Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 15 in Red

I hope your 2014 has been a fun one.  This project has been such a nice way to end my year.  I feel like I learned a little bit more about Photoshop and learning is always the goal!

My life is so much more than paper dolls and this has been a really good year. I've been lucky enough to see my kids continue to grow, change, and thrive.  They amaze me every day.  I've also had a great year creatively.  I've had more people visit my little paper doll blog than ever before.  I've also sold more paper dolls than any other year (thanks to everyone for that!!) and, more importantly, I've produced more than ever before.

It'll be a tough year to top.  But I'll try!

And, as promised, here's the pdf.  It's 16 full-color pages.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 15 in Green

It's the last day of the year.  Time to party, time to reflect, and time to plan for the next year.  I'm not sure what's next for this blog.  I have some ideas for things I'd like to work on, of course.  How much will get accomplished.... I dunno.

This dress seemed like a nice way to end the series.  It's vaguely Victorian inspired.  I think "Victorian" is often associated with Christmas. That nostalgic, warm & fuzzy kind of feeling.  It's sort of wholesome and beautiful and popular.

The outlines for this outfit, like so many in this set, felt really uninspired.  What really makes this set great, in my opinion, are the textures and colors.  The skirt was a public domain image from Wikimedia Commons and it was just about exactly what I envisioned.

The last outfit in the series posts tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 14 in Red

Here's the red version of the super sparkly dress. Well, sort of red.  I mean really, what's the difference between "light red" and "pink"? Pretty much nothing.

Still, pink is sort of red and I'm ok with that.

Part of the reason why I wanted to have colored dolls this December instead of black & white is because I need to brush up on Photoshop.  I have this fancy new computer designed for digital drawing and painting.  What better way to learn than to practice?  This has been such a fun way to learn!

One more set of outfits and the pdf.  Looks like the last outfit and pdf will be my first posts of the new year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 14 in Green

The end of the year is party season, right? So why not a bright, fun party dress!

When I drew this outfit, I had no idea where to go with it.  While searching for a different texture, I came across the sparkly texture I used for the body of the skirt.  I honestly just wanted an excuse to use it!  And the other sparkly bits are from a texture I created in ArtRage.  Seriously, get that program.  It's really inexpensive and really amazing!

One more outfit set! These December projects always end up way bigger than I anticipate! Totally worth it.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 13 in Red

It's the last Saturday of the year! If your family is anything like our family, the holidays are still in full swing. My husband and I have family in different parts of the Northeast and there's generally a lot of traveling involved. His family is primarily on Long Island.  Most of my family is concentrated within an hour's drive of here, so we see quite a bit of them.  My more extended family (grandparents & cousins) are still in our ancestral home of Caledonia County, Vermont.

"Ancestral" seems like such a pretentious term, but it's the accurate one.  I'm an avid amateur genealogist and I've traced my family roots back quite a bit.  I even had the DNA testing done.  Very interesting stuff.  And not at all related to paper dolls!

Anyway, here's the latest outfit in red.  I like the red & white combination here. Often, I overlook shoes.  I don't think much about shoes outside of their practical applications.  I've never really been a shoe enthusiast, but I thought this dress needed something a bit more interesting than plain shoes.  So both the green & red version got brightly colored leather shoes!

We're in the home stretch now.  I haven't had a chance to cut these out myself, but I hope some of you have! Green outfit tomorrow!

Friday, December 26, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 13 in Green

So many of these paper doll outfits have been Nordic inspired.  I'm not sure if that's due to the popularity of Frozen or the prevalence of Nordic patterns in winter clothing.  Probably, it's both.

This dress is a simple design and I wanted a bold pattern to contrast with that.  I also find that working with a limited palette (in this case, mainly red and green) presents interesting challenges.  I like the dark tones with the bright green and it's a combination that's popped up several times over the course of this project.

Tomorrow is the red version of this.  Two more outfit sets to go!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 12 in Red

Merry Christmas! I know not all of my readers out there celebrate Christmas, and that's just fine. I haven't had any sort of religious affiliation in years, honestly, but this time of year has always been important to me.  I believe in giving, sharing, and being kind to one another.  And really, ideas like that shouldn't need a specific religious backing to resonate. Not should they need a "season".  But if there is a season for it, this one is just fine.  The darkness and the cold can be a bit much in my part of the world at this time of year, and I'll take any cheerfulness I can get!

And this outfit is all about cheery brightness! I've really had a "thing" for patterned tights & leggings in this paper doll set.  Today is yet another one!  Apparently these are quite trendy at the moment.  So yay for being trendy!

