Saturday, December 31, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 31

I made it to the end!! It was touch & go there for a while. I finally finished the project 2 days before the 31st!! Considering I starting this project in October, I didn't think it would take that long....

Today is the last of the angel paper doll outfits. I wanted a festive, New Years gown and I happened to have the star & confetti graphic from a previous project.

I've also posted a PDF of the whole collection.  I'll be compiling this into a book at some point, like I did with the Santa and Mrs Claus set.

Right-click to download and print

And here's the link to the PDF file.  It's a horizontal file, so keep that in mind if you print it.
Thoughts? Did everyone enjoy this angel series?  I have to start thinking about next year's project and I have no clue what I'll do!! Then again, once I finished Santa up last year, I didn't know what I'd do next either.

I'll let everyone know when the book is ready.  Thanks for joining me on this crazy paper doll marathon!

Friday, December 30, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 30

Sometimes, I create something simply because it's fun to create it.  Today's outfit is that, pure and simple.  I've really enjoyed making a variety of patterns for this paper doll.  I thought it would be fun to make at least one more.  There was also an amazing head wrap on Pinterest that I really wanted to try.

So that's what I've got today. Something fun and bright.

Right-click to download and print

I wanted more bright colors, especially after yesterday's very bright outfit.  Aside from that, I had almost no plan for this.  Just something bright & pretty.

Tomorrow is it. It's been a fun month!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 29

At this point in the December paper doll project, I start losing steam.  My inspiration has waned. I'm feeling the time crunch.  It's definitely a paper doll marathon.

Today's paper doll isn't the most inspired.  Honestly, there are two reasons I made this doll.  One, I really liked the choir singer face from day 4.  And then secondly, I really liked Rachel's carolers.

Right-click to download and print

The colors here are really, really vivid.  I didn't really mean to do that, and I'm not entirely sure I like it.  There were a lot of muted pinks and greens in this series & I just got sick of it, I guess.  I may tweak it for the book.

Oh yeah, I'm totally going to make an angel paper doll book. I'll keep you posted.

Two more days...stick with me!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 28

For all of you parents out there -- how's winter break going?! We have a house full of toys, video games, visits from family & friends, and I think my kids are going to tear each other apart! My oldest is in first grade and my youngest isn't quite in kindergarten yet.  There's a bit of a maturity gap.  A gap that my oldest is exploiting to full effect.

As a stay-at-home mother, let me just tell you: teachers are not paid nearly enough!


Today I wanted to touch a bit on the "African" part of my African inspired angel paper doll.

Right-click to download and print

While wandering around the supermarket many (many, many, many!!) times this holiday season, I saw clementines everywhere.  Clementines just happen to be the only citrus fruit I genuinely like, so this is a good season for me.  I dunno what the deal is with oranges and Christmas, but that's ok.

Today's dress was inspired by clementines and a dress on Pinterest.

Don't talk to me about the practicality of a cape & wings.  I don't really care. It was a GORGEOUS dress and I wanted to do it and that's that!

I also wanted to do something that represented wax prints.  That's an article all about wax printing and it's worth a read. Basically the Dutch saw batik in Indonesia, developed their own (inferior) batik method and dropped it off in western Africa where it gained a following.  There's an intricate history of motifs & styles that I didn't really dive into.  Instead, I created a stylized clementine and make a pattern with that. I also fiddled with patterns & blend modes until I got some of the variation that is the hallmark of wax prints.

Three days til the end of this project! I'm happy to wrap it up but it's been a fun one & I'll miss it, too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 27

We're having a super fun winter break! My oldest son had a visit with one of his favorite friends, and then my new appliances are coming today, and THEN a Lego day at the library tomorrow.  Good times!

So forgive me if this doll isn't terribly exciting.  I've had a lot going on!

Right-click to download and print

This outfit is vaguely based on a dress I saw on Pinterest. I didn't want to create another white & gold outfit and really struggled to find colors I liked.  These aren't ideal, but good enough, I suppose.  And once I settled on it, the outfit looked vaguely Renaissance to me.  So I made a sort of Renaissance inspired crown for her hair.

Just a few more days to wrap this up! Check back again tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 26

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas, if you celebrated. If not, maybe you enjoyed a much deserved day off!!

Today's outfit is based loosely on an Edwardian dress I found on Pinterest.  I liked the flowers on the bodice of the dress and the crazy draping looked like a fun challenge! Initially, I thought I'd use holly, but once I got started, I really wanted poinsettias.

Right-click to download and print

Although this is based on an Edwardian dress, once I got the colors in & the hair, it really looked more Jazz Age to me.  I like that even better, honestly! It also reminded me a bit of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's paintings which, again, I'm pretty excited about.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 25

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today! We start our day with cinnamon rolls, plenty of coffee, and presents from Santa for the kiddos.  Then, it's off to my parents' house for Christmas with my parents, grandparents, and my sister's family. My kids have cousins very close to their ages and it's so much fun having all of the kids together.

For today, I wanted a fur-trimmed outfit but not a traditional red costume for my angel.

Right-click to download and print

This dress ended up looking a little Edwardian and I'm happy with that. It feels very vintage to me. Initially, I had plain colors and it wasn't working. I added a subtle houndstooth pattern and that worked well.

