Circus Paper Doll in Black, White, Red, and Pink

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on circuses Last week, the circus came to town in black and white for coloring, but here the paper doll set is in full color. I am really very pleased with how she came out. Sometimes, I know what I am doing with a paper doll set before I start coloring. Other times, I have no idea what I am going do with colors. In this paper doll’s case, I had a pretty clear idea of where I was going to go before I got there.

One thing I noticed as I was collecting images on my Dark Circus Pinterest board was that there was a bunch of red and black. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the red and black, but I knew there was going to be a lot of it.

Creating a red and black paper doll set was kind a boring, so I did not go with a strictly red and black color scheme (though there is a lot of black and white here).


Printable paper doll in black and white inspired by circuses
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With straight red, black and white, I got bored very quickly and worried about the scheme clashing with the paper dolls pink hair. Instead, I decided to try basically creating two sets in one. There is a black and red set and also a pink and black set. Both sets had a pair of shoes and there are some pieces which can be worn with either color scheme.

I think this effect of “two sets” in one works, because circuses are all about costumes and costumes tend to match more than normal clothing.

Victorian Ballerina Printable Paper Doll from the 1880s

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll based on the historical period of 1880s in black and white or in color Oh man, what to say about the last few days…

Well, I have been working on backend server CPU issues with my shared hosting service. Nothing really serious, but stuff that has to be dealt with for the blog hosting to continue to be cheap enough for me to justify continuing to keeping it online and free.

Still, I owed a paper doll to my last drawing winner, Lina of Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls, and I was not about to put off finishing that for another week, because I would keep feeling guilty about it.

Lina requested an 1880s period Marisole Monday & Freinds paper doll with a ballet outfit and several other dresses. I had some trouble getting all the pieces to fit on a single page, so I omitted some shoes from the image.

Should you want proper shoes to go with this set, then I recommend checking out On the Board Walk in color or black and white or Mia Goes to the Bathing Place in color or black and white. Both of those sets both have button up style boots which, while not period, are close enough to not look totally awkward.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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Lina was kind enough to send me reference photos and specific colors for the hair, skin and eyes of the paper doll, but left the color scheme mostly up to me. I wanted to use some rich colors, because by the 1880s chemical dyes were common and rich colors were very much instyle. There is a habit to think of the 19th century as sepia colored, because of sepia photos, but it was actually a rather garish era.

At least post, chemical dyes being invented.


Victorian ballerina paper doll with a swimming costume, a ballgown and a tutu
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So, Lina also asked for a tutu based on this painting by Degas. The painting dates from 1871, a little earlier than the other costumes in the set. I omitted the sash, since I based the dress on the center figure. I don’t think the layers of the skirts really look like tulle, which bothers me. Liana has some great tulle on her blog.

The ballgown was based on this fashion plate. The gown was red, but I made it peacock blue based on a description in English Women’s Clothing in the 19th Century by Wilett-Cunnington that mentioned peacock blue ballgowns. I hate drawing lace, but it came out all right, I suppose.

The last two outfits are a swimming costume and a house dress. Old swimming costumes were extremely complicated and not very easy to swim in. Generally, I think of them as wadding costumes. Lina sent me this picture and I based it off that.

The house dress is classic 1880s style with bustle, drawn up skirt and long pleats. It’s a pretty typical gown for its period. Lina sent me this photo and I based the dress off of it. I omitted the pattern on the dress, because I knew it would reproduce poorly in the small scale of the paper doll set.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you haven’t ever checked out Lina’s blog, Lina’s Historical Paper Dolls than I recommend taking the time to do so. She makes wonderfully interesting historical paper dolls.

Curvy Printable Fantasy Paper Doll Set In Color or Black and White

I draw a lot more paper dolls than I post. This is why I sometimes am unsure about posting sketchbook images, because there are things which end up never migrating into the blog, or migrate onto the blog so much later than I meant them too.

And when I create a new series of paper dolls, as B&B is still in my mind, I often draw a lot and then lose interest for a while. This is my basic pattern of paper doll production. I am passionately fascinated with a series for a few weeks and then, after a while, I lose interest and move onto other things. One of the reasons I try to build a backlog is that if I didn’t have one, I would post nothing but say… Pixies for two months and then nothing but Flock for two months and… you get the idea.

Since, I’ve been struggling to get things finished over the last few weeks, I have devoted myself to digging through my folders and finding old things I haven’t finished and finishing them up. Truth is that I have a fair number of orphaned drawings which got scanned and then never got cleaned up and colored. This is one of those orphaned sets. I first drew this when I first drew B&B.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
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I often go back to themes I’ve done before. Styles which have, for best or for ill, been used in previous paper doll experiments or have shown up in other forms on the blog. I think everyone does this. Whenever I think I am “always drawing the same thing”, than I am reminded that some of my favorite paper doll artists (like Boots and Liana) have themes they return to as well.

