Friday, August 28, 2015

Mix and Match Paper Doll Wardrobe Sheet 1

Now that all four of the mix and match paper dolls are finished, I've been working on an extended wardrobe for the dolls.  Rachel had suggested adding a new set of patterns with the same color palette to the wardrobe -- something I had actually been working on! The floral pattern I used with the four dolls was just one of several in the set of patterns I was using.

You can right-click to download and print the image.

This wardrobe set has a new pattern as well as one new color -- grey.  I chose to make this wardrobe a little more dressy.  There are no jeans, just skirts, blouses, and a pair of pants.  There's also a new hairstyle for each of the previous dolls.

Paper dolls for this wardrobe can be found here:
Just right-click on any of these to download.  They're all jpg images.  Have fun mixing and matching!

Monday, August 24, 2015

C. Auguste Dupin Paper Doll

For those of you who subscribe, Paper Doll Studio magazine just released a mystery themed issue.  I debated over what to send, what style to send, etc.  Sherlock Holmes -- though I love Arthur Conan Doyle -- felt too obvious.  So I got to thinking.  I remembered that Edgar Allan Poe influenced Doyle and essentially invented the detective story.  After some research, I settled on the character of C. Auguste Dupin.  He featured in three Poe stories and that seemed like just the right amount of outfits for a paper doll.

You can right-click on these images to save & print them.  They're full resolution -- I want to print them myself!

I decided to "paint" these in Photoshop.  I'm working more on defining a style for myself (more on that at a later date...) and thought this would be a good project to hone some of that further.  Like most of my projects, this started as a sketch.

The pose was influenced by a book cover I found on Pinterest.  In fact, this board contains all of my influences for this paper doll.  The process for creating this paper doll was very much like the walkthrough of Akinyi. I was also lucky to find some open source clip art for the frames as well.

Overall, I'm really happy with this set. There are a few changes I'd make, such as better contrast.  Sometimes things look great on the screen but print a little darker.  Just something to think about in the future. I hope you enjoy this and all of the other fantastic paper dolls in this issue.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Danja - A Mix and Match Paper Doll

Today, I have the last of my four mix and match paper dolls.  For those of you keeping track, we have Akinyi, Bian, and Ciarra.  Joining those three I have Danja, a fair skinned blonde with a Swedish/Danish/Hebrew name.

I didn't plan on having two fair skinned dolls.  I wanted these dolls to be a broad spectrum of ethnicities.  I'm currently missing a midtone and I want to add one doll (or more) to this mix.  I will say, however, that I wanted each name to represent really diverse cultures as well and I'm thrilled that I came across one that represented not just northern Europe but also Jewish history.  For more about the name, I found its meaning here.

To download, right-click and save image.  This is a jpg image and should print just fine!
This is not my favorite set of clothing for these dolls.  I think that the four pages combined mix well, and that was much more challenging than I had expected,  From here, I want to make a couple of wardrobe pages that coordinate with these sets as well.
Grab all four dolls and let the mixing and matching begin! Enjoy! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ciarra - A Mix and Match Paper Doll

This is the third week of the mix & match paper doll series!  The first two -- Akinyi and Bian -- came together almost effortlessly.  Really, I love these two dolls and could have stopped with just those two.  But I wanted to keep going, so we have at least two more dolls to look at.

Today it's Ciarra with more pieces to mix and match.

To download, right-click and save image.  This is a jpg image and should print just fine!
I am a little less enthusiastic about this one.  Her wardrobe is less coherent.  As much as I love the idea of a tulle skirt, I'm not totally sure about the final execution.  The sparkles are great and I really should have just made EVERYTHING sparkly! I do think, however, that this set combines nicely with the previous two.
One more for next week, and then more wardrobe sheets to follow! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tutorial Round Up

I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my art, whether it's drawing or painting, digital painting or vector art.  There's always something new to learn.  Today I want to share a few tutorials and techniques I've come across recently.

How to Make Super Fly Paper People by The Cotton Project (tumblr)
This isn't a paper doll like I make (you know, a doll and wardrobe).  It is, technically, a paper doll and such an awesome one!  The link takes you to the first part of the tutorial and there's a link at the end of it for the second part.  This artist takes an original drawing and uses tracing paper & construction paper to literally build a paper doll.  It's pretty cool and I recommend checking it out.

Step by Step Portrait by Katikut
I found this tutorial on Pinterest and it changed the way I thought about coloring faces.  Turns out, Katikut has several amazing tutorials, both written and video.  Check them all out -- they're great.

How I Mostly Color by Pernille Orum (tumblr)
I'm not a big fan of Tumblr, but there's some great art and terrific tutorials to be found there.  This is one of them.  I like the way this artist incorporates so much color into the shadows and highlights of her painting.  It's easy to make black shadows, but shadows are not black, generally.  There's a lot of depth in the color choices here.  Also, check out the rest of her site.  Amazing inspiration for paper dolls!