Remember, I have paper dolls til December 31st! Come back tomorrow for more and enjoy your holiday, whatever it may be!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 24

It's Christmas Eve! When I was a kid, we lived in northern Vermont and most years, we had snow.  It really was just as beautiful as the Christmas cards make it look.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I loved in Vermont. Lucky for me, all of my family all lives in southern New England now.  We still all see each other at the holidays and my kids are lucky enough to know their great-grandparents.

So today's angel is a very traditional angel. I felt Christmas Eve would be the perfect time for something traditional.

Right-click to download and print

This was one of the earliest designs I made for the angel series. I put it off til the end partially because it felt to complicated to render in Illustrator.  Forgive me while I brag for just a second - those HANDS!! They were tough to draw on paper and really tough in Illustrator, but I'm really happy with them.  I modified the gown while I was working on it, too. Generally, I avoid transparency because I need a skin tone under it and that limits my mix & match options.

I'm really happy with this doll and I hope you are, too.

Have a happy Christmas Eve and make sure to come back!! My December series runs the WHOLE month, not just til Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 23

If you love beautiful clothing (which, naturally, you do) and you want to lose half a day to Pinterest, I suggest searching for caftans (or kaftan. Not sure which is the preferred spelling).  I discovered that there are TONS of caftans.  Middle Eastern ones. Moroccan ones. Haute couture ones. Every day ones.  And they are gorgeous.

Right-click to download and print

My caftan is based on a Moroccan one I saw on Pinterest.  I created a pattern based on Moroccan mosaics.  As for the colors, I wanted something darker but still a red/green combination.  I really wish I knew more about non-Western fashion.  Maybe I'll work on that more next year!

Also, happy birthday to my husband who never reads my little blog, but is always encouraging me to keep it up.

Come back for more tomorrow!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 22

Does anyone else get special pajamas for Christmas? My kids and my nieces do, and that's mainly because of my mom.  My mother was a teen in the 1970s, at the height of prairie fashions.  I was a kid in the 1980s and prairie style was still going strong.  I distinctly remember having ruffly, old-fashioned nightgowns as a kid.

Right-click to download and print

I wanted soft, almost printed calico kind of color.  And a teddy bear because everyone needs a good teddy bear friend. Does anyone else remember The Christmas Toy? I remember watching it on TV when I was a kid... It was kind of cute and kind of weird all at the same time.

My kids have been loving the Christmas PJs and Christmas TV specials. Anyone else? Come back tomorrow for another angel outfit!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 21

A while back, I shared my Pinterest board for this project. There's a lot of eclectic stuff there but one thing that popped up a lot were vintage Christmas cards.  Today's paper doll is based on this card specifically.

Right-click to download and print

I was both excited and terrified to take on this outfit! That's why it's near the end of the project.... I loved the colors of the vintage Christmas card and the garland. I knew I could draw a simple dress but the garland was a bit more intimidating.  After tinkering with brushes in Illustrator, I came up with a method that worked and didn't take as long as I thought it might!

This is one of my favorite outfits. I love the way it's a riff on and not a copy of the vintage card! Let me know what you think! Just a few more days left...!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 20

I received a lot of great requests this year! Some of them were things I was already working on, like the Persian set. And others were too interesting to pass up, like the nautical one.

Some left me a bit perplexed. Like this one.

Right-click to download and print

I was asked to create a Viking paper doll.  Rachel over at Paper Thin Personas has made some lovely Viking and Norse dolls & if you want to understand Norse clothing, check out her research. My research was much less intensive.  I struggled with the idea of a Viking paper doll because I had a picture in my mind of a Valkyrie with a sword & armor and that didn't fit with my notion of a multi-cultural angel of peace.

So I went the Norse route and I'm pretty happy with it. I decided to just go for it and make her a blonde.  Why not?!

More to come tomorrow!!

Monday, December 19, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 19

Today I have a Mycenaean inspired angel costume.  I chose Mycenaean because one of the earliest mentions of angel ("messenger") is in an ancient Mycenaean document. I used Peacock's Chronicle of Western fashion as a reference, although honestly, I'm not sure what the difference is between Mycanean and Minoan.

Right-click to download and print

My costume is based on one of the images here.  I really liked the colors.  Also, I chose NOT to have an open front jacket for, I think, obvious reasons.  This outfit isn't meant to be an accurate historical interpretation, just something pretty based on some interesting art.

We're super busy here -- just a few days til Christmas and my kids are super excited! More outfits to come!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 18

At the beginning of this project, I mentioned that I'd take requests.  Some of them were ideas I was already working on.  Some of them I'm still thinking about and trying to decided if I want to make them.

Today's theme was one I wanted to tackle but didn't really know how.

Rachel of Paper Thin Personas mentioned a nautical angel.  I wanted to do something nautical but not like last year's nautical set.  After researching, I settled on this design.

