Monday, December 31, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 30

Oddly enough, New Year's Eve ended up being a party dress!  Hopefully you all have a safe & happy last day of the year.  We'll be doing what we usually do - having friends over, staying home with the kids, and having a little (too much I'm sure) to drink & eat.  See you all next year ;)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 29

For those of you keeping score, there should only be one outfit after today.  But you're wrong! I made 31 outfits AND one doll for a total of 32.  So there's one for New Year's day, too.

And I totally want this outfit and hair.  Maybe that will be my (early) New Year's resolution!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 28

Much like outfit 5, this one has a '70s/'90s urban feel to it.  The hair is a little crazy, and I'm not totally happy about it, but overall it's a fun little outfit.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 27

For this dress, I needed a convincing way to connect the arm to the body, since I went with a single-shoulder strap.  Sure, the strap could have gone on the other side, but I think the chunky necklace & bracelet are more fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 26

So this outfit is meant to be a jean jacket & skirt.  Maybe I'll call this whole collection "Retro in Boots" since all the clothes have a heavy retro influence & they all seem to have knee-high boots!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 25

Outfit 25 has a '60s stewardess feel to it.  Looking back on these outfits, I now realize most of them fall into some variety of historical influence!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 24

Merry Christmas!  It's my youngest son's first Christmas so lots and lots of things planned for the day.

For anyone downloading today's outfit, it's got a '60s Bond girl vibe to it.  The top is supposed to have a macrame/woven part at the top.  And I picture it with white go-go boots :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 23

I wanted an old Hollywood feel here.  That's the deal with the sunglasses.

And everyone - Have a safe, happy Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 22

Another sort of retro inspired outfit.  It has kind of a French feeling to it.  Or Audrey Hepburn.  Or both :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 21

Outfit 21.  Not much of a story here, really.  At the time, I had been looking at the sketches for the Chloe doll.  There's an outfit a lot like this in there.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 20

Here's outfit 20.  There was this very bizarre young woman I worked with briefly, but her clothing was always very interesting.  This is based loosely on an Asian influence top she once wore to work.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A New Suite of Programs

Here's a little project I plan on working on in '13: learning some new programs.  I have a couple of programs I've wanted to learn for a while, but the suite of programs I'm really intrigued by comes from Serif.  There's a Google offer (good til Dec 31st) that was simply too good to pass up.  $19 for 5 programs.  One is a vector program that I plan on teaching myself & testing out with the dolls.  It's called DrawPlus and there's a free version on their site as well.

Grab the cheap or free versions and join me on an adventure :)

December Doll Download - Outfit 18

This is supposed to be a striped blouse with knee-high stockings and Mary Jane shoes.  The stripes didn't work quite as well as I had hoped they would.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 16

Outfit 16 is another bulky sweater and long necklace combination.  It's supposed to be a v-neck sweater but I think that gets a little lost in the necklace.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December Doll Download - Outift 15

I don't have much to say about outfit 15 except that I love the hair.  The rest of it is kind of dull, but that hair came out great!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 14

Outfit 14 has just a hint of steampunk/Victorian influence.  That's supposed to be a dangling pocket watch at the waist.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 13

This is another one of those outfits I clearly remember drawing.  It was Barack Obama's inauguration.  I loved Michelle Obama's dress, and the amazing hat Aretha Franklin wore.  Can't wait to see what's in store for the next inauguration!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 12

So outfit 12 is a bit of a mash-up.  The dress & necklace are a little '60s, but slouch boots always make me think of the '80s.  Which brings me to a rant - I remember the '80s.  Everything was neon and horrible.  I mean horrible!  So why am I seeing it in stores today?! This must be how my parents felt during the '70s revival when I was in high school in the '90s :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 11

Outfit 11.  Another sort of '70s inspired outfit.  I picture this is red & tan, but you don't have to!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merry Christmas Jane!

Here's a Christmas PaperJane doll.  Feel free to print this one out to play with.  This is the light skin variation. Merry Christmas!

December Doll Download - Outfit 10

Here's outfit 10.  My husband loves anime, and I was going for a school girl kind of thing here. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 9

Outfit 9 is another bouncy little skirt.  I imagine that skirt is satin or sparkly or something fun.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 7

Outfit 7.   Another one based on my wardrobe.  I have this damask single-button jacket that I used to wear to work.  I love it, but I don't get to wear it much anymore.  Doesn't fit my mom-of-two-sons life at the moment!

Friday, December 7, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 6

The sixth installment.  I distinctly remember not having a good idea for a dress on this day, so I defaulted to a ballgown.  Incidentally, I try to have a fairly even number of dresses & pants with this doll.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 5

Outfit 5.  I was going for something sort of '70s urban.  Or maybe '90s J-Lo.  They're practically the same thing!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 3

The third installment of the December doll.  No real story here.  I guess I have a thing for knee-high boots though! They keep popping up....