Have a happy, safe, fun holiday.  I have to say, my sons have made this day a blast!!

A green outfit tomorrow and we're winding down on the series, so the pdf is coming really soon...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 12 in Green

For those of you who celebrate, it's Christmas Eve! My little boys -- they're just-barely-5 and not-quite-3 -- LOVE Christmas this year.  We've been watching Christmas movies & listening to holiday music since November 1st. Literally.

Every year, I come up with a December paper doll set.  I think of it as a tiny way of giving something special to all the people who visit my blog & support my art. There are various times throughout the year that I get discouraged and think that I don't have the time for this blog, or I have nothing new to say, or -- even worse -- no new art to share.  And every time that happens, I find some kind comment or spike in traffic & interest that encourages me to keep it up.  It's getting to be the time of year where I think about what comes next.  I'm still not sure yet what next year holds, but I'm not quite ready to stop posting here yet!

Tomorrow is a red(ish) version of this!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 11 in Red

I mentioned yesterday that this outfit set was a bit bland.  And it is.  The red version is slightly better than the green version, I think.

I'm not sure exactly what I don't like about this set.  It was supposed to be a sort of Victorian inspired vest & pants set.  It just fell a little flat.

When I start a paper doll, I try to create more outfits than I think I'll use in order to weed out the weakest one.  I typically shoot for 12 to 15 outfits per doll, especially if I'm creating a book since there's a page minimum to reach.  Even still, it's important to create draft after draft to get it right.  The Goddess paper doll that I published took years to get right.  Even now, there's part of me that would like to do it over again because I've come so far.  But if I continually recreated old projects, there would never be time for new ones!

Tomorrow's outfit is a bit more fun!

One more thing.  It's my husband's birthday, so happy birthday.  You're the anchor who let's me be creative!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 11 in Green

A million years ago (ok, probably like 20 years ago....), I had an amazing art teacher.  She became my art teacher in 7th grade and molded me into the artist I am through out high school.  One thing that she strongly advocated was the ability to self-critique one's own work.  I still carry a self-evaluation work sheet around with me from her classes!

I think as a creative (whatever your creative vocation may be), it's important to look at your own art objectively, to truly see your own mistakes and triumphs.  Every set of paper dolls that I make has a strongest and weakest outfit.  My goal is to make sure that the strongest and weakest outfits aren't too far apart in quality.  This, to me, is the weakest outfit set in the bunch.  Not that it's bad, really, just not amazing.  The pattern is interesting, but the colors are bland.  I wasn't thrilled with the outfit to begin with, and coloring it didn't help much.

It just ended up being a little bland.

The equally bland red version is tomorrow, with some better outfits and a pdf coming soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 10 in Red

Yesterday's outfit was a sweater and skirt with work boots.  Today is the red version of that. It's no secret that I use a blend of brushes and textures that I created and that I find. This one is pretty much all found images.  I'm a big fan of Wikimedia Commons.  There are tons of public domain and Creative Commons images.

I was less diligent about using commercial use brushes and textures with this set primarily because I don't plan on selling these images. To be truly safe as far as copyright is concerned, I should make all of my own textures.  Someday... For now, I'm grateful for all of the awesome things out in the world for me to use.  Like the person who uploaded a picture of work boots to Wikimedia Commons that provided exactly the texture I needed!

A new green outfit tomorrow and pdf to come!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 10 in Green

I've probably mentioned this a bunch already, but I'm a New Englander.  My family has been in this area for ages and this place is a really important part of who I am.  I'm most comfortable in jeans, a flannel, and boots than anything else.  Although a sweater, skirt, and boots works, too!

Big, bulky sweaters with work boots and a skirt are a natural fit, right?  Sure they are! This outfit looks so cozy.  I want one now.... There seems to be a recurring theme in this paper doll set -- I want all of the clothes! Maybe I should use them as a shopping list....!

And tomorrow is the red version, pdf to follow, etc etc.....

Friday, December 19, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 9 in Red

So here's the red version of yesterday's outfit. I was lucky enough to find a texture that looked enough like wool for this jacket, and I found a lovely silver clasp.  And I live the way the embroidery stands out on the dark jacket color.

If the embroidery looks familiar, it's an Illustrator brush & image set that I developed recently.  I used it on the Fashion Friday Katrin paper doll and will probably use it a whole lot more.  It's a beautiful and useful brush set.  And it was perfect for this application!

A new green outfit tomorrow, pdf coming soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 9 in Green

Ok, I'm super excited about this set of outfits.  I'm hesitant to chose a favorite, but if I had to, this is it! It's inspired by European folk costumes though not a specific one.  I've seen Frozen about a zillion times (that is NOT a complaint at all!!) so this is partly a Nordic inspired outfit.  But there's a little Irish in there, too.