Right-click to download and print

I've pretty much always lived in New England. I'm a proud Vermonter, spent a couple of years in Connecticut, went to high school in New Hampshire, and finally settled down in Massachusetts.  I consider myself rather well-rounded when it comes to my region! Where I live now, we're not far from the ocean.  There are memorials in a lot of coastal towns for sailors lost at sea.  Two of them influenced this outfit.  One of them is the Lady of the Sea. It's a beautiful sculpture and the pictures don't really do it justice.  The second is the Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial. (It's pronounced Gloss-ter for non-natives.) I've seen this one in passing but never up close.

I combined elements that I liked of both and gave it a soft, stormy color scheme. I like how the dress flows - it reminds me of ocean breezes.

Anyway, I hope everyone likes it. And thanks to Rachel for the suggestion. 

More to come tomorrow!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 17

Like many people, I find my inspiration in a bunch of places. I love fantasy gowns and elaborate fashion.  There's an costume designer I follow online who creates amazing gowns.  This was inspired by her craft.

Right-click to download and print

I knew I wanted to create a rainbow colored dress but I really had no idea exactly what shape that should take.  The dresses at Firefly Path were a great source and I like how this all came together.

We're more than halfway through December! Come back tomorrow for yet another dress!

Friday, December 16, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 16

And now, for something completely different!

Today's outfit is pretty much the complete opposite of yesterday's.  In The Chronicle of Western Fashion, there's a plate that's identified as a Renaissance Portuguese queen. I'm not sure which one it was because there's almost no reference in the book to exactly what the sources were. That's fine. I did my own thing anyway.

Right-click to download and print

I liked the black & gold color scheme. My black is a more maroon/reddish black. The elaborate Renaissance gown wasn't too difficult to make once I created a couple of brushes and patterns from an old Adobe Illustrator pattern swatch.  When Adobe moved from the CS versions to the CC versions, they got rid of a bunch of pattern swatches and it annoys me.  I don't have all the legacy swatches & never backed them up off of my old (now extinct) computer.  I mean, they were default swatches - I never expected them to disappear! Ok, ok, rant over!

Anyway, I know the color scheme is a bit dark, but I really like it.  Let me know what you think! I'll have something brighter for tomorrow!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 15

If you've been following my blog long enough, you'll know that I have two amazing sons.  They are brilliant and talented and just the best kids. I can't say enough about how great they are. I've been able to stay home with them, so I feel like a doubly lucky mom.

You might also know that my oldest has a December birthday.  And that's today! We have a big family party planned for this weekend.  We always let the boys choose a restaurant to go to on their birthdays.  That's what we'll do this evening.

My kids love animals, but especially my oldest.  Today's angel paper doll outfit seemed like the perfect one to post on his birthday.

Right-click to download and print

Last year, I made a woodland themed Santa set and I wanted to revisit that idea with the angel series this year. It would have been easy to copy the colors & patterns but that just didn't feel right.  So instead, I drew a little lamb with soft blues & yellows.  I didn't have a really clear plan for this set.  Once the dress was completed, it felt a bit plain. So I added in some stitching and that worked well!

Enjoy today's outfit. There will be more tomorrow! And happy birthday to my Noah :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 14

Some days, I have something profound things to say about the day's outfit.  Sometimes, I don't.  Today falls more into that latter category!

Today's angel outfit is inspired by ancient Greek clothing.  The word "angel" is related to a Late Greek word ἄγγελος ángelos. Also, Nike looks a bit like an angel and I liked that, too. But really, I just wanted to try drawing beautiful drapery in Illustrator...which is harder than it looks!

Right-click to download and print

I didn't want a bright white color scheme for my Greek inspired outfit. It felt both cliche and inaccurate.  Most of those ancient bright white statues probably weren't bright white when they were created.  So I went with red and gold for my Greek inspired angel.

Let me know what you think! And, again, there will be more tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December Angel Paper Day - Day 13

As promised, today's outfit is entirely different than yesterday's!

Today's outfit is another one directly influenced by African cultures, namely kente cloth.  Kente cloth has its origins in Ghana and the Ashanti kingdom.  There is a ton of information about kente cloth out in the world - I started with Wikipedia.  Like the rest of this project, I really only skimmed the surface of scholarly information available.

Right-click to download and print

The outfit is based on one I found on Pinterest.  I loved the drape of the cloth and the idea of holding a large wooden bowl.  I knew I wanted to use kente cloth patterns at some point in this project.  Kente cloth is highly symbolic.  Colors and patterns are very meaningful. The pattern I used is called Fathia Fata Nkrumah.  I also saw it referred to as a stars pattern.  It symbolizes unity, among other things.  As for colors, I chose blue for peace, gold for royalty, green for the land and spiritual growth, and white for pureness and faith.  The bowl holds papayas, a fruit that is now grown in tropical regions throughout the world.  I was initially going to put apples in the basket but that felt really generic.  I also like the technical challenge of the papayas -- I used the good ol' gradient mesh tool in Illustrator.  It's a tough tool to master but SO amazing when it works!

We're closing in on the half-way point of the project....plenty more to come! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 12

One of the things I love about writing a paper doll blog is feedback. I've been lucky enough to have mainly positive interactions, which I very much appreciate.  I've always created alone and it took a big leap of confidence for me to share my work.  And I'm glad I did! I've been able to find a lot more like-minded people out in the world than I ever expected!

Today's paper doll is one I was on the fence about creating and then a lovely reader suggested it, so I went for it!