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 2

The second outfit in the series.  I love heavy sweaters & wool skirts, so that's the inspiration for this one.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Doll Download - Outfit 1

Here's the first outfit for December.  It's based loosely on an outfit I bought a million years ago and H&M!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Doll Download

So I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm doing something different for December.  This is the first installment.

Just a bit of background:  I write a lesson for this blog - complete with visuals - every week.  Sometimes the lesson goes quickly and I can get it done in about an hour.  Sometimes....not so much and it takes me most of the week to write it!  December is a super busy month for me.  My oldest son is turning 3 this month, and my husband's birthday is two days before Christmas, and then the annual family shuffle, and maybe - just maybe - we can see some friends and their kids.  Phew.  Makes me tired just thinking about it!  I can't possibly write three or four lessons this month.  I initially thought about just taking the month off, but that didn't seem right.  So I decided to post a black and white doll every day.  But isn't that more work?!  Not really.  I've had this doll for a while & I haven't had time to do much with it.

This doll is about four years old.  It started as a scribble on a post-it note during a lunch hour at my last job.  I used an oversized post-it pad (I think it was 2.5 inches by 4 inches.  Still small!!) and traced this doll out on individual sheets.  At the time, I was commuting over an hour each way, I was trying to get pregnant and worrying about becoming a stay-at-home mom, while taking an evening certificate course in graphic design, and my art was suffering badly.  I came up with a challenge for myself - draw a mini doll every day.  This is the result.

To make the doll a manageable size, I scanned it at a high resolution, then auto-traced it in Illustrator, brought it into Photoshop to clean it up.  Auto-trace can be messy and complicated when dealing with tiny, hand-drawn images, but it's also one of the best ways to enlarge a doll, in my opinion.  The doll is a little rough.  I may work with it again in the future and didn't want to put a ton of time in now.

Enough chatter, here's the doll.  The idea is to print & color (or digitally color) the doll and clothes.  I'd love to see how it turns out :) I'll post an outfit for this every day in December, with a PDF of everything at the end.  We'll go back to the regular schedule in January.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fashion Doll Friday - Noelle

Today is the last day of November and I'm going to the Methuen Festival of Trees so I'm feeling festive.  This week's doll is the first Fashion Friday holiday doll! Enjoy!

Noelle - Fashion Friday Paper Doll

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Angel Doll

For anyone who has been over to my portfolio site, you've probably seen my angel doll.  I haphazardly post a new page roughly every holiday season.  And now I'm posting it here!  I have the pdf over at the portfolio site.

Since this blog is about technique, I just want to mention that this was done in Illustrator.  I made use of gradients and patterns, and some brushes.  The first two pages are somewhat traditional costumes for an angel.  The last page is influenced by Victorian era clothing.  I've been reading a history of Christmas.  Anyway.... Enjoy the angel doll!

Monday, November 26, 2012

More on Illustrator

Last week we left off in Illustrator.  We'll finish that up, and this will be the last lesson for this year.  I'll post a Fashion Friday doll this week, too, but December is going to be an experiment.  I am going to post a black & white doll on December first and then a new outfit every day for the month!  January will be back to the normal routine.  After today's lesson, I feel like all of the "basics" of how I make a paper doll will have been covered.  I'd like to dig deeper into some techniques, as well as take a look at various products to explore the differences.  If there's a topic someone would like to explore, let me know.  I'm happy to take lesson requests!

So back to the lesson.

Last week we left off with an outlined doll.  I want to create the base for the doll, color the doll, and place the doll in the proper position to print on a standard sheet of paper.  Let's start by creating the base.

Open the shape tool on the menu toolbar and select the ellipse option.  Hold down Shift while drawing an ellipse and you'll end up with a circle.  This works with the rectangle tool as well: you get a square by holding Shift.  If you also hold down Option (or Alt on a PC) while drawing, you'll creating your circle from the center out.  It can be handy.

We've created a circle for the base, but the base needs to be a straight line.  I could delete points and fiddle with the convert anchor tool, but there's a much easier way - the pathfinder tool.  So next we need to draw a rectangle.  It needs to be wider than the circle and at least half the height.  Bigger is better.

Here's how it should look.  Next I want to center it horizontally and vertically and use the pathfinder tool to delete it.  Select the circle and rectangle together.  Hold shift to select multiple objects at the same time.

After you select your two shapes, a new menu pops up on the top toolbar.  The second button aligns the shapes vertically, the fifth button will align the shapes horizontally.  Once you do that, open your pathfinder tool.  It looks like two overlapping boxes, or you can select it from the drop-down menus at the top: Window>Pathfinder.

So select your two shapes and click on the second button in the first row of the pathfinder tool.  If you hover over it, you'll see that it's called Minus Front. And that's exactly what we want! The image above shows the before and after.  Now take that base shape and send it to the back.  We've going to resize and position the doll.  I've unlocked the template layer and moved all the outfit templates off the artboard (that's the white rectangle we've been working on top of).

Click on the Document Setup button at the top of the screen and you get the menu pictured above.  There's an Edit Artboards button.  That's what we want to do.  You can drag and move the artboard to resize it, but I just want to make it 8.5 inches high by 11 inches wide.  Type those numbers into the appropriate slots.

