Frankly, I hadn’t really thought much about outfits when I was drawing this set, so I had to try to make things cohesive with the colors. I’m not sure that worked great, but I’m still learning how to make this new format work.
I really need to learn to think less in “pieces” and more in “outfits.”
Oh well, live and learn!
Alice & The Mad Hatter Paper Dolls
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m not sure what next week will bring. I may need a hiatus for a few weeks as I move and deal with some other stuff. I haven’t decided yet, but I will let y’all know as soon as I do.
As always, I’d love to hear that people think of the theme this week!
It’s Monday! (I don’t feel nearly as excited about this as an exclamation point would suggest.)
Today, last week’s set of suits for my man paper dolls (specifically Marcus 2.0) get to rock some fun colors, okay, maybe not fun, exactly.
When it comes to color, modern men really don’t get a lot of options. Beyond a short stint in the 1960s and 1970s when a guy could show up in a red or purple suit, in the 20th century, men’s clothing is pretty much neutrals all around. So, today’s man paper doll got some rather simple navy and grey men’s suits.
It might not be the most “exciting” color choices, but they are wonderfully versatile if you find yourself unsure about what sort of suiting would be best.
There’s something very dashing to me about a man in a well cut suit. I don’t know what it is, but I love suits on men. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era for men’s clothing. Hoodies and jeans are just so boring.
If you missed these paper doll suits in black and white for coloring, they’re over here. Also, if you’re unsure who Marcus 2.0 is, I’ve got a lovely guide to all that which I wrote last week after a reader request, proving that I do read comments and, sometimes, actually do what people ask.
I do sorta wish I drew some other hair for Marcus 2.0 here, but I just feel like men’s hair isn’t that exciting. It’s not unlike a lot of men’s clothing. How many ways can you style three inch hair? I mean, really. I’m sure there are nuances I don’t get. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Thoughts? Comments? Other men’s clothing you’d like to see? Drop me a note in the comments.
Xavier is the third paper doll in the Sprite paper doll series. Xavier is getting to be an elf paper doll today, though he won’t always be an elf. And since he can share clothing with Zachary, should you decide he needs to be a cyberpunk elf (Shadowrun, anyone?) that’s totally an option too.
Like any good elven archer, our elf paper doll has a back up plan in the form of a sword. Since, sometimes you need to fight people up close and personal. I chose a bird and leaf motif for the weapons and the armor which I thought would seem suitably nature oriented. I always thinks of elves as being nature oriented which might be a horrible stereotype. (Is it possible to stereotype a fantasy creature?)
I think the bird and feather motif his more obvious with the female elf which I shall be posting next Friday as we continue January Sprites! (Yeah, I totally just decided to call it that.)
So, I like the Lord of the Rings movies, I really do, but it’s tough to not feel like one has to interact with them when designing elven stuff. My main goal was to create two outfits- one casual and one military. After all, you can’t just walk around in armor. Well, I suppose you can… but it wouldn’t be very comfortable.
I wanted to chose colors that were not too bright, but also felt organic and natural- colors from nature, I guess you might say.
I’m gonna be honest here now. I have been really struggling with artist’s block the last few weeks or, as I like to call it, “the wheel is spinning, but the gerbil is dead”. In short, I just have no urge to do anything blog related, let alone actually draw new content.
But I’m trying to stay on track and stick to my guns about getting two paper dolls up a week. I do have a tiny bit of backlog waiting, so I think I’ll be okay.
As always, comments are appreciated. Thoughts on other themes I should explore with the Sprites?
Once in a while, I host little drawings for custom paper dolls. I do them rarely, because frankly they are time consuming.
Anyway, last June I held one. People submitted custom paper doll suggestions. You can see all of them on the original contest post. The winner of the drawing was Lina, but I added all the ideas to my paper doll ideas list. Today’s paper doll comes from an idea submitted back then. (See, I do sometimes draw things people request.)
Erin Winslow proposed a steampunk set based on Amelia Bloomer’s women’s dress reform movement costume. My first thought was, “No Way!”
Because, honestly, I really didn’t like the Bloomer Dress. I’ve always thought it was both unflattering and kinda ugly. Why would I want to draw something I thought was ugly?
And then… rather unexpectedly, I found myself thinking… I should draw it because I find it ugly. I should tackle a style I dislike for a paper doll set. I should stretch. Plus I recently read a this book on Victorian dress reform movements.
First, I had to gather sources and ideas. You can see a collage of these below.
