Hip-Hop Ms. Mannequins: Meet Zola, Our Model


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Zola, a black paper doll, is a model for the Ms Mannequin series. She has curly hair and two pairs of tennis shoes.

Some series easily adapted to this new format and the Ms. Mannequin’s were one such paper doll series. Today, I’d like to introduce Zola, the first Ms. Mannequin to be done in the new series format.

There won’t be an accessory Thursday this week. Instead, I decided to put Zola’s shoes with the dolls, because her skin is visible on those pieces. Zola has the same skin-tone as my paper doll Tanya who was the first of the Ms. Mannequin paper dolls. They can, therefore, easily share shoes. I also wanted to keep the sets close to the format of the original Ms. Mannequin series as I could.

This week I’m going to be exploring Hip-Hop fashion. Many famous hip-hop artists (Jay Z, Pharell, Diddy, Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye) have created fashion lines. So, I didn’t want to keep ignoring this trend in fashion, but unlike a lot of fashion styles, this one seems focused more on men’s clothing than women’s clothing.

This brings us to today’s paper doll- Zola. Zola has two pairs of tennis shoes. As far as I can tell, expensive tennis shoes are a very important part of the Hip-Hop fashion genre. While many of these shoes come in all sorts of colors, I chose white and black for the mix and match options those two colors offer. Everything goes with white or black, after all.

New content announcements, plus other interesting stuff, goes up pretty regularly on the blogs Twitter feed. It’s also one of the best ways to ask me questions. Also, if you love the blog, then consider becoming a patron.

Thoughts on this week’s theme? It’s a departure for me, since I don’t know much about this style and I hope I can do it justice.

Oh, and Happy Labor Day! I hope people have fun whatever they are doing. I am packing to move, but I assume other people might have better plans. 🙂

Roses & Violins: A Lolita fashion Paper Doll in Color!

logo-classic-lolita-colorLast Monday, I mentioned I used a lot of Lolita fashion blogs to do my research for my Lolita fashion paper doll, but I didn’t mention which ones specifically, so let me clear that up.

My favorite Lolita fashion blog was F Yeah Lolita which had a great post on Building a Complete Lolita Wardrobe. Her wardrobe template starts with sixteen pieces which can be mixed and matched into 14 different outfit combinations. I actually think her advice rings true even if you’re not trying to build a Lolita wardrobe. A few mix and match basics and a good pair of shoes, can get you through many a week of work, especially on a tight budget. Other blogs I found useful and interesting were Parfait Doll, Lolita Fashion(Tumblr), Ruffles & Steam (tumblr) and Portal of Fantasy (tumblr).

I also totally love Lolita Fashion Update where Lolita brand releases are posted (though it hasn’t been updated in a while 🙁 ). Store sites were hit and miss. As far as I can tell, a lot of these Japanese brands to pre-release sales and it seems like things sell out and therefore never get posted to their store sites. (Maybe I’m wrong about this, but that’s been my gut instinct), here’s the brands I based my designs off of Mary Magdalene, Victorian Maiden, Innocent World and Angelic Pretty (though they tend more towards Sweet Lolita).

Okay, so I was looking for photos of Classic Lolita style to link, so people would know what I was basing this on and I found this photo of two Lolitas on the street wearing Classic Lolita dresses from Tokyo Fashion and one of them has the Violin purse! Check it out.  I was so excited to see the purse “in the wild”, so to speak. The larger version is a bit more complex than Mia’s mini paper version.

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I’m a big believer in using color to tell a story. Years ago, a friend used to joke that Steampunk was “Gothic clothing colored brown” and there is some truth to that observation. Color has a lot of power. I could have gone Gothic Lolita or Sweet Lolita with these outfits if I had chosen another color scheme, but I liked the soft hues associated with Classic Lolita, so that was what I settled on. Also, I have a Sweet and Gothic Lolita paper dolls already which illustrate this principle by being the same set colored two different ways.