I wanted this to look like an embroidered wool jacket. Embroidery is something I love from afar - I don't think I'll ever have the patience to even attempt it, let alone ever be good at it.  There are so many arts & crafts I would love to master.  There simply aren't enough hours/days/etc and we all have to choose our battles!  I will, however, continue to fake embroidery as often as possible!

Tomorrow is the equally stunning red version and a pdf at the end of it all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 8 in Red

As much as I liked the green version of this skirt & jacket, I think I might like the red even better.  I honestly thought I'd prefer the green outfits and the red ones were something of an afterthought but this has not been the case!  I almost always seem to prefer the red one after both are completed.

Part of what I love about this outfit is the jacket.  I found a perfect texture online.  I'm not sure exactly what the texture would be called, but it's something of a coarse weave I've seen in women's jackets.  I'm much more interested in the image of a thing than its name.  My husband & I are able to tag-team social functions that way: I have a wonderful memory for faces, but not for names while he remembers everyone's names flawlessly.  I'm not overly concerned with the correct names for fabrics or fashion history.  I suppose I should be -- and I am when it's important -- but this is a fun project, not a serious one!

A new outfit tomorrow, pdf to come.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 8 in Green

I find my fashion inspiration tends to be more retro than current, more mid-20th century than early 21st century.  Today's outfit certainly is.

I'm also drawn to "preppy" things. I love a structured jacket and bouncy skirts.  If I saw this outfit while out shopping, I would need to own it! My mom uniform of jeans & random t-shirts or whatever is definitely convenient, but not exactly inspired. This skirt and jacket is just so sweet and timeless! I love it and I hope you do, too.

Look for the red version tomorrow and a pdf is coming up soon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 7 in Red

Today is the red version of yesterday's outfit.  The dress shirt features the same plaid pattern as the base outfit.  I loved that pattern so much I wanted to make sure that it made it into the doll wardrobe. I grabbed the plaid pattern from this site. I like to create digital scrapbooks and this was a site I found while looking for digital scrapbooking materials.

And on a totally unrelated note, today is a very special day in our house.  Today is my son Noah's 5th birthday.  I can't believe this amazing little man is already 5.  Mothers more experienced than me say that the days are long but the years are short.  It's very true. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything! So happy birthday my dear boy.  It's going to be a fun day!

We're about halfway through the December dolls. PDF at the end of the month!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 7 in Green

If you look through the dolls I've created over the years, you might see the same outfits or types of outfits popping up time and time again.  I tend to draw outfits I like, naturally, and I love this shirt & sweater combination with jeans.

I pretty much live in jeans.  Jeans are a wardrobe essential for me: I can wear them with t-shirts while I play with my sons or with something a little more grown up for a night out!

Tomorrow will be the red version of this outfit, and I'll post the pdf at the end of the month.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 6 in Red

Yesterday's doll had an argyle sweater, and if you look quickly, this one looks the same.  It is and it isn't.  I wanted to change the green in that pattern to red, and the red to green.  Which proved harder than I thought.  By the time I sorted that out, I decided not to even attempt changing the plain pattern!

This is such a retro set! The sweater, tie, and saddle shoes feel like something out of It's a Wonderful Life or something. Fun fact: It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas are the two holiday movies I insist on watching every year, despite the fact that I'm not crazy about black & white movies and really don't like musicals! I guess we all make exceptions to our own rules!

Outfit 7 tomorrow and pdfs to come.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 6 in Green

Argyle is one of my favorite patterns. It's also one that I haven't mastered on my own yet.  There are some great argyle vector patterns out there and I was thrilled when I found an image I could use in Photoshop that was similar to what I was used to in Illustrator.  This is also the only outfit that I used a skin tone on.

The buttons are probably too small to see this, but they have a stag on them.  I thought that would lend a bit of a retro/antique feel to the outfit.  The trim is from a photograph I took and cobbled together, and the skirt is a plaid I created myself as well. This set of dolls has given me some ideas for more tutorials in the new year, including this plain technique.  Maybe I should spend more time using Photoshop....

Red tomorrow, pdfs to come....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 5 in Red

This is only barely a "red" outfit.  It's really more of a pink. Who ever said that pink isn't a holiday color?!

Again, this dress is made up of patterns I tweaked in Illustrator and then used in Photoshop.  Some of the patterns in the set that I downloaded were really charming, like the bird pattern I used in the top section of the skirt. Don't be surprised if these patterns & colors show up again in some future projects!