Right-click to download and print

I came across a variety of angels in a broad cross-section of cultures.  I wouldn't go so far as to say angels are universal, but they pop up in a lot of places. I discovered angels (probably more accurate to call them winged spirits) in Persian mythology and was inspired to create an outfit. The outfit is based on a recreation from the Safavid Empire.  I decided to change up the colors a bit. I just couldn't get on board with the bright colors.  The colors I chose were from a Safavid Empire era tilework that I liked.

Also, I want to make something clear: this is not a research project.  I didn't delve deeply into any of the material I found.  The scope of this project is to create a variety of interesting, beautiful outfits for an angel paper doll.  I'd love to research more & dig deeper but that's another task entirely!

Tomorrow's outfit is totally different - make sure you come and check it out!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 11

One of the things my extended family likes to do at the holidays is visit one of the Yankee Candle flagship stores.  There's one in western Massachusetts.  This year, my parents took my kids for a visit.  Inside, there are several themed rooms and my favorite is the Bavarian forest.  It always makes me think of Christmas.

So today's outfit is inspired in part by a family tradition and in part by illustration's in John Peacock's Chronicle of Western Costume.

Right-click to download and print

In drawing this, I wanted to give the skirt a bell shape.  It was partly aesthetics and partly practical - I needed to cover part of the arms of the doll with the outfit.  Speaking of practicality - I'm not completely sure the tabs on the top of the dress will do anything.  I haven't printed and tested these yet.

This outfit is based on a German Renaissance costume.  I wanted colors that were muted and warm.  I also wanted a German pattern and came across something called German brick stitch. It isn't anything I'm familiar with, but I did find some images that I thought I might be able to adapt to create an Illustrator pattern.

Much like the Santa paper dolls, I feel like almost every outfit is my favorite.  This is definitely high on the list! Make sure to come by tomorrow for more!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 10

This paper doll series seems to have a couple of very clear themes: vintage and fashion history.  I suppose vintage IS fashion history, too, so maybe it's really only one theme! Seems to me, though, that I created a lot of Renaissance/Medieval sketches and a lot of retro/vintage/1960s inspired sketches.

Today's is definitely a retro one.

Right-click to download and print

This set was inspired by a vintage Christmas card I found on Pinterest.  In fact, I have an entire board devoted to inspiration for this paper doll series. The card I found had a little blonde angel in white & gold.  One thing I knew I didn't want with this set was just a bunch of white & gold generic angel costumes! I poked around Colourlovers and found a bunch of great winter color schemes.

We're one-third of the way through December and there are plenty more angel costumes coming up! Check back tomorrow!    

Friday, December 9, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 9

Next up in the angel paper doll series is a history inspired outfit.  As I looked through one of my reference books, I came across a French outfit from the 1440s.  I really liked the idea of a turban and huge sleeves!

Right-click to download and print

The image in the book is not purple.  I don't remember what color it is, but I wanted purple! I'm really happy with the complimentary color scheme of purple and yellow/gold, too.

There's still a lot of December left....stop by for more angel outfits!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 8

Every December, I create a new paper doll series and one of the goals for that series is always innovation.  What can I learn, what can I do differently with an experimental set that I don't normally do in my "every day" paper dolls.

Today's post looks fairly simple but I tried to tackle some technical challenges.

Right-click to download and print

For today, I created an Egyptian inspired outfit. In part, it's also inspired by images of Isis where she's sometimes depicted with wings.  The dress itself is straightforward, but with the collar and hair I needed to try some new techniques.

In Illustrator, shapes are created using fills and strokes that utilize bezier curves.  I use the term shape to really mean any part of an image not just regular, geometric shapes.  Let's take a look at the collar: to create the collar image, I drew a curved line and applied 3 different stroke styles.  I played around with dashed lines until it looked right. I then expanded my lines and changed to fills of the resulting shapes.  It sounds more complicated than it was and I think it saved me some time overall.

The other thing I want to look at is the hair.  Braids are a pain in Illustrator.  I've followed tutorials for created braids, I've tried creating brushes for braids.  I feel like I've tried everything & I'm still not quite there yet.  For this hair, I wanted a stylized, boxy type of braid like you would see on Egyptian wigs.  I created a brush that worked fairly well.  I still have some kinks to work as as far as creating braids, but it's getting closer!!

Check in again tomorrow -- there's more coming up!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 7

One week into December already!! This time of year just flies by for me.  Holidays, birthdays, etc, and I know I'm not alone in the chaos.  I'm really glad I took the time and organized my December paper doll well in advance (for once!).

Today's outfit is inspired by black Madonnas, a devotional image of Mary and Jesus that depicts them both with dark skin.  There are various reasons for that, and a lot of unknowns, too.  It's a fascinating little corner of the art history world.  I don't know much about the images, honestly.  For my purposes, I find that many examples of black Madonnas were simply beautiful images that I found inspired for this project.

Right-click to download and print

Today's outfit is based loosely on Our Lady of Guidance in Manilla.  The embroidery is very elaborate! I knew that I couldn't create a graphic that elaborate without my computer getting very, very grumpy.  So I simplified it somewhat.  If the flowers look familiar, they are a remix of folk flowers that I created in Illustrator.  That's probably my absolute favorite thing about digital art: the ability to use, reuse, and remix assets for endless possibilities.

