When I was a child, I loved the work of Cicely Mary Barker who did wonderful illustrations of fairies and is now quite the commercial enterprise thanks to Penguin. When I was reading them, of course, they weren’t as big as they are now. She died in 1973. My neighbor had an address book with an illustration for each letter (all 26) and I remember being enchanted by them as a child.
Now, I confess I am well aware that actual fairy folklore is considerably darker then the short of cute little flower fairy which the Victorian’s brought us, but the flower ones are easier to draw. What does a Banshee wear anyway? Well… that might be a question to answer at Halloween.
Generally, I find myself feeling dismissive of “flower fairies”. Complicated and often dark folklore seems to always turn into light children’s stories over time, but I still am a purist when it comes to my fairies. I like them grim and dark and full of blood. Of course, the blood has mostly been taken out to make them more acceptable to most parents (not to children who, on the whole, seem to not mind blood so much). Despite my usual distrust of anything deemed “darling” or “cute”, I began this drawing because I wanted to practice drawing flowers. So, I did and the result is… a lot of flowers.
Keeping with my own slightly grimmer views on the world of fairies (and yes, I know I could spell it differently, but writing faeries would make my feel like a pretentious git with a need to spell out the digraph), I have done this Curves paper doll’s face very differently from her other paper doll friends. They are mostly human, after all, she is… Other. But as Other as she might be, I can’t stand her chin. I just… think it looks weird. It didn’t look weird when I sketched it…
So, I’m be bit belated today. Okay… very belated and, to be honest to entirely pleased with either paper doll dress. I wasn’t when I first drew them and I’m still not. I liked the masquerade costume more then the ballgown. I was terrified of drawing the train and I still don’t like how it came out. Oh well, it just means I’ll be doing another ballgown for Florence. It’s been quite a few months since I did the old one, I think I could do it better now.
Trains are totally impossible for me. I need to keep practicing on them.
I must confess that I didn’t think I would ever get these paper dolls done. The coloring of the clothing was hugely time consuming and I kept disliking how the schemes turned out. I’m still not totally pleased with the gold and red ballgown, but it’s much better then the blue and green version. (Trust me on this one.)
The original goal was to draw things with trains (because I need practice) and this evolved into a set of clothing a fantasy princess (in this case Elven cause of the ears) would wear over the course of the day. Working left to right, the purple gown with the corset and white blouse is her day dress. The red and gold dress with the cream under dress is her formal dinner gown or ball gown which she wears in the evening. Her short bed jacket is next held closed with a golden pin and that she wears over her long nightgown which is on the far right along with two pairs of shoes. The purple shoe to match her purple day dress and the red shoes to go with her formal ball-gown. She also has two necklaces, one to go with each gown though the gold one can be worn with either dress.
Considering the time it took to get all these paper doll clothes to fit on one image, I am glad I don’t draw dresses with trains so often. I do think I need to start thinking about color schemes when I’m designing rather then at ten pm on Sunday night when I realize “Huh… this paper doll dress has like five layers. Maybe I should’ve thought this out better…”
Planning never was my strong suit, but I like to think that I make up for it with a can-do attitude and a certain amount of gumption.
Florence is an interesting case of paper doll uncertainty. Unlike Marisole whose paper wardrobe is organized based on how I am feeling on any given moment or Curves who have no real trend either, Florence was always intended to end when I had finished a complete trousseau.
Of course, the site crash delayed that point, but I am forging onward trying to finish her, so that I can move on to other Fashion Doll Friday Ideas (like a regency wooden doll or a nineteen fifties hard plastic or a civil war era china head). The problem is that every time I think I’m done, I find another thing I want to make for her. Today, we have a re-print of two paper doll costumes I posted once before.
On the left is the Dinner Dress. Dinner dresses were deisgned to be more formal afternoon frocks and often had long sleeves. A dinner dress could also be worn to lectures or other evening entertainments which were not formal. Another evening activity which required a special sort of dress was the Opera. Opera toilette were intended to be more fanciful then dinner dresses, but still long sleeved. These dresses could be easily redone to be worn as dinner dresses or for other semi-formal occasions.
So, Liana of Liana’s Paper Doll Blog colored in my Regency Teddy Bear paper doll which it very exciting. You can find the black and white original paper doll here. I love what she did with it. Makes me want to start playing with my colored pencils… But I have too much school work right now.
If you missed the first post, than here is Florence, the paper doll whose meant to wear these gowns.
There is a small child who lives next door to me. He has been crying all day. I feel sort of bad for him, but I do wish he would shut up. In other, unrelated notes, here is the last set of the clothing for Pixie. Enjoy.
Added Note 1/15/2010: Because of school work, the blog will be on a short break until next Monday. I will not be replying to comments or checking my site related email until that time. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but work and the graduate degree come first. Smiles- Rachel