Green tomorrow, pdf forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 5 in Green

This is easily my favorite outfit in the set, both the green & red versions! It's got everything a holiday dress should have: sparkles, fun patterns, and awesome colors. I want this outfit honestly!

The patterns are some that I found and adjusted in Illustrator then used in Photoshop.  The sparkles are the same texture I created in ArtRage. And the colors are just plain fun!

Tomorrow is the "red" version.  PDF to follow at the end of the month!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 4 in Red

Here's a red sweater dress! I kept the shoes the same color in both the red & green versions of this outfit.  I just liked them! I toyed with the idea of posting the line drawings as well but decided against it.  This doll was designed with simple lines that I wanted to fill with interesting textures & patterns.  As a result, the line drawings were very simple and super boring!

This dress is a great example of that. It's hard to tell from just the lines that I wanted this to be a sweater dress.  I could have drawn in the pattern.  I actually thought about hand-painting this set.  I even traced the outfits onto watercolor paper! Time really was not on my side and I went completely digital.  And I'm very happy with the results!

A new green outfit tomorrow, pdfs at the end of the month.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 4 in Green

I've said many times that I find lots of patterns and textures online, and I try to create some as needed, too. Today's outfit is a combination of the two.

My mother-in-law knits beautiful sweaters for my sons.  I photographed one of the sweaters with my phone and brought it into Photoshop.  I also photographed the edges of the sweater to use as the edges of my sweater dress.  The sweater was a neutral beige color and that helped tremendously! This would have been much more difficult with a bright sweater!

I also found a Nordic style pattern for the tights.  I love all of the patterned tights out in the world right now.  They aren't always a practical choice for me, so I haven't jumped on that trend yet.  But a girl can dream, even if the "girl" is a mommy in her mid-30s!!

Red version tomorrow, pdf to come....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 3 in Red

Here's the red version of yesterday's outfit.  With this project, I found myself bouncing between Photoshop and Illustrator.  Each program has its strengths and I wanted to use each fully in order to achieve the effect I wanted.

Oh! And there's one more program I use sporadically: ArtRage.  It's a great natural media program. I have a really old version of it on my Mac.  It's the main reason I can't fully abandon my Mac. What I use it for is sparkles.  Lots of sparkles.  There's a glitter tool that is awesome! I used it to create a sparkle texture for this and other outfits in the series.

The skirt pattern was an Illustrator pattern that I recolored in Illustrator and then ported to Photoshop. I tried warping the pattern so that it matched the lines of the skirt but, truthfully, I don't understand the way images are warped in Photoshop.  Just one more thing to learn!

We're already through one full week of December! Tomorrow is a new green outfit and a pdf at the end of the month.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 3 in Green

Today's outfit was inspired in part by Pinterest.  I like the idea of menswear combine with something super feminine.  In this case, it's a shirt & tie with a sparkly, patterned skirt with a tulle underskirt. I'm not quite as industrious as Liana so I didn't make my own tulle brush.  I'm still new to the way brushes work in Photoshop as opposed to the way they work in Illustrator.  For this outfit, I found a brush on deviantArt that worked perfectly.

I admit, I use a lot of patterns, brushes, etc, created by other people.  In an ideal world, I would create every pattern, texture, and brush that I use.  I respect other creators and work diligently to respect their terms of usage for assets. Sometimes it's easier (and better looking!) not to reinvent the wheel.  Or, in this case, the skirt! So thank you to all of the awesome creators who make their work freely available for use in my freely available paper doll sets!

A red outfit tomorrow and remember, the pdf is at the end of the series!

Friday, December 5, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 2 in Red

And here's a red jacket! I thought light jeans with that bold red jacket would look great, and I love the results.  The textures I used were found online.  I wish I had kept better track of the textures I used so that I could direct people to the sources....

I find working with Photoshop to be very different than Illustrator, specifically working with patterns.  With Illustrator, I can add patterns to a shape's appearance and layer these within the Appearance panel.  I can scale and rotate these patterns easily.  Photoshop....well, it's a bit tougher.  Scaling is simple enough.  Rotating isn't.  I take individual segments of patterns and rotate them as needed and merge layers, etc.  It gets complicated.  But it's worth it in the end!

A new green outfit will be up tomorrow, and a pdf at the end of the month!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 2 in Green

Today's outfit is a winter jacket with jeans.  I love pea coats and double-breasted wool coats.  For the better part of a decade, I have owned various versions of this jacket.  I love green and I love wool coats.  When I see a green wool coat (the brighter, the better!) I need to own it.

I also love wearing a scarf.  My mother loves to crochet and has been making be scarves for ages.  I love them all.  Naturally, this jacket needed a scarf!

