African Inspired Elf: Paper Doll Coloring Page

So, this is a pretty darn old paper doll. Originally inspired when I did my Marisole Inspired by Africa paper doll, I just recently got around to finishing up cleaning her up and getting her posted.

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{Click Here for a PDF of the three page paper doll set to Print}

I’ve been having some requests for more black and white paper dolls lately. This paper doll was inspired by African Fashion Week along with the idea of doing a set of elves based on something other than the traditional Western Europe approach.

Of course, I never got around to drawing any of the other ones, so we’ve got one elf here. She might be a trifle lonely, but if you print out several of her and color each of them a little different she can have friends… or clones. Clones are like friends.

One of my goals in posting this paper was to respond to those people who’ve requested more black and white paper dolls to color. So here is one- print her, color her and have fun.

Folkloric Fairytale: Fantasy Printable Paper Doll

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Today’s Marisole is brought to you by the illustrations of Ivan Bilibin and Russian fairy tales and this random blog post I found of some fairy tale fashions from 2009. Also, the letter F.

I’ve also posted three new pages of clothing for the magnetic Marisole paper dolls. One is a page of fantasy clothing and the other two are historical sets of clothing. I will be posting a new magnetic paper doll set later this week which should be exciting. 🙂 If anyone wants to print out the magnetic paper dolls, this is a great time of the year to find cheap tins all over the place. I’ve seen them at Walgreens and the Dollar Store.

Shadow & Light 9: Pirate Paper Doll in Black and White

I love pirates. I’ve done pirates a few different times.

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I don’t have much exciting to say, so I thought I would point people to a few other printable paper dolls I’ve found online over the last few days.

Paper Dolls to Print from Fantasy Jr. are aimed at the little ones out there (or those of us who have never really grown up). The paper dolls are officially part of a “no frump” paper doll plan which I can agree with. There’s also some fun Halloween Printed Toys which are jointed with brads and some beautiful Victorian Doll Coloring Pages.

The Admirable Women Paper Dolls come from Unkempt. Each paper doll has a nice little bio and some um… interesting clothing. It’s not really aimed at kids, but they are kinda cool.

So, enjoy these paper dolls along with my pirates. And there will be a pixie post on Sunday. I’ve already finished it and I’m excited. She’s really cute. 🙂

Marisole Monday: Book Loving Princess

I love her braids. I am less pleased with the title of this set. I am running out of things to call these darn sets. So, I just sort of pick words out of the air. I’m not sure that they are that informative for people, but what the heck? It’s a paper doll.

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I have been working on creating a new pallet of skin tones based on photographs of supermodels/actresses of various elasticities. It is slow going. I tend to think of skintones in terms of color- light brown, dark brown, brown with a little red in it, brown with grey undertones, peach with yellow undertones, peach with red undertones… I rarely think in terms of ethnicity, so I find myself skipping around looking for various “colors” to adopt. It’s been educational and I like the colors I am getting out of it.

Also, I know I owe a Puck paper doll to Kat the winner of my drawing. Fear not, Kat, it is nearly done and will be up this coming Sunday. I have not forgotten, I just didn’t get it quite finished last week.

Edit 8/10/2013: There is now a a black and white version of this paper doll for coloring. You’ll need to scroll down a bit in the post to see her.

Pixie and Puck: Kelli- Warrior

It’s late on a Saturday and I have really nothing intelligent to say about this. I sort of dropped off the face of the Earth for a week, which I try not to do on the blog. It’s just been a busy week with house sitting some animals and classes. So, I guess I’ll keep it short and sweet.

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Enjoy the paper doll, she looks a bit like a Xena Warrior Princess reject and I hope to be back to a regular posting schedule this next week with Marisole and some actual clothing for Curves 2.0 (I know, hard to imagine) and some new Shadow and Light paper dolls too. And maybe, if I get them finished, some new magnetic paper dolls as well.

Until then, enjoy Kelli, Warrior Paper Doll.

Pixie & Puck: Masquerade

I showed this paper doll as a sketch about a month ago, the reality is that it can take a long time before a paper doll goes from sketch book to blog. Largely, because I tend to draw a lot for one doll, lose interest and move onto another, so the drawing always happens in fits and starts.

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I post on a schedule since I think it should be more even for the dolls and since it helps me not have long gaps in my posting. Plus inking is really boring, so I tend to do it in while I’m hanging out with people (who don’t mind chatting with me while I’m bent over a sketch book), watching TV or have an extra half an hour between classes and no homework to get caught up on. I have learned though that if I don’t keep up with my inking, I suddenly find myself with 15 pages to do and that always seems utterly overwhelming.

