’t talk about the three different Flora paper dolls problem), so I have been trying to come up unique names that I’m certain I haven’t repeated. Hence the Delaney choice.

Delaney’s style is a little punk and a little sweet. I have been noticing more of this look around lately and I thought it was worth exploring. I didn’t draw her really any accessories and I’m kinda regretting that now. I think she needs some… oh well, sometimes that’s how it goes. I’m also thinking I really should have made her lips pink rather than that bright red… anyway, not every paper doll is perfect.

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Since I was feeling a little rockabilly with these pieces, I decided to go with a sort of sweet color scheme of pale blue, pink, light green and white. I wanted to contrast the content of the skull prints against the colors of the outfits. My favorite piece might be her punk combat boots. Everyone needs bright pink combat boots.

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Weather in Alabama has been crazy. It took me eight hours to get home from work on Tuesday afternoon. My work has been closed for two days. There’s snow on the ground and ice and things are insane. Stay warm, dry and safe everyone.

Playing with Pattern on Ms. Mannequin Paper Doll Clothes

logo-ms-mannequin-6Today is Friday the 13th which is apparently bad luck, though I have no idea where that came from. Does anyone know? Anyway, I figured a good way to get rid of bad luck was to post some paper doll fashions. 🙂

As a lot of my longtime readers know, I am often playing around with patterns for my printable paper doll clothes. I think pattern, while a pain in the behind, is important for the diversity of paper doll outfits. Solid colors are all well and good, but most of us have some patterned things in our closets and there’s not real good reasons why paper dolls shouldn’t be the same.

When thinking about pattern, I tend to fall into the same styles repeatedly. I suppose I can only be so creative on any given paper doll set. Still, I am always looking for new pattern inspirations- even if they don’t make their way onto the blog. I really admire the pattern work of Julie of Paper Doll School. Her patterns rock.

(She can also use Illustrator. I’m so jealous. I have the program, but I think that like a wild dog it can smell my fear.)

Anyway… Miss. Mannequin and friends are getting pretty girly today with their full patterned skirts and rose printed strapless dress.

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Before I forget, I wanted to mention that I recently stumbled across a Peal Chang paper doll. Soft Film is a blog devoted to Chinese film, as far as I can tell, and the author commissioned a fantastic paper doll of Pearl Chang, who was an actress. I confess to not being at all familair with Pearl Chang, but I knew the name Kwei-Lin Lum from her incredible paper doll work. Check it out, it’s a pretty neat paper doll.

Of course, now I have to go on Netflix and see if I can find any of these movies. Does anyone know anything about her?

Some more paper doll clothes for the Mannequins…

logo-ms-mannequin-5So… personally, I would love to own that orange dress.

I would wear it around here and people would say, “Are you an Auburn football fan?”

And I would say, “Nope, but I have on a sassy orange dress.”

See? Everything is better when you’re wearing a sassy orange dress. (By the way, I’m neither an Auburn or an Alabama fan, but I’ve learned it’s best not to mention football at all around here unless you really want to be dragged into a conversation about it. Since I can’t stand football, I keep my mouth shut.)

I have no idea how the Ms. Mannequin paper dolls feel about football… I somehow seem them as being more polo types, but that’s perhaps an unfair sterotype of the rich. Not being rich, I really have no idea what absurdly wealthy people do for fun. (I always assume my paper dolls are absurdly wealthy, since they have such large wonderful designer clothes.)

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And yet more clothing for the Ms Mannequin Printable Paper Dolls

logo-ms-mannequin-2Paper doll blogs are odd creatures. I think all craft blogs are odd creatures, but I don’t do a general craft blog, I do a paper doll blog, so I don’t think I’m qualified to talk about all craft blogs.

The thing about paper doll blogs (and all craft blogs, I suppose) is that you, the author, is creating all the content. It’s not a matter of reviewing something which exists or responding to the latest news story, it’s a matter of producing work. Work production takes time, energy and inspiration, but mostly work. Hard work.

And I tend to work in spurts. So, I would be lying if I said that I drew these dresses this month. I didn’t. I drew them… I don’t even remember when. At least one sketchbook ago. They’ve been sitting, finished, on my computer waiting to go up until I had something coherent to say about them.

Well… I don’t have anything coherent to say about today’s printable paper doll clothes, but I knew if I didn’t get them up than I would regret it. I don’t have anything else to post today and I wanted to get a post up this week.

I’m not ashamed of that and I’m not ashamed of the paper doll clothes. I think they’re pretty darn cute.

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