Look for the red version of this tomorrow and a pdf at the end of the month!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 1 in Red

Here's the red version of yesterday's outfit.  I didn't want each outfit to be exactly the same with just a small color change. I thought the red outfit would look great with a dark grey trim & boots instead of the white I used on the green outfit.

And I have to say that the fur was fun to paint, too.  The newest version of Photoshop has a lot of natural brush settings that I played with throughout this project.  This was the beginning of that.

Tomorrow is a green outfit with a pdf at the end of the month!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 1 in Green

We've got the first outfit for the December holiday paper doll today!

I don't have any reason for starting with the green outfit, really.  Part of my plan for this series is to experiment with real-world textures in Photoshop.  This is a subtle tartan pattern I found online.  I wish I had the time to create all of the patterns and textures that I use.  Realistically, I just don't. This was a pattern that caught my attention so I used it.  Tomorrow will be the red version and there will be a pdf at the end of the month!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy December!

It's December...already.  I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by.  I feel like I just created the Kawaii Kids paper dolls!

This year, I decided to create a color set of paper dolls.  I typically post a black & white set in December, partly because colored dolls take a lot more effort and partly because coloring sheets are a lot of fun for the kiddos. This year I wanted to practice my Photoshop skills with my new-ish Surface.  I think it was a good choice, and I hope all of you out there think so too.

I also wanted to create two dolls with a wardrobe to share.  I thought about a mix & match set but found myself struggling with it.  Instead, I create entire outfits.  And because this is the most stressful time of the year for me, I only came up with 15 outfits instead of the 30 I was shooting for. I'm actually pretty happy about that - it forced me to do a little problem solving.

What I decided to do was create two dolls, one with a red color scheme and one with a green color scheme.  Same outfits, different colors. All of the outfits will fit both dolls.  I tried to limit any skin tones in the images to make them as interchangeable as possible.

I'm really excited about this set and it's a style I'll work with again soon.  I'll post an outfit a day (in jpg format) with a wrap-up pdf of everything at the end.

So Happy December! Whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, start your celebrations with this paper doll set. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fashion Friday - Jack

I'll admit - today's doll isn't terribly inspired. It's the beginning of my busy season, and my brain is a bit fried! I host Thanksgiving at my house, then my oldest son has an early December birthday, my husband's birthday is near Christmas, then there's Christmas and the various family activities involved with that. Honestly, I enjoy being busy. I like hosting family and friends. I like the long drives to visit distant family.  And Christmas has become a true joy with my sons. I find, though, that "busy" and "creative" don't always fit together well.

So today we've got Jack in a holiday sweater and jeans.  I wanted to make a guy this week.  It's been a while! And, although the outfit isn't very exciting, the pattern is! I've been trying to figure out how to make a vector sweater pattern for ages and this is the result. I really should share a full tutorial on how I made this.  It wasn't super complicated, but it did take a little patience and a lot of alignment.  You'll see more sweater patterns in the future now that I've go the hang of it!

Also, here's a bit of a shout-out. Cory Jensen makes amazing paper dolls and he shared his Kristin Chenoweth paper doll on Twitter. She loved it! You can see for yourself on his Facebook or Twitter. Congrats on the brush with celebrity, Cory.  You deserve the attention!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fashion Friday - Katrin

One of my on-going tasks is to create a series of digital stock art and sell it online. It's a fairly common practice among digital artists and designers.  I often create random icons and patterns for my paper dolls. (Not always, and I try to note when a pattern isn't mine...) And after several years, I'vce developed quite a little collection of these digital bits & pieces!

This doll is an example of this. I've been very interested in Eastern European folk costumes and folk art, specifically floral motifs.  I've been developing some vector images based on these floral motifs and created this paper doll around those images. And her wardrobe is inspired by folk costumes but in no way a faithful reproduction of anything specific. Also, if you're looking for a few more mix-and-match options, this set would work well with Anastasia.

I'm also working on a set of holiday dolls that I'll post towards the end of November.  Hopefully I can schedule some posts for December and do some housecleaning on this blog.  It's time.  When I search for something on my own site and can't find it, that's a bit of a problem!

So here's Katrin, sporting a wardrobe I am super jealous of and would totally wear!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fashion Friday - Renee

Back to normal! I had a lot of fun working on the Halloween paper dolls and I hope all of you enjoyed them, too. I have to admit, I needed a bit of a break from the Friday fashion doll templates. I like these dolls but I'm also eager for new challenges!
Today's doll is partly inspired by Rachel's fantastic Boho set and partly inspired by a recent trip to the mall with my sister.  Southwestern inspired fashion seems to be everywhere.  Maybe it isn't - I tend to be a bit behind on trends! I heard that '90s fashion was making a comeback, which is great since I never really did give up my flannels & jeans!

