DDJ: It is Pirate Paper Doll Time!

A pirate coloring page paper doll to print with a mix and match wardrobe.
A printable paper doll  pirate with mix and match clothing, a map and swords. She has dark skin and dreadlocks.

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Happy March!

There are paper doll themes I think I’ve done a lot of- like pirates-, but then when I actually go through my own archives I realize- I really haven’t done that very many pirate paper doll sets. (I have a similar relationship with fairy paper dolls.)

The problem, I suspect, is that I don’t feel like there are that many ways to draw a pirate. So, I guess that’s a factor. I should expand more into space pirates or steampunk pirates or… I dunno… Need to think on it.

Anyway, one of the things I am doing over on Patreon is working on my goals for 2022. One of those goals is more Dolls Du Jour, I was slightly embarrassed to realize I only did 4 last year. Plus, they were nearly all based on things I actually drew in 2020. (This isn’t super uncommon. Some things sit on my computer a long time before I finish them, because I am fickle and have more ideas than time.)

So, anyway, one goal is more Dolls Du Jour. I have been finishing up my Goals post. The hope is to get that up later this week, so it’ll be “Official”. I like having all that sort of thing in one place, because I will refer to it later. I know I will.

More and more over the last few years, I havecome to think of the blog as a long form sort of art project. I like having most things here, because I know I own this space. No algorithm can interfere with what I’ve built here.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support the blog, then there’s a way to do over on Patreon. My Patreon projects for this year is a gothic/steampunk fantasy thing for Vivian and a set of Antique Doll paper dolls. I’m super excited about both.

Happy Valentine’s Day with a Rockabilly Vintage Paper Doll

A Valentine's Day printable paper doll coloring page with a mix and match wardrobe. Great idea for kids crafting over the holiday!
A Valentine's Day printable paper doll with a mix and match wardrobe in teals and pinks. Great idea for kids crafting over the holiday!

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I have a deep fondness for Valentine’s Day paper dolls despite having a long history of having truly awful Valentine’s Days. However, my grandmother used to send me and my sister cards for Valentine’s Day and they often included paper dolls, so I like to continue that tradition here in her honor.

So, first off, Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope it is, if not great, at least uneventful and, tomorrow, there’s a lot of cheap chocolate available which always seems like a nice perk. It’s also a good time to get some roses on sale if you like roses. I confess to being more of a peonies person myself, but each to their own.

For today’s Valentine’s Day paper doll I wanted try out something I hadn’t done before, so I slipped into the world of vintage inspired rockabilly fashion. If that wasn’t a stretch enough, I then gave myself the challenge of coloring the whole thing without using any red, because I do think the color schemes for Valentine’s Day can get a little boring. How. much pink and red does one person need?

If you’re looking for even more Valentine’s Day fun, I did a Valentine’s Paper Doll Coloring Page in my first newsletter of 2022. (Sign up here if you’d like to get it.)

Meanwhile, you can get any number of additional Valentine’s Day paper dolls from previous years here and let me know if you’ve got plans for the holiday in a comment.

DDJ: Sweet Summer Scallops with Dusk

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While all of my paper dolls have themes, I think my contemporary fashion paper dolls have themes that are sometimes more subtle or more defined by color than anything else. After all, there’s only so many ways a person can draw a pair of blue jeans. This set was inspired by summer florals and a pair of polka-dot jeans my sister used to own. In my head, I was thinking feminine silhouettes (hence the flutter, tulip and puffed sleeves) and scallops. I included the long denim skirt, because I feel like 1990s fashions are having a revival and long denim skirts feel so 1990s to me.

I wanted to keep the colors soft and pastel without feeling too… childish. I think pastels can go nursery room really fast. For those keeping count at home, this is my 7th Dolls Du Jour paper doll and my second one with Dusk. The last one was this very fancy evening gown set.

There’s also a new paper doll set up on Etsy if you’d like to go check that one out. It’s a three doll set with five pages of fantasy clothing. I imagine it would be super fun to color.

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DDJ: Color Blocking with Twilight

A black and white paper doll with a mix and match wardrobe of 8 clothing pieces.

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A black paper doll with a mix and match wardrobe of 8 clothing pieces.

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Color blocking is one of my favorite fashion themes. I just love how it lets me play with different colors and experiment with how different lines look on a set of garments. I first drew this paper doll set last year, but didn’t manage to actually get it done until a few weeks ago. Sometimes, I am a little slow on finishing up my own artwork.

Let’s not talk about the large number of 80% finished projects lurking on my hard-drive.

By the way, this is only my 6th Dolls Du Jour paper doll. I created this series in May of 2020 as part of my move towards drawing more diverse figures. Figure drawing is my least favorite part of paper doll making and it is the part I think I am worse at. There’s dozens of abandoned attempts at figure drawing in my notebooks. I still don’t think my figures are as diverse as they could be, but I also can only bang my head against the things I don’t like doing so long.

Just let me draw silly shoes and ignore when my people look off, which they often do.

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DDJ: Retro Space Paper Doll Adventures with Dawn

An Asian paper doll coloring page with four dresses and a space suit in a retro-1960s sci-fi theme.
A color printable Asian paper doll with a space wardrobe theme, She's got four dresses, boots and a space suit in 1960s inspired colors.

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There’s something really fun about retro futuristic clothing of the 1960s and I had fun drawing it for today’s printable paper doll. I was tickled when I saw it mentioned in the latest issue of Paper Doll Review. Anyway, I’m always up for drawing paper dolls with retro space clothing. I’ve been watching Star Trek: The Original Series with my partner during the pandemic and it’s a hoot. So, here we have four space mini-dresses, a totally impractical space suit and some very important space boots.

