Dreaming Princess: A Paper Doll Princess

logo-dreaming-princess-bw Whenever I meet young girls and ask them about paper dolls, which I confess I don’t do very often, they seem to often ask for Princesses. I don’t know what it is about paper doll princesses, but it seems to be a popular trend. As a child some of my favorite paper dolls were those of Peck-Grande which featured beautiful fairytale paper dolls with fantastic dresses (Here’s some images from their Beauty and the Beast paper doll or Sleeping Beauty paper doll). As far as I can tell, princess seems to translate to “amazing over the top gowns” and that works for me.

(The feminist in me always wants to give a lecture on the patriarchal nature of historical princess-dom right now, but the lover of pretty dresses in me doesn’t care.)

When I design complex patterns for paper doll clothing, I like to try to keep the outfits themselves fairly simple. I think it is easy to get the pattern “lost” in the lines needed for pleats and folds. So, when I decided I wanted to play around with complex patterns for these gowns, it wasn’t a hard decision to know that I needed a simpler silhouette.

Early Italian renaissance dresses (from about the 1490s) have always had a soft place in my heart. Someday I do want to do an actual “historical” paper doll from this period, but until then, I had fun playing with the silhouette in this paper doll princess set. These styles might look familiar if you remember Her Ladyship from 2014, she was inspired by the same time period.

A paper doll princess coloring page featuring four elegant dresses and two pairs of shoes. Free from paperthinpersonas.com.

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The model for today’s gowns is Monica. You can find more paper dolls featuring her here. Confusion about which Marisole Monday & Friend’s paper doll model is which? I wrote a guide a few months ago.

Every time I design a princess paper doll download with these sorts of elaborate patterned fantasy gowns, I swear that I won’t do it again and then I do. Insanity is doing the same thing over again, expecting different results, they say, but here I found myself once more painstakingly coloring an insanely complex pattern and grumbling about it.

My original plan was to go very traditional with the colors here. In the actual Renaissance, the expense of dye meant that darker colors were more fashionable and expensive than lighter colors. So, that was my first plan- black, red and gold would have abounded.

But then I realized that if I was going to use a dark brown skin-tone for the doll (which was my plan all along) and then went black and red with the clothing, it was going to be a really dark paper doll set. Plus dark colors on these kinda elaborately patterned outfits obscures the black line-work. I spent to darn long coloring this to obscure the nuances of those patterns. So, gold, red and black when out the window for rose, lime and teal. Nothing says spring to me like rose, teal and lime.

Plus, I think the brighter spring colors are nice for a May set. It’s spring here in Alabama, after all.

A black princess paper doll download featuring four colorful gowns and two pairs of shoes. Free from paperthinpersonas.com

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If today’s Monica princess color page needs some friends or more dresses, there’s literally dozens of options, but I think A Noble Lady, Pattern & Grace, Queen of Dusk and Book Loving Princess all make nice accompanying black and white paper doll sets as they are in a similar silhouette. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with deciding today’s Monica freelances as a circus performer or pirate, but I thought if people wanted more “princessy” looks than the four paper doll sets I mentioned above would work well. As many of you know, versatility is very important to me in my paper doll related activities, so I try to point out where one set might interrelate to another set.

After all, I don’t expect y’all to keep track of the 500 paper dolls on the site, especially since I can’t always keep track of them myself.

In case you’re wondering why both the color and the black and white version of today’s paper doll are being posted, there will be a post explaining ALL on Wenesday, or at least MOST. 🙂

It is nice to be back.

Willow: Elven Paper Doll Fantasy

Willow In the Woods: An Elven fantasy paper doll with a six piece wardrobe. Free to print in color or black and white from paperthinpersonas.com Today’s Sprite is and elven paper doll named Willow in honor of Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (More on that later.) I was the biggest Buffy fan when I was in middle-school and early highschool. I stopped watching around season five, I think. Though I keep trying to get through the later seasons, the show gets so darn depressing.

As with many of my fantasy paper dolls, I try to think about “setting” when I designed these outfits. I have decided both of these elves (Xavier and Willow) are warriors, so Willow has armor to go under her silken tunics and a bow as well. I was also thinking about Ancient Grecian tunics when designing these paper doll pieces. Sure, they’re not really practical, but we all know how I feel about practicality and paper dolls. (Never the two shall meet.)