I remembered somewhere I had seen a photo of a female doctor wearing a Bloomer costume. That was where I started thinking about doctors cases and I found that Pat Stall, one of my favorite paper doll artists ever, had done an Amelia Bloomer paper doll set. I found some wonderful modern pieces and then a few great cartoons from various Victorian periodicals. I felt like I was on my way towards a set I might actually like.
I decided to cast Hazel as my bloomer wearing steampunk Doctor. I gave her glasses and some doctor bag inspired accessories. She has three dresses to go over the two pairs of bloomers. Her vest, shirt and skirt can be worn over any of the bloomers as well. I did not make my bloomers quite as full as those worn by Amelia Bloomer. Despite creating this paper doll set, I still find the look to be astonishingly unflattering. Never the less, here is my foray into the world of steampunk bloomer costumes.
Plus, I got to draw Victorian glasses and that was fun. 🙂
As most of my readers have figured out by now, I’m currently conducting a survey about developing products to open a Paper Thin Personas store in the next year and some other stuff. It’ll only take about 15 minutes and I’ll send you a thank you paper doll if you leave me your email at the end. (The emails are deleted out of the survey results immediately to keep things as anonymous as possible. So, no worries about that.)
At the moment, I am trying to get inspired to give the male paper dolls some love. I am trying to convince myself that male clothing is as interesting as female clothing. I am trying to develop the same interest drawing for guys as I do for girls.
It is not easy.
I realize that a lot of it is in my head. I don’t think I’m good at drawing males and my insecurity makes it hard to want to try. Usually, I think of drawing male paper dolls as something I do “for my readers” and not something I do for myself.
This is a line of reasoning that I am trying to stop using. Drawing things for other people is, for me, a fast road to burn out. No one keeps up a blog like this for as long as I have by doing it “for other people”. Trust me. You have to do it for yourself.
But I also want to challenge myself. I also want to try things that I have never tried. I want to create things that I have never created. I want to stretch and do things that scare me a little. So, male paper dolls it is.
I usually steer clear of monochromatic color schemes. Nothing against them, I just think that they can be boring. Still, green is a nice color and when I asked a friend of mine what color I should go with for male clothing, he said, “Green.”
So, green it is.
One of the nice things about green is that I don’t find any of the shades really horrid. I mean, there are shades of yellow I think are awful and shades of orange that I don’t like either, but green and blue are pretty much all okay with me. So, a green prince to match, I suppose, my yellow and my pink princesses.
I play Pathfinder, a Dungeons and Dragons like game, most Friday nights with a group of friends at a local game shop. Generally, I have to know what my character is wearing before I can actually play the character.
Weird, but true.
Clothing is a direct expression of how my character thinks and functions in the world. Some people think about their characters in terms of unique weapons or speech patterns, I think about my characters in terms of what sort of shoes they would choose while trekking through a ruin.
Marcus here is a mechanic. So, his clothing is utilitarian. The double breasted vest is in his “good” clothes, with a belt for his money pouch and a decorative pointless armband. His tie is loose. His other brown vest is more of a work outfit. He wears vests to keep grease off his shirts. With this outfit, his tie is tucked up, so that it doesn’t get caught in machines. He’s on his feet a lot, so he has two pairs of boots. The cap keeps his dreads from getting in the way while he’s working (because hair in engines = pain) and his leather satchel is where he stores his tools. Work gloves, a scarf for cold weather and some tools complete the set.
You can also tell a little about Marcus’ personality here. His dreads are decorated with beads and I know from people who have them that dreads take some maintenance. Clearly, he’s someone who cares about how he looks. Is he perhaps somewhat of a ladies man?
Paper doll sets can be tiny windows into lives and worlds. That’s part of the fun.
I spent a chunk of my weekend coloring my Margot in Wonderland paper doll from last week. Today, Margot gets to be a blond and has, of course, a wardrobe of Alice inspired paper clothing pieces. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been inspired by Alice many times before and drawn her many times over the years.
After some time I decided to go with a jewel tone color scheme that was a bit bright. I wanted to capture the richness of color that could be captured with color lithography from the 19th century. I was also heavily inspired by this Lolita outfit. I really loved the rich colors since they are not the pastels or black that I normally associate with Lolita fashion.
As I mentioned with my Turn of the Century Pixie Paper Doll, I often collect ideas on my Pinterest boards, so you can check out the Lolita board I keep to see where some of these outfit pieces came from. Nothing was directly taken, but I find ideas and inspiration makes drawing paper dolls faster and easier than it would be without them.
The top hat’s floating tab is meant to be attached using the same method as I outlined in my instructions for attaching wigs and hats to paper dolls. This is one of my favorite methods of doing wig and hat attachment for the paper dolls I design and so I use it often.