Frocks and Gowns in Color

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe So, this is going up a little late today. Sorry about that, but life got crazy this weekend. I want to talk a little bit today about coloring last week’s paper doll and a little about diversity in the paper doll world.

So, when I color a paper doll set, I start with a pallette. I knew I was going to be giving Monica a fairly rich brown skin tone, so that opened up and closed down certain color options. For example, I tend to avoid putting brown colored clothing on brown colored paper dolls, unless the tones are really different, since it can blend too easily. Since she was going to have a rich skin-tone, I decided that bright and color dresses made a lot of sense.

The strapless gown with the belt was based on this gown by Andrew GN and since it had a red top and a pink bottom, that informed the blues and the greens as contrasting colors in the other gowns.

A printable paper doll of a young black woman with a brightly colored wardrobe
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I’m a big believer in paper doll diversity. I think it is really important to have a variety of concepts and skin-tones and, ideally, a variety of concepts in a variety of skin-tones. Truthfully, I tend not to think of my paper dolls in terms of ethnicity, but in terms of color. It it less about, “this paper doll is African-American” and more about “this paper doll is a dark brown with red undertones.”

I used to think I was the only one who thought this way about paper doll skin-tones until I read this post from Julie over at Paper Doll School. I was comforted to find out that we both tend to think in terms of “color” not in terms of ethnicity.

The result of coloring things, perhaps?

What I do know is that no matter how I think about skin-tone, it is crucial to me that I offer readers of all backgrounds and colors paper dolls that reflect them. People should be able to see themselves in the toys they play with.

Yes, I know a lot of my readers are adults, but adults play with toys, too. At least, they should. :) I do.

1940’s Vixen: Vintage Printable Paper Doll

1940's vintage historical printable paper doll 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, the 1940s 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 1940s 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.

Court Alchemist Paper Doll in Black and White for Coloring
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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.

Full color Popper Paper Doll
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All of her dresses come from vintage pattern covers- Vogue 5667, Simplicity 3296 A (one of my favorite designs, I used it here too) and Vogue 5802 A. My 1940s fashion Pinterest board contains more images that influenced this set.

A Quick Poll…

What historical era should B&B visit next?

  • Vikings! (AKA 800s) (28%, 18 Votes)
  • 1950s (20%, 13 Votes)
  • 1860s (17%, 11 Votes)
  • Regency (15%, 10 Votes)
  • 1300s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • 1700s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • Other, and I'll tell you in a comment (5%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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Marcus the Warrior Printable Paper Doll in Color

Printable paper doll coloring page This is going to be an uber short post today, because I really have a million things to do. Still, I have neglected the blog for a week and I didn’t want to keep neglecting it.

Sometimes, I feel like it is a small monster. If I don’t feed the blog monster, it might someday hunger for the souls of children or possibly lollipops. Either way, it is in my best interest to make sure that it is fed.

Anyway, today we have the Marcus paper doll from last way up in full color. The designs are based on my whole pseudo-Medieval/Viking thing. I really wanted to stick with earth tones and simple colors, nothing too crazy or vivid.

A printable steampunk inspired airship mechanic coloring page.
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Right now, there’s a little drawing/contest and it’ll be wrapping soon so go enter if you haven’t. It closes on the 14th, winner announced on the 15th.

Malina: An Autumnal Printable Paper Doll

Link to Malina an Autumnal Printable Paper Doll As I move towards the end of the year, I always find myself beginning to think about the future and what has been done this year. One of the doll artists I admire is Mimi Kirchner and she does these wonderful year end posts where she talks about all the dolls she has made. I never seem to get on the ball about doing something like that. I suppose because with holiday travel and other concerns, I don’t always have time to sit back and think about where the little hobby of mine has taken me.

It’s November all ready though… and December is around the corner. Next thing I know, it will be January and then we’ll be in 2015. I guess I better start thinking.

Meanwhile, today we have a new Pixie paper doll. Malina is the female form of Malcom. It’s a scottish name. I don’t know why I decided that this paper doll seemed Scottish to me. There was no ‘logical’ reason why. Maybe because Scotland is chilly and she has sweaters? Yes, we’ll go with that rather stretch of a connection.

Malina, an autumnal printable paper doll with several outfit pieces in black and white for coloring
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Malina is my 13th Pixie Paper Doll post of the year, though technically my Pixie posts have been longer this year than last year. This year I did a three page Regency set of paper dolls for the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson, a two page Steampunk paper doll set and a two page Turn of the Century paper doll set. Anyway, there will be another few Pixies before the year is over, I assure you.

Malina, an autumnal printable paper doll with several outfit pieces in color
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Malina’s wardrobe is based on the “sporty” trend of 2014, much like Adannaya from earlier this year. The color scheme was inspired by apples and orchards and other fall harvest things, like gourds. (I bought a set of decorative gourds to put on my dining room table… I feel so festive.)

