Shayna: African American Paper Doll

An Afrcian-American paper doll who is part of the Ms. Mannequin series of paper dolls. She is available both in color and in black white. Today’s paper doll is named Shayna. Shayna is a Yiddish name that means “beautiful”. I also liked it, because it was close to Shauna which was the name of my best friend in college and, also, one of my roommates for several years. Shauna, it should be noted, looked nothing like my paper doll Shayna. I don’t really draw paper dolls of my friends, even though I do sometimes name them after them.

Shayna is yet another paper doll with micro-braids. I would apologize for this, but the truth is that I really like how micro-braids look and they are fun to draw. Shayna is the same skin tone as Kira another one of the Ms. Mannequin paper dolls, so they can share shoes.

I’m sure Kira is grateful, because she doesn’t have any flats and might want some. The bases of the paper doll are the same color, so if there is ever confusion about who can share with each other, I hope this clears it up.

As always with paper doll skin-tones, I really do like this warm soft brown color. I think it is rich and natural looking. Plus, it is a shade which still prints beautifully on my home printer. I love my darkest shade of brown, but it doesn’t have much contrast with the black line-work. You can check out my skin-tone pallet if you want to see the commonest eleven skin-tone colors are. I’m not totally pleased with some of those colors, but I also haven’t had a chance to refine the pallet.

I haven’t really got a lot else to say about Shayna. I think she’s cute. She’s getting to me closer to my 10 Ms. Mannequin paper doll posts in 2015 goal. That always makes me happy.

A black and white African-American paper doll who is part of the Ms. Mannequin series of paper doll. She has micro-braids and stands about 10 inches tall.An African-American paper doll who is part of the Ms. Mannequin series of paper doll. She has micro-braids and stands about 10 inches tall.

{Click Here for a PDF in Color} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Color}{Click Here for a PDF of Black and White} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG in Black and White}{Click Here for More Clothes}{Click Here for More Paper Dolls to Share Clothes}

As we move towards 2016, there are going to be lots of changes to the blog.

First of all, the blog is moving to a fixed schedule with posts on Monday, Friday and an erratic posts on Wednesday. This is actually the schedule I have had it on for the last few weeks. There will always be a paper doll on Monday and Friday. Wednesdays will be everything from historical costume book reviews to interviews to sketchbook content. All sorts of things I’d like to do with that day of the week. And, once in a while, probably an extra paper doll or two.

In the meantime, if you have fifteen minutes and don’t mind spending it answering a thrilling survey… I am currently conducting a survey of my readers. If you have already taken the time to answer, THANK YOU! If you haven’t please consider it.

Click Here to Take the Survey.

If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts you’d like to share with me- Survey or otherwise- please feel free to drop me an email ( or post a comment. I might not respond to every comment, but I try to answer all the ones that ask questions.

Flock Fairy Tales: Oriole as Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Morgiana's Outfit Options
Like a lot of kids, I grew up surrounded by fairy tales. Long after I was “too old” for picture books, I would settle down in the fairy tale section of the children’s department of the library and devour version upon version of my favorite stories. I was fascinated by the variables of each story and how they would change and how they were illustrated.

Today, in what maybe the last of the Flock Fairy Tale series (or at least the last one I have planned), we have Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. In case you’re wondering why this is the “last” of the fairy tale series, it is because I am out of Flock magnetic paper dolls. Starling, Wren, Phoebe, Oriole, Dove and Swan is the whole family. So, either some of them get more than one fairy tale or I need to drew some more friends to join them.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is an interesting tale for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t have any known origins in Middle Eastern sources and the earliest text version is French. The tale was added to the story collection One Thousand and One Nights by the French translator, Antoine Galland, who called his volumes Les Mille et Une Nuits. Gallad’s work was published in several volumes between 1704 and 1712. There has yet to be found a legitimate Arabic or other textual source before Gallad’s version. (Interesting fact: Gallad also added the famous story, ‘Aladdin’ and there are no known versions that predate his version either.)

Whatever debate might be had of the “authenticity” of the tale, the story is at least three hundred years old and certainly has a strong female character in the form of the slave girl Morgiana. Morgiana not only ends up stabbing the last of the thieves to death, but outwits most of them. I won’t summarize the whole thing here, I like these two versions of the tale, but there are plenty of others around.

