Country Lolita inspired Paper Doll Clothes

logo-country-lolita-colorThere’s something about Lolita style clothes that I find appealing. I think part of it is that I love the Victorian inspired details of the outfits, but I also think it’s fascinating to see how a non-Western culture like Japan interprets Western European and American Victorian children’s clothing into something for adults.

There is a tendency when we talk about cultural adaptations to speak strictly of Western nations adapting Asian clothing and there’s a lot of great research on that topic, but non-Western countries are also adapting Western dress and transforming the meaning into something entirely different for their cultural needs. I find this back and forth to be one of the more interesting aspects of cultural contact.

To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, the act of observation doesn’t just change the object being observed, it also can change the observer. (Soul Music I think… but maybe Reaper Man… Can’t recall which at the moment.)

Plus, you know, pretty clothes.

So, Lolita, like any good alt-fashion scene, has many sub-genres that are confusing to me, as an outsider. Never the less, I did some research and wanted to so something in the County Lolita sub-genre. If regular Lolita is all about puffy skirts and ruffles, Country Lolita seems to be all about puffy skirts and gingham. Here’s a blog devoted to the style called, Country Lolita and here’s a post about Country Lolita from F Yeah Lolita, a great Lolita blog. (There is not gingham here… I can’t draw it to save my life.)

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I wanted to play with the style, but I wouldn’t say my interpretation is strictly accurate. It’s more about seeing what happens when I try something new and the excuse to draw some giant cherries.

Honestly, I think I had mixed success. The yellow skirt has a better shape than the blue skirt. Both the cherry and the apple pattern came out cute and feel bright and country to me, but border prints are super popular it sems and . I wish I had gone with a darker blue to balance out of the pale yellow, but I’m not sure about that. When I look at it, sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. I settled on knee socks rater then tights, because I thought they would fit better on the page. I do want to know how you all think I did, so there’s a poll…

How did I do on my Country Lolita?

  • I have no idea what Country Lolita looks like... (58%, 21 Votes)
  • Nailed it! (33%, 12 Votes)
  • Not so much... Should have used gingham (8%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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By the way, there is a doll to go with this set. She’ll be up sometime next week.

Garden Ballgowns: A Paper Doll and Her Dresses to Print

garden-ballgowns-color-logoAs I explained with the black and white version of today’s paper doll set, both of these paper doll dresses are based on Wa lolita and Qi lolita fashions. I really find fusions of different cultures fashions fascinating, plus sometimes drawing absurd dresses make me happy and Mia doesn’t get as much love as I think she should.

When I draw in black and white, I sometimes dread coloring, especially when the coloring means hyper detailed patterns like those in today’s paper doll dresses. I’ve been doing more playing with color and pattern lately. I like patterns, but they are a lot of work. Even though I usually just draw one motif and use Photoshop to manipulate it on each dress. The size of these pattern motifs made their placement on the dresses important. Though I wanted it to feel organic, I also wanted the detail of the complex patterns to shine through.

No point in drawing complex things if no one can appreciate them, after all. In my mind, that’s like sewing a fantastic wardrobe for an ugly doll… why bother?

An Asian paper doll and her two fantasy ball gowns, three wigs and two pairs of shoes. Inspired by Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita fashions.

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I based the color scheme on this kimono which I found online. Every time I reference kimono, I am reminded of the fantastic posts on Liana’s Paper Doll Blog about Japanese dress. She’s far more an expert of this topic than I.

Personally, I thought it was very a beautiful kimono and I really liked the color combination. What looks black isn’t actually black, it is a very dark purple-red color. I used the same color for her hair. I like doing that, because I think a color scheme should be about making a harmonious set.

Every set should be a complete work, rather than just a collection of clothing pieces and should be able to stand alone, even if it is part of a larger collection of paper dolls. That’s part of my paper doll philosophy. Is it okay to have one of those? Because I totally do.