Hair Coloring Tutorial by lostie815
I love this tutorial! It shows a great technique for coloring hair as well as a list of things to avoid.  And really, a lot of Photoshop tutorials (like this one) could work with real-world paint, too, with just minor adaptations. 

And lastly, thought not a tutorial, I love this Steven Universe fanart paper doll by Purpura Imperial on tumblr.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bian - A Mix and Match Paper Doll

For this mix and match set of paper dolls, I decided on a limited palette of colors and patterns.  I want these sets to coordinate across all four planned sets, not just each individual page.  I also wanted to represent several cultures.  Akinyi has an African background of some sort, reflected in both the name and appearance of that paper doll.  Actually, the names for all of the dolls in this series have been a challenge!  Initially, each doll was labelled as Doll A, B, C, etc, and I wanted to continue that in the actual name while also reflecting different cultures.

To download, right-click and save image.  This is a jpg image and should print just fine!
And that's how I named Bian, today's mix and match doll.  I needed a name with Asian origins that started with a B.  Bian is a Vietnamese name and I liked the look & sound of it.
This wardrobe coordinates nicely with Akinyi's.  I'm not sure exactly how many combinations there are, but maybe I'll put together a wardrobe sample sheet at some point.  Anyway, have fun mixing & matching!  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Making of Akinyi, A Mix and Match Paper Doll

On Friday, I shared a new paper doll.  Akinyi, the first of four (or more!!) mix and match paper dolls.  This doll is a bit different because I colored it on a Surface with Photoshop in stead of creating it point-by-point in Illustrator.

This post is a bit of a walkthrough, not a true tutorial, but I think it might still be useful! Here goes...

This is the initial sketch for the new paper doll set.  It's tiny - maybe 2 inches by 4 inches or so.  I used to keep a really small sketchbook with me before I had kids (about 6 years ago!) and still mine it for inspiration.  The pose here was a little different and has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while.

I scanned my initial sketch and enlarged it until is was about letter sized.  I decided at that point to create several dolls with the same body and different heads.  Like most of my paper dolls, this one spent a lot of time on paper before I worked on it digitally.

Once the sketch was ready, I scanned it at 300dpi.  I could have cleaned it up on paper and just colored it in Photoshop.  I've tried and that just doesn't work for me.  Instead, I take a small, hard round brush and trace the sketch in pure black.  The key for me is to zoom in and trace carefully.  If you look closely at the layers panel in this image, you'll see that I have one layer for the lines, one layer for the face lines, and one layer for the lines of the body.  I drew the face and body separately and then combined them when I was ready. Usually, I make my background layer some ridiculously garish color so that I can see any spots I might miss while coloring.  I removed that for these images.

Once the lines are ready, I color the skin.  Skin tone helps me determine all of the other colors in the doll -- hair, eyes, etc. This doll took 5 layers to achieve a nice, glowing skin tone.  I painted a base color, which was my darkest color.  Next, I painted some highlights and used Gaussian blur in the Filter menu.  I honestly just fiddled with it til I liked it.  For more about this technique, I wrote a little bit more about it here.

Next, I like to color the eyes.  I use a lot of layers and like to group them in folders.  It gets a little out of hand if I don't! To color the eyes, I used a simplified version of this tutorial.  Basically, I painted a base tone, and added two lighter tones, then blended them with the blur tool (which is different than the blur filter).

Once the skin is done, I like to paint the makeup in.  Most of the time, I just use a simple soft or hard brush.  Nothing really fancy.  That's what I did here.  I softly painted in the blush, then painted the lips and added light and dark tones directly on that layer.  For the eyeshadow, I applied a glitter pattern to the layer (as a layer style) to give it a little more shine.

For the hair, I again started with a base color. I'll go over the hair in some depth because I'm really happy with how it came out!

I painted the base colors with a hard brush.  With the hair, I applied a simple gradient (again, as a layer style) to give it some depth.
For Akinyi's hair, I wanted a tight curl and it took me a while to figure out how to do that.  What I settled on was super simple and I wish I could say it was my first attempt!  I took a simple, hard brush and scribbled lines all over, in a darker brown.  Then, I used the filter>blur>gaussian blur option to soften it.  Again, I just fiddled with it til it worked.

And then I added shadows.  Again, using a dark brown, I added in shadows.  If this was *actual* paint, I'd have used a dry brush dabbing technique.  That's pretty much what I did here, just one digital blob at a time.  Photoshop has a number of natural media brushes built-in to its current version and that's what I used here.

Finally, I added highlights using a light brown color and the same dabbing technique I used on the shadows.

And that's pretty much it.  I used the same techniques to color the outfit: paint in a base, add patterns with a layer style, added shadows, and maybe highlights as needed.  I used four brushes to do this: a thin, hard brush for the outlines, a larger hard brush for filling in base colors, then a large, soft brush for blush, shadows,m etc, and one specialty natural brush for the hair.

The technique isn't hard, it's just time consuming.  But worth it!
This is the final image and layer group breakdown.  If you have any questions, please ask.  This was a really quick walkthrough and not a thorough tutorial.  I hope it was helpful!