Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: Ravens, this Gold Corset, and 18th Century Hair Styles
I love Ravens. I grew up in Southeast Alaska where there are a lot of Ravens. We also had a fair number of Crows, but I hate Crows for being loud and annoying, so I refuse to draw a paper doll gown based on them.
Ravens are some of the smartest birds in the world and they can do fairly complex problem solving. No unsurprisingly, they show up a lot on myth and legend. In Tlingit stories, Raven is trickster who frees the sun, moon and stars. In Norse mythology, the god Odin is depicted as having two ravens serving as his eyes and ears. They are named Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). In Ancient Greek myths, ravens are associated with Apollo, the god of prophecy.
And of course, there are always the ravens of the Tower of London who, should they ever be removed, would foretell the fall of the Kingdom of England.
So, if you want folklore heavy animals, it doesn’t get much better than the Raven.
This is the most fitted of the gowns. There’s something mysterious about Ravens and I wanted the masquerade gown to capture some of that mystery.
It’s Monday! And that means a new printable paper doll!
I previewed this set last Wednesday. As I said before, this paper doll was inspired by the idea of woodlands, fauns and spirits of the forest. I wanted to create something that felt layered and collected, rather than planned or purchased.
When I designed these pieces, I was thinking of autumn. Of course, it’s not autumn here. Summer is officially here in Alabama, which means it was in the 90s today and horrible humid. I have been hot and miserable every-time I go outside. I don’t know who invented air conditioning, but I am so grateful to them.
Today’s woodland paper doll is being modeled by Margot. There’s sixteen pieces with today’s paper doll set which is a lot of mix and match options.
I went back and forth and back and forth about color options here. I wanted to do a autumn scheme at first with all oranges and browns and yellows, but that looked kinda dull. So, green got tossed in to the mix to add some zest and brightness.
The light browns were based on colors of deer, which I always think as being a big part of the forest. I’ve always loved deer, both as beautiful animals and as tasty chili. (Seriously, venison chili is amazing.)
Many of my paper dolls are really characters I invent in my head who come from well formed worlds. Today’s is less so. I was thinking maybe a fairy of some type or a druid or perhaps a mage who focuses on woodland magics.
In truth, I don’t really know who this Margot paper doll is, but perhaps you have an idea you’d like to share in the comments?
Another printable princess paper doll this week. Clearly, I was in the mood to draw fantasy dresses. I did think about trying to get some other sets done and then breaking up my princesses, but in the end, that just didn’t work out. So, May has become a month of printable princess paper dolls for the Marisole Monday & Friends crowd and people are just going to have to deal.
So, in the 12th century, there was this garment called a “bliaut.” Now, I’ll be honest, I am still learning about 12th century clothing, but in my limited research the “bliaut” was a wide sleeved gown with a full skirt. The most famous example, I know of, is from the sculptures on the exterior of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres. Another example is the Unshaw Virgin from the British Museum. I’m still mid-research to create a historical 12th century paper doll, so while I work on that, I thought I would draw a fantasy paper doll inspired by the 12th century.
Along with the 12th century, Maiden here owes a bit to Norse things with her bone comb and her knife. I think she could be a generation or two removed from my Maiden of the North paper doll from last year or maybe from the same “world”, but a different geographic region. I also think Marcus as a Warrior fits in as well.
Now, I will confess that I did try to make something very different from Monica’s Dreaming Princess set here. Despite the fact that they are both fantasy paper dolls with a distinctly princess vibe, the styles are pretty different. Maiden here is all about the 12th century while Dreaming Princess was all about the early Italian renaissance look. Plus, while Dreaming Princess was modeled by Monica, Margot is the model for Maiden, a title picked entirely because it fit in the space I had left after rearranging this set like a dozen times.
For colors, I wanted to use shades that reflected manuscript illustration. While Dreaming Princess was me channeling my inner-8 year old. This paper doll was much more my taste which tends towards more muted colors when I think of fantasy gowns.
I named today’s printable paper doll “Cerise” which is a French name meaning “Cherry”, because of her red paper-doll base. Cerise has the same skin-tone as Natalie. So they can share shoes.
I like redheads. I blame this on Anne of Green Gables and my grandmother. My grandmother had the most beautiful red hair. (That sentence makes it sound like she’s dead. She’s not dead, but her hair is now grey.)
I did not inherit this and I have been bitter about that for a long time. So, if it was up to me, most of my paper dolls would default to red heads.
I try to fight this natural urge, since I want diversity and variety in my paper doll world.
Every 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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. 🙂
I confess the colors here were heavily influenced by the colors in the portraits that I used as inspiration. (Full list of those can be found in last week’s post.) That meant there was a lot of black. I confess that somehow Tudor clothing looks best to me in rich, vivid shades of red, gold and black, so I settled on that color scheme.
Most of the ways we think of history are influenced by our perceptions of the past, rather than the reality of the past. It’s easy to imagine the Victorian era entirely in sepia, because that is what we have available. I have been watching an excellent documentary by the BCC entitled Monarchy on Nexflix over the lat few days. It’s been fascinating, if at times a little confusing when I lose track of which Edward is which. Never the less, we’ve just gotten to Henry the 8th and I smiled when I saw the gowns of this era.
Over the years that I have been drawing paper dolls, few eras have seen has intimidating as Tudor. I’m very pleased that I was able to tackle this period. My next major research project will be preparing for my Viking paper doll set for B&B. I just received from Interlibrary Loan on Friday the book Woven Into the Earth about textiles from Norse Greenland. So, I’ll be curling on this week with that on my couch trying to make sense of Viking attire.