Garden Ballgowns: A Paper Doll With Wa and Qi Lolita Inspired Dresses

garden-ballgown-logoToday, we have a pair of paper doll ballgowns which were heavily influenced by wa lolita and qi lolita dresses. I showed off the rough sketches last Monday. Wa lolita and qi Lolita are substyles of the Japanese street style Lolita. F Yeah Lolita (a blog I have come to rather enjoy reading) discusses lolita in detail, but I actually think the wikipedia article is nice for people who know nothing about it.

Anyway, both Wa Lolita (influenced by Japanese traditional dress) and Qi Lolita (influenced by Chinese traditional dress) are styles I think are fascinating, because cultural fusion always interests me. However, I try to be careful about how I borrow from cultures which are not my own, because I am very aware of the problematic and complicated issues of cultural appropriation which underlie children’s toys and visual representations of culture. I could ramble on about that topic until… well, for a every long time… but I figure most people are really here for the printable paper dolls, so I’ll restrain myself.

A paper doll coloring page and her two fantasy ballgowns, three wigs and two pairs of shoes. Inspired by Wa and Qi Lolita dresses.

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A few of my ideas came from this dress by FanplusFreind and this dress, also by FanplusFriend. I first discovered qi lolita through this dress which is actually a doll’s dress. The shoes are just sort of random inventions, though the ones on the right with the stockings were influenced by rocking horse shoes which are pretty cool (though maybe hard to walk in… I don’t know, I’ve never worn them.)

I can’t wait to share these in color next week, though I openly confess the pattern on the left dress is giving me fits. Every-time I do a complicated pattern, I swear I will never do it again and then… well… I do it again. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

Oh, and before I forget, the fast of Ramadan officially ends this evening I think, so Happy Eid al-Fitr to any of my readers who are Muslim. I don’t know much about Ramadan, but the mosque by my apartment has been busier than usual this month.

Margot in Wonderland… Full Color Paper Doll to Print

logo-aliceI spent a chunk of my weekend coloring my Margot in Wonderland paper doll from last week. Today, Margot gets to be a blond and has, of course, a wardrobe of Alice inspired paper clothing pieces. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been inspired by Alice many times before and drawn her many times over the years.

After some time I decided to go with a jewel tone color scheme that was a bit bright. I wanted to capture the richness of color that could be captured with color lithography from the 19th century. I was also heavily inspired by this Lolita outfit. I really loved the rich colors since they are not the pastels or black that I normally associate with Lolita fashion.

As I mentioned with my Turn of the Century Pixie Paper Doll, I often collect ideas on my Pinterest boards, so you can check out the Lolita board I keep to see where some of these outfit pieces came from. Nothing was directly taken, but I find ideas and inspiration makes drawing paper dolls faster and easier than it would be without them.

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The top hat’s floating tab is meant to be attached using the same method as I outlined in my instructions for attaching wigs and hats to paper dolls. This is one of my favorite methods of doing wig and hat attachment for the paper dolls I design and so I use it often.

By the way, yesterday I put up a new Featured Paper Doll Artist interview with Irma of Pabernukublogi. Check it out when you have a chance. 🙂

An Alice in Wonderland Paper Doll Coloring Page

logo-alice-bwI have been traveling a lot over the last three months. One trip every month which has made for scattered time for myself. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I normally work from a long backlog and that having a backlog of paper dolls allows me to plan my life.

Well… I’m out of backlog, so the fact that today’s Alice in Wonderland paper doll happened was a shock to me. I did not think I would get her done, but I am pleased that I did.

Alice in Wonderland themed paper doll sets are something I have drawn before. I think in total I have done three paper dolls that I’ve posted.

Today’s Alice in Wonderland paper doll uses Margot, whose been a bit neglected. Her costumes owe a lot to both Neo-Victorian and Lolita styles, which could be construed to be the same thing… but that’s a whole different discussion.

