Monday, May 29, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Coloring Sheet 1

I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend (if you were in the US).  We had a super busy weekend - my husband, father, and I all worked on some house projects.  We decided to bunk the boys & they wanted a Minecraft themed bedroom to share.  So there was much painting, organizing, and building of bunk beds.  The boys spent the weekend with my mother and it sounds like everyone had a good time!

Summer is almost here & as I look at my schedule, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.  The kids and I have a lot of fun activities planned for the summer.  Some of them are starting even before school gets at! And so I thought, how can I free up my schedule and bit and not totally neglect the blog?

My solution? June is black and white coloring sheet month! I know it isn't actually June yet, but it's close enough! I'm going to have Josephine and tween paper dolls in black and white all month.  It's not terribly taxing for me and fun for you (I hope!)

Right-click to download and print

If you decide to color Josephine, feel free to share! I'd love to see other iterations of Josephine's wardrobe.

So tomorrow I'll have the collaboration set posted and on Friday, there will be a black and white tween coloring sheet, so look for that!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tween Fashion Friiday - Linnet

It's the last Friday of the month and typically I'd post our paper doll collaboration project.  We all decided to postpone it until Wednesday, May 31st.  Here in the US, we're celebrating Memorial Day so most of us 1) have a lot of things that need to get done before the holiday and 2) have a bit of time over the 3 day weekend to work on fun stuff!! It'll be worth the wait....

Instead of the collaboration project, I have another tween set for today.  I wanted a fun, peachy colored set.  I actually kinda forgot about Memorial Day, so I didn't go patriotic on this one.  Just fun and summery.

I love peach and grey.  I found a peach and grey fabric at a store a couple of years ago and bought ever top that used that specific fabric!! LOVE it!

So enjoy the long weekend if you have one.  We're using this weekend to bunk my two sons in one room and decorate it with an awesome Minecraft theme while they're off at my parents' house. Look for the collaboration set Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 15

Today's Josephine was inspired by a comment on the last Josephine set.  It was suggested (among other ideas!!) that Josephine needed a goth wardrobe.  Now, I'm not much of a goth.  Like, at all. But, I was a teen in the heyday of goth. It was the kind of thing I wish I had been cool enough to pull off but definitely wasn't!!

Right-click to download and print

This is almost a goth-meets-beatnik kind of wardrobe.  I wanted something a little bit grown-up.  Except the purple hair.  That was another thing - I didn't want all black.  Dark purple felt like a nice compromise.

Any more ideas for Josephine?  I'll try to get to some of the other suggestions, too, as I find the time.    

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Serena

Yesterday was my birthday, so I thought I'd bring out the birthday pattern from the Maybelle doll.  Like most years, I had a relatively quiet day.  The boys and I skipped my son's baseball game (shhhh, don't tell!!).  Instead, we went to see an ice cream social/art show at my nieces' s school.  They were excited that I visited their school and we had a blast!!

I didn't get to see much of my husband today -- he worked late and I was in New Hampshire with the kids.  We have plans to go out this weekend for a late celebration (without the kiddos!) so that should be fun!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 14

Today's Josephine was inspired by a pattern set I had in my stash.  It's a retro rocket set in these great greens & yellows.  I loved everything about it! In the spirit of this pattern set, I made a retro wardrobe for Josephine.

Right-click to download and print

The plate got a little crowded this week.... I started with two tops & it looked like I could fit one more, so I made the sweater, too. The grey top with the skirt should fit to look like a one-piece dress when it's work under the skirt.  And the yellowish top looks best under the pants & skirt.

Not sure what's next for Miss Josephine... Thoughts?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Soledad

I knew exactly what I wanted to create for today: a sun and cloud pattern.  It's not a complicated pattern but I like how it turned out.  I made both the sun and cloud out of circles -- just circles. Might not look like it, but really, that's it.

I also thought, let's have a bright and sunny name! So I found "Soledad"....and discovered it means "solitude" instead of something sunny.  That's ok. I still like the name.

Isn't this just the epitome of summer?! Despite the ongoing 50 degree/overcast/rainy weather here in New England, I'm ready for some bright colors! And I'm already counting down to summer with the kiddos.  I'll admit, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with summer vacation -- it's nice to have both boys home with me, except when it isn't.  They're good brothers (and genuinely good friends) but the petty bickering over things like who gets to be Player 1 in the video game or who gets the last granola bar (seriously, we can just go to the store and get more!!) eventually gets to me.  We already have some summer adventures planned and THAT will be fun :)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 13

Despite the grey skies and rain this week, I wanted a bright summer Josephine set today! Something almost tie-dyed.  So today we've got some bright purples & blues!

Right-click to download and print

Looking back, it looks like I really, really like this bright aqua blue color for Josephine! Not much to say about this set really but there IS something else I want to share....

....A mini book!

I'm testing out a new format for my paper dolls & I just got my proof in the mail.  I took the beach paper doll and created a 6 inch by 9 inch book for it.  That sounded really small, but honestly was bigger than I anticipated.

Here's the back and front cover.  It's a saddle stitched paper back with glossy covers and a full-color interior. I expanded the set so there's two tops for every bottom as well as additional sets.