While these dresses have no real relation to historical costume, I did do a lot of reading up on the 18th Century for my Marisole paper dolls for the 4th of July and I used those books here too. Below I’ll talk about the books I used and why I used them and what I thought was helpful and not helpful about them- for paper dolling, I mean. This isn’t about academic costume research (though many of these books are good for that too).

elegant-art-book-coverI might have an addiction to exhibit catalogs. An Elegant Art: Fashion and Fantasy in the Eighteenth Century is older from an exhibition catalog produced by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for an exhibition in 1983 on 18th century costume. The number of lovely full color photos show off the costumes and a full listing of the exhibit in the back allows you date everything. Close up of fabric and shoes and particularly nice. Shoe research is really important to me, so I’m always looking for good photos of historical footwear. The text has several essays on 18th century life, including one on movement which I found fascinating.


fashionindetailcoverSeventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail
is part of a series of books from the Victoria and Albert Museum costume collection. The upside of the books is that each garment has a clear line drawing of the front and (sometimes) the back. The downside is that the only photos are of detailed sections giving you a clear beautiful photograph of a button hole or embroidery, but not of the entire garment. I wouldn’t recommend this book on its own, but with other books that give clear all over photographs, it’s a great text and the line drawings are wonderfully clear and easy to work from. If I was going to give a numerical score, I would say eight out of ten. It also covers the 1600’s as well as the 1700’s which is useful (1600’s costume books can be hard to find).

corsetshistoricalbookDespite some really catty reviews on Amazon.com, Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques is a pretty good book about corsets. There are patterns, flats (which are useful since they show the backs of the corsets) and one full color photo each of the corsets in question. The text isn’t written to be an academic study, so don’t even go looking for that- it’s a book written by a costumer about corsets, with photos, a bibliography and a really nice range. The regency corsets are what made me pleased with it, but it also shows several different sets of stays from the 18th century. Good as a supplement to other books on this list. I do wish she’d given the full citations for her museum examples though… but that’s just the librarian in me.

dangerousbook Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the Eighteenth Century is the catalog from a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each room of the exhibit depicted an aspect of aristocratic life, with costumed figures talking, getting dressed, making music, and other activities. The scenes follow the plot of the novel Dangerous Liaisons, but you don’t need to know the story to enjoy the images. What is delightful about the book is that it places the often over the top dresses of the era within their context in period settings. The posed figures sometimes make seeing the costumes clearly a little difficult, so I don’t consider it an ideal book for paper dolling, but it’s a lot of fun to look at and there are some nice essays included on the culture of leisure in the 18th century. It’s not the first book I go too when I need source material, but the full color photos put it in the top few.


patterns1coverPatterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1660-1860
is not just a book of patterns, though it includes patterns for all of the garments shown. It is a wonderful book about historical costume with beautiful pencil drawings, lots of black and white photos of primary sources and excellent text. It doesn’t have the visual appeal of some of the other books on this list, but it does have some really useful images and each item shown comes with a detailed description. I used to avoid Janet Arnold’s books because I thought they were nothing but patterns. In reality, the patterns are only a part of the great material. It has no color photos though, so look elsewhere for eye-candy.
revolutioninfashionbookIf I could only own one book on 18th century dress, I might just pick Revolution in Fashion: European Clothing, 1715-1815 from the Kyoto Costume Institute. The text I can take or leave, but the photos are outstanding. Despite the title, the clothing is really more from about 1750 to 1815, there isn’t anything shown from really early in the 17th century. The costumes shown include formal, informal, underwear, accessories and, my favorite, shoes. I also love this book for the regency period costumes it shows. Because it’s from 1990 and because it was a short print run to start with, the book is really expensive on the secondary market. I have not cross compared, but I believe the same photos were used in Fashion from the The Kyoto Costume Institute which is not insanely overpriced on the secondary market. In fact, it is still in print.

Lastly, I’d like to mention one of my favorite books about 18th century costume that has very few photos and isn’t useful at all for paper dolling, but it is a lot fun and that is Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. The subtitle alone makes me really happy, but the book is a wonderful non-fiction work about the history of costume in the 18th century, French politics and Marie Antoinette, who was more sympathetic then I ever thought she would be.

And this was a really much longer post then I had intended… I suppose that is what happens when you let a book lover talk about favorite fashion books. I hope it is helpful to anyone who wants to do a little research into what they used to wear in the 17th century.

