Essential Elegance: A Fashion Paper Doll in Color

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories.I’ll be among the first to confess that I am pretty matchy-matchy in my own dressing. I do want my shoes to match my purse and my belt. I realize that’s horribly old fashioned, but I just can’t help it. Unless I’m carrying like teal bag and then I can have on any shoes I want, but if I have a brown bag and black shoes, than I spend the whole day feeling discombobulated. (Dumb, perhaps, but true.) Anyway, I tend towards the same tendencies when designing paper doll clothes.

I think part of it is that the better the colors in the paper doll’s clothes match, than the more outfit options open up. It’s an issue of “playability” in my head. I want every Marisole Monday & Friends set to have a doll and paper doll clothes that could stand alone and be fun by itself. I mean, we all have gotten paper doll sets and cut them all out and then be sad when we realize that really there’s only a few clothing options.

However, I also want every set to be able to share with the other sets. That’s the main reason why, for example, all the Marisole Monday & Friends paper dolls share the same pose. If they can’t share than what’s the point?

Essential Elegance is a beautiful black paper doll with short hair and a 16 piece wardrobe including accessories. Free to Print from paperthinpersonas.com

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When selecting colors for today’s Monica paper doll, I close to go with a lighter brown for her skin, because I liked how it looks with the lime green. The red top and the white dress were the two pieces that inspired the whole set of paper doll clothes, so it wasn’t hard to decide to keep them their base colors. The blue was choosen to tone down the bright red and it’s strong contrast with the bright green.

Personally, my favorite part of the set is how the white and black booties came out, but that’s just me.

As always, I’d love to hear what anyone things in the comments and if you like the blog, support it on Patreon.

Essential Elegance: Fashion Paper Doll Celebrating Minimalism

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Let me start with something wonderfully basic about my paper dolls: I do not believe paper dolls should be frumpy. Okay, maybe if that’s the theme you’re going for, than I suppose they can be. However, I think paper dolls about fashion should, you know, actually be fashionable. So, if I am going to draw fashion paper dolls, I am going to try to actually pick a fashion style and go for it.

Way to many “fashion model” paper doll sets end up with rather horrible outfits. I mean, I get it. They are for kids and, let’s be honest, kids have ideas of fashion that are a little unsophisticated. Being not a kid, I feel like fashion and paper dolls should combine to make something delightful.

And, of course, fun to play with.

All this brings us to Monica who is rocking a fantastic wardrobe of minimalist pieces from the Fall Fashion magazines. I’ve done one minimalist fashion paper doll before- Mia Goes Minimalist. I think Monica’s outfits are a little more fancy than Mia’s were.

A black fashion paper doll celebrating minimalism with a 15 piece wardrobe of contemporary styles. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

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I suppose if you weren’t feeling minimalist, than these could also fall into the futuristic fashion category (especially the dress on the far right). I confess that dress, which I think was in InStyle, inspired the whole paper doll set. Not gonna lie. I just wanted an excuse to draw it.

I do feel like I’ve drawn a few of these pieces “before”, but then I suppose since I’ve gotten to something like 200 Marisole Monday & Friends designs, if things didn’t feel familiar than I would be doing something wrong. (Also, how many ways can you draw a pair of simple trousers? Not that many.)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to everyone in the US! I’d say this paper doll was thematic, but I really don’t think she is.

Anyhow, I’m always up for feedback in the comments and, of course, do please support the blog if you love it through Patreon.

Greta in Autumn: A Printable Paper Doll in Black and White

greta-autumn-logoGreta’s wardrobe was inspired by what I see the college kids on the campus where I work wearing in the fall. Most of my paper dolls are pretty high fashion, or at least very trendy. This has to do with my source materials which tends towards InStyle and Bazzar, but most college students I work with seem a lot more attached to their jeans and t-shirts.

(In college, I lived in a hoodie, jeans and flip-flops.)

This more casual version of Greta has some jeans, shorts, capris and then a few tops. I focused on sweaters on this set and just gave her a casual t-shirt dress which seems to be a style I see around a lot these days. I can not wear t-shirt dresses, but hey- paper dolls don’t complain when you dress them. :)

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This is my fourth paper doll of 2015 with glasses. I am really embarrassed when I realized that in 2014 I only did one paper doll with glasses. So, one of my unstated goals of 2015, was to do more paper dolls with glasses. While four isn’t that many, I suppose, it is still better than one. I really want to do a historical paper doll with glasses ever since I saw this portrait from 1839 with the cutest glasses. I just haven’t gotten around to it. Researching accessories is an often time consuming part of historical paper doll production.

Right now, I am polling my readers on what they might like to see in the future, that is NOT paper doll related (or at least not a printable paper doll.)

On Wednesdays, I'd be interested in seeing..