Willow In the Woods: An elven paper doll with a six piece wardrobe. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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So, I drew this elven paper doll set and then I colored it and then I was like, “Man, she kinda looks like that elf chick from the new Hobbit movies.” (The character is named Tauriel, but I had to look that up.)

So, then I nearly re-colored the whole set feeling like I wasn’t trying to make my elf look like someone else’s elf and then I decided that I had wanted to make her a redhead ever since I named her in honor of Willow Rosenberg from Buffy:The Vampire Slayer and no random elf chick from a rather bad movie was going to stop me.

Willow In the Woods: An Elven fantasy paper doll with red hair and a six piece wardrobe. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com

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So, as I mentioned with Xavier last week, Willow is the third doll in the Sprite paper doll series. She can, fo course, share clothing with Yumiko and any future female Sprite paper dolls.

There will be other Willow paper dolls, so they won’t all be elves, but that’s what I’ve started with.

I have realized there are five Friday’s in January. So, should I end January with a non-Sprite or should I have a Sprite in the beginning of February? Since they always come in pairs. Let me know thoughts in the comments.

Xavier: Elven Archer Paper Doll

A fantasy elf paper doll with a three piece wardrobe. Free to print in color or black and white from paperthinpersonas.com Xavier is the third paper doll in the Sprite paper doll series. Xavier is getting to be an elf paper doll today, though he won’t always be an elf. And since he can share clothing with Zachary, should you decide he needs to be a cyberpunk elf (Shadowrun, anyone?) that’s totally an option too.

Like any good elven archer, our elf paper doll has a back up plan in the form of a sword. Since, sometimes you need to fight people up close and personal. I chose a bird and leaf motif for the weapons and the armor which I thought would seem suitably nature oriented. I always thinks of elves as being nature oriented which might be a horrible stereotype. (Is it possible to stereotype a fantasy creature?)

I think the bird and feather motif his more obvious with the female elf which I shall be posting next Friday as we continue January Sprites! (Yeah, I totally just decided to call it that.)

Xavier, one of my boy paper dolls, gets to be an elven archer in this fantasy paper doll set. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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So, I like the Lord of the Rings movies, I really do, but it’s tough to not feel like one has to interact with them when designing elven stuff. My main goal was to create two outfits- one casual and one military. After all, you can’t just walk around in armor. Well, I suppose you can… but it wouldn’t be very comfortable.

I wanted to chose colors that were not too bright, but also felt organic and natural- colors from nature, I guess you might say.

Xavier, one of my boy paper dolls, gets to be an elven archer in this fantasy paper doll set. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com

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I’m gonna be honest here now. I have been really struggling with artist’s block the last few weeks or, as I like to call it, “the wheel is spinning, but the gerbil is dead”. In short, I just have no urge to do anything blog related, let alone actually draw new content.

But I’m trying to stay on track and stick to my guns about getting two paper dolls up a week. I do have a tiny bit of backlog waiting, so I think I’ll be okay.

As always, comments are appreciated. Thoughts on other themes I should explore with the Sprites?

Tea & Ruching: A Fantasy Princess Paper Doll

Another one of my princess paper dolls, today we have an African princess with two fantasy gowns and lots of accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.comAs I mentioned when I posted the black and white version of this princess paper doll last week, rarely can I look back and share several stages of paper doll creation. From the sketchbook stage to the coloring stage. There’s a sort of allusion that I think is common in blogging. It’s always presented as current, as immediate.

Sort of the “I just threw together this perfect brunch for my family on Tuesday and I wanted to share it with you all” idea. The truth is that while sometimes I work against the wire- barely have the paper doll done before I post it- I think most people understand that generally there’s a long wait between idea, rough sketches, final sketches and posted paper doll.

So, as you all probably know, I love drawing princess paper dolls. It’s an excuse to let out my girly side and create fluffy over the top dresses around whatever themes strike my fancy. For this princess set, I wanted to use some of the motifs and styles of African wax print fabrics.

