Just in case last Friday’s sheet ghost wasn’t your idea of a best Halloween paper doll ever. I wanted to create something else. So, here we have a bit more Gothic fashion take on the holiday. The only thing that really makes these “Halloween” is the color scheme, so you could recolor the black and white version if you wanted a more traditional Gothic fashion version.
I have been trying to do a paper doll for most holidays with the Dames and Dandies series, because I have such fond memories of my Grandmother sending me paper doll holiday cards when I was a child.
I have a Thanksgiving version planned and I want to do something for Veteran’s Day. I’ve never done a paper doll for that holiday before, but I think a World War 2 ladies uniform would be super fun to draw. (Or a World War I ambulance uniform, those intrigue me too.)
So, anyway, the A pose paper dolls here are are getting corsets and long skirts for their Halloween attire.
What are people dressing up as? I confess I’ve never been a big Halloween person. I do like handing out candy, but ever since I moved into an apartment I don’t seem to ever get tricker-treaters.
It makes me kinda sad.
Anyway, it’s probably best I don’t have a big bag of candy in my house anyway. I would end up eating more of it than the kids, I suspect.
If you need a way to pass the time waiting for young ghouls or goblins, why not color or cut out Halloween paper dolls? It keeps up manual dexterity and is a lot of fun. You can see all the blog’s Halloween paper dolls in that tag.
All fashion styles (main-steam and not) go through evolution. The goth fashion of my teenage years is not the goth fashion of today. Sure, there is some similarities- lots of black, references to death, and corsets. However, like all fashion, it has trends like anything else. When I was younger, goth fashion was a lot of long flared skirts, corsets, crop tops to show off belly-button rings and boot-cut vinyl pants.
Today’s goth fashion (as far as I have observed) is a lot more leggings, tunic tops and large picture hats.
So, I wanted to capture that when I was designing today’s set of goth paper doll clothing. The first challenge was the leggings. A lot of Gothic style leggings are heavily patterned. I chose skulls (something I’m not great at drawing) and roses to go on mine with a background of polka-dots. Conceptually, I wanted the shoes to feel a bit Victorian boot like, but I’m not sure I succeeded in that. I think I should have made them more chunky.
The blouse is based on several I saw online, primarily this one. The hat comes from images like this and this. I wanted it to be clear that the corset belt it part of the blouse, not a separate piece, but I’m not sure I succeeded. Frankly, this whole set is one that I feel like I could have done better on.
The red shirt with the coffin was really my attempt at a gothic t-shirt that wasn’t a band reference, a pentagram (I have several pagan friends and I try not to depict religious symbols in my art that aren’t my own) or a sarcastic saying. Lettering is challenging at the scale I tend to work at.
I made the shirt red, so I could make the coffin black. Otherwise, you can’t really tell it is a coffin.
And on the coffin is a wee little skull.
So, that’s how I ended up with today’s goth paper doll fashions.
All right, so how did I do with my goth fashion attempt? Are there any goth fashion affection-adios out there who can tell me if I am totally off the mark? Let me know in a comment.
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I’ve always had a place in my heart for gothic fashion. Perhaps, because I grew up in the late 1990s gothic fashion revival. Or just because I really like all things Momento Mori and always have.
When I am working on coloring gothic fashions, I do worry all the shades of dark grey I used to make things look black can end up obscuring some of the details. That’s why I’ve put the black and white version in front of the colored version this time, so you can really see the ruffles and a pleats.
I chose black, because black is the most common gothic color. I accented it in lavender, because in Victorian mourning traditions, lavender (or mauve) was considered half-mourning. In case you’re wondering, the complexity of mourning dress half myth and half real. There’s tons of references to it in fashion magazines and etiquette manuals, but how closely it was actually observed is hard to say.
Anyway, the purse is a bit of a reference to Momento Mori art (which I love) and also a bit retro. I suppose it’s a nod to retro rockabilly sensibilities. The shoes, blouse and skirt all owe a lot to the Victorians, though no Victorian would wear such a low cut garment during the day.
In case you are wondering- “Hey, where is your collab paper doll?” Well, life got busy and I lost track of time, so my contribution will be up Monday. But you can check out Julie’s and Missy’s contributions in the meantime.
Today’s Printable Paper Doll Inspirations: Gothic Fashions
Sometimes, I create paper doll clothing set and then I forget about them. This happens to me with disturbing regularity. So, I could have sworn that I posted these gothic paper doll Sprites outfits back in November of 2016. As it turns out, I had them totally done, but didn’t get them formatted or saved as PDFs.
So, clearly my memory was deeply flawed. Here they are in today all their gothic paper doll fashion glory. Better late than never.
