Checkerboard Fantasy Gown

Black and white paper doll coloring sheet to print inspired by a chessboard. Dress up doll fun from paperthinpersonas.comA fantasy paper doll dress inspired by a chess board. Free princess paper doll dress.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

I don’t suffer from a lot of delusions of grandure. I’m a librarian/archivist who draws paper dolls for her micro-business and also can gut a salmon in six cuts. I’m not qualified to say anything about our current pandemic, except that I’m staying home a lot more and for some reason, there is no flour in town.

Bread, yes. Flour, no. I’m so confused, people.

So, instead of telling you to wash your hands (because I hope you are), I am going to focus on what I do- draw paper dolls and occasionally make weird jokes about the strangeness of 1830s hair styles.

Seriously, 1830s? What were you thinking! (See this fun tutorial on making one of this styles.)

Meanwhile, here’s a fantasy princess paper doll dress. And over on Patreon for everyone there’s two other versions of this dress- a blue version & a yellow version.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper

This dress really doesn’t have a source image. I just kinda was drawing one afternoon and it happened. It wasn’t planned or carefully sourced in anyway. If I go way back to this post Green Princess, you will seem a similar silhouette.

By the way, in my head, this is a special dress that was commissioned by the princess to wear to a chess match. Because nothing calls for a new dress, like a chess match. Maybe, she’s in the chess match? I have no idea. I am super bad at chess.

Learn & See More

On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More Princess Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Hmmm… Well, I don’t have much related to this post to point to, but if you want more 1830s weirdness check out a great post from Loretta Chase about hair styling in the 1830s complete with some fantastic images of 1830s hair!

Last Thoughts on Today’s Fairy Paper Doll

Okay, I know I spent a lot of this post making fun of the 1830s, but really how can you not? Also, I doubt a decade can really be offended and in honor of poor hair choices, I had a bowl cut for most of the 1990s.

In my defense, I was 10. I also had a rat tail which I asked for. It was a thing.

If you like my paper dolls and want more of them, I share a paper doll piece every Friday for my patrons along with other fun things. Head over to Patreon to learn more. I know things are tight for a lot of folks right now, so no pressure and don’t forget, there’s two other versions of this dress for everyone!

Views from the Sketchbook

I just recently realized how long it has been since I’ve done one of these sketchbook posts. I kinda missed them. They’re relatively easy and the results are fun and I like showing off my sketchbooks. These days these sorts of things tend to show up on my social media and that’s hardly logical. No reason I can’t share the there and here.

Penciled Circus set for my 365 Paper Doll Project on Patreon

My 365 (366?) Day paper doll project has really revived my interest in doing paper doll sets. This Circus collection has been a lot of fun and I am sharing it now with my 5 Dollar Patrons.

Penciled sets for the Jewels and Gemstones. Military Steampunk on the left and Modern on the right.

The Jewels and Gemstones get some steampunk and some modern stuff here. I love the patterned pencil skirt.

6 Mix and Match modern pieces inked and in my sketchbook.

And this is some inked things. These are more modern things. This time of year, with Spring Fashion Week, I always find myself wanting to draw contemporary clothing.

Any themes you would like to see? Let me know in a comment!

Summer Fairy Costume for the Paper Dolls

A summery fairy costume for the paper dolls with four mix and match pieces. A great unplugged toy for children of all ages. A great unplugged toy for children of all ages. A wonderful faory coloring page.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

There’s something fun about designing flower fairies. I think it might be, because the dolls leafy undies always make me think of fairies.

It’s very cold up here in the sub-arctic where I live. There’s still snow and it’s been over 20 below more days than I like to admit. Did you know that when it is -40 is the temperature where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet?

I sort of wish I didn’t know that.

However, nothing for a cold, snow covered March like imagining spring and flowers are a sign of spring.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper

There wasn’t a specific source image for these fairy paper doll clothes. I sort of was inspired by a bunch of images from my Fairies and Fauns Pinterest board.

Learn & See More

On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More Fairy paper dolls
Around the Internet: My Fairies & Fauns Pinterest Board

Last Thoughts on Today’s Fairy Paper Doll

So, I do enjoy Cicely Mary Barker’s flower fairies, I also confess an affection for older, darker fairy folklore. The book Fairies in Tradition and Literature by Katharine Briggs is a great study of the darker views of fairies and their stories, if you want to read some more grim thoughts on the fairy world.