I’m still regretting that I didn’t draw her any hats or bows. It was totally my intention to, but then I forgot and then I didn’t notice I’d forgotten until it was too late. Sigh. A rose cover bonnet like these one would really fill out her look. Oh well, I’m just going to have to save for a different paper doll set, I guess.

There is an extra outfit over on my Patreon page– shoes, a parasol and dress. You don’t have to be a patron to download it and it will fit in with the rest of Mia‘s Classic Lolita wardrobe. Also give her some pink shoes to go with her more pink dresses.

If you like the Lolita fashion style, check out my Lolita tag for more paper dolls inspired by this style.

Please leave a comment if you like, because you know I love feedback. 🙂

Roses & Violins: Classic Lolita Fashion Paper Doll

Marisole Monday & Friends: Classic Lolita Fashion As I mentioned on Wednesday, I had to get this set of paper dolls done, or I wouldn’t have anything to be posted today. Anyway, as I said today’s classic Lolita fashion paper doll set was partially the result of a request from a patron and partly the result of me never being able to extract decent black and white version of my sweet Lolita and gothic Lolita paper doll sets.

So, I inspired by this violin purse from the Japanese fashion company Innocent World. While I will admit in a heartbeat to not being an expect on Lolita fashion, which is a Japanese street style based on Victorian children’s clothing, I have noticed that a lot of Lolita outfits (called coordinates) seem to be heavily themed. Once I settled on the purse, I knew I wanted the patterns of several of the pieces to have a music or violin theme.

I’ve also noticed that many of the Lolita fashion blogs I read while working on this set, seem to recommend buying JSKs (Jumper-Skirts, I think?) over full dresses, since these can be worn over various blouses. The paper doll pose makes that sort of layering tough, but the short sleeved dress on the far left is meant to be a JSK. I have a Lolita Style pintrest board where you can see way more of my inspiration.

A Classic Lolita fashion paper doll coloring page from paperthinpersonas.com.

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My one big regret about this set is that I didn’t do any hats or bows, which are a big part of  Lolita. Oh well… I suppose nothing is perfect. Mia is modeling today’s fashions, if you are keeping track of who is who in the Marisole Monday & Friend’s family.

I did kinda got carried away designing pieces for this set and I ended up with two many to fit on the page. Rather than just let them rot on my hard drive, I posted them over on my Patreon page. You don’t have to be a Patron to view or download them. You can see the extra dress, shoes and parasol here. Next week, I’ll post the color versions there as well.

I think if I end up with “extra” pieces in the future, my Patreon page will be a handy place to put them.

Thoughts on my foray into classic Lolita fashion? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Summer Garden: A Paper Doll and Her Clothing

logo-floral-marisole-color I love color. I have teal dining room chairs, after all and a red cabinet in my dining room that holds my larger serving dishes. My favorite sweater is lime green and very fuzzy. I call it the Mountain Dew sweater. The point I am trying to make is that if I have the choice between neutrals and a color- you can pretty much count on me picking out a color. And this helps explain why I decided to go so bright and rich with Marisole’s paper doll clothing.

Someone, I think it was Boots, remarked that she was picturing a lot of yellow and green. Well, she wasn’t wrong… Yellow and Green are definitely here. I wanted color in this paper doll set- the sort of vibrant colors I love in flowers when they are in full bloom. Of course, right now it’s cold and damp here in Alabama, but eventually it won’t be and then the bright colors of spring and summer with come.

And I can complain about the heat on this blog, thereby continuing my theme of never being happy about the weather. (Though I suppose this isn’t true, I do enjoy Spring in Alabama.)

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One of my grand frustrations with Marisole’s pose is that you can’t actually layer a long sleeved top under a skirt and expect the skirt to stay on the doll, because of her right arm which is against her stomach. This is one of the annoyances that occurs to me when I am designing mix and match paper doll clothing for her and I want to do things that just won’t work.

I’d scrap the series and redraw, but it is uber hard to give up something that I’ve been doing for six years. There are about 240 Marisole Monday & Friend’s posts on the blog. It is my most popular series and so I feel a little bound to it. It’s also a tiny bit weird to be working on something I drew over six years ago. I remember drawing the first Marisole doll. I was in grad school sitting in the library killing time between class and when I had to go to work.