{Click Here for Download the PDF for Printing} {Click here for the Rest of the Flock Magnetic Paper Dolls}

I confess that I didn’t make a t-shirt for Oriole as Morgiana, not for any specific reason, just because I forgot. However, she does have a book (unlike Cinderella who I forgot to give a book). Her wardrobe is mostly based on belly-dancing clothes and has, of course, a little bit of a steampunk neo-victorian vibe.

{Click Here for Download the PDF for Printing} {Click here for the Rest of the Flock Magnetic Paper Dolls}

So, it may not be obvious but all the fairy tale flock paper dolls are done with a base color scheme of about a dozen or so colors. The idea from the beginning has to been to have a fair but of mix and match options, though- as it has been pointed out to me by a few friends, some sets mix and match better than others.

I keep meaning to do a sort of “filler set” of just clothing pieces without any specific fairy tale in mind which would give more clothing options in more solid colors for the flock fairy tale magnetic paper dolls, but it keeps getting pushed onto the back burner. Perhaps if I write it down, it will force it a bit more towards the forefront.

If you’ve missed any of this series, they are Robin as Cinderella, Starling in East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Swan and Dove as Snow White and Rose Red, Wren as Little Red Riding Hood, and Phoebe as Rapunzel.

On that note, I am kinda sick, so I best go back to bed.

New Full Color Printable Paper Doll Named Madison

Madison- Full Color Asian Paper Doll

{A Full Set Printable PDF of the Madison Paper Dolls}{PNG file of Page One}{PNG files of Page Two}{PNG files of Page Three}

I don’t have very many Asian paper dolls, partly because it took a long time before I was comfortable drawing epicanthic folds, which are a characteristic of many East and Central Asian people, though are by no means exclusive to those groups. There is a huge variety the shape of the epicanthic fold and I never felt like it looked right until I got to grad school and ended up sitting across from a Chinese student for an entire semester. I don’t know what she did to stay awake, but what I did was use her as a model for my first Asian Pixie paper doll, named Zoe. Of course, she didn’t have blue hair or such a huge head, but I digress.

So, the Poll is over, since January is done and a child paper doll won to my own astonishment. So, I’ll get on that. In the mean time, enjoy Madison.

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…

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG to Print} {Click Here for The Rest of this Series}

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.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG to Print} {Click Here for The Rest of this Series}

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.

Iksha: A Printable Paper Doll

So, this is up a little later then intended. I wanted to do a sort of belly dancer fantasy set, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I think I went through about six color schemes before I settled on this one. It’s not quite what I wanted, but it’s a lot better then the purple and blue version (trust me on that one). When I was a kid, I had a friend whose mother was a belly dancer. I thought that was a most cool exotic thing ever. I’ve never belly danced though- perhaps I will someday.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG to Print} {Click Here for The Rest of this Series}

On a semi-unrelated note, The Black Apple is offering this wonderful Winter Girl paper doll download. If you’re not familiar with her art, Emily Martin has also produced on commercial paper doll book called The Paper Doll Primer. I haven’t bought it yet, but its on my list of things to purchase. I love the whimsical, but not cute nature of her paper dolls. I’m a huge fan of whimsey and I’m not a huge fan of overly cute.

Oh and there’s a new poll on the side bar for people to vote in. I’m thinking about what to add to the blog over the next year, so there are some options listed there. I can’t promise I’ll actually do what wins, but it’ll probably help push me in some direction. (I have a half finished tutorial on how I color paper dolls sitting in a folder and it’s been there for almost a year.)

African Inspired Elf: Paper Doll Coloring Page

So, this is a pretty darn old paper doll. Originally inspired when I did my Marisole Inspired by Africa paper doll, I just recently got around to finishing up cleaning her up and getting her posted.

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{Click Here for a PDF of the three page paper doll set to Print}

I’ve been having some requests for more black and white paper dolls lately. This paper doll was inspired by African Fashion Week along with the idea of doing a set of elves based on something other than the traditional Western Europe approach.