Once I’m done with Vikings (which will be a few weeks, I am waiting a on a few more books), I’ll need a new period to research. For this purpose, I have put together a poll. These are all eras that I have either never really studied or generally think I don’t like. I want to force myself to do things which I wouldn’t normally be drawn too.
What historical period should I research next? (And therefore make a paper doll of...)
Let me be clear here… this is not just a paper doll of the 1500s. Rather, my Margot paper doll is is showing off English Tudor dress from the mid-1500s, specifically Henrician gowns. This is an important distinction, because by the 1500s dress was highly regionalized, especially for people of wealth and status. My paper dolls nearly always have both wealth and status. (Mostly, because rich important people tend to get way cooler looking clothes.)
Both of Margot’s gowns are Henrician gowns, which are specifically gowns worn during the reign of Henry the 8th. She’s also got two french hoods (headdress A & C), one gable (or English) hood (headdress B), one pair of shoes and one set of underwear.
Please note that the underwear may not fit underneath the two gowns. I didn’t want to omit the smock from the underwear and smocks had really full sleeves that got crushed under the gowns and then were displayed through slits in the false sleeves and well… I didn’t want to deal with all that layering.
Moral of the story: She has under things. The underthings might not actually fit under things.
I should add that I knew very little about Tudor dress when I started researching this paper doll set and I am not about to claim that I have magically become an expert. I did my best to create an fairly accurate rendition of a noble woman’s garments of the 1540s through 1550s considering the restrictions of Margot’s pose.
As always, it is very important to me to be clear about what I studied at prior to drawing this paper doll set. Tudor clothing has always been very intimidating to me, but I wanted to challenge myself. A big part of my historical paper doll set goal is drawing things which “scare me”. Tudor dresses were one of those things.
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction. London: Macmillan, 1983.
Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes through History, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996.
Mikhaila, Ninya, and Jane Malcolm-Davies. The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th-century Dress. Hollywood, CA: Costume and Fashion, 2006.
Norris, Herbert. Tudor Costume and Fashion. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997. (Note: Norris’ book has some problems, since it was wirrten in 1927, but it’s useful as an accompaniment for other things.)
Reynolds, Anna. In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2013.
There is a fairly large community of people who reconstruct Tudor clothing. I am always dubious of such sites, as they often lack citation (and y’all know that drives me nuts), but they can be excellent sources to corroborate primary and academic secondary documentation. As always with internet research, Caveat emptor.
Tudor Tailor is the website of the people who wrote the excellent book “Tudor Tailor.” Though I think the book is more useful than the website, it would be remiss of me not to mention that it does exist. (Accessed: March 2015)
There are, of course, other sources of Tudor clothing and I am sure I missed some. I don’t think this will be my last trip to the 1500s. I really want to do a more “merchant class” tudor paper doll as well.
One of the things I really love to do is hold drawings where the winner gets a custom paper doll. Part of the fun of these contests is that I never know what people are going to ask for and sometimes I am really surprised.
As always when I create one of these paper doll print outs, a part of me is very nervous. I always worry that I am not going to “get it right” for the person who asked for the paper doll set.
Morgan asked “For the clothes something comfy but still sort of dressy, tomboyish but still girly, if that makes any sense. For the hair color and style, curly long orangish red hair, blue eyes, and freckles. But if possible I would love to have the color theme be turquoise.” And she was kind enough to send me some great reference images.
As I usually do with drawing winners, I wanted to post both of these sets at once, as I don’t think it is nice to make my winners wait when they have been so kind to wait a few weeks anyway.
Color scheme wise, I was asked for turquoise which is one of my favorite colors (well, teal really). Beyond being really hard to spell, it’s also a color with lots of variation. Since it can be a fairly green color or a fairly blue color, I wanted to use several shades. Now, I tend to stay away from monochromatic schemes, so I also used a bright yellow and a bright green as accent colors.
Anyway, I hope you like your paper doll set Morgan and if the color scheme isn’t quite what you imagined, let me know. I can recolor her. I always worry about color schemes. Meanwhile, to my other winner, I promise your paper doll will be up in a few weeks.
By the way, I think this is the first contemporary paper doll I’ve ever done with just pants and no skirts or dresses. I haven’t been through all the archives to confirm that, but I think it’s true.
I’ve been pretty sick this weekend, and I wasn’t sure I was going to get this up, but I’m on antibiotics now and am writing this between naps.
(When I’m sick, I nap a lot.)
I always say that I don’t do a lot of blond paper dolls, but I think I might do more than I realize. I do have a deep love of red hair. Anyway, I’ve done maybe thirty blond paper dolls over the years and a lot of those were because of multiple colored hair like on my Delaney paper doll or Spikes and Pleats paper doll set. Anyway, the girl who asked for this paper doll is blond, so I decided a blond paper doll made the most sense.
An random interesting fact- The the white and red uniform is actually based on a photo of what the majorettes at the university I work for wore in the 1960s. We no longer have majorettes. I thought about doing the uniforms of some of the other area university majorettes, but a lot of the costumes were bit too skimpy or involved a lot of illusion netting. Because I want the paper doll outfits to be interchangeable among the various paper dolls regardless of skin tone, I tend to steer clear of putting skintone on the outfit pieces…. except shoes, where I can’t seem to avoid it.
As I mentioned earlier, I am sick, so I don’t know if I’ll get much posted this week. I have some stuff ready, but nothing pre-scheduled.