And now I live in a totally different state and she’s still around. Kinda crazy, honestly.

(Don’t fear, I don’t plan on getting rid of Marisole Monday & Friend‘s anytime soon. Just thoughts about the paper doll series.)

As always, I love hearing comments from readers and, if you want to support the blog, here’s the Patreon page for it.

And Happy New Year to those celebrating the Year of the Monkey!

Summer Garden: A Paper Doll Dress Up Set

A black and white paper doll dress up set of sixteen pieces including two pairs of shoes, five tops, two dresses, two skirts, two pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes. Normally, I try not to post two fashion paper doll sets in a row, but somehow my life just didn’t let me finish up the other sets I had hoped to have done. Sometime’s life is like that, so for today’s paper doll dress up, you’ll just have to live with another contemporary fashion set.

A lot of these pieces are based on things from fashion magazines.

One of my goals with this set was to use more pattern on each piece. So, I decided to focus on floral patterns. It was fun to create the patterns for these pieces. Of all of the different pieces, my favorite is the drop waisted floral dress. (The polkadot covered jeans are a close second, I confess. They are based on a pair owned by my sister.)

I will openly confess that I really don’t remember everything I was thinking when I designed this set, except that I really wanted to play with pattern. See? Not very set has a deep philosophical story behind it.

A black and white paper doll dress up set of sixteen pieces including two pairs of shoes, five tops, two dresses, two skirts, two pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com.

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I’m not sure exactly what season this clothing would really work for. I mean, the turtlenecks are much more autumnal, but the florals are certainly a summer thing. I gave it the title Summer Garden, so I guess it’s summery?

A friendly reminder that if you like the blog and you’d like to support it, I do have a Patreon page where you can donate to keep things around here up and running. It’s also home to the Vivian Project.

I’m also pleased to show off my draft version of my new paper doll index page. It’s still being tweaked, so I’d love to hear what people think of it as well.

Yumiko’s Spring Styles: A Paper Doll to Print

logo-yumiko-sping-fashionI have been thinking about spring, but it feels a long away off. Even here in Alabama where the winters are so mild compared to what I have experienced in Alaska and the Midwest. Still, today’s paper doll to print is celebrating the possibility of warm spring fashions.

As I mentioned back when I first introduced the Sprite paper dolls, I want to establish a limited collection of dolls who will get outfits much like the Marisole Monday & Friends and the Mini-Maidens. So, this is the second Yumiko paper doll to print.

I figured after her foray into cyberpunk, the she deserved a chance to be a little more casual. I think her casual wardrobe is a little disconnected. I love all the pieces by themselves, but together they feel less the cohesive. I am getting over my mixed feelings by reminding myself that eventually there will be other Sprite paper dolls with casual clothes she can share with.

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I struggled a bit to select colors for today’s paper doll to print. I am, personally, a lover of color. In the end, I settled on black as the neutral (though I worry with this paper doll’s black curls does that make too much black?) and pale blue as the other neutral.  The patterned blouse over the striped skirt caused some problems since the complicated patterned needed a lot of colors to look right, but I think maybe the chose to many different colors for this collection? I think that’s adding to the lack of cohesion that is bothering me so much.

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So, clearly, in case you couldn’t notice, I’ve got mixed feelings about today’s Sprite paper doll. Don’t get me wrong. There are things I love about her- those blouses, that darling purse with the tassel, her cute red shorts. But she feels… a tiny bit discombobulated.

Oh well, not every paper doll is perfect and if I only posted the paper dolls I was “totally in love with”, than I rather suspect I wouldn’t ever post anything at all.

More paper dolls live here and there are also more Sprite paper dolls– in case you want to get to dress up like an elf for a while or want to print out some friends.