Also, please everyone stay safe right now. Things are stressful, but we can still be kind to each other. Also, wash your hands.

As always, if you like my paper dolls and want more of them, I do share a paper doll piece every Friday for my patrons along with other fun things. Head over to Patreon to learn more.

Ruby & Her Party Dress: A Patreon Friday Paper Doll from 2019

A brunette printable paper doll with a magenta party dress and two pairs of shoes from A brunette printable paper doll with a magenta party dress and two pairs of shoes from

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In 2019, I decided to do some Jewels and Gemstones with party dresses. This one was Ruby’s contribution to the collection. One of the others was this version of Sapphire.

I really do enjoy drawing party dresses- partly because I think everyone needs a fun party dress. Also, because I think they’re a style of clothing I don’t wear very often, but they still seem critcal to a well rounded wardrobe.

Given that I never wear them, I do wonder why I still seem to think they are critical.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper

I wanted to draw a dress where the gown had an interesting shape. I also wanted to draw something that would make sense to go on the sheet with the doll. I think the complex cutouts of this dress would be a pain to cut out in the real world, where as they work well as part of the dolls skin.

Dresses with cutouts like this seem to be pretty popular right now.

Because I have hazel eyes, I wanted to do a hazel eyed paper doll. It’s a harder color to capture in my style, but I like how it turned out. 

Learn & See More

On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & more Cocktail Dresses
Around the Internet: I do keep a Pinterest Board of Formal and Cocktail Dresses

Last Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll & Her Party Dress

One of the things I really am happy about this year is having a few favorite Friday patreon pieces to share with you all. Not only does it let me try to convince a few of you to join us over on Patreon, but it also it means I have a little built in black log I can tap as needed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea that my perception of the blog and the reality of the blog might not always be consistent. My experience of this ongoing art project is very different from other people’s experience. Not sure where I am going with this, but it has been on my mind lately.

Planning/Research for the Renaissance Issue of Paper Doll Studio Magazine

I was super excited by the renaissance theme of Paper Doll Studio the Original Paper Doll Artists Guild magazine for Issue 126- Renaissance. On one hand, I liked the ease of drawing a Renaissance faire fantasy sort of thing, but it wasn’t long before I decided I wanted to do something more challenging and research intensive.

(This should surprise no one.)

The renaissance is a very long period of time. You can either date it from 1400 to 1600 or from 1300 to 1600, but either way it’s at least 200 years of fashion history. By the end of the 1400s, there’s very distinct regional styles developing, so I needed to consider geography and time period.

Left to Right: Undergarments from German illuminated manuscripts crica 1440-1490 from Konrad von Ammenhausen Hagenau 1467 f.255r & Kantonsbibliothek VadSlg Ms. 343c f.40r.

All paper dolls need underwear and I knew I didn’t want to do something that would limit me to one time period or one style of dress. So, I settled on these vague shifts from Germany. Illustrations in illuminated manuscripts of undergarments are pretty rare, but both of these illustrations from German manuscripts of the mid-1400s show sleeveless garments with fairly fitted waists. Simple and pretty generic, unlike say a boned bodice of the Tudor court.

First off, I knew I wanted to start with the Burgundian gowns of the 1400s. The styles vary throughout the century, but I liked the wider v-neck of the 1470s. From the end of the fourteenth to the end of the fifteenth century, Burgundian Netherlands included the low countries in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and northern France. It was ruled by a series of very powerful dukes and was a center of cloth production. The wealth, and the cloth production, made the area one of the centers of fashion- hence cometh the name Burgundian gown.

Left to Right: Burgundian gowns from the 15th century, illustrations from Le Livre de la Cité des dames. Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. Fr. 180, f.5v & Bibliothèque nationale de France. Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal. Ms-5089 f.62r

Next up, I decided to draw a style I’ve always loved and never had much chance to explore- the Venetian gowns of the 1400s. These empire gowns are layered, deeply regional and surprisingly revealing for a world where hair was often covered and so was cleavage. Venice had massive wealth from the spice trade, an unusually diverse population, and contact with the Middle East, making it very exotic in the eyes of the rest of Europe. There’s a reason Shakespeare set so many plays there- Venice was a place people thought anything could happen.

