Monday, September 28, 2015

Paper Doll Books -- Fairy Tale and Halloween

As many of you know, I self-publish some of my paper dolls in book form.  It's not the most profitable thing in the world and that's fine. I enjoy seeing my books in print -- they don't call it "vanity publishing" for nothing! I keep creating books specifically because I enjoy it.  One day I'll have a book published with a *real* publisher (I already sent a paper doll to Dover.  It might happen, it might not.... I'm not giving up yet!!) but in the meantime, I'll keep chugging along.

Having said that, sometimes mistakes are made when you're the artist, author, graphic designer, editor, proofreader, and publisher of a book.  And the reason I started this blog is to share my knowledge about creating paper dolls.  Sometimes you have to learn by making mistakes and I would be remiss if I didn't share the mistakes along with the successes.

Last year I put together a Halloween paper doll book: Ghoulish Girls:  A Halloween Paper Doll (not to be confused with Ghoulish Girls Paper Dolls, published by Dover, also in 2014, which in itself is a cute set).  I also completed a fairy tale book in February which is a compilation of my fairy tale fashion paper dolls. I don't always order a proof copy of these books immediately.  That's a bad habit I need to break because if I HAD ordered a proof copy months/years ago, I would have known there were mistakes in these books! Also, I can't sell them on Amazon or other venues without a proof copy so really, I should just do it.  Because there were errors, no one could get a copy of these books and I feel a bit silly about the simple mistakes that prevented that! In both books, there were unflattened transparencies.  No big deal when I'm making pdfs for myself, but a very big deal when I'm sending it to for publishing. And the worst part is, it's SUPER EASY to avoid!

So to any of you out there who would like to publish your own books, let me say this: first of all, do it.  It's not all that difficult and it's very satisfying.  Secondly, follow the rules!  I never even thought about the transparencies.  I won't forget that lesson now!

Anyway, here are the books.

Here are the covers.  They really printed beautifully.  One ting I need to keep in mind when printing dolls -- either at home or in print form -- is that the colors print darker than they appear on screen.

A better view of the Fairy Tales book.  There are two dolls on the front cover, and two more on the back cover.

These are two pages from the book -- the Snow Queen and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.  I took each of the previous fairy tale paper dolls and added to the wardrobes with some exclusive costumes/characters in this book.

And the cover of Ghoulish Girls, featuring my three classic Halloween characters.

And two pages from this book.  Again, I have some exclusive content that's only available in the book.  The Mummy is one of my favorites.  It's all glam & gold, and a little retro '80s! Love it!

Since I had to make revisions to these books, I need to order another proof copy.  That means that they aren't available at Amazon, etc, yet.  But if you're just dying (heh, heh) to get your hands on the Ghoulish Girls before Halloween, you can grab it here.  And the Fairy Tale book is also available here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Toddler Fashion Friday - Karasi

I learned a very valuable lesson last week -- people LOVE these toddler paper dolls!  As much as I love creating paper dolls in a variety of techniques and styles, these are by far the most popular of my paper dolls.

Recently, I bought a pack of hand-drawn icons for a different project.  It's a great set, and I thought it would make a cute back-to-school pattern.  So I colored the icons & created a pattern specifically for this doll.  It isn't a secret that I don't create every single pattern.  I try to find balance between being an artist (create everything from scratch! It's the only "authentic" way!!) and being a designer (assemble assets in an awesome way).  I also try to be as transparent as possible about what I create and what I borrow.  It really just comes down to this: some people are better at created certain things than I am and I'm ok with that.

This is also the first toddler paper doll that isn't based on a previous doll!  I really wanted to create a back-to-school themed doll before the end of September.  My son is in school and loving it, thankfully! I wanted to give her a name that meant wisdom and I went with Karasi.  In my search, this popped up as an African name meaning wisdom.  "African" as a language seems kinda dubious to me.  It's not like the entire continent had a unified language anymore than any other continent would.  But I liked the name and went with it.

The pattern is the real centerpiece of this set and I hope you like it as much as I do!  Have fun!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Toddler Fashion Friday - Autumn

This week, I decided to jump around a bit while exploring my past paper dolls.  Instead of creating a toddler paper doll based on the next adult doll in the series (which would be Sonia, and I will go back to it soon....) I decided to use Annabelle.

I loved creating Annabelle!  The apple pattern was great, the colors were bright, and the braids were adorable.  All of that made for a fun doll in October of 2013, and makes for a super cute doll in September of 2015!

How cute is this?!  I skipped ahead to Annabelle because I wanted to create an apple themed toddler during apple picking season.  If you've never been here, fall in New England is amazing.  It's like the reward for living here: if you can survive mud season (aka, spring), endure chaotic winters, and blazing hot summers, you deserve fall in New England! It's the perfect temperature, the foliage is beautiful, and the harvest is great. Local food at its finest!

So here's Autumn, an adorable apple season toddler paper doll.  Maybe I'll cut her out & take her apple picking myself!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Toddler Fashion Friday - Allie

We had a big week in my house -- my oldest son started kindergarten!  It was a rough drop-off that first morning, but he's pulled it together and had a great week.  I have discovered that having one child in the house is WAY easier than I remember! My three year old has been just awesome this week, leaving me with a surprising amount of free time.  And quiet.  It's almost too quiet around here now....

Today marks a return to the toddler paper dolls.  I really enjoyed doing the mix and match series and will add more outfits to the collection at some point.  For now, it's back into Illustrator with the toddlers.

Here's Allie, based on Annie from January of 2013.  That feels like a million years ago!! Annie was my first attempt at freckles, so Allie got them, too. I loved the pattern & colors in Annie's wardrobe and the worked well for Allie.  When cutting out Allie, cut along the shoulders to accommodate the tabs.  It was nice to return to the toddler dolls -- I didn't realize I'd missed them! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mix and Match Wardrobe Sheet 2

We've been busy around here lately!  This week, my oldest son met his kindergarten teacher.  The time has FLOWN by.... I can't believe what little people my kids have become.  I'm a bit emotional about him leaving for school.  I've been home with him pretty much every day of his life.  But he's super excited and I'm hoping he loves school as much as I did.

Anyway.... I'm wondering if I'll have more time or less to devote to paper dolls with just one kiddo in the house all day.  My youngest is pretty creative, so maybe we'll draw together!

I also took the time to cut out my mix and match paper doll.  Honestly, I don't do this often enough.  Sure, it all looks like it's going to fit when I draw it all out, but sometimes it doesn't.  Which I discovered while cutting.  Not that the fit is bad, mind you, but some of the pants have tabs that don't quite work.  I just cut them off and continued on.  Also, wigs.  I love creating alternate hairstyles for my paper dolls but they never fit right.  I'll have to experiment with some different techniques.

But how great is this picture?!  Paper dolls, cut out and in the wild! A while back, I saw that people were sending pictures of minifigs in the wild to Lego.  I'd love to see some of my dolls out in the wild! If you've cut out my paper dolls, send me a picture & I'll share it

Ok, ok, enough chatter.  Here's the wardrobe sheet.
Right-click to download and print

This is the complete collection.  Each doll now has two hairstyles and a zillion piece wardrobe.  I have a few more drawings completed and I'll color them soon, using a different color palette. 
Enjoy this set.  It was a lot of fun to color!  And remember, send in your paper dolls out in the world!