Anyway, I wanted something sort of autumn-ish and southwestern-ish.  I found a terrific sweater pattern and adapted to my uses. I'm also experimenting with more hand-drawn elements in Illustrator.  That's what my new Surface really excels and I'm working to embrace it.  The hair on this doll was all hand-drawn with a stylus directly in Illustrator.

I'm working on several Fashion Friday dolls AND a short series for December.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Wardrobe Page 4

Happy Halloween! This is easily my favorite holiday. Dressing up, getting the house all gothed-up, crafty goodness, and pumpkin carving. Oh, and candy. What is there not to love?!

So most of my tech problems are under control. I can't say enough how great the Microsoft store people were at helping me.  A few more things to work out, but I'm up and running, clearly.

Today I have the last page of my Halloween wardrobe.  Given that I wanted to include more pages but couldn't due to my tech challenges, I decided to go all out on this one.  It is NOT included in the book! This set is a tribute to Morticia Addams.

The Addams Family movie came out when I was a kid and I loved everything about it! I had watched reruns of the '60s series, too, and there was just nothing more elegant than Morticia Addams. The center dress and hair are very much Morticia.  The other pieces are just sparkly fun goodness!

I hope you all have a super fun Halloween.  The Matthews family will be spending it in full Star Wars garb.  I'll be Princess Leia, my oldest will be a Stormtrooper, and my youngest will be Darth Vader. And much candy will be had by all!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Technical difficulties and Halloweens Past

This post is a rant.  I'm just warning you all now!

I have had the worst two weeks as far as technology goes!! First, my cell phone broke. I can only charge it if it's off and the charge doesn't last as long as it should. I tried replacing the battery, then decided to order a new phone.  Fine.  No big deal -- cell phones are delicate and break, etc... Then my brand new Surface started acting up.  The folks at the Microsoft store were amazing and hooked me up with a new one.  They transferred my files & everything! Yay! Well, yay, expect that I can't seem to access my external drive now. Which just happens to be where I store all of my art files. I work on more than one computer and I am paranoid about losing my art, so I back up all of my files almost daily to a 1TB external hard drive.  Most of the time it works seamlessly.  Lately...not so much.

So to boil it down: I have a barely functioning phone, a computer that wasn't working but now IS working, without access to the files I want to use.

The Halloween wardrobe has obviously been postponed.  I will post one more page on Friday NO MATTER WHAT! Do you hear that, ye gods of technology?! These very nice people will get one more paper doll page! In the meantime, feel free to order the book {shameless self-promotion}.

If you're looking for some Halloween crafty fun this week, you can take a look at this post from 2013. These are Halloween paper craft movable dolls I developed a while ago.

There are lots of other amazing Halloween paper dolls & crafts out in the world, too.

Liana's Paper Dolls: She has some incredible Halloween costumes (and wonderful, elaborate stories) this year! Go check it out.

Paper Thin Personas: Although no specifically Halloween themed dolls, she always has the most incredible fantasy themed paper dolls.  Her site is meticulously organized and you can find loads of dolls to print -- both color & black and white.

Tricia-Rennea: This site has some cute paper dolls by Tricia-Rennea.  I've printed out several for my nieces, including the Halloween one and some of the winter one.  Very nice dolls, even if finding them on the site can be a bit clunky.

Miss Missy: She just posted a huge, 5 page Halloween themed black and white paper doll to color! You can find it here.

I will post a page to the Halloween paper doll set on Friday.  I will do so with sheer willpower if I must!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ghoulish Girls: a Halloween Paper Doll

I finally finished the Halloween paper doll! I'll still release a couple more pages to go along with it, but if you want the complete wardrobe, you'll need to pick up a copy of the book!

It's called Ghoulish Girls: A Halloween Paper Doll.  It features the three paper dolls I've shared here - a vampire, monster, and witch - and has 10 full-color mix & match clothing pages.  There are also 3 black & white coloring pages, including a bonus doll to color!

Here's the front cover.  I am so excited about this book! It was well worth the extra time it took to finish it. Even the cover came out great! My husband was a big help with this - he entertained the kids while I finished this up.  Without him, I don't know if I ever would have finished this book!