When I dabble in gothic fashion, I try to create things that are interesting and not all black. Black is a challenging color for printable paper dolls, because printers have varying sensitivities to it. So, sometimes the tones are too dark and other times they are too light. I try to find a compromise by using several different shades of black in the same outfit which keeps the outfit from feeling flat.
This is a trick I use with pretty much all my paper doll clothing, but in black pieces it is particularly important
The other big challenge of the Sprites printable paper dolls is the fact that they exist in pairs. Every lady printable paper doll outfit is accompanied by a gentlemen’s printable paper doll outfit. This symmetry is both part of the fun and part of the frustration.
This is the last Sprites printable paper doll set from my stash. So, I have to get working on finishing some things in progress for March. The problem with a strong backlog is that it lulls me into a false sense of confidence.
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My best-friend in highschool and middle-school was a curvy girl with a goth and punk style. Now, this might not seem like an odd thing to be today, but in Juneau, Alaska, in the early 2000s, this was practically unheard of. In the early days of internet commerce, buying a corset in Alaska required a willingness to shop online when the online options were limited to Amazon and a few catalog retailers. So, when I sat down to draw today’s curvy goth paper doll, I knew I wanted to celebrate my old friend and her willingness to break the mold.
Despite my interest in alt-fashion, I have never really wanted to wear it in public, but I respect people whose style choices are much more adventurous than mine.
Not that it is hard to be more adventurous than the girl who wears white shirts and cardigans to work nearly every day.
Anyway, when I work on designing something for a fashion genre, I try very hard to be as authentic as possible. Of course, as an outsider to any cultural group, it is nearly impossible to capture all the nuances, but I wanted for my goth paper doll to have a nice range to mix and match pieces which could also share with other paper dolls. After all, maybe she’ll want to wear a sundress or some thigh high platform boots one day.
Color schemes for anything goth is going to be a lot of black (obviously) and I didn’t want to try to really break the mold here, so I stuck with my old friends favorite colors- black, red, and purple. Lavender was a Victorian color of mourning, so that seemed appropriate. Though the Victorians took their mourning culture way seriously.
While my natural tendency is to avoid patterns, I wanted at least one patterned piece in the bunch and a corset seemed like an obvious choice. The skull and roses pattern is mirrored in her purse and the limited color palette means I think it can go with either skirt.
I have always loved patent leather, so the boots were an obvious place to make some shiny-texture. I am out of practice with that technique though and it took three or four tries to get it right. I’m still not in love with the outcome, but I’ll live.
Looking for more goth paper dolls? I have a whole tag for gothic fashion, though looking through it, I confess I thought I had more gothic paper dolls.
Hmmm…. Maybe I need to draw some more, because there’s not a lot there.
Should I draw more Gothic Fashion paper dolls?
Yes, I really like that style. (77%, 37 Votes)
No, I'm not that into Gothic. (17%, 8 Votes)
Actually, I'd rather see something that I'll tell you in a comment. (6%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 48
As always, I always love to hear that you think of the paper doll!
I had a lot of different ideas about how to colors last week’s paper doll. I thought about a traditional princess scheme which would, of course, involve a great deal of pink. I also thought about something in pale blues and teals.
In the end though, I wanted to try to color these dresses as more of a “dark princess” look for the printable paper doll. Therefore I went with black and lavender, traditional mourning colors, so she’s a bit gothic. I accented the dresses with a set of white roses and a set of red roses. Most of my color schemes are a bit more diverse in their color selection. For this one, I stuck with a narrow selection of shades intended to keep things fairly simple.
I confess that coloring these gowns was quite fast thanks to the large swatches of one color.
I gave our princess black finger nails and black toenails to emphasis the slightly “gothic” feel of the princesses gowns. The gothic elements are also apparent in her bleached hair. This is not my typical princess, at least not the typical princess I keep in my head.
So, confession time: I’m totally excited at the prospect of getting to sit at home tonight and possibly give candy to trick or treaters. I don’t know if there will be any, but I’m hopeful there might be. I have a small bag of candy at the ready. I know I won’t get very many, but I do love tricker treaters.
Little kids are so cute dressed up in costume and I have fond memories of my own tricker treating days.
To go along with the holiday spirit, we have a possitively fablous, if somewhat skanky, vampiress paper doll. She’s got her black dress, her miniskirt and her corsets. All very 1980s gothic.
There’s something very sexual about vampires. I could get into the sexual imagery rampant in Dracula or Carmilla, but I never got a graduate degree in English for a good reason and it had a lot to do with having low patience for analyzing literature, but I digress.