  • Tutorials on How To Draw (60%, 28 Votes)
  • Short Articles about Historical Costume (38%, 18 Votes)
  • Behind the Scenes Content (34%, 16 Votes)
  • Tutorials on How to do Things in Photoshop (32%, 15 Votes)
  • Interviews with Other Paper Doll Artists (21%, 10 Votes)
  • Thoughts and Advice about Blogging (19%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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As always, if you like the blog, I’d appreciate your support on Patreon. Thank you to everyone who already supports me. You guys rock!

Isadora in Ruffles & Bows: Printable Paper Doll in Black and White

isadora-ruffle-logoI’ve been in this whole printable paper doll drawing thing for a while. There’s a few things I have learned and one of them is that what I like is not always what my readers like.

Now, a lot of the time I don’t care. Sorry, folks, but I draw for me first and for most. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I have active readers and every comment I get makes me smile, but if I couldn’t draw what I liked than I would go mad. Mad I tell you!

(Okay, maybe that was a little overly dramatic. :) )

I mention this in direct relation to black and white paper doll sets. They are easier for me, since coloring takes time, but when I was a kid I really didn’t like to color. I know that sounds odd, but I never really “got” coloring books. They were boring. I far more wanted to draw my own stuff than color someone else’s drawing.

So, sometimes I forget that I have readers who LOVE my black and white paper dolls.

That’s part of why I created the Mini-Maiden’s series. I wanted to share with my readers something just for the black and white coloring readers that I have. I might not “get it”, but I am do enjoy drawing them and not having to color them in does make them easier to finish.

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To bring this around to this actual post, let’s talk about Isadora. Isadora has only had three other outfit sets and none of them are contemporary. The poor girl can go to balls or fight off radioactive hordes, but she hasn’t got a decent pencil skirt. (Everyone needs a decent pencil skirt.) Well, all that ends today!

When I do contemporary sets, I like to do them in themes. So, for this set I was thinking about sweet, lady-like fashions. I wanted some delicate details like the rose pattern on the shorts and the scalloped hem on the pencil skirt. I often see these styles on the college students I work with, being that this is the South and all, so I wanted to do something of a Southern Belle. All she needs are white lace gloves and a mint-julep to sip while sitting in a white rocking chair.

Her short hair was intended to contrast with the wardrobe.

Today is Friday the 13th, if you’re the superstitious sort. I think paper dolls are good protection from such things. :)

By the way, speaking to my coloring readers, I know some people use simple coloring programs, but I have no ideas what they are. So, my questions are: What programs to y’all use? What file formats do those programs like? And would coloring sheets with no grey be useful?

(I’m thinking about digital paper dolls for sale right now and trying to decide what file formats to offer.)

And if you like my paper dolls, please consider supporting me through Patreon.

A Little Retro Style: Printable Paper Doll

retro-contemporary-logo-colorLike 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.

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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.

A Little Retro Style: Printable Paper Doll Coloring Page

retro-contemporary-logo-bwEvery once in a while, I imagine totally re-doing this blog. Abandoning my printable paper doll sheet format and switching to an outfit a day or something else totally different.

I doubt I’ll ever have the nerve to do that, but once in a while it does occur to me that it might be interesting to just “start over”. I had no choice back in 2010 when the site crashed, but it was also rather cathartic to be able to think about clean slating things.

(Don’t worry, the site is not destined for radical change at the moment.)

Today’s printable paper doll is Marisole, of the Marisole Monday & Friends Family, showing off her dynamic autumn wardrobe. It has been a while since Marisole has gotten any love which is funny considering she is the oldest of the Marisole Monday & Friends collection.

I love autumn. I love the turning leaves and the crispness in the air and the excuse to wear boots. I also love that the fashion magazines come out in September and provide a wealth of fun and interesting fashions for paper dolls. This is the time of year when I often draw a bunch of fashionable paper doll ladies, but this year I found between moving and a few other things, I just didn’t have the time to devote to my contemporary paper doll drawing habit.

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For this printable paper doll set I actually drew a crop top which I confess I pretty much NEVER do, but I have had requests and I have noticed they are coming back in style. As someone who remembers the 90s, I would rather crop tops not come back. Still, can’t fight the tide forever.

I was going through some of my childhood paper dolls lately and I kept seeing crop tops and miniskirts. I was a little obsessed at age 12, clearly. I’ll have more about childhood paper dolls to share in the beginning of November.

As always, comment if you want and I hope everyone enjoys the paper doll!

Jazz Age Baby: A Color Paper Doll with 1920s Fashions

1920-logo-colorBack when I started this blog, it was the dead of winter and I was going stir crazy in a one bedroom apartment surrounded by snow. Today, the sun in shining and the weather is lovely and I am still at this nearly six years later.

Time does fly.