Also, if you love the blog and want to help it keep going- support it through Patreon. There’s a special behind the scenes blog, perviews of sets, and I am way more likely to make patron requests, because… well, they are giving me money. So, consider joining up– it’s a fun group.

What do you think of Yumiko? Let me know in a comment.

Maiden of the North: Printable Paper Doll In Color

nordic-viking-logo-colorSo, today we have Maiden of the North in color. Originally, I was used going to use any neutrals, but I realized that wasn’t really working out part way though coloring and changed my mind. I reserve the right to change my mind about just about anything.

Paper doll hair colors are usually picked based on what I think will look good with the set or on what I think I haven’t done in a while. I try to have a wide diversity of paper doll hair colors, skin tones and other things, so if I feel like I’ve done a lot of red-heads or blonds lately, than I’ll often do something else.

Otherwise, I think every paper doll would have red-hair.

For those of you who missed last week’s post, the costumes are largely inspired by Viking dress with a fair amount of fantasy elements. The oval or dwarf brooches at the shoulders are the distinctly Viking element. I have discovered a strange affection for dwarf brooches.

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So, if you happen to see some weird pharmacy stuff on the site, don’t worry. I mean, it is a problem, but I’m working on fixing it. Hopefully, it won’t effect anyone at the moment. It’s bad code that needs to be cleaned up manually left over from a hack. Annoying, but part of website ownership. Thanks for your patience while I deal with it.

And if you like my paper doll (and want to see Marisole Monday & Friends before Monday), please consider supporting me through Patreon.

Hope: A Late 18th Century Paper Doll Set

logo-hope-1700sHope is based on the styles at the end of the 18th century. So, something major happened around the 1789 in France. It was, for those who weren’t asleep in high school history class, the French Revolution. To say that “everthing changed” wouldn’t be an understatement and the ripples of the events in France spread across Europe in dramatic ways. It is tempting when looking at the end of the 18th century to simply assume that after 1789 everyone just jumped into Empire styles and that was the end of it, but the reality is that there was a very slow evolution to the high waisted gowns we think of as “empire” or “Regency” dress.

So, I was less interested in worrying about the Empire look and much more interested in the every transitional styles that are easily forgotten and often ignored.

This all brings us rather neatly to Hope. Hope is our paper doll model for the later part of the 1700s. Her dresses will never get up the high waisted styles that characterized the transition into Empire. Rather, I think of her as being a woman of means right before everything gets radicalized. And, for her sake, let us assume she lives in England which was always behind on the fashions a bit anyway and a much safer place to be than France at the end of the 18th century. They don’t call it the Reign of Terror for nothing, after all.

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Hope’s hair is done up in a style known as coiffure à l’enfant. This was a style popularized by Marie-Antoinette in the early 1780s. The style is a frizzy halo of hair with several longer strands curled, braided or left straight. Here is a portrait that shows off the hair style from the Met and here is a fashion plate featuring it from the V&A. I have to confess that I am not totally pleased with her hair. I fear that it looks a little bit too “mad scientist” for my comfort.

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Moving away from her hair for a moment, Hope has undergarments, of course, and then a gown known as a Redingote. Redingote’s started their lives as actual riding coats, but eventually transformed into women’s gowns which were coat like and then cut away to reveal the petticoat underneath. The word “redingote” is believed to be a French transliteration of the English term “riding coat”. Hope’s redingote was based on this gown from LACMA circa 1790. The term “redingote” sticks around into the early 20th century as a term of long coats.

Her hat is from this hat from the MINT circa 1770. Her shoes are based on this pair from the Met from 1780. Her muff and her mitts are both from Colonial Williamsburg.

I think that’s all the sources I need to list for Hope. I might have forgotten something, but I think that’s everything. Next Friday, there will be the last set of outfits for the 18th Century Pixie Series all from the later part of the 18th century.