Inside the book, there are 10 different mix & match costume sets: a steampunk inspired vampire, a mad scientist monster, a frilly witch, a skeleton, pumpkin, pirate, cat, werewolf, Victorian influenced ghost, and a stylish Egyptian mummy.  I also wanted some coloring pages.  Paper dolls are for kids as well as collectors, and I wanted a paper doll that would be tons of fun to play with! So I included the coloring pages.

If you want a copy, you can grab it from  It's 20% off until November 1st, so make sure you grab your copy soon!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Wardrobe Part 3

Here's the third page of my Halloween wardrobe. Today there's a cat, werewolf, and mummy.  And that book I keep mentioning? I have one page left and I'm going to try to have it ready for Monday.  I'm beyond excited about this book.  The complete Halloween wardrobe is great and this has been one of my favorite projects ever! I haven't decided on a title yet.  I'm thinking about calling it "Monster Maidens" or "Ghoulish Girls". We'll see -- if there are any opinions out there, feel free to share!!

Anyway, today's Halloween page is below.  This one has some tiny details that need to be cut, and I recommend a craft knife for those.  Aside from that, have fun!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Wardrobe Part 2

October is well on its way.  My sons already have their costumes -- a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader.  We've had our annual apple picking expedition and all that's left to get are pumpkins.  We still have some crafty projects we want to accomplish, but there's plenty of month left for that.

If paper dolls are part of your crafty fun in October, then you'll love this!  Today I have page 2 of my paper doll Halloween wardrobe.  This page has a pumpkin, skeleton, and pirate.  I'm hoping to have the Halloween paper doll book together by the end of this week.  It was a much more ambitious project than I thought it would be.  I used the Paper Jane template and some of the existing wardrobe for that doll, but ended up creating a lot of new outfits, too.  It's a doll I'm really happy with and I don't want to rush it.

You can find part 1 of the Halloween wardrobe here and the dolls are here (Viktoria), here (Morgan), and here (Arachne). Have fun!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Wardrobe Part 1

For those of you following along, I've been posting some Halloween paper dolls this month.  Sometimes I feel the need to change things up and I'm really glad I did!  These have been a lot of fun.  If you haven't grabbed them yet, you can download and print Arachne (a vampire), Viktoria (a monster), and Morgan (a witch). Today is the first page of a mix & match wardrobe.  There are two outfit pieces and a hairstyle for each doll.  I'll have more pieces of the wardrobe next week.

Have fun with this spooky mix & match wardrobe!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Morgan, a Halloween Witch Paper Doll

Today is the last of my three Halloween paper dolls - Morgan the witch. I'll be posting several mix & match outfits starting this Friday and I'm nearly finished with a Halloween paper doll book. The book isn't coming together as quickly as I had hoped, but should still be done in plenty of time for Halloween.

I love this doll!  I've always loved witch costumes & it tends to be my go-to costume.  I wanted a green skinned witch, too, as a bit of an homage to the Wizard of Oz movie.

Here's the doll -- watch for upcoming outfits!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Viktoria, Frankenstein's Monster Paper Doll

I love October! Today is my wedding anniversary.  When we had the chance to get married in October, I jumped at it.  I love the county fairs, festivals, apple picking, and all of the harvest activities.

And Halloween. Today's doll is a tribute to one of my favorite books - Frankenstein.  I read this in high school and loved it, then took a whole course on it in college.  There are so many layers to this book that it's worth reading over and over again. If you have any interest in sci-fi, feminism, or just a great horror story, read this.  I could tell you all about it, but Wikipedia does a better job than I could.

So here's Viktoria, my monster paper doll.  I have one more doll to post, and then some mix & match outfits for all three. Look for those in the next couple of days!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October - New Paper Dolls!

Needless to say, it's been a crazy month. I realize that I haven't posted in a little while -- like everyone else, I got a little busy!

My plan for October was to have a Halloween book and series of free dolls ready to go.  I'm part of the way there.  There are a few things that threw a wrench in my plans, like my youngest son taking his first trip to the ER!  He's fine - he fell on a toy and cut his nose. It took a couple of stitches, but he's a trooper. Sometimes life just gets in the way of paper dolls!

I have three Halloween paper dolls ready to go for this month.  At minimum, I'll be posting these three dolls.  At best, the whole project will miraculously come together! I wanted some classic monster themed paper dolls. The three dolls I have ready to go are based on the Paper Jane template.  I'm no longer updating my Etsy shops.  It was a venue that just didn't work for me.  I love these Paper Jane dolls, so I'll find a way to get them up here.

In happier news, September was a huge month for my paper dolls! I sold more paper dolls books and had more visitors to this blog than ever before! Thank you so much to all of the readers who stick with my sometimes erratic posting schedule.  And thank you to all of the new readers who have plenty of backlog to get through!