Feel free to let me know what you think.  We're one quarter of the way through the months and there's plenty more to come! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 6

Today I have the first of the African inspired outfits for my angel paper doll.  In my research, I came across lots and lots of African and African-American fashion and textiles.  One of those was a dress on Pinterest.  It's a beautiful dress with a beautiful pattern and when I saw it, I thought of corn.

Right-click to download and print

I know nearly nothing about Kwanzaa but I do know that there is a harvest aspect to it and that, like with many holidays, there's a feast.  This dress, with a "bouquet" of corn, just seemed like such a beautiful image.  And the way it came together was amazing! And I gotta say, drawing complicated things like that head wrap has gotten MUCH easier with a touch screen!

Let me know what you think! Six days in and I think this might be my favorite series ever.

Monday, December 5, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 5

Sometimes I come across something amazing that I never would have thought about on my own.  Today's outfit is just that!

I use Pinterest a lot to organize inspiration.  I love Pinterest! My dad decided to unfollow me because I posted too much stuff and it made him crazy!! That's when I discovered the joy of secret boards... Anyway, today's outfit is based on a really cute vintage Christmas card illustration.  I don't know what it was about the mid-20th century and using candy colors and pastels at Christmas, but I really like it!

Right-click to download and print

The pink hair is the best! I rarely create non-natural hair colors.  In this instance, I thought I'd translate the vintage inspiration as closely as possible & the little angel on that card had pink hair. And the poinsettias! Pink poinsettias are an honest-to-goodness thing and I love them.

More outfits coming tomorrow.  Let me know what you think about this year's series!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 4

I had several goals for this angel series.  One, I'm trying to establish a sense of style and continuity.  I may have multiple styles but I want each of those to be cohesive.  Much of my vector work is starting to look cohesive, as is much of my raster work in Photoshop. Secondly, I wanted to create a non-white individual.  It's easy for me to default to pale skin and light hair -- that's what I am, more or less.  I'm going to continue to be more conscious of this and continue to diversify.  Third, I wanted an unconventional angel image that ran the gamut from "traditional" to really fun & colorful.

Right-click to download and print

Today's outfit falls on the more traditional side of the spectrum.  I was going for a traditional choir robe with this outfit.  I really wanted to include a singing face and honestly, I went the Peanuts route with a big ol' oval mouth.  It was easy and graphically expressed exactly the idea I wanted it to express.

Tune in for more tomorrow...and let me know what you think! I'm loving these so far.....!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 3

Today is a bit more of a traditional winter outfit.  I LOVE drawing fur! I figured out a method a while back to draw fur in Illustrator so now I add it any time I can!

The inspiration for today was a cardinal.  We have loads of them in our backyard.  I had way too much fun drawing the bird in today's post. Don't be surprised if it pops up again!

Right-click to download and print

I used the black & red of the cardinal as inspiration for this set.  It's a great set & I'm really, really happy with it. I hope you are, too. Check back tomorrow for more.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 2

Here's the first outfit for my December angel doll! I've been looking at a lot of things for inspiration.  One thing I've gone to several times is The Chronicle of Western Costume: From the Ancient World to the Late Twentieth Century by John Peacock. It's a book I've used frequently over the years even though it has its flaws.

Today's dress was inspired by a Spanish dress.  I loved the star pattern on the reference dress and incorporated it here. I also felt that the multicultural history of Spain was very interesting and somewhat relevant to this project.

Right-click to download and print
You can grab the doll here

I love the colors here! I don't want just white & gold, etc, for my angel.  In fact, the angel paper dolls I've done before (I've done at least two here and here -- they are both VERY old images!!) have strayed from the classic angel images.

Come back tomorrow for another outfit & let me know what you think!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Angel Paper Doll - Day 1

Happy first day of December! I've been full-tilt crazy since Halloween.  The holidays are super hectic in my house.  I'm sure they are for just about everyone, and not just me!

It's time for my annual December paper doll project. If you're new to the blog, every December I like to say thanks to all of my readers by creating a month-long daily download.  Last year, there was Santa and Mrs Claus (you can also get the book here).  December 2014, I had a pair of winter fashion paper dolls with a wardrobe in red and green. December 2013 was a series of black and white Kawaii Kids, which kicked off occasional visits to these paper dolls ever since.  And waaaay back in 2012, there's a set of scribbled paper doll outfits that went online mainly because I had them! I keep meaning to revisit that set and never do....

This year's paper doll is an angel.  I wrote a brief intro & gave a preview a while back.  These December paper dolls are typically experimental and challenging.  I like to try out a new technique or whatever -- make them something different than my typical posts.  This doll has been all of that and more!

Right-click to download and print

Today I'm posting the paper doll.  As usual, it's personal use only, etc. I'll post a pdf at the end with all of the images gathered together.  I still have 8 or so slots left to fill, so if you have an idea for an angel outfit, this is the time to share it!

Tomorrow is the first of the outfit posts and it's pretty great. See you all tomorrow!