There's an X,Y,W, and H option.  X and Y give you the location of the board on the X and Y axis.  We don't need that.  W and H give you the dimensions of your board.  I want it 11 inches wide, and 8.5 inches tall.  If the measurements are in pixels, points, etc, just type "8.5in" or "11in".

So our artboard is the correct size, all but one of our templates have been moved (remember the template under the doll!), and we're ready to move and resize.  Make sure your template layer has been re-locked.

Using the black arrow, draw a box around the whole doll.  There will then be an invisible rectangle around the doll.  Grab anywhere and drag it to the lower left of the artboard.  With everything still selected, grab the upper right corner of the rectangle, hold shift (to contstrain the proportions), and drag to the size you want.

This is now your final doll and all clothes must fit this doll.  Delete the doll template.  What I do from here is trace the doll outfit templates somewhere outside the artboard using the same techniques we used to trace the doll.  Then I select the outfit the way I selected the whole doll, and place it over the doll and fiddle around with the fit.  I would recommend doing this on a new layer!

Here I've created one quick little outfit on a new layer.  Make sure your outside lines are the same thickness as the doll.  You can do this by changing the stroke.

To color your doll, click on each shape and select a color.  You can change the foreground and stroke colors, you can make the fill a gradient, you can add patterns, etc.  In this case, I just want to make the doll flat colors.  Click on the part you want to color and select a swatch from your swatches panel.

And here's a flat color on the doll and clothes.  Next year, we'll dig deeper into some of these programs and techniques.  For now, play around with Illustrator and see what you can come up with.  And think about what lessons might be fun to try for next year!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fashion Friday - Tess

Here's the Fashion Friday doll - Tess.  I wanted to do something black (for Black Friday) but not ALL black.  So here's a black & red doll.  Enjoy!

Tess - Fashion Friday Paper Doll

Download the Fashion Friday - Tess pdf here

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tracing a Doll in Illustrator

Today we're going to continue with Illustrator.  It's a complex program that takes time to master, and every time I use it I learn something new.  What we'll be doing today is tracing out the doll.  I may get to tracing the outfits too, but that might wait til next week.  And remember, starting December 1st I'm going to try something a little different for the month: a daily doll post.  More on that to come.

One more note, most of this lesson would work with any vector program.  I use Adobe Illustrator CS4.

Open Illustrator.  Open File>Place and choose the image you want to trace.  I have the doll and clothes all in one file.  The clothing is not to scale and doesn't fit the doll yet.

This is my setup.  I have a the doll and all the clothing laid out randomly.  The image sizes and art board size are irrelevant.  Make sure any and all of these template images are on the same layer.  I named my layer "templates" and I'm going to lock that layer and make a new one.

In Illustrator, every shape or object is its own sub-layer.  This can be a bit confusing and we'll look at some examples of this.  To start, get the pen tool and start tracing the doll.  I create a rough outline using a stroke with no fill and straight lines.  Start with large areas first.

The lines in red are my rough trace.  I chose red so it would show up against the black lines of the template.  I placed a point at natural intersections: elbow, neck, waist, etc.  This is a 1pt line thickness with mitered joins.  What that means is that the places where points turn (like the fingertips here), the line forms a sharp angle.  I'm not a fan of that, so I typically change my strokes to a rounded cap/rounded join combination.  I also prefer a thinner line while tracing.  In the stroke panel (the bottom panel in this image), change the stroke thickness and select the two center selections for the type of stroke: rounded cap and rounded join.  Make sure your art is selected when you do this.

Next up, grab the convert anchor tool from the pen menu.  We're going to start changing those points and straight lines into curves.

Here are two close-ups showing the line.  I clicked on a point with the convert anchor tool (looks like an open arrow) and dragged my mouse to pull the point out.  There are handles and grabbing those handles will continue to change the look of the curve.  That's what is happening in the bottom image.  Do this all around the rough outline.

This is my outline.  I like to draw the body and head individually.  In this case, I've outlined the body.  I need to outline the background fingers and head next.

 Here is the outline when filled with white.  I also drew the fingers here.  As I mentioned before, each shape is a sub-layer and that becomes obvious here.

Each shape is drawn on top of the previous shape.  These fingers need to be repositioned under the hand.  This can be done using the Object>Arrange>Send Backward menu, or you can use the shortcut (Command or Control - Bracket.  It's the left bracket for bring forward and right bracket for send backward), or you can rearrange the sub-layers in the layers menu.

This final picture shows the outlined doll.  In the next lesson, we'll color the doll and add the base.  I need to add some details to the hair and outfit as well.

Hopefully next time we'll have a chance to go over some of the other tools in Illustrator, such as brushes, patterns, gradients, etc.  Next week will be the last lesson until January.  I want to dig deeper into some topics.  I'd also love suggestions, but we'll talk more about that next time.  Til then, practice with Illustrator.  Have a great Thanksgiving!