Like any good printable paper doll should, today Marisole is showing off her full color autumn paper wardrobe complete with some sassy boots. The colors I chose are rich jewel tones for these paper doll clothes. I wanted something that said autumn to me and nothing says autumn like jewel tones.
There are color schemes I come back to over and over again in various forms and one of those is teal, dark pink, and green. I just love these colors together. I do confess that I sometimes I tell myself I can’t use “pink” or I must use “green” and that forces me out of color scheme ruts.
I confess this is a color scheme that I have done before, or at least, I feel like I have done it before. Maybe I’m wrong… anyway, it feels awfully familiar to me.
Every once in a while, I return to things in the deluded belief they are going to come out better. Like red hair and dark skin, I return to it even though I feel that I have yet to actually get it right.
There’s a term for doing the same thing over again expecting different results. They call that, “insanity.”
Anyway, I once again tried red hair and dark skin. I think this attempt was better than several of my other attempts (Mint and Roses, I am looking at you).
There’s a big announcement coming up Wednesday, so stay tuned for that.
I first stumbled across Cranach dress or gowns in this rather gruesome painting of Judith with the Head of Holofernes months ago and her gown was fascinating. I didn’t know much about it, except that it was painted by Lucas Cranach. As it turned out, I discovered as I did more research, that the artist- Lucas Cranach the Elder- painted countless versions of this gown on countless both real and mythological figures. Coming out of the Saxony area of Germany, Lucas Cranach was hired by Fredrick the Wise who to be the court painter of his court in 1505 and Cranach stayed there for the rest of his life. He was extremely prolific and his art is distinctly romantic and stylized. Even his portraits all rather do look the same after a while, I have to confess.
However, there is a debate as to whether or not Cranach’s gowns actually existed in the real world. Here’s my view: We don’t have an extant one, but then we don’t have very many extant garments from this era anyway. Should we find one the debate would be settled, but until then we have to work with the primary sources we have. The value of fabric and the expense of clothing was so great the people usually chose to be painted to garments they actually owned.
Plus, I tend to approach history with the belief that in the absence of proof to the contrary, we should assume that people of the era were not trying to mislead people of the future. Why commission a family history with crests and portraits of your family, if you are not going to accurately render the people in the images? Das Sächsische Stammbuch – Mscr.Dresd.R.3 is a collection of portraits of Saxon nobles. Why put the princesses in imaginary gowns?
The first question I struggled to answer was if the nets of pearls so often seen the women’s hair in these portraits were actually nets of pearls, or rather some sort of cap. This article on these caps lead me to conclude it was a cap, rather than part of the hair. The paper doll’s shoes are fairly standard 15th century shoes with squared toes. Her hats are based on portraits of the era.
I picked out colors based on the main colors I saw in the portraiture which were red and black. I really wanted to do blue as well, like the illustrations of the Saxon princesses and so I did a blue gown as well. I did wonder, however, about the blue. Color is often symbolic in manuscript illustration and I wondered if perhaps blue was used to denote virginity (the Madonna was associated with blue) rather than to render the actual color of the gowns. Never the less, I thought they looked pretty and that was enough for me. I made the paper doll a redhead, because I have a thing for redheads and so did, it seems, Cranach.
The most useful document was Das Sächsische Stammbuch – Mscr.Dresd.R.3 and I owe a debt to the library that digitized it. It it through this digital work that people like me can see the great artifacts of Europe and study them. I am well aware of the risks and time such projects take, so I am grateful when libraries and museums undertake them.
As always, if you want to know when I update this blog, feel free to drop your email on the sidebar to be and be added to the updates mailing list. You can also follow me on twitter where you can see when the blog updates (though I usually tweet after I post by a few hours) and get to read about what I might be making for dinner.
And, of course, thoughts in the comments are always valued.
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...)
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.
There are some periods of fashion I’m naturally drawn too. I love the regency era and the 1870s. I have a strange soft spot for the 1920s and the mod looks of the 1960s. However, 1940’s fashions just doesn’t do so much for me. Still, one of my goals for my paper dolls in 2015 is to do more historical paper doll sets and to stretch myself into eras that I’m not naturally interested in.
As a result, today’s paper doll is clad in 1940’s fashion finery.
Truly, the 1940s is a fascinating time in fashion history. World War Two interrupts the middle of the decade and the end of the war welcomes in a whole new style of clothes thanks to Dior’s New Look. Prior to 1947, however, there is cloth rationing in many countries, most notable England, and an emphasis on “Make Due and Make Mend”. Magazines would publish articles on how to transform a man’s suit into a woman’s suit or how to turn dishtowels into aprons.
Hats were still required for day wear. Our paper doll is sporting three different hats and two purses. Marie Claie UK published these wonderful photos of 1940s fashion on their blog- photo number 27 inspired one of her hats. Her black purse is from 1945 and is based on this purse from the V&A. Her shoes are from 1943, based on this pair at the Met.
It has been a long time since I did a paper doll devoted to coats (my last one was Delia), but there are so many cute coat styles out this year. I just went recently (okay, two months ago) and bought myself a bright purple winter coat, which I totally love, but there are tons of over beautiful coats on the market.
I also wanted to go with boots, since it is boot season. Most Pixie paper dolls get one pair of shoes, but since Audra’s wardrobe is pretty exclusively coats, I thought two pairs of boots would stretch things out a bit. I didn’t notice how crooked the dress’s neckline was until I posted it. Sorry about that. Asymmetrical is in, right?
Remember to cut along the doll’s shoulders, so she can wear the coats. I think some of them will fit over things and some of them won’t. I wanted to do a few fitted jackets, though I tried to make them large enough for layering. (I confess I didn’t test them extensively.)
I wanted to play around with coats and also with different color schemes. I actually colored this set three times. This is the first version, I’ll post two more next week. The version below is all blues and purples.
I tend towards warm colors myself- reds and pinks and things. I wanted to try to do a set with none of those colors, except in her red hair. I went with purples, blues and pale green. Grey is the neutral in this set and I do love the color grey. I must own at least a half-dozen grey pants.
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.
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.
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.