(One more thing: here's a fun fact -- this is my 500th post.  Seriously?! I can't believe I had something to say about paper dolls 500 times!!)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Fashion Paper Doll - Mira

Happy Thanksgiving! Our day is busy with family and yours probably is, too.  If it's Thanksgiving where you are, I hope you enjoy it.  If it isn't...well, you get an awesome paper doll to download anyway!!

This is the final paper doll in the Thanksgiving mini series.  These have been a lot of fun to make & the response to them has been very positive! I've really enjoyed this set.

The next paper doll set is the December angel paper doll.  I gotta say, it might be my favorite paper doll ever.  So it's a big deal!

And this is pretty much the last call on angel paper doll suggestions, so if you've got one, let me know! I have several vintage inspired ones, several history inspired ones, and some really random ones.  I can't wait to share them all!! Til then, have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Fashion Paper Doll - Gwen

It recently occurred to me that any international readers probably wouldn't have much interest in these paper dolls.  I will argue that they're all pretty cute anyway. And who doesn't love an apron for a paper doll?!

If  Gwen's hair looks *exactly* like Mercy's hair, that's because it is! It was too cute not to use it twice.  I gave Gwen some more girlish bangs.  You'll need to cut along the shoulders to fit tabs for the clothing, but that isn't really a big deal. If you have the orange top and orange skirt together, that outfit is very similar to Mercy's dress/apron set.  Just so you know! And yes, Gwen got an apron, too!

The last of the set goes up on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. And then it's time for the marathon December paper doll!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thanksgiving Fashion Paper Doll - William

Next up in the Thanksgiving mini-series is William.  In my house, both my husband and I cook.  Especially at Thanksgiving! We usually host it at our house & I couldn't possibly do it all on my own.  So our guy William here got his own apron for his time in the kitchen, too.

Aside from that, there's isn't much more to say about this set.  Next week, I'll post the tween Thanksgiving paper doll and then wrap things up with a toddler!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thanksgiving Fashion Paper Doll - Mercy

It's November.  In my town, Christmas lights have been available at the stores since September.  Seriously.  They were out before Labor Day and out at the same time as back-to-school stuff.  That's a bit too early, in my opinion.

So to honor the much-overlooked American holiday of Thanksgiving, I'm creating a Thanksgiving family.  Three of the dolls will go up on Fridays and the last one will go up on Thanksgiving Day.

I love that little turkey illustration! It's one of my favorite illustrations.  (It's also my best-selling fabric design on Spoonflower. I guess other people like it, too!!)  If you're looking to mix & match Mercy with other sets, Sage is perfect. I'm not sure if it's time to revive the Paper Jane dolls at the Etsy shop or not....we'll see, I guess.

In December, I'll have the angel paper doll ready to go.  I still have 8 or 10 slots left, so if you have a request, I'd love to hear it!

Next week we'll have another Thanksgiving set!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Kawaii Kids - Monster and Devil

In college, I studied a lot of things.  I'd probably STILL be in college, taking every class, if I could! My major was art history and I worked on a minor in English. I came up one class short of finishing it....not the end of the world, but it still bugs me.

As part of my studies, I took an entire class devoted to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  I love that book! I love what I learned during that class! I HATE when people call the monster "Frankenstein".  Just a thing that annoys me.  We all have them, after all.

Right-click to download and print

Today is the last of the Kawaii Kids Halloween posts.  I want to close it out with another classic, cute set of costumes.  I went with Frankenstein's monster and a devil.  It was fun to go back & work with these paper dolls again.  Hopefully you enjoyed it, too.  Have a happy, fun, safe Halloween.  I know my two monsters & I will!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kawaii Kids - Vampires

Today I have the third Halloween Kawaii Kids costume set! I wasn't sure exactly what to do today.  My kids get a lot of the commercial costumes of their favorite characters, movies, etc, but I didn't want to do that with these paper dolls.  I wanted more classic, universal ideas.

So today we have vampires!

Right-click to download and print

I like cute Halloween costumes.  There's this push for kids to have costumes that are way too adult, in my opinion.  It's nice to let kids be kids for a while.  I was shooting for cute vampires with this set & I'm pretty happy with it.

There's one more Kawaii Kids Halloween set next week.

And if you haven't seen the preview for my December paper doll, check it out.  I'm taking requests for angel costumes so feel free to share yours!

Monday, October 17, 2016

December Paper Doll Preview

It's October.  I know this.  But in order to get myself organized for a chaotic holiday season, I decided to start working on my December paper doll early.  This has its advantages: first, I'm not super stressed out in November trying to complete a 30 page doll; second, it allows me a little time to actually research what I want to make; and third, it allows for a bit of input from my dear readers.

Last year, I created Santa and Mrs Claus paper dolls that I just loved. (You can grab an extended paper doll book here -- these printed beautifully and I highly recommend it!)  The style felt really natural and the project came together fairly easily.  I've been kicking around some ideas for this year's doll and I settled on something I hope everyone likes.

Feel free to right-click and download this paper doll and make your own outfits for her! (Personal use only, etc, etc...)

Now, I don't like to do things that are overtly religious.  I don't belong to any organized religion myself and one of my goals for this blog is to be inclusive.  Diversity in everything including something as niche as paper dolls can only be a good thing, I think.  Angels occur in many religions and cultures, so I feel fairly safe using them as a somewhat neutral theme.