Left to Right: Venetian gowns from the turn if the 15th century from Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo (section) by Gentile Bellini & Albrecht Durer, Sketch of Venetian Women.

Last, but not least, I wanted to hop across the continent and up to Germany for a foray into Saxon gowns. Often called Cranach gowns, after the painter who depicted them, these fancy dresses were usually accompanied by amazing hats. There’s debate among some folks if these dresses ever even existed, but I tend to err on the side of assuming people in the historical past weren’t trying to somehow mislead people in the present and I haven’t heard a very solid argument against them yet.

Though, in fairness, I’m not an expert on the German renaissance.

Left to Right: Cranach gowns from the Saxony region of Germany from Das Sächsische Stammbuch – Mscr.Dresd.R.3 f. 89v & Judith with the Head of Holophernes (1530), both created by Lucas Cranach the Elder

I hope you’ll pick up this new issue from Paper Doll Studio once it comes out to see all the amazing paper dolls included. If you want to see the actual paper doll, head on over to Etsy where you can download her for 5.00 and print her out full size. She’s two pages of beautiful Renaissance history. Check her out here.

(Yes, she can share with the Mix and Match paper dolls as well.)

Cropped Sweater with Flared Jeans

Cropped sweater and flared jeans for my printable paper dolls in color for printing and playing with. Cropped sweater and flared jeans for my printable paper dolls in black and white for printing and coloring. Free paper doll clothing sheet.

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

I wanted to draw some more contemporary clothing for the Jewels and Gemstones paper dolls. I’ve been thinking a lot more about creating print products and what that might look like. So, the desire to have a robust mix and match set that could be eventually turned into a printed set has been on my mind. 

To do that, however, I need more mix and match option for the Jewels and Gemstones- hence the desire for more contemporary clothing for them. 

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll Outfit

My sister wore an outfit like this one when I was visiting her for Thanksgiving this year. Cropped tops with high waisted pants are very much still in style- though I openly confess that it is not a look that I wear very often. My sister is more adventurous when it comes to clothing than I am.

Specific Source Images: Sweaters like this example and this example

Learn & See More

On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & more Sweaters for Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Hmmm… I don’t know. Not sure what to link to for cropped sweaters and jeans today.

Last Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll Fashion

I was a child of the late 1990s and early 2000s, so back when I was younger the look was cropped tops and low slung jeans. I do think the high waisted pants with crop tops is a bit more of a forgiving style, as the other is pretty hard to wear unless you have amazing abs.

(I do not have amazing abs.)

If you enjoy my paper dolls and want more paper doll goodness every week, head over to Patreon where I post an extra Friday paper doll outfit and have some other super fun project going including my 365 Day project where I am sharing a paper doll piece every day.

(Okay, almost every day, I’ve missed two days so far, but I’ve caught up. Progress, no perfection.)

Under the Waves: A Goldfish Mermaid

Black and White PDF | Color PDF | More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls

The last mermaid thing I did for the blog was this Mermaid Costume which was very much intended to be a costume, not an actual mermaid. If that makes sense. I mean, arguably everything I draw is a costume of sorts.

Anyway, on Patreon I have posted two other mermaids. I’m like 99% sure. I just couldn’t seem to find the second one. Patreon’s searching ability for posts- really not great.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper

Fun fact: Mermaid tails are one of the few things I draw that I always draft on a separate sheet of paper before I sketch them in my sketchbook. Getting tails to curve is hard! And I want to make sure I cover the whole paper doll’s lower body with the design.

While I wasn’t thinking of goldfish when I designed this paper doll by the time I was coloring it, I really didn’t want to do blues or greens. So, that was when I started looking at fish and I learned- there are a lot of tropical fish out there and a lot of them are orange.

But then, when I was actually writing this post, I couldn’t help but think how much this felt goldfish inspired. I mean, there’s something about it that makes me think goldfish.

Learn & See More

On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More Mermaid Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: My Mermaids Pinterest Board

Last Thoughts on Today’s Mermaid Paper Doll

There used to be paper doll birthday cards. And one I loved was Melinda the Mermaid and I was super excited to see that paper doll on Teri Pettit’s paper doll site. She’s got lots of lovely paper doll scans you can look at and print.

And yes, I have been waiting to post this paper doll mermaid so I could link to the birthday card.

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