An Alice in Wonderland inspired paper doll set with 23 mix and match pieces. Free to print and color from Paperthinpersonas.com
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I had an awful lot of fun putting together the rabbit pattern and the card pattern for the two skirts. I attempted to draw a more realistic top hat than I have in the past, but I’m not pleased with it. There’s something off about the perspective, I think. However, I shall eventually get over my problems with hats. I just have to keep trying, so expect to see more hats and more me complaining about hats.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are books I love, but that I don’t think have aged very well in many ways. The general lack of agency for Alice, not to mention the fact that most of the jokes don’t really resonate with modern life (how many of us had to recite in school? I mean… really?), means that when most of us think of Alice, we think of iconic characters and symbols without actually remembering the story. The Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, or Dweedle-Dee and Dweedle-Dum are all so familiar it hardly matters that the Mad Hatter is a reference to the mercury poisoning common to men in that profession during the Victorian era.

This is either a testament to the power of the original, or a comment on how pop-culture makes things into what they need them to be at any given time and place.

Vivid Victoriana Printable Steampunk Paper Doll in Color

logo-vivid-victoriana-marisole-monday-steampunk-paper-dollSomething about the fall makes me introspective. Maybe it’s the grey days or the excuse to pull out my favorite tweed trousers again or the fact that I can feel the end of the year looming, but even here in Alabama where it’s hardly cool enough to feel like fall- I can see the leaves changing colors and I know that fall has arrived.

Fall introspection takes different forms for different people, but for me it usually focuses on the blog. It’s a little terrifying to think the blog might be turning four in January. If it was a child, it would be in pre-school.

Meanwhile… here’s a new printable paper doll. And who doesn’t want that?

Last week, we got to see today’s paper doll in black and white and here she is now in color. I wanted to go with a shabby chic color scheme and a break from the usual “Steampunk=Brown” mentality. As I always say when I post a paper doll like this, I’m not really sure how one decides if something is steampunk. Never the less, I’m very pleased with how she came out. She’s a Margot paper doll, because I thought Margot needed some love.

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Thoughts on where the blog is? Where the blog is going? How it should get there? Please let me know. I know I don’t always respond to comments as quickly as I would like, but I do read every one and I love getting them.

Vivid Victoriana Steampunk Printable Paper Doll

logo-vivid-victoriana-marisole-monday-steampunk-paper-doll-bwWell… I can say what this isn’t pretty quickly. This isn’t a Halloween printable paper doll. I wanted it to be, but sometimes life doesn’t cooperate.

Instead of a Halloween printable paper doll and her clothes, we’ve got a steampunk inspired neo-victorian Margot paper doll and her clothes. I think the paper doll is just as nice as something more themeatic, but it always seems to me like I should try to follow the seasons on the blog, even though I rarely succeed.

This year nothing really Halloween oriented has happened on the blog. I do hope to get a vampire Pixie paper doll I drew an embarrassingly long time ago finally finished and posted, but the truth is that September was such an insane month for me (wedding & flooded apartment) that I didn’t get any of my Halloween plans finished.

However, if you want a Halloween Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll, I have done several.. I did a vampire one year, a Gothic Mia paper doll, and then a Marisole with costumes. Last year, I teamed up with Liana, Toria and Boots and we created a collaborative paper doll and clothes.

That paper doll collaboration was so much fun that I keep telling myself I’ll get up the energy to organize another one. I just haven’t seemed to have the time. Hmm… this post got a bit more whiny than it started. I do apologize.

Still… part of me is kicking myself for not finishing the flower fairy paper doll I was working on. I’ve had a lot of requests for that and I wanted to have it done for Halloween.


vivid-victoriana-marisole-monday-steampunk-paper-doll-bw

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And you might have noticed a new format with this post. It’s something I’m trying out, because I was feeling like the posts on the first page of the blog were all getting a little bit too long. I’m not sure I am going to stick with it. As always, I’d love to hear what you think. Speaking of what people think… there’s a new poll in the sidebar.

