Marisole Monday: Pirate Vs. Ninja- Pirate Edition

Sometimes people make the mistake of asking what my favorite novel. This is a really hard question to answer. Usually, I fall back on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I read it as a child and return to it every few years. Each time, I am struck by the detail, the care and the complexity. It is a story full of questions of honor, betrayal, revenge and greed. Its villain is compassionate and compelling. Its hero’s are honorable, but hard. It’s a fascinating story. I recommend it to any adult or child who likes adventure tales. Really, I recommend it to anyone ever.

Also, there are pirates. And who doesn’t like pirates? Plus buried treasure and madmen and betrayal and fight scenes.

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These paper doll pieces are more fantasy then reality, but that is the fun of paper dolls after all. I mean, it’s not like I actually bothered doing any real research in this case. I just had some fun with the fantasy. I mean, have you seen the Ninja side of this set? It’s not like I’ve even tried to be vaguely historically accurate.

I’ve been thinking about completely re-formating the site a lot lately… but then sanity prevails and I realize I don’t really have time. Still, I think I would like to convert it back to a more basic blog format, but then I’m worried I’d lose some of the features I like of this format… So, thoughts are ongoing. I could hand-code it, but it would take so much time and lots of trial and error. I shall have to think about my options a bit more before I decide, I think.

So, as some of you know I had a drawing last Monday and I said I would select a winner this Monday. In the end, I had 8 entries. So I just rolled an 8 sided dice, left over from other geeky hobbies I do, and came up with the number 3. That makes Monica the winner of my little drawing. Monica, please email me (paperthinpersonas (at) gmail (dot) com) with what sort of paper doll you would like. 🙂

Also, come back tomorrow and there will be something fun. I promise.

Pixie & Puck: Delia

I wanted to do a set based on winter clothing, but I liked the idea of playing with color. Rather then doing the traditional color scheme, I wanted to do something in pastels and spring colors.

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It’s slowly becoming spring here in the mid-west. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the idea of seasonal change happening so rapidly. It seems like only a few days ago I needed my hat, gloves and boots to go out and now I can wander around in jeans and a sweater. It’s nice to be coat free, but I always liked the winter, so I shall miss it.

And since it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, I doubt I will miss it for long. 🙂

Dark & Steamy: Gothic Steampunk Printable Paper Doll

Today’s paper doll is a little gothic and a little steampunk. That’s okay right? It’s not like mixing oil and water or something.

Erin, who won my little Trivia contest from last Monday, wrote me the following description of what she wanted for her custom Marisole paper doll.

I know that I want my doll to be very pale with brown hair… As for style of clothes and what not, I know that I love Victorian and Steampunk style. Belts, buckles, zippers, lace, keys, and corsets. That kind of stuff. I have included a few links as inspiration I guess, but feel free to disregard them. I dislike the color yellow, LOVE red, black and purple, but other than that… I’m not overly picky.

I asked for a little clarification on shades of brown (she said red brown) and exactly what sort of colors for metals she liked and then set to work. Like a deadline, it was oddly liberating to be paper dolling based on someone else’s guidelines. I’ve done other steampunk sets, but this one quickly got a gothic steampunk paper doll flare- I think the color scheme is what pushed it into gothic territory for me. I’ll always think of those as a gothic colors. I do hope she’s pale enough, because outside of doing another vampire paper doll, I couldn’t imagine going paler than this color. I think it reads as “pale” rather than reading as “corpus.”

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Since one of my favorite features of Victorian dresses was the fact that women got to wear all sorts of different clothing for different activities, I decided to treat the paper doll as though she was an actual Victorian lady- all be it in an alternative steampunk universe- in need of costumes for the range of standard Victorian lady activities.

Here we go.

The Morning Dress: Morning dresses were always more casual then other costumes. Erin sent me a reference link to this beautiful costume. I loved the colors and the drape. To make it a little more Victorian feeling, I added sleeves. Though technically a morning dress would never be worn outside the house, I added a hat since the reference costume featured one. Also, I like hats.

The Walking Costume: The other set of reference images I got was for a beautiful 1880’s reproduction bustled suit and I confess the early 1880’s when skirts were tight, before the huge bustle emerged is one of my favorite times in Victorian fashion. I made the suit purple (to match the purple/red color scheme), created a totally non-period hat and added some accents in silver and brass.

The Afternoon Dress: Mostly an excuse to draw a wild leather corset (well, I imagine its in leather, I suppose technically it could be any fabric you like), the afternoon dress was inspired by the corsets of 1910. The net/lace overlay was my attempt at lace, though I have mixed feelings about how it turned out. Afternoon dresses were also often visiting costumes, so she had to have a hat.

The Ball Gown: No costume set could be complete with out a ballgown and as I love drawing corsets, no ballgown couldn’t not have a corset top. The far left costume of this fashiion plate inspired the oddly bondage-esque skirt. I got a little carried away with my lock and key motif I think, but I had fun doing it.

As regular readers know, I’m a wee bit obsessed with Victorian inspired costumes. I’ve done two other steampunk/neo-Victorian Marisole paper dolls. There was the slightly candy like one (a lesson in how colors don’t look so bright before I process the images for Web and then seem to get brighter) and a more traditional color scheme.

I will probably do another trivia contest thing next week. So, keep your eyes open for that.

Curves: Gothic Goddess

Hmmm… I just realized I misdated this paper doll… opps. I’ll fix it later. 🙂

I love how the hoop set looks under her skirt, I think they look like bones. Originally I was going to draw the costume on the left for Marisole and I spent a lot of time sketching it and re-sketching it and it never looked right. I’m glad I eventually decided to make it for Curves. I think it looks much better.