Marisole Monday: Practical Princess

From a kingdom high in the mountains, Marisole has come. It’s a harsh, rocky landscape and its princess is a practical oriented woman with a love of sword fighting and literatre. Her mother insists she still practice her stitching for when she is married, but would rather be out riding her horse. Someday, she will marry and rule this hard beautiful land, but until then she must study and wait.

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I don’t usually think about characters when I’m drawing Marisole, but after the Yellow Princess set, I wanted to do a more practical princess and I began to wonder what sort of world would spawn such a logical and down to earth member of the royalty. I choose cool calm colors for her clothing and decided to rely on gray rather then brown as my neutral. My favorite of her costumes is her grey leather jumper over her purple skirt. I imagine this is a fencing outfit to go with her sword and her practical boots.

I have done quite a few “princesses” over the years, often based on color. Princess In Pink was one of my first with a very pink and blue based color scheme. I love her hair style, but the color is redder then I think it should be. Before her, there was Green Princess who had a unique crown and only two dresses, because I forgot to draw a left sleeve onto the other dress and didn’t notice until I’d scanned and colored it. Opps… And then in June of last year, there was the Elven Princess who had pointy ears, purple eyes and one of my favorite sets of clothing. Lastly, there was the Yellow Princess who went up just a few weeks ago.

So, Marisole has been a princess quite a few times, though this is the first Marisole with Asian features to be a princess. I wanted her to resemble Filipino coloring, but I’m not sure I liked how her skin tone turned out. I think she looks a little sickly.

Shadow and Light 4

The best thing about the Shadow and Light paper dolls is that I decided to number them rather then title them. Perfect solution to my natural problem of coming up with titles.

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I’m always excited when I stumble across paper dolls in while I’m not actually looking for them. Final Fashion is a great fashion illustrators blog which features lots of beautiful fashion paper dolls. They are available for purchase, but every one can also be seen to just gaze longingly at. One of my pet peeves is when people have paper dolls for sale, but you can’t really see each page of the paper doll or the clothing. There’s a few artists I will buy on faith, but generally I like to see what I am getting. My favorite is her Vionnet paper dolls. Madame Vionnet is a somewhat under appreciated designer from the early 20th century who introduced the world to the bias cut dress. Unfortunately, her style was very much of its time and hasn’t really survived to be present which is a pity.

On a semi-related note to the Madame Vionnet ramble, I am curious if people would be interested in knowing which fashion books I use when I’m doing research. I’ve been on this Japanese kimono book kick for a few weeks (literally, my table is covered in them) and I’m trying to decide if fashion/costume book reviews are something people would like to see. Thoughts from the masses?

Pixie & Puck: Alexa

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I am crazy busy getting ready for classes. I have nothing intelligent to say about this paper doll. Enjoy her. Play with her. Cut her out. Get her married. Take her home to meet your Mother… (Okay, maybe not the meeting your Mother thing, cause that could be kinda creepy)

Anyway, the point is to enjoy her.

On a quasi related note, I really do like how her hair came out. I am less sure about her dresses, but I think the hair makes up for it. I’ve been wanting to do a darker skinned Asian doll for a while. Her coloring is based on a lovely visiting Chinese student who was in my courses with me last year. We did a project together during which we both brought food to group meetings. I brought oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and she brought the most wonderful meat filled dumplings. As I recall, she was somewhat suspicious of our insistence that we dip the cookies in milk. I guess it’s not something they do in China.

Marisole Monday: Yellow Princess

When I was a child, I always wanted one of those cakes which had a doll inside of it, but I didn’t like Barbie dolls, so I don’t know what I would have done with one if I had gotten it. I was reminded of them as I worked on this set of paper dolls. Marisole doesn’t have a lot of huge skirted dresses. I think because I more often take my inspiration from the Regency then from the Antebellum eras of costume. Never the less, I knew I wanted to draw some things that were utterly over the top and I think these qualify.

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I don’t usually start knowing a color scheme, but in the case of these dresses I was pretty sure I wanted them to be yellow from the beginning. Because the dresses were going to be yellow, I chose a warm pale brown color for Marisole’s skintone and a dark color for her hair. I was really concerned with her skin clashing with her costumes. I don’t think it does, but I was worried it might.

I have, as I sometimes do, left this to the last minute. So, now that its posted, I am going to crawl into bed and sleep for I have work and homework to finish in the morning.

Edit 8/10/2013: There is now a a black and white version of this paper doll for coloring.