I keep finding myself going back to my thoughts at the beginning of today’s post. How does one calculate the value of a hobby? What level of achievement is needed to actually feel that this blog accomplishes it’s goal?

Hmmm…. I haven’t really got answers to that question.

Flock Punk Noir… Noir Punk… Diesel Punk… Whatever

Pheobe Noir Flock Back in the early days of the interweb when I built my first, and perhaps best forgotten, paper doll site, images were generally small. They look a long time to load and things like Pinterest didn’t exist- neither did really any Social Media.

In those days images were best kept small, but today we can get away with much larger images and I like large images. They are pretty. One of the things I have been doing is working on reformating a lot of the images on the blog to be larger and easier to see.

This is a very long way of saying that today’s Flock magnetic paper doll post is in a different format then my other Flock posts. Let me know what you think in a comment…

Meanwhile, I am dabbling again with Noir Punk, or as I think most know it, Diesel Punk. Personally, I like my name better. Basically, it’s vintage styled clothing of the 1930s and 1940s combined with a punk aesthetic.

Magnetic Noir Punk Paper Doll Page
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I do not offer a link to the PNG to print for my magnetic paper dolls, because you shouldn’t print them from the PNG. The PDF allows the image to be properly sized to the page and therefore to the dolls.

Anyway, here is Wren, named for a bird, showing off her shoes and hats. I really do like the hats and I think they are fun for the Flock magnetic paper dolls. Magnetic paper dolls are fun.

Magnetic Noir Punk Paper Doll Page
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Wren is here with some retro clothes and corsets, because that’s what everyone needs. I love the boots, personally. Next week, there will be another set of these with Wren showing off page two of these outfits.

I’ve dabbled in this style before and you can see that Starling set of Punk Noir if you like. I’m not sure how I feel about the colors on this set, but for the moment, I like them.

Thoughts? Ideas? Drop me a note in the comments.

Southwest Boho Paper Doll Set in Full Color

Marisole Monday and Friends Logo and Link to free printable Marisole Monday paper doll with a Southwest inspired wardrobe So, with last week’s paper doll I spoke a little about why I decided to dabble in the Southwest trend this season and today I wanted to show off the colors I used for the paper doll set. I knew from the start that I was going to be using a desert inspired color scheme. It is the Southwest, after all.

As a child, we visited the Grand Canyon. I will always think of reds, browns, ochre and sandy khaki when I think of that landscape. I confess to not being much of a desert person by nature; however, I do think they can be astonishingly beautiful.

I did not want to fall into the trap of just using a monochromatic warm color scheme though, so I also decided to include a pale turquoise, a very pale bayleaf green and a darker green for contrast. Normally I try to keep my color schemes to five colors, but this set needed a lot more. (I blame it on that patterned pencil skirt.)


Printable Asian paper doll in full color inspired by the Southwestern fashion trend of Fall 2014
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Things I love: All the skirts. The bag. Those shoes. That cardigan.

Things I’m not sure about: Her hair. The V-neck top. The choice of base color.

Still, I am going to call this one a win.

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.

Akemi, A Fantasy Warrior Paper Doll

Image link to a printable female warrior paper doll with armor and weapons in color or black and white Today’s paper doll is named for a very close friend of mine in childhood named Akemi. Akemi was a very talented singer and dancer. Also, her family kept ducks.

The ducks got carried off by bald eagles on a rather regular basis.

And Akemi had all of the She-ra action figures including the horse and the cloud palace. I can not express how jealous I was of this She-ra collection. Hours were spent in her backyard feeding ducks, chasing off eagles who wanted to eat the ducks, and having epic She-ra battles.

So, when I was looking for a good name for my fantasy warrior paper doll, I immediately thought of Akemi and She-ra.

I’ve no idea what happened to Akemi. (Also, I’m not positive she didn’t spell her name Akimi, but I think it was Akemi. Now, this is going to bug me… Short of getting my mother to pull my old middle school year book from storage, there is no way to easily answer that question.)

Printable female warrior paper doll with armor and weapons in black and white for coloring
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Moving away from my childhood for a moment, today’s paper doll is a fantasy warrior with five mix and match clothing pieces, two pairs of shoes and some serious weapons. I’ve done a lot of swords, axes and spears, so I wanted to some crazy scythe like thing. I don’t think it would be a very practical weapon in the real world, but it does look cool.

And fantasy warriors should get cool looking weapons.

Of course, if she needs more weapons than she can borrow them from Rebecca Grace, Latanya, Robynn, Astrid, Kelli, or Philippa to name some of my weapon wielding Pixie paper dolls.

Printable female warrior paper doll in color
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All in all, I am pleased with the color scheme I ended up with.I knew I wanted to use red and gold, cliche though they are, for her armor. I added black and cream for contrast after trying out brown and disliking how it looked with the red. Her hair changed color several times over the course of deciding on the black and blond dip dye look (for a while it was red and blond, also blue briefly).

That is all I have to say about that. Enjoy the paper doll.

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.

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.

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