The other thing I try to avoid is being overly political, both here and in my personal social media.  Again, I respect everyone's opinions and hope that others respect mine.  This year, though, there's a tiny bit of politics in this project.  I'm heartbroken about the events occurring in my country.  The violence, hatred, and xenophobia are a bit hard to swallow at the moment.  I want to highlight the goodness we still have and that's the inspiration for this angel.

I'm still trying to decide on a face for the paper doll.  I'm leaning towards the downcast, closed eyes.  Anyone else have an opinion?  And yes, she's a brown skinned angel.  I felt that was important in light of what I said above.  I already know that I want some African inspired outfits for her.

And this is where things become more challenging.

Can I create an inclusive angel paper dolls without being accused of cultural appropriate?  I hope so.  There's so much beauty in the world and I want to see all of it. I understand the significance of color in kente clothe about as much as I understand the clan associations of Scottish tartans (which is not at all).  I want to learn and creating is how I learn.

So let me know what you think of this draft.  I have some kinks to work out and I'm undecided about the face.  And please, I'd love suggestions for outfits! I'm no where near the 30 I need for the month! Also, call me out on this.  Is it a good idea? A bad idea?  I love the collaborative input of sharing my projects on a blog.  Hopefully I can post more process images along the way!  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Kawaii Kids - Kitten and Werewolf

Today is the next installment of the Kawaii Kids Halloween black & white paper dolls. I'm going to admit something -- I kinda phoned this one in.

You see, we went to a small, local theme park over the weekend with my parents.  My sons (they're 6 and 4) still have a terrible habit of putting their hands in their mouths/noses/eyes.  We had a great time but my kids came home with the plague because of that aforementioned affinity for hands in mouths.  My oldest had a stomach bug on Monday.  My youngest got it Tuesday.  And I got it Wednesday.  And when Mom is sick, the world comes to a halt.  Granted, my husband has always been a very equal partner in parenting, but having one adult down is no fun for anyone.

Right-click to download and print the Kawaii Kids - Kitten and Werewolf paper doll

So I ended up modifying/re-purposing a couple of paper dolls to create this one.  Next week, I'll try a little harder :)  And if you're looking for more of my Halloween paper dolls, use the search bar on the side -- there are TONS of them!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kawaii Kids - Happy Halloween! Witch and Wizard

I mentioned it a couple of times and here it is! There will be some Kawaii Kids for the month of October.  I didn't realize the Kawaii Kids were as old as they are -- I feel like I made them yesterday! (Time has been messing with me lately....)

Right-click to save and print the Kawaii Kids - Witch and Wizard paper doll

For those of you who are new to the Kawaii Kids, there are a ton of them and they are all interchangeable. I had a request through DeviantArt (which I rarely look at) for more Kawaii Kids and that was the inspiration for a Halloween series.  It's fun to play with something old and make something new with it! 

There isn't a pdf this week.  If anyone wants a pdf, I'll put one together at the end of the series.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tween Fashion Friday - Elin

One of the things I love about digital art is the ability to use & remix elements to create something new.  I knew I wanted to use a leaf pattern that I created years ago (if you love it, you can get it on actual, real fabric here!!) and that I wanted to include knee socks.  Knee socks are one of my favorite parts of fall & winter -- love them!

With these tween dolls, I have four skin tones and I've been trying to post different ones each week.  I just noticed that they all had had three dolls each except for the palest tone.  So I posted two pale toned dolls in a row.  This will mix with Samantha and Bronwynn.

This is the last tween doll til November.  I'm going to make some Kawaii Kids for October and then I still need to work out a December theme.  As always, send me ideas & thoughts about the paper dolls!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tween Fashion Friday - Samantha

Inspiration comes from random places.

Yesterday, two things happened.  First, my husband ordered a new phone for me.  I have replaced my phone 4 times in 2 years and it's just been a disaster.  I drop it. The kids drop it.  It's had a pretty rough existence.  So I'm getting a new one.  And my husband has *gently* encouraged (!) me to get a case for it this time.  I saw some cherry blossom cases that were pretty....and that's how the pattern for today's doll came to be.

The second thing that happened yesterday was that I got my hair cut very short.  It's been short-ish for a couple of years, so it wasn't anything really dramatic.  I had my hair trimmed recently but wasn't happy with it.  I went back yesterday, chopped the remainder off, and decided to live with it for a while.  It's super cute....but also REALLY short.  So today's doll has my hair style!

As promised, this set coordinates with Bronwynn's skin tone.  This set is vaguely Japanese inspired but not in any researched sort of way. I LOVE the short dress! It's adorable!

October is going to be a little bit different.  I'll be posting Kawaii Kids in Halloween themed outfits at least every Friday, maybe more depending on my schedule.

AND's time to think about my December paper doll.  I haven't completely settled on a theme yet.  One idea I had was to do a sequel to last year's set and create a cute little angel that coordinates with Santa and Mrs Claus.  Another idea I'm kicking around is a series of holiday inspired ball gowns.  Those would most likely be black & white instead of full color.  Any other ideas are more than welcome so feel free to share!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tween Fashion Friday - Celeste

There are some color schemes that I think are just beautiful and today's inspiration was one of those! I love dark blue & yellow (though my yellow ended up a bit on the greenish side).  And polka dots! I've been seeing polka dots everywhere lately.