So here's the first doll - Arachne, a vampire paper doll! My plan with these dolls (like most of my paper dolls) is to create a mix-and-match wardrobe.  All outfits will fit all dolls.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fashion Friday - Jeanne-Louise

While watching cartoons with my kids this morning, I discovered it was Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Seems like a good theme to me!  So today I cranked out a pirate themed doll.  I named her after Jeanne de Clisson, the Lioness of Brittany.  She was a 14th century pirate in the English Channel.

This outfit is in no way a 14th century outfit!  I just wanted a fun pirate costume, not a historically accurate one. And if you're looking for another pirate paper doll, I have this kawaii kids doll to color, too.

I'm hoping to have something up Monday.  I've got a busy weekend ahead of me -- two of my current design clients will be at Grotonfest in Groton, MA on Saturday, so I'll be wondering around there.  If you're in the area, it's a neat, small town New England event with artisans, farmers, local food & local products.  Definitely a good time! I'm also trying to put together a Halloween paper doll set.... I'll keep you all posted!

Avast, ye mateys, and enjoy ye olde pirate doll! Arr!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kawaii Kids - Superhero

I have another Kawaii Kids paper doll for this Monday.  I decided on superheros this week. My boys LOVE superheros right now.  The kids in my life (my sons & my nieces) often inspire me to create the paper dolls & themes featured here.

Maybe I'll print these and color them with my kids today, too!


Friday, September 12, 2014

OPDAG Housewife Issue - Self-Portrait Paper Doll

I just received my copy of the Housewife issue of Paper Doll Studio magazine.  It's another great issue, filled with wonderful art from diverse artists.  There's also a series of memories from those who knew and loved Tom Tierney, which was very touching to read.  If you aren't a member, you should be!  This magazine is great and I can't believe I waiting as long as I did to join.

Anyway, I thought what would be more appropriate than a self-portrait!? I am, afterall, a housewife although almost no one uses that term.  I stay home with my sons and dabble in freelance work.  I'm not really a stay-at-home-mom entirely, nor am I a work-from-home-mom entirely either.  In fact, the idea of only being defined in terms of my children is a bit annoying.  Yes, it's my primary function.  I worked before kids, I'll (most likely) work after kids, and the whole reason I'm home with our sons is because it was more financially viable here in the Northeast than childcare costs! I also dislike "housewife" for similar reasons.  I'm an individual with a life, history, and existence that extends long before I met my husband or kids.  Mother and wife are just two of a multitude of words I use to define myself. I spend a long time as a student, worked as a picture framer, ran a grocery bakery department while I was in college, and - since childhood - I've been an artist.  I wanted to share all of these separate, meaningful parts of who I am (along with mother and wife).

Having said that, this was a fun theme to tackle.  I created a one-page self-portrait paper doll highlighting some of the things I do on a daily basis.  I drew & painted the doll by hand and then edited & added the background in Photoshop.  It's a method I really enjoy and use all the time.

So grab a copy of the magazine and enjoy the fantastic work of so many talented artists!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Kawaii Kids - Business

I didn't have a lesson ready today, and on the Mondays when that happens, I'll post a Kawaii Kids doll.  This week, I'm working through the suggestion list and it's business suits!  As with all of these dolls, the clothing fits both dolls.  I decided to make one skirt and one pants suit for the girl.  I always preferred a pants suit versus a skirt back when I had a "real" job.  Not that raising kids & running the household (and somehow managing a meager freelance career) isn't "real" work, but I don't report to an office.  So no more suits of any sort for me!

I'm also putting all of the Fairy Tale Friday dolls into a book.  I want it to be a awesome collection of fairy tale & folk tale themed dolls.  I'd love some suggestions!

I've already made: Goldilocks, the Frog Prince, the Little Mermaid, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Beauty (of Beauty & the Beast), Prince Charming, Cinderella, and Snow White.

Here are the rules for submission:
1) Either a male or female character is fine
2) Preferably a prince/princess/protagonist kind of character.  I won't be including villains in this set.
3) Literary sources would be great (public domain is best).  So Dorothy and Alice are ok; Merida and Jasmine of Disney fame would not.
4) Multi-ethnic is great, too.  I have a pale skin/blond hair prince, a medium skin/black hair prince, a pale skin/dark hair princess and a dark skin/dark hair princess.  All clothing sets will be interchangeable.

If I include your idea, I'll send you something.  I don't know what yet - maybe a PDF of the book, or a physical copy of the book.  Something along those lines.  I'll probably mention this a few more times as I work on the book, so feel free to do some research!

That was quite a ramble - here's the business dolls!