I mean, can I help that I have a love of corsets? And leggings tucked into boots.

So, the legging, boots and tops with swords have down up many times before like in this paper doll set and this paper doll set (the cape) and this paper doll set and this paper doll set (the leggings) and… I digress.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
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Also, I clearly have a thing for redheads. I have always had a thing for redheads. My grandmother was a redhead and I have always wished that I inherited that gene, sadly, I did not. Plus, I saw the movie Anne of Green Gables at a young and impressionable age.

Meanwhile, a few other announcements. Once again, my email system for mailing people with blog updates seems to be having trouble. I shall do my best to try to fix it.

And I have finally moved into the 21st century and am now on Twitter. You can follow me @paperpersonas though it’s not strictly blog related and there are plenty of comments about librarianship and my general life that happen as well.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments are always appreciated.

A Paper Doll And Her Full Color Ball Gowns to Print

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with ballgowns inspired by Wa and Qi Lolita styles As I explained with the black and white version of today’s paper doll set, both of these 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. 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?


Asian paper doll to print with two ballgowns based Wa Lolita and Qi Lolita styles

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I based the color scheme on this kimono which I found online. Everytime 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.

Paisely Summer, Printable Paper Doll in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll Sometimes, I struggle to get started on things, especially when I don’t really want to do them. Saturday night came around this week and I really didn’t want to work on this paper doll. I admit it, the orange dress was giving me fits and I was starting to loath my Pantone Spring 2014 Color Report inspired color scheme.

So, I literally set a timer.

Instead of blowing it off, I took out my cellphone and set a timer for 25 minutes. I told myself I would work on today’s Monica paper doll set for 25 minutes and then I would go do something else. Surely, I could suffer through 25 minutes of coloring. Of course, once the 25 minutes was up, I was so far along that I decided I might as well finish.

And here she is, all colored and everything.

I use a timer to do all sorts of things. From cleaning my apartment in fifteen minute bursts to inking for twenty minutes, I find that once I have done something for a short period of time intensely, I often keep going since I’m already in the middle of it. I hate not finishing things, but sometimes I struggle to get started on them.


printable full color paper doll with summer beach clothing

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As I mentioned before, this set’s color scheme is based on Pantone’s Spring 2014 Color Report and includes several of the Pantone colors. I’m not totally in love with the color choices, but I wanted to stretch myself beyond the colors I tend to naturally gravitate too. Plus, I have done other Pantone inspired color schemes like my Seagulls and Seaside that used the 2013 color report and my Fashion Girl set from 2010 that used the 2009 and 2010 Spring Reports.

Amaryllis, a Paper Doll in Evening Gowns

I don’t really do balance that well. I tend to work in the grip of obsession and then realize I’ve just spent five hours looking through images of medieval manuscripts in the hope that one of them might show a 10th century women’s neckline which, of course, none of them did. (By the way, you can read all about my adventures in the 10th century here and see the paper doll result.)

So, when I want to draw and I don’t want to get wrapped up in fretting about whether or not my choice of red is the right shade for Turkey red of the 1800s, I often turn to contemporary fashion magazines, as I know I have mentioned before. I find these paper dolls are fun, because in many ways they are easier than fantasy or historical dolls. I can just draw what I see, which is simpler for me than trying to draw from my minds-eye or from actual historical garments.

Black and White fantasy paper doll

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Amaryllis’ evening gowns are based on actual evening gowns of the “real world”. I wanted to use a spring color scheme that wouldn’t be to heavy and dark. I feel like Clarissa, my last Pixie, had an awfully dark color scheme for a summer paper doll post. I wanted to make Amaryllis’ shoes neutral enough that she could wear them with other outfits in case she wanted to borrow some evening gowns from another paper doll or felt like rocking some jeans. :)

One last thing, the latest drawing is still open. Consider entering if you like. :)

Marisole Monday: Secret Agent Girl Printable Paper Doll in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll Happy Monday all!

Today’s paper doll is, as expected, a Marisole Monday & Friends paper doll in full color with a stylish spy wardrobe.

My mother wanted me to mention, after reading my last post about Secret Agent Man, that she did not like Johnny Rivers and it wasn’t her fault that it came on the radio. And that in the days before playlists I should be happy that I get to pick what music I listen too.

Apparently suggesting that she was a Johnny Rivers fan was a deep insult to her hippy, anti-establishment ways.