Snow White and Rose Red: Steampunk Fairytales

Snow-White and Rose-Red (Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot) is a German fairy tale collected by the Brother’s Grimm. It’s not the same as Snow White (Schneewittchen), though a lot of comics and stories do connect the two, like Fables (which is wonderful, by the way, if you like comics).

I know Snow White and Rose Red is not the most well known story, but basically it’s your standard girls meet bear, girls meet evil dwarf, girls cut off evil dwarf’s beard, bear kills dwarf, bear becomes prince sort of affair.

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The moral of the story probably has something to do with being nice to bears and/or dwarfs, but that all seems rather unimportant.

I decided to draw a new Flock doll to go along with Dove for this story, so everyone can meet Swan. Swan, here with blond hair in ringlet curls, is the latest member of the Flock family and the second Asian doll (or at least my attempt at it). I was going to do a fairytale from the Asian continent, but I don’t know much about Asian fairy tales (and even sticking and entire continent’s culture into one block is totally painful to me, but I digress).

Before someone suggests Mulan, I should say that Mulan is not, technically, a fairy tale, but rather it is a legend. Fairy tales, generally, are defined by folklorists as containing magic, mystical creatures and generally not being perceived by the tellers as being true. In other words, no one ever through Rose-Red and Snow-White actually happened.

Legends, generally, at some point in their history, were perceived to be true. King Arthur and the Holy Grail is a legend.

Anyway, enjoy Snow White and Rose Red. I certainly had fun drawing them.

 

Fairytale Flock: Dove & Swan as Rose Red & Snow White Set PDF Downloads
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Swan as Snow White PDF Download Dove as Rose Red PDF Download Snow White & Rose Red Clothing PDF Download

 

Flirty Eyes and Puffy Sleeves

So, first of all, I want to thank everyone whose entered my drawing and asked me a question. The questions have all been really interesting. It’s fascinating to think about what maybe I have or haven’t said on the blog that perhaps I should have said… and if that’s not the most convoluted sentence ever… I don’t know what is.

The drawing is open until next Tuesday and then I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner.

And now…. A few words about the printable paper doll of the day….

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The Shadow and Light paper dolls are drawn in a style I developed in college after complaining that most black and white paper dolls needed to be colored to look good. I wanted to draw some paper dolls that were graphic enough to stand alone without being colored, plus I was reading a lot of comics in those days and had a love of the heavy shadowed style of Frank Miller’s Sin City and Marcelo Frusin, who was drawing the Hellblazer comics at that time with Mike Carey was writing it. I stopped reading comics when I got to graduate school, far to much to do and not enough time to do it in, but I hope to get back to them and at least finish Lucifer which I never did get done with and darn it, I wanna know how it ends.

Okay, I know how it ends, but I still wanna read it…

This particular paper doll has “flirty eyes” which is a term used to describe dolls that look to the side rather than forward. It’s a pretty common term in antique and collectable dolls and “flirty eyed” dolls were particularly popular in the 1900s with Googlies and Lenci dolls.

Pixies Printable Paper Dolls in Black and White

Since my primary concern for the next few weeks is class work, thesis writing and job searching, I thought I would just post some Pixie paper dolls I have already posted in color, but post them in black and white. I felt a little guilty doing it as just one, so there are two this week- Blossom and Masquerade– both are paper dolls which I think would be fun to color as they have some pattern in their clothing and bows.. a lot of bows…

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Plus I have been getting requests for paper dolls in black and white, so I guess I could pretend I was listening to people rather than just doing what I knew I could get done and posted without having to spend too much time on it. Despite the practical concerns of getting something up to, as I like to say, “feed the blog”, I know people like to color and I think its important to give people the chance to do that.

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These are also both paper dolls which I really liked the full color versions of (which you can see here and here), so I hope people also like the black and white versions.