An elegant princess paper doll inspired by African wax print fabrics. She's got two fantasy gowns and lots of fun accessories. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Originally, I have conceived of a pink, green and purple color scheme, but it really didn’t work in practice. So, back on Pinterest, I selected this wax print fabric to be my basis for my colors. The orange, red, blues and yellow color scheme seemed like a lovely change of pace from the pinks and purples that are generally associated with princess paper dolls. Plus the white really lightened up the outfit.

I’ve decided her white shoes are a sign of wealth, because can you imagine trying to keep white shoes white? I mean, I don’t own any for that exact reason.

Now, if you’re thinking, but she needs more clothes… Than I recommend considering borrowing gowns from the Yellow Princess, Rose Ballgowns or Garden Ballgowns. All those sets share the big-skirted look of today’s princess paper doll.

Thoughts on today’s princess paper doll? Feel free to leave a comment. Also, on Friday, there will be Elves!

Lillies & Birds: Fantasy Printable Paper Doll

lilliesandbirds-logo-colorEvery paper doll set tells a story. As a kid, I remember I would tell all sorts of stories with my paper dolls. Some of them were the actual stories of the paper dolls- like Little Women or Cinderella. Far more often, I would design my own stories to be told with the paper dolls.

Now that I’m an adult, or so people tell me, my paper dolls don’t have the same sorts of stories. They do, however, often have worlds that I imagine they come from. In the case of today’s Margot paper doll, I imagine she comes from a pseudo-victorian world with her button up boots and her hats.

Speaking of hats, it was really important to me that either hat could be worn with either dress. Don’t get me wrong- the feathered hat was designed to match the bird-dress and the lily hat goes with the lily dress, but if you were feeling rebellious and wanted to put the feathered hat with the lily dress than I won’t stop you.

Live dangerously.

Anyway, as for her blue hair, I confess that as a total whim. I was coloring her and I thought, I should give her blue hair. So, I did.lilliesandbirds-princess-paper-doll-color

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I am actually quite pleased how the blue hair came out. I think it’s fun and unexpected.

I’ve always wanted to dye my hair blue, but I fear I am long past the point in my work life where I could get away with blue hair. Plus my hair goes down to my waist, so if I dye it than I have to live with it for a long long time.

So, we are cruising into December (so exciting!), there’s going to be fun things on the horizon and some announcements. The Pixie paper doll series is retiring and will be replaced by a new series. Lots of fun & crazy stuff.

Thoughts? As usual, I love to hear what you think about the paper doll or anything else in the comments.

Lillies & Birds: A Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

lilliesandbirds-logo-bwThe trouble of posting from paper doll backlog, is that sometimes I get to the point where I’ve drawn something so many weeks ago that I have no real recollection of what I was thinking or planning when I designed whatever it is. This is one of those sets. I remember drawing it, but I don’t remember much about this set except worrying about drawing the lily flowers on her skirt and hat.

I decided I tend to always draw the same flowers and I wanted to try something different.

Beyond that, I feel like I can’t say much.

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Margot is showing off this set. I feel rather bad for Margot, since she hasn’t gotten a set since April when she was a Tudor lady. I think it is just that she got a LOT of love at the beginning of the year and then very little for the rest of the year.

Anyway, this is the last Margot set for 2015. The year is wrapping up my friends. 🙂

As always, if you have thoughts, please share them in the comments and if you like the paper dolls than consider supporting them through Patreon.

Also, there’s going to be a really fun Q&A on Wednesday with a special guest from Dover publishing. I’ve been waiting to publish this for weeks. 🙂

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.

Maiden of the North: Printable Paper Doll Page to Color

nordic-viking-logo-bwVikings… Vikings… Vikings… Okay, not really. I mean, these are totally fantasy Viking outfits, but I have had Vikings on the mind ever since I did my historically accurate (for the given value of accurate) Viking paper doll and I found myself returning to the Viking look.

So, what makes these Viking inspired or Norse inspired, as I tend to call it. Well, the big thing are those dwarf-brooches. You can read all about the actual drawf brooches in my Viking article, but I wanted to include them here. Her shoes are also based on actual Viking finds in York, so they’re also a nod to the whole Norse/Viking thing.

I added fur trim to her gowns and did a lot of pattern. I wanted to get to use multiple colors in these gowns, so the patterns help with that.