Joy: An 18th Century Historical Paper Doll Set

logo-joy-1700sToday’s 18th century paper dolls is my second of three. Joy, all of these paper dolls will have virtue names, is from between the 1760s though 1780s. She has underwear and a gown in the polonaise style. Poloniase gowns had a skirt that is raised up and bunched over the petticoat. Usually a gown could be worn either with the skirt looped up in the polonaise or with the skirt down- offering some versatility to the 18th century silhouette. The polonaise gown sticks around into the 19th century and is sometimes mistaken for a bustle.

Joy’s gown was based on this pink silk gown circa 1770-1780 housed at the LACMA. Her shoes are based on this fashion plate from 1778. Her undergarments are based off a set held by the V&A museum dated to 1778.

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As with the rest of this series, I based her color scheme off my 18th century color pallet which I introduced in the first part of this series. After seeing this gown from MFA in Boston I knew I wanted to do something in a rich red color. Despite myself, I tend to think of the 18th century as being muted in colors, but nothing could be further from the truth.

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It has been so much fun to share this paper doll series over the last few weeks. We have four more pages with one more doll and three more sets of gowns. The whole collection, so far, can be seen here.

Since we’re talking the 18th century, I thought I would call attention to a cool project I discovered this week. The University of Michigan has begun to translate and make available online the Encyclopédie edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert in the 18th century. The section of primary interest to those of us obsessed with dress is the plates on the Tailor of Suits and Bodices, but I’ve used the Encyclopédie to show students furniture manufacture and paper making circa 1790. I love this book and can get lost in it for hours.

Debuting my 18th Century Historical Paper Doll Set with Faith

logo-faith-1700sSometimes, I get started on projects and they don’t seem “insane” and then a few weeks later I find myself further into them and I am thinking, “Was I crazy to start this?” and, of course, “Will this ever be done?”

So, over the next seven weeks on every Friday, I will be sharing pieces from a historical paper doll project that started with a simple, “I should draw some 18th century clothing for the Pixies.”

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It kinda grew a bit unexpectedly.

My original plan was to do three Pixie paper dolls, all with different skin-tones, and each would focus on the first part, middle part and then last part of the 18th century.

No plan, as they say, survives contact with the enemy.

Instead of three clearly defined sets, I ended up with three paper dolls and four pages of dresses and only one set, my late 18th century set, seemed clear cut. So, I did what any rational paper doll artist would do, I said, “Meh. I’m just going to go forward anyway.”

Today I am pleased to present the first of my three Pixie paper dolls and for the next six weeks, each Friday, there will be another Pixie paper doll or a set of dresses for the 18th century Pixies.

As you can see from my 18th Century Color Palette graphic above, I knew I wanted to use a consistent color palette through all of these seven pages of paper dolls. I chose to based my colors on a stomacher, also from the V&A Museum. I wanted all the colors to be fairly soft, but also rich, reminiscent of what you see in portraits of the era.

Today, I am pleased to present Faith, the first of this seven week series.

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Faith wear’s her hair in a style known as tête de mouton (or “sheep’s head”) and it was extremely popular in the 1750s. She, of course, has her hair powdered, through powder was not universally worn, despite what some people seem to think. Her underwear consists of stays and hoops. As with many of my forays into historical underwear, her undergarments won’t fit under all the dresses of this set. Her stays are based on Stays from the V&A Museum . These type of wide narrow hoops were usually used to support the wide skirted formal gowns of the 18th century, but Faith doesn’t have a formal gown on this page. Instead, she has a riding habit. Her riding habit is based on Riding Habit from the V&A museum dated between 1750 and 1759. Her small hat is a combination of a hat from the Met Museum and the hat in this portrait of Princess Marie-Thérèse-Louise de Savoie-Carignan which was sold at Christie’s.

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The colors of her garments were, of course, influenced by the original riding habit, but also by the stomacher I showed above. I wanted a consistent color scheme across all these paper doll pages, for maximum mix and matching possibilities. Playability, a word I am not sure is a word, is something that I value very highly in my paper dolls. While I rarely cut them out and actually play with them, I like to think about how people would cut them out if they were going to do so.

Tune in next Friday for a page of dresses and then the next week a paper doll and then a page of dresses and then… well, you get the idea. 🙂