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DDJ: A Renaissance Fantasy Princess Printable & Her Gowns

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Maybe because I saw Ever After at a young age, but I have a deep affection for Italian Renaissance inspired gowns and these are a few of them. Fantasy paper dolls rival historical paper dolls as some of my favorites to draw. This set of printable fantasy paper dolls is from my Dolls Du Jour series, lovingly known as DDJ. Named by a Patron (thank you!) these paper dolls are part of my goal to make some more curvy paper doll ladies. Each doll is named after a time or day, so this is Twilight.

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A Magical Girl Paper Doll

Let me start with this disclaimer: I do not watch Anime. As my partner would attest, I know nothing about magical girls, except what I vaguely remember from having friends obsessed with Sailor Moon in the 1990s. I wasn’t super into Sailor Moon, but they sure as heck were.

Magical girls, as I understand it, is a sub-genre of Japanese anime/manga/other stuff that feature girls using magic. (Yeah, you might have guessed that from the title, huh?) The primary feature of Magical Girl anime is the idea of a transformation. Most Magical Girl characters have a magic object (called a compact, I think?) which they use to transform into their magical selves.

Then- they fight evil/crime/playing cards? This genre mystifies me on occasion.

Features of Magical Girl outfits seem to be lots of ribbons, ruffles and asymmetry. Our magical girl, Dawn, has double buns (a nod to Sailor Moon), a compact version of her staff (as seen in both Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura) and several outfits.

A magical girl paper doll with curves! And three outfits to print and play with.

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So, the primary source for inspiration for her costumes was Cardcapture Sakura. There is also some Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica in there as well. One of the things I liked about Cardcapture Sakura was that it has lots of different outfits. That was a fun thing to look up. I noticed asymmetry in many of the outfits, hence the knee sock and the ankle sock with ruffles and a ribbon.

The baggy shorts were my attempt to draw something not a dress (there’s lots of dresses in the world of Magical Girls), but I openly admit this set is less mix and match then I like. Still, dresses tend not be very mix and match. I can live with that. She can always borrow jeans from this set.

Printable magical girl paper doll with buns and three dresses

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Drawing a genre I know so little about it both fun and a bit scary. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I had fun finding images and adapting them. I hope folks who do know more about this style than I do will let me know how I did in my foray into the land of Magical Girls.

Anyway, if you like what you see around here, consider popping over to Patreon and supporting it. If you’d like to let me know what you think about today’s paper doll, I always love to read comments.

Evening Gowns for the Dolls Du Jour

On my short list of favorite paper dolls are evening gowns. When it comes to printable kids activities, I know not all my paper dolls are super kid designed. However, when I was a kid my favorite paper dolls were the ones with fancy gowns and historical ones. So, I think of today’s paper dolls as being a printable kids activity.

Dusk is only my second Doll Du Jour design. She’s joining Dawn from a few weeks ago.

Printable Kids Activity: Curvy Paper Doll with two evening gowns and two pairs of shoes.

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I knew I wanted to do a set of fancy evening gowns. I wasn’t planning to draw as many purses as I did, but then as I was doing layout, there was a lot of empty space. So, I thought, I’ll fill up this space with clutch purses!

Listen, I don’t judge how your brain works.

One of the fun things about the Dolls Du Jour pose that is that is is really good for showing off trains on dresses. I’m not great at drawing trains, but I do love the idea of them. In practice, I think actually having to deal with one would be super annoying.

A full-color curvy blond paper doll with two evening gowns and two pairs of shoes.

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I went back and forth about the colors for her dresses, but in the end I decided I wanted to focus on some less typical shades for women’s evening wear. I tend to do a lot of red and blue evening gowns, so I decided on yellow and coral. These colors feel fresh to me. Plus, warm and summery.

The sources on the dresses I honestly can’t remember. I suspect they were also David’s Bridal or some other website. I confess that with the disruption to my life from the Covid-19 thing has sort of blurred my brain.

Anyway, what were your favorite paper dolls when you were a child? Let me know in a comment.

Dolls Du Jour: Days in Denim

Sharing a new paper doll series is always a little stressful. When I design paper dolls to dress, I think about body poses and I think a lot about how many different styles I think I can get from a single body pose. A few perks of this pose are the 3/4 view and the spread legs, which open up some design options.

She will be hard to make into a mermaid though…

Anyway, the first version of this paper doll showed up on Instagram back in 2018. I had to do some extensive redrawing, because the sketchbook was ruined while traveling to Alaska.

Fixing her right foot was also a priority.

A huge thanks you to my Patrons! Sheryl helped me name the series and had the amazing idea to name the dolls after temporal themes. I love this! Because I tend to like giving my paper dolls names that are not really names. I mean, you can find people named Dawn, but like there aren’t a lot of Dusk or Evening named folks running around.

A coloring page with paper dolls to dress with jeans and other contemporary clothing pieces.

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I like to test out new series with sets that show me how many clothing pieces I can fit on a page. After all, the whole point of paper dolls to dress is that you want to dress them. Otherwise, why have the clothing at all?

Denim is the base of most modern wardrobes. Knowing that I have denim done, so to speak, allows for more variety in later sets. Every person (or paper doll) needs a good pair of jeans after all.

Paper dolls to dress with jeans and other contemporary clothing pieces.

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Color scheme wise, I had no idea what to do with this set. Denim is mostly blue, after all, so I went with a green, purple and pink scheme.

I have done occasional random denim themed paper dolls over the years. A few of my favorites- Weekend Denim, Paper Doll Guys Need Jeans, Girl Paper Dolls Need Jeans, Hearts Denim and Bows, Jeans and Tank Tops, and my first ever- Stylish Denim. I’ve heard that denim maxi skirts are back and I am secretly super excited about this.

What do you think of this new series? Let me know in a comments! And head over to join us on Patreon if you want to someday help name a paper doll series.