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Our model today is Meaghan of the Marisole Monday & Friend’s family. This is the fifth Meaghan set and probably the last one of the year. I’m getting to that point where I start planning for 2016. Thinking about 2016 and making sure I have enough backlog to get me through the Holidays. I always travel mid-December to visit family, so I tend to try to have things ready before I depart.

That means… backlog, backlog, backlog!

(It helps if you say it three times in an increasingly cheery voice. That’s how the backlog fairies know you really need their help.)

As always, I love to hear for you guys, so feel free to ask questions or leave thoughts in the comments.

Knight in Armor: Paper Doll Knight in Color

logo-knight-armor-colorOne of my good friends has nicknamed this paper doll, “Beardy Swordsman!”. I have decided to go with the poll name winner and call him Mikhail. Personally, I was rooting for Mikhail to win and that was my vote. I feel a little guilty because Mikhail won by just one vote and that might have been me. Still, I’m allowed to vote in my own polls, right? I didn’t vote more than once…

I decided to make a knight paper doll as the first of the Mikhail paper dolls, not out of any particularly grand plan, but because I think a lot about the sort of stories you might want to play out with the paper dolls. Back when I was a kid and I played with paper dolls, the narrative provided by the paper doll book rarely worked out as written. With a wedding set, I might decide I actually liked the Maid of Honor paper doll better than the Bride paper doll and she was going to run off with the Groom and the Best Man was actually the older brother of the….

Well, you get the idea.

So, when I create paper dolls I think about the types of stories you might want to tell. Since every doll of a series can share outfits with every other doll of the same series, Mikhail and Marcus can exchange clothes. Now along with being airship mechanics or casual dates, they can also be knights who rescue princesses or knights who get lost in swamps and need to be rescued themselves.

Several years ago, I met a young lady who was four (I think) and who very much wanted to be a knight. I thought to myself, “Good for you.” I drew a knight paper doll for her, but every time I draw a knight, I think of that young lady.

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I have done a lot of dark haired guys, so I decided to make Mikhail a blond. Frankly, coloring armor is fairly dull. It is made of steel. It is going to be silver. There’s just not a lot of variability in that. I went with a lot of gold accents on the armor, because I have decided that Mikhail is a noble night and can afford to spend a fair bit of cash on his armor. Plus it broke up the grey.

In a totally unrelated note, as many of you know, I am currently conducting a survey. (At this point, my daily readers are like… Can she shut up about the Survey already?) I would ask that if you haven’t filled it out, please do so. It’s about developing products to open a Paper Thin Personas store in the next year. It should only take about 15 minutes and would be uber-helpful and I’ll send you a thank you paper doll if you leave me your email at the end. (The emails are deleted out of the survey results immediately to keep things as anonymous as humanly possible. So, don’t worry about that.)

Check out the Survey Here!

Thanks again to everyone whose already done the survey! I’ve learned a lot from everyone’s comments and responses. Maybe at the end, I’ll do a post about some of the stuff I learned? I don’t know… does that violate the principle of an anonymous survey? Thoughts from my readers?

Prince and Gentleman: A Prince Paper Doll in Greens

logo-macus-prince-colorAt the moment, I am trying to get inspired to give the male paper dolls some love. I am trying to convince myself that male clothing is as interesting as female clothing. I am trying to develop the same interest drawing for guys as I do for girls.

It is not easy.

I realize that a lot of it is in my head. I don’t think I’m good at drawing males and my insecurity makes it hard to want to try. Usually, I think of drawing male paper dolls as something I do “for my readers” and not something I do for myself.

This is a line of reasoning that I am trying to stop using. Drawing things for other people is, for me, a fast road to burn out. No one keeps up a blog like this for as long as I have by doing it “for other people”. Trust me. You have to do it for yourself.

But I also want to challenge myself. I also want to try things that I have never tried. I want to create things that I have never created. I want to stretch and do things that scare me a little. So, male paper dolls it is.

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I usually steer clear of monochromatic color schemes. Nothing against them, I just think that they can be boring. Still, green is a nice color and when I asked a friend of mine what color I should go with for male clothing, he said, “Green.”

So, green it is.

One of the nice things about green is that I don’t find any of the shades really horrid. I mean, there are shades of yellow I think are awful and shades of orange that I don’t like either, but green and blue are pretty much all okay with me. So, a green prince to match, I suppose, my yellow and my pink princesses.