Of course, I never got around to drawing any of the other ones, so we’ve got one elf here. She might be a trifle lonely, but if you print out several of her and color each of them a little different she can have friends… or clones. Clones are like friends.

One of my goals in posting this paper was to respond to those people who’ve requested more black and white paper dolls to color. So here is one- print her, color her and have fun.

Shadow And Light 5

Among other things, Number 5 is the first Asian Shadow and Light paper doll, as well as being one who has a pair of sandals that lace up to her thighs. I don’t know how they would work in the real world, but I am rather in love with them. Have I mentioned before I have a thing for shoes?

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{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG to Print} {Click Here for The Rest of this Series}
As B pointed out, I sort of skipped the letter D with my Dictionary Pinup Paper Dolls. I was rather hoping no one would notice… There will be a D paper doll, I promise. I don’t know when… but it will happen. Life gets busy sometimes, but fortunately I have readers who keep me honest. Seriously, if there is ever a problem with anything on the blog, please let me know. I try to keep up with dead links and typos, but I don’t catch them all and I know it. I’m always usually grateful when people point out my errors since it lets me fix them.

Shadow and Light 4

The best thing about the Shadow and Light paper dolls is that I decided to number them rather then title them. Perfect solution to my natural problem of coming up with titles.

Thumbnail link image {Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a 150 dpi PNG to Print} {Click Here for The Rest of this Series}

I’m always excited when I stumble across paper dolls in while I’m not actually looking for them. Final Fashion is a great fashion illustrators blog which features lots of beautiful fashion paper dolls. They are available for purchase, but every one can also be seen to just gaze longingly at. One of my pet peeves is when people have paper dolls for sale, but you can’t really see each page of the paper doll or the clothing. There’s a few artists I will buy on faith, but generally I like to see what I am getting. My favorite is her Vionnet paper dolls. Madame Vionnet is a somewhat under appreciated designer from the early 20th century who introduced the world to the bias cut dress. Unfortunately, her style was very much of its time and hasn’t really survived to be present which is a pity.

On a semi-related note to the Madame Vionnet ramble, I am curious if people would be interested in knowing which fashion books I use when I’m doing research. I’ve been on this Japanese kimono book kick for a few weeks (literally, my table is covered in them) and I’m trying to decide if fashion/costume book reviews are something people would like to see. Thoughts from the masses?

Marisole Monday: Tones & Shades

I gave a preview of these paper doll pieces a few days ago, though I had to stay up fairly late to finish them. Han Chinese clothing was a major influence over this set, particularly the quju. I also wanted to do with some Asian costumes what has, traditionally, been done with European dress in most fantasy. I’ve been sort of on this fantasy costumes inspired by regional dress kick. There’s even this elf inspired by Africa which I just finished, though she’s not ready for posting.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

{Click Here for a PDF to Print} {Click Here for a PNG to Print} {Click Here for the rest of this series}

The major delay for me with these was so much pattern and how to make it look good together while still keeping the color schemes interesting. Color used to scare me. Actually, it still does scare me a little, but I think it can smell fear, so I keep up a brave face. Color Scheme Designer is one of the tools I use to help be figure what colors go together. It’s fun, fairly simple, and usually I don’t feel like a complete moron while using it.


Did I mention I think her wigs are nifty? Because I do. That is all.

Pixie & Puck: Irene

Writing is hard. Drawing is hard too, but somehow less hard then writing. I think it’s because I draw in stages- pencil and then ink and then shade and then scan and then re-size and then color and then add tabs and then do layout and then re-size again and then post. Sometimes those events occur in a slightly different order, but I always have multiple pieces in multiple stages of work (at least I do when I’m on the ball and things are going well). Yet, writing I find I stare at a white screen and have to think of something to say.

Thumbnail link image printable paper doll

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Ideally, something intelligent and nuanced to say… Okay, maybe not nuanced, but at least intelligent. Or coherent. I think I at least get coherent. Most of the time.

All I can really say about this paper doll is that I am pleased with how she came out. I really love the muted color tones- achieved by using a mostly transparent wash of grey over all of the clothing after it was colored. I find getting muted tones is a lot harder then getting obnoxiously bright tones on a paper doll and everything looks different on different screens of course. Her toenails in her sandals are another little favorite of mine-rainbow toes.