1930’s: Historical Printable Paper Doll

Curves: 1930s

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I sort of collect historical costume and vintage fashion resources around the web. One of my favorites is The Vintage Patterns Wiki full of pattern covers from the 20th century. From there, I found the wonderful blog What I Found where the author had posted a Simplicity Simplicity Fashion Forecast – 1937 advertising book. It’s wonderful. Curve’s paper doll costumes both come from this lookbook from the era- one smart suit and one summery casual frock. Her shoes are based on illustrations in John Peacock’s book Fashion Accessories.

I’ve been drawing a lot, but not posting a lot which is rare for me. Usually, I’m struggling to keep up with the blog and come up with ideas. Lately, all I’ve been wanting to do is draw and when it comes time to scan or color, I just sort of go, “Meh”. I think it’s because I find drawing relaxing and posting is more like work. Anyway, today’s Curves is going up and on Friday there will be a Florence (one of the last Florence’s I suspect) and starting in November there will be a new Fashion Doll Friday paper doll, of style I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll put it too a vote.

Dot

This is an old paper doll. I think I drew her a few years ago. I seem to recall planning on doing a series- one with stripes and one with plaid to go with this one, but it never happened. Dot is the only survivor of that idea and I doubt I will be going back to create the other ones.

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I love black and white. I love the contrast. I love the clarity and crispness and simplicity. I really am pleased with how she turned out. Though you can color her if you wish, I must admit my intention with the heavy shadowing on my paper dolls was to create a black and white paper doll that didn’t need to be colored. Of course, once she’s printed, I have no control over what happens to her, so feel free to color her if you wish.

I just won’t be coloring mine.

Truly Trudy Three

Today we have the last of the Trudy paper dolls. I haven’t yet decided what I should do for my next short run doll. I’ve been combing through by own old file folders of paper dolls looking for things I can post and for things which are nearly done and it would only take a little work to make them totally usable for the site. It is neat to see how my own art has improved and how my style has changed.

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The more I learn about the comic paper dolls that inspired Trudy, the more impressed I am by the artists. A few of my favorite Katy Keene paper dolls are the ones in neat poses that you wouldn’t expect to see a paper doll in. Also you can find Katy on a horse. You can tell Bill Woogon, the artist, was having a lot of fun with these. Maybe someday I’ll have the nerve to draw a paper doll in a strange pose though I think if I do, she wouldn’t be on a horse.

Non-Katy Keene dolls which impress me are generally the newspaper paper dolls that were printed in one color without shading. Not being a huge fan of shading myself, I love the sparse line work that makes these paper dolls fantastic examples of how you don’t need a lot of times to make an impact. Some neat ones can be found from Boots, a blog devoted to these newspaper images to color, many of which are paper dolls, and from The Paper Collector and Marge8’s Blog which I’ve already written a bit about.

Truly Trudy Two

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The first Truly Trudy post talks a lot about where to find other comic paper dolls, so I don’t see much need to go over it again. The jacket is meant to be cut out and then put over the dress and is copied from a similar style I saw on one of the Katy Keene comics I looked at. I would say which one, but frankly I don’t remember. One thing I did notice is that Katy Keene has a lot of evening gowns and so do her friends. I adore the red and black dress in this set, but I’m pretty sure Gloria was supposed to be Katy’s rival. Having not read the comic, I can’t be sure but the speech bubble does suggest some malice.

Perhaps I should actually track down some comics and read them… though I suspect if I had read them as a child it really would have been for the paper dolls.

Truly Trudy One

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Truly Trudy is based on the classic comic paper dolls of the fifties like this butterfly basedKaty Keene from Marge8’s Blog. Katy Keene had lots of friends who got paper dolls too. I never read the Katy Keene comics since they were a bit before my time, but I do remember reading Archie and Veronica on commercial fishing trips and trading the comics back and forth with my sister.

The Paper Collector also has a bunch of these old newspaper and comic paper dolls including Katy Keene And the newspaper paper dolls Mopsy Modes or Boots or Brenda Starr by Dale Messick who was the first women syndicated cartoonist.

Though I’m not totally pleased with everything about Trudy, I do think there are some strong points. Her pose is perfectly comic book, though I don’t know if she’s busty enough to really have that fifties pin up look. Her face I feel mixed about. I don’t really draw open mouths very often and this is really why. She was a bit of an experiment and is one I may come back too another time.

Curves: Retro Style

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Her hair is my favorite part inspired by the thirties and twenties when women wore their hair in finger waves tight to the skull like Josephine Baker who was an entertainer, exotic dancer, movie star, French Resistance fighter and all around amazing woman. Seriously, cool lady.

And I do regret that my fashions for her aren’t quite as fantastic as a paper doll inspired by the remarkable Josephine Baker deserves, still I had fun with them and I wanted to do something a little retro, but not an actual vintage piece. So… there you go then.

Ball-Jointed Doll

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{Download a PDF of this Three Page Paper Doll Set}

I don’t think I’m very good at cute (though I am getting better), but I do think this is a pretty cute set. The clothing was inspired by the beautiful garments made by Boneka Company. I drew this paper doll while visiting my grandmother who doesn’t have Internet. So, I always get a lot of paper dolling, card playing and reading done when I go and see her. Also, I get my butt kicked at cribbage. Still, all fun and games with the family.

Curves: Vintage Vixen

People tell me the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources, but I always feel weird not acknowledging where I am borrowing material from. This becomes problematic when I honestly can’t remember where I’m borrowing material from. At that point, I suppose I should just give it up.

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It’s a paper doll, after all, not a PhD dissertation and does not need to be footnoted in Chicago style. (Though I confess a strange, possibly worrying, love of footnotes.)

The point of that whole babel is to confess I’m not sure where these two dresses came from. I know I used images from Sears catalogs, but since I had copied them out of the books, I’m not sure. I think they came from Everyday Fashions of the Fifties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs, but I can’t be sure.

And it will bother me for the next ten minutes until I get over it. Fortunately, I have a short enough attention span that such things don’t worry. I save my time for more concerning worries like my grades and the state of my dishes.

(Yeah, I need to get to those.)