This felt like a super sophisticated wardrobe & what's more sophisticated than a French name?!

Celeste can mix and match with any of the medium skin tone paper dolls.  One of these days I'll print some of these out and test out some combinations!

If you're looking for more paper dolls, I have the Etsy store up & running.  There are some unique sets over there that you can only get there.  And I love taking custom orders! I finished one recently for a teacher and it was so fun!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tween Fashion Friday - Mackenzie

I had every intention of making a doll in the same skin tone as Bronwynn today. She is currently the only doll in that specific skintone and I wanted to add another one.  And then I accidentally reused the same hair color & freckles!

It looked great & I didn't want to change it so there you go.

I'm in denial about the weather here in New England.  Today, the forecast calls for 90F.  In September.  I don't want to wear shorts AND sip Pumpkin Spice Lattes!! So this doll has a color scheme & wardrobe that reflects my mood and not my environment.  It will mix & match with all of the light skinned dolls except Bronwynn.  I'll work on that goal another time!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Tween Fashion Friday - Rosemary

Happy September!

September is usually back to school season in my region.  My son actually went back to school this past Tuesday and he's loving it! First grade seems to agree with him.

I felt inspired to create something in bright, primary colors.  I thought about creating a back to school inspired pattern but decided against it.  I kind of wanted a simpler doll this week.

This paper doll has the same skin tone as Kourtney and Bronwynn.

I was a bit busy last week with a commission.  I was contacted by a teacher who wanted to use my paper dolls in her classroom & I love projects like that! Between that, back to school stuff, and a seasonal freelance gig I do every fall, I just never got around to a paper doll last week.  It happens.

Recently, I had a request for Halloween themed Kawaii Kids.  That's on my list for October -- sounds like fun!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tween Fashion Friday - Simone

My husband is a BIG Olympics nerd.  He loves it! The games have been on our TV, computers, etc, for days now.  My kids are enjoying it, too.  I'm not a sports person in general, so the games have limited appeal for me.

I am, however, very proud of Team USA.

This year, two amazing athletes names Simone have done extraordinary things in their sports.  Simone Biles earned 5 medals (4 of those GOLD!) in gymnastics and Simone Manuel has earned 4 medals (2 gold, 2 silver) AND she's the FIRST African-American woman to win gold in an individual swimming event! That's a whole lot of awesome, even for a non-sports fan like myself.

So today's paper doll is dedicated to both Simones.

I wasn't sure which way I wanted to go with this -- the adult body or the tween body. Ultimately, I went with the tween body.  I'm hoping it has more appeal to young girls and inspire them to achieve such lofty goals.  The fashions are loosely inspired bu Olympics uniforms but not accurate representations.  I wanted to do my own thing!

I'm trying to limit the color schemes of my tween paper dolls.  This doll will coordinate with any of the dark brown skintone poaper dolls.

Have fun playing Olympian! :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Paper Doll Book!

I'm probably not the only person who does this, but I set "age" goals.  Like, I'll be married and have kids by 30 (which I mostly did, so hooray for that!)....that sort of thing.  Some of them are ridiculous.  When I was a kid, I wanted to learn 5 languages by 21. It was ambitious, to say the least! I've continued the habit as an adult, with slightly less lofty goals!

One of those goals is to get a paper doll book published with a "real" publisher.  I set myself an arbitrary goal of sending images to Dover by the time I was 35.

And I did send something.....

...a little over a year ago.  With no word since.

After reading Rachel's interview, I realized that 1) paper dolls are incredibly niche 2) print publishing is a tough business in general (especially for niche interests) and 3) Dover has a remarkable quantity of amazing talent to draw from already. All of these things make me feel a little less personally invested in this arbitrary goal of a real publisher, and more interested in just doing what I love.  And I LOVE creating art of all sorts.

So after waiting a little over a year, I decided to put the book together myself. And I got the proof copy this week!

The photos are not great.  I took them with my phone, in bad light, on my couch.  Still, I think the print book is an almost perfect match for my original art.

Here's a blurry image of the title page.  I've been trying to create more appealing title pages instead of the black & white text versions of the past.

A close-up from the title page.

And three pages of dresses.  Those are shadows, not creases, because I took awful pictures!

The back cover with the two dolls.

The idea for this book was a mix & match Victorian set.  I came across something on Pinterest called a robe a transformation: a transformation dress.  Apparently every dress Charles Frederick Worth created fell in this category, and this book could have easily just been a Worth themed book.  Instead, I found lots of different transformation dresses -- I even included a list of references in the back of the book! I haven't done a full-blown Victorian set before and I wanted to push the limits of my Photoshop "painting" techniques.  This paper doll (like almost all of them) started as pencil sketches.  I scanned & "painted" them in Photoshop.

Here's a preview of the entire book.  I loved making it, start to finish.  It was the kind of project that was just effortless and amazing and satisfying.

Hopefully, you like it, too.

Grab your copy here for now.  It'll be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble Online, etc, soon.