In 2010, Marisole got to be a vampire with a questionable hairstyle. My only other foray into the world of the undead was a zombie paper doll which I drew as a joke after abandoning the blog for a while. I still feel bad when I leave the blog, but I don’t usually draw zombie apology paper dolls.
By the way, if you want your vampire paper doll to wear something a little more… lady like, shall we say… than remember she can share the clothes of all the other Pixie paper dolls or find a victim friend among the Pucks. Unless we take a page out of Carmilla, and then she’ll be getting her victim from the Pixies.
In the meantime, enjoy the paper doll and have a wonderful Halloween. 🙂
I feel a little weird saying this is in color when the color is mostly black…
Not the most cheerful color scheme ever developed for a paper doll. I almost made it all black, but that seemed a bit much, even for Gothic Marisole. If you look closely, you’ll see one of my usual tricks for keeping things from looking totally “flat” is to use shades of the same color. So while everything is “black” there is still some definition between the various parts of the garments. I actually did this Marisole in four shades of very very dark grey which look black, but still allow the line work to be seen.
So, Meredith asked: I think a ballerina paper doll would be cool or mabey a pool / summer themed doll also for some ting tiffrent you could do dolls theamed ot colors of the rainbow
how long have you been drawing paper dolls for?
could you do a cow girl paper doll that would be cool and diffrent
To answer the easiest question, I have been drawing paper dolls for as long as I can really remember. It began when my mother would draw me a doll as a bribe for cleaning my room or other activity and then I had to draw the clothing. Eventually, that evolved into drawing my own paper dolls, though I still prefer clothing to the dolls.
As for your requests, I have added them to my list of ideas. I usually keep a running list of ideas, but since most paper dolls are drawn weeks (sometimes months) before they eventually get posted, I can’t promise anything as far as doing any of those ideas. And I probably won’t to the ballerina, because tutu’s scare me.
To answer a related question, Tawny asked: What is your favorite sort of paper doll to draw? I mean… I think eeery thing you do is great, but what do you like to do the most?
I like drawing everything. I do find I tend to return to certain themes a lot. I like things that are a little alt-fashion inspired and a little fantasy inspired. I often draw from fashion magazines, because it makes deciding what to draw simpler. I always fear that I will fall into a rut and draw the same thing over and over again. I try to keep things interesting using reference images and other materials.
Got a question you want me to answer on the blog?Ask me here.
There are paper doll sets that go together all smooth and easy and I’m like, wow… this was so simple. And then… then there are sets like this one. It took me four tries to get everything to fit on one page and when it finally came together properly, I found myself thinking- “Why was this so easy? It as hard the last three times I tried it…”
On the upside, I have here, in honor of Halloween and October and things, a traditional Gothic paper doll. When I was in high school, a longer time ago than I like to admit, the big trends were Gothic and Punk, now both seem to have given way to Steampunk and various forms of Gothic Lolita sort of styles.
And yes, I am using capitalization in the proceeding paragraph for emphasis, because I Like doing that.
Clearly spending a Sunday afternoon trying to get little paper pieces of clothing to fit on a page puts me in a grouchy feisty mood… so I shall go away now and work on the rest of this weeks posts.
I don’t think its too much of a spoiler to say that the color version will feature a lot of black. She is Gothic after all.
So, I went out to the movies tonight and saw “Snow White and the Huntsman” with some friends. I concluded that the Twilight Chick (whose name I had to look up on IMBD) can’t act, that I rather liked Charlize Theron when she’s evil and that the movie was better than Mirror Mirror, but I’ll take the Disney version over either any day. The costumes were pretty beautiful, especially the Evil Queens, but there’s apart where Snow White rides into battle not wearing a helmet- apparently being a princess means you’re immune to concussive head injuries.
So, before I crawl into bed, I should answer a question.
Monica asked: Do you prefer online paper doll research, or real book research? Internet or Library? =]
Well, that’s a kinda complicated question. The answer is: It depends on what I am researching and why.
If I want inspiration for a modern or a fantasy set, than I usually stick to the internet. I use it for looking at clothing websites or checking out the latest designer shows a Style.com. It’s really useful.
If I want historical costume, I usually go to books. I own about a dozen different costume books in my own collection, plus I regularly have at least a dozen checked out from the library. The exception to this are the websites of museums and libraries, which often contain digitized primary source documents or photos of items in their collections. Books are great for context. The internet is great for pictures. Some of my favorite internet resources are linked on my Research Resources page which I just finished updating, though I have some more to add later.
The truth is that I don’t really like staring at a computer while trying to draw and I would much rather have a book open in front of me than a computer screen. Though I usually draw from drafted tumbnails, so even with fantasy costumes, I rarely have a computer open when I am actually drawing.