Thumbnail of full color printable paper doll- Marisole as a Spy

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So, I went back and forth about the right color scheme for this paper doll set. Part of me thought that yellow and pink were a little bright for a super spy, but then it occurred to me that no one would expect a super spy to be wearing yellow and pink. By the way, the short hair style Marisole is sporting is actually her base hair. These days I often draw my base dolls bald which helps when I have to draw hair for them, but back when I drew Marisole I didn’t do that. In her first post ever, she is sporting this hair style. That was back in January of 2010, though I actually drew Marisole sometime around 2008. She sat in a pile of unused base dolls for years before I finally decided what I was going to do with her. I think that’s sometimes the odd thing about working with her. She’s drawn in a style that I don’t know if I would, or even could, use today as my art has evolved.

Oh, by the way, something I am curious about this whether people like colored paper dolls or back and white paper dolls better, so I have changed out the poll in the sidebar. Vote if you want and also consider entering my current contest/drawing if you haven’t. :)

Ms. Mannequin in Skinny Jeans and Peasent Tops

Thumbnail of the printable paper doll clothes One of the quirky things about working so far in advance is that sometimes I stumble across files I sort of forgot about. And today’s post is one of those files. Opps.

This set was completed last year and I actually thought I’d posted it, but when I was looking through my files, I realized I never had. After a few moment of, “Well, now I feel rather foolish…” I decided to put it up. After all, there’s no reason not to post it even if it’s a little old.

When I had started this series I had decided to stick to a pretty small selection of colors designed to provide the most mix and match options for outfits, but in hind sight, I seem to recall getting pretty sick of the color options before the set was completed.

black and white printable paper doll clothes for Ms Mannequin paper doll series

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Poppets Go Roccoco

Thumbnail of the printable paper doll clothes One of the big myths of costume history is that children were dressed like adults, but in miniature. While this is sort of true, I have yet to see a decade where there is not some, however slight, difference between children’s and adults clothing. The differences are often subtle and children were considered adults at a much younger age than we consider children adults today.

This is all by way of saying that I really wanted to make sure this fluffy dress (which has NO historical accuracy about it at all) felt like a child’s dress and not an adult’s dress. I think of the Poppets as between 8 and 10 years of age and I really hate it when I see child dolls dressed like adults, especially in historical outfits or psuedo-historical outfits.

So, to maintain the principle, I’ve shortened the skirts of her fluffy dress. See.. I have some principles (not a lot of them… but I digress.)

Full color Poppet Paper Doll clothes

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Actually, I’ve been thinking about principle’s lately. If you read Liana’s interview from Friday (and if you haven’t than you really should), she talks a lot about the problems of paper doll poses and the complications of paper doll design. I think about these things when I design a paper doll as well, but I also find I think a lot about the principle of correctness. I made this principle up by the way, but for me I think it’s about the correct outfit for the correct paper doll at the correct time.

By my nature, I am scattershot personality. I tend to work on something in the grip of interest, give it up when I get bored, and then move onto something else. Paper doll designs, projects, work endevaors, whatever, all become mixed about in the messy world I exist in. If I’m reading up on women’s publishing, than somehow this filters into everything else I do. I am very envious of people who can have firm divisions in their heads between project A and project B, but I’ve never been wired that way. This means my paper dolls tend to be schizophrenic. Astronauts to mermaids all have happened over the years. I think this is sometimes the charm of PTP, but I also fear it’s a bad thing. I find I envy people like Boots who commit to a theme and then stick to it.

I can not imagine trying to limit myself like that.

Steampunk Pixie in Pink named Shirin

Things to say about today’s printable paper doll… It is my first Pixie paper doll in a while. She’s two pages and has a distinctly steampunk inspired wardrobe. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember the sketchbook post back in April of 2013 when I showed off the inked version of this set.

Wow… this was a long time coming, wasn’t it?

Shirin, in my continuing search for names I haven’t used ever, is a Persian name meaning “sweet”. Continuing the theme, her coloring is based on the Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi, except with really curly hair, because I love curly hair and I’m trying to practice drawing it. You can expect to see more curly hair in the future on the blog.

Oh, and her clothing has nothing to do with Persia. I tried to think of a connection after I decided to base her coloring on Nazanin Boniadi, but I don’t have one as her clothing is distinctly Western without a hint of influence from the Middle East and is mostly based on the clothing of young men in the early 20th century.


{Click Here for a PDF of Shirin to Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Shirin to Color} {Click Here for a PDF of Shirin’s Wardrobe to Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Shirin’s Wardrobe to Color}

{Click Here for a PDF of Shirin in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Shirin in Color} {Click Here for a PDF of Shirin’s Wardrobe in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG of Shirin’s Wardrobe in Color}

Oh, and as sometimes happens when I saved these images for the web, Photoshop did odd things to the colors. I recommend looking at the PDF version of Shirin and Shirin’s Wardrobe to see what I really intended the color scheme to look like. Partly this was a challenge to do a steampunkish set without the color brown. Harder than it looks, actually… because the line between goth and steampunk is often one of color, not design. That, however, is a whole different discussion for another day.

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