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There’s something about the heavily shadowed paper dolls that I draw that seems to lend itself to gothic styling. I think it’s the contrast. I first started drawing paper dolls in this heavy shadowed style because I liked the idea of paper dolls in black and white which didn’t need to be colored. I wanted them to stand alone as graphic works without needing the injection of color. I think sometimes they work well and sometimes they don’t.

Also, if I’d done this set for Marisole, it would have been another mostly black set of clothing for her and sometimes I just get sick of that. So, I’m glad Curves got it in the end for a couple of reasons.

Curves: Flowers & Ruffles

I’ve always been interested in and concerned with proportion of printed fabric. I blame it on years of making real life doll clothing. I always am concerned my prints are too big to fit my paper dolls properly. Of course, the size of the dolls and the thinness of my pens limit how detailed I can really be (thank goodness), so I am always somewhat limited.

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Recently, I was pawing through fashion shows on style.com (a wonderful source for contemporary designer fashion) and thinking about what I wanted to draw when I cam across Christian Dior’s spring 2009 collection. They were designed by John Galliano, with 17th century Dutch painters serving as the major inspiration. Some of his formal dresses were some of my favorites.

I fell in love with the huge prints on the dresses. The distorted proportions were fascinating and while I don’t think I want to wear a dress covered in tulips the size of my head, I loved that one existed. So, I decided to draw some dresses with giant floral patterns for Curves. After all, why should the skinny models on the runways get to have all the fun?

Among the other things I did for this paper doll was redesign her underwear. While Curves has an illustrious history of wearing her strapless bra and panties (selected mostly because they can easily layered over), I do love undergarments of all eras and I wanted to draw something which might look like it really could support this absurdity of these skirts. Enjoy.

1930’s: Historical Printable Paper Doll

Curves: 1930s

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I sort of collect historical costume and vintage fashion resources around the web. One of my favorites is The Vintage Patterns Wiki full of pattern covers from the 20th century. From there, I found the wonderful blog What I Found where the author had posted a Simplicity Simplicity Fashion Forecast – 1937 advertising book. It’s wonderful. Curve’s paper doll costumes both come from this lookbook from the era- one smart suit and one summery casual frock. Her shoes are based on illustrations in John Peacock’s book Fashion Accessories.

I’ve been drawing a lot, but not posting a lot which is rare for me. Usually, I’m struggling to keep up with the blog and come up with ideas. Lately, all I’ve been wanting to do is draw and when it comes time to scan or color, I just sort of go, “Meh”. I think it’s because I find drawing relaxing and posting is more like work. Anyway, today’s Curves is going up and on Friday there will be a Florence (one of the last Florence’s I suspect) and starting in November there will be a new Fashion Doll Friday paper doll, of style I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll put it too a vote.

Spring: A Fashion Paper Doll

I drew this paper doll three years ago. I was living with two wonderful roommates in college. It was a wonderful year. It brings back fond memories of my senior year of college. Also, of trying to teach my friend how to cook… or trying. I don’t know how successful I was. I’ve lived by myself for two years now and I find I miss the company.

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Whenever I draw a paper doll that I know is only going to be one page, I find I think carefully about what sorts of clothing she would need. I imagine Spring is a model or at least well enough off to afford beautiful clothing. She has her casual carpi pants, her afternoon dress for lunches or other more formal events and then her long evening gown for when she needs to go to some sort of paper doll black tie event. I like drawing evening gowns, so my paper dolls go to a lot of black tie evening events. My favorite is her evening gown, but what do the rest of you think?

Fashion Doll Friday: Florence’s Walking Costume & Hats

I have realized that most of the “walking” costumes I have drawn for the paper doll up to this point are more of promenade costumes and less walking costumes- like the spring walking costume or the winter walking costume.Florence's 1870's walking suit. Florence is a Victorian paper doll with a large trousseau.

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The difference seems somewhat minor, but a matter of formality. Promenade costumes were to see and be seen in, walking costumes were for walking. I imagine the paper doll wearing this costume to go to do her shopping and today she has gone to the milliner to get her new hats.

Hats aren’t worn much anymore, unless you’re the Queen of England (whose hats I totally adore) or going to the races, hats mostly function as useful things for keeping heads warm and not much else. I’m not necessarily advocating the return to hats, but hats were crucial for any well dressed lady in the 1870’s. Fashion magazines, along with dresses, offered detailed advice on fashionable hats and hat styles- colors, feathers, ribbons and flowers to be worn by ladies of all ranks and ages. Hair styles and hats are tightly connected and often changed together.

Here is Florence, just in case you missed the first post in this series and need a doll to go with these paper clothes.

Marisole Monday: Empire Elegance

I love regency costume, though not as much as my Mother loves it. I find it simple and elegant and a little romantic, but it can get boring to draw after a while. I try to learn new things about the era each time I draw it- like I learned elastic actually existed (who knew?) and was being used for garters.

Never would have thought of that.

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Days seem slip away quicker than I can blink and suddenly I am realizing time has passed. I suppose that’s the danger of having many commitments on my time- I’m always stretched thinner then I thought I would be. Working while going to school is incredibly forefilling and incredibly challenging. I love my program. I love my job, but my time is a premium. Fortunately, I paper doll to relax, so as long as I know what I am going to do, I can sit down on my couch with my clip board in my lap and draw away when I get home from work. Sure my dishes get neglected, but who needs dishes?

I’m still playing around with skin tones for Marisole, eventually I’ll get a set of them that I like on multiple computers.

Jessica: City Girl The Sequel

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As sometimes happens, I can’t think of anything to really say about this paper doll. It’s the second page of the Jessica set and there will be one more. I’m fond of the teal dress, because I still like the bodice. Many of the pieces came directly from fashion magazines- the blue dress is one case- but some don’t and I think over all that weakens the paper doll. I wish I’d done either everything high fashion or kept it all more casual.