Okay, so way back in 2011, I did this paper doll called Art Deco Goddess. I was full of ennui when I wrote that post. It is both mellow-dramatic and whiny. Not to suggest that I’m not capable of being both melodramatic and whiny at my age today, but try to at least steer clear of being too melodramatic and whiny.

Anyway, I just thought of it, because Art Deco Goddess like Jazz Age Baby are both paper dolls with 1920s wardrobes.

Jazz Age Baby, however, owes a fair bit to the hair of Josephine Baker and a bit to the fun wardrobes of ladies of the decade.

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Now technically, Monica should be wearing stockings and a garter belt and slip and all sorts of 1920’s underwear, but I thought another paper doll might want to borrow her shoes or she might want to get to be fairy or in jeans and so I did not give her period underwear. I’m pretty much okay with this choice. I rarely give my historical paper dolls period undies.

Hope everyone has a lovely Monday!

Jazz Age Baby: A Paper Doll with 1920s Fashions

1920-logo-bwPeople who have been reading this blog for a while already know this, but I love 1920s fashions. I love the hats. I love the shoes. I love the stylized art deco drawings of the hats and the shoes. Seriously, this era is among my favorites.

Nevermind the fact that as a woman with serious hips, I would look awful in these styles. I don’t want to wear 1920s dresses, I just think they are beautiful on other people. (Mostly people made of paper who wear whatever I want them too, because I am their creator.)

One of the lovely things about paper dolls is that I can enjoy clothing that I would never want to wear myself.

I think part of what appeals to me about the 1920s is that people had outfits. It was not an era of mix and match clothing like we have today. People had outfits where hats matched their dresses and gloves and bags. I love the idea of matching outfits, as I have mentioned before. My obsession with trousseaux of clothing is well documented throughout this blog.

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So, let’s talk about sources… One of the interesting things about 1920s fashion is that, in the United States, 1923 is the date before which things are out of copyright. That means that things after 1923 begin to fall under various copyright extensions and other rules. Libraries often steer clear of digitizing works that are post 1923, because of concerns about copyright violation. So, I tend to rely on books more than digitized documents for my post-1923 fashion history needs.

To be honest, I don’t recall exactly what I used for this paper doll set, but I know I at least looked at these, as they are part of my history book collection. I know a few of her dresses come specifically from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties.

Sources:

Atelier Bachwitz. Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2012.
B. Altman & Co. 1920s Fashions from B. Altman & Company. 4th ed. New York: Dover, 1998. Print.
Blum, Stella. Everyday Fashions of the Twenties as Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs. New York: Dover Publications, 1981.
Lussier, Suzanne. Art Deco Fashion. Boston: Bulfinch, 2003.

For those who have missed my other forays into 1920s fashion, you can find them all under the 1920s tag.

Lois: A Paper Doll of the 1930s

lois-logoI love the styles of the early 1930s and I wanted to create a paper doll that showed them off, so here is Lois- a paper doll of the early 1930s. That is to say, everything in it comes from 1930-1932.

It’s common to speak of the last century of fashion as though it happened in neat decade compartments. In reality, fashion doesn’t care what decade it is. It moves based on cultural and social shifts, often subtly, and then you look around and notice that the silhouette has shifted. Rarely, fashion changes dramatically over a short period, but only very rarely.

So, when looking at the early 1930s, as this paper doll does, you might be struck at how close these dresses are to the late 1920s. In truth, they are very similar, because fashion just doesn’t change that quickly. The Great Depression will catch up with the styles of the 1930s, it just hasn’t yet. All of these dresses are drawn from images in the book Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs published by Dover. The Sears series from Dover is an inexpensive way to gather up books the show what people wore, rather than what fashion magazines thought people should be wearing. I own almost all of them.

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I have mixed feelings about my color choices. I knew I wanted to pick a color scheme where I hats could go with either of the dresses, but I don’t know how successful I was. I really do like how the white hat contrasts with her dark skin and I like how rich the red coat looks, but I’m not so sure about the yellow dress. The early 1930s is a very art deco influenced period and that makes me happy. I love the asymmetrical styles and the often surprising details.

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Unlike my 1920s Pixie Lynn, I actually gave Lois some undergarments. She has a girdle decorated with flowers to go under her dresses. She should, technically, have a slip to go over that and panties to go under it, but its a start.

I would have to pour through all my posts to be certain, but I think this is my second 1930s paper doll ever. The first was way back in 2010 for my original Curves Series and is just called 1930s. I got totally distracted looking through those old paper dolls trying to find the 1930s set I was pretty sure was there. It’s strange to go back and look at things I drew four or five years ago.

Some of them paper dolls I still really like and others I don’t. It rather makes me want to take on a project like Julie’s toddlers where she goes back to older color schemes. I’ll have to think on it. I don’t want to “redraw” old things, but there are some ideas there that I think could be reexamined fruitfully.

Frocks and Gowns in Color

logo-frocks-gowns-colorSo, 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.

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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.