My photos came out a little dark, but the set is bright & beautiful! Along with 10 full-color pages I included 4 coloring pages for a 14 plate book.

I'm thinking about making this a series of mini books.  They're a nice, portable size and a book this size is $10.  It's available exclusively through my Lulu shop -- it isn't available on Amazon or anywhere else at the moment.

So go check it out.  I'm happy with how it printed!

More tweens for Friday :)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Coral

For some reason, I'm loving nautical colors & patterns right now.  It's not like I spend my summers on the Cape or anything!! It's just such a classic color scheme & fashion style, I guess.

Aside from that, I don't have much to say about this set.  She's a super pale blonde because my boys always have super blond hair in the summer.  We've got a busy summer ahead of us and I'm already trying to come up with a plan to fit everything in! We'll see how it goes....

I'll have another Josephine ready for Tuesday.  Not sure what yet....but it's coming.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Special Edition

For those of you who subscribe to Paper Doll Studio Magazine (and if you don't, check it out here), you've already seen this set.  For those of you who haven't, here's a new Josephine!

The theme for the current Paper Doll Studio magazine was Project Paper Doll, featuring original designs by paper doll artists as well as a dress-a-doll.  Both were really fun to work on!

I knew when I saw the theme that I wanted to adapt Josephine to the theme.  At the time, Josephine was a very new project & I just HAD to make more!

Right click to download and print each image

At the time, I had acquired some beautiful digital papers and wanted to use those.  I chose a soft pink & brown pattern collection because I loved the colors.  These aren't the most elaborate or original fashions & I'm ok with that.

So all of the clothes here will fit the other Josephine paper doll, and all of those outfits will fit this one (with the exception of the crop tops from page 11 - they just wouldn't look right!).

It's getting to the point where I could collect Josephine into a book.  I'm trying to decide the best way to do that.  I might go with multiple volumes - one of contemporary clothing like these, one of fantasy clothing like the Steampunk set, maybe one of formal wear.... Thoughts?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Paper Doll Collaboration 2017 - Favorite Novels

I read a lot. I average about a book a week and most of those are fantasy & sci-fi.  History and art figure in there regularly, too.  Reading is something I've always found time for and just love, so this month's theme was something I was eager to complete!

Today I have two costumes for the collaboration paper doll based on the character of Claire in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.  These books have everything I could want: a modern, amazing woman, a gorgeous Scottish setting, time travel, and a compelling story.  Honestly, I hope she writes these books forever!

Also, the television adaptation has been amazing! I highly recommend it. (Can't quite say the same of The Magicians adaptation -- great books, great tv show, VERY little in common beyond the first few episodes of the first season...)

So for my Claire, I have her World War II field nurse's uniform and an 18th century daily wear sort of gown.  Her unruly curly hair goes with both.  I based both of these on the designs of Terry Dresbach, a wonderful costume designer who's having a bit of controversy at the moment.

Make sure you visit Paper Thin Personas, Pop Culture and Paper Dolls, and Miss Missy's paper dolls for more collaboration goodness :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 12

Back to normal this week.  My son had last week off for April vacation & we kept busy! I have a membership to a local zoo and one for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, so we used those last week.  As a parent, memberships are my favorite things! I basically pre-pay for my fun and we can just go when we want.  The boys love it. I love it. Everyone wins. (If you happen to be near Boston, go see the Matisse exhibit.  It's great! Botticelli was nice, too, but seeing the objects Matisse actually owned & painting was wonderful!)

Today I have some mix & match gowns for Josephine.  I'd like to say I had some inspiration to create elaborate gowns. I didn't.  I bought some glitter & shiny textures and wanted to use them. That was pretty much the only inspiration!

Right click to download and print

These are designed so that the tops go over the skirt and look like a one-piece gown when they're layered. I can't say I really chose any specific reference images -- just random fancy dresses.  I love how shiny it is!!

Friday we'll have the April collaboration, so look for that!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Maia

My oldest son has been home on his April vacation this week.  It's nice to hang out with both of my boys and we've done a ton of fun stuff this week including a trip to the zoo & the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  It's been a busy week!!

Today's doll isn't terribly elaborate, simply because I've been so busy this week.

In order to meet my own deadline, I used a pattern from my collection of graphics.  I customized the colors with a bright spring palette.  All of the trees around here are budding & blooming and I just HAD to use some spring colors!

There should be a Josephine on Tuesday, so look for that!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 11

....And we're back to Josephine this week! I loved created the beach paper doll -- and the awesome folks at ArtRage were nice enough to comment on it. How cool is that?!  I also found more outfits for the beach doll that I forgot I drew.  Might try making a mini book out of that set.

Did everyone enjoy Miss Bunny? You can grab the pdf from the link in the Outfit 4 post. This is another set I'd like to expand.  Maybe more animal paper dolls? Miss Bunny needs some friends.

Right-click to download and print

Today's Josephine is totally random! I found a Renaissance inspired fantasy gown and that inspired the set on the left.  My skirt is more narrow than the example I found.  Once I got the colors blocked in, I thought it looked kind of Moroccan or vaguely Arabian in a totally non-historical way.  I've never drawn harem pants before and decided to go for it on the second set.  And I decided the second top was pretty cool, so I made an alternate patterned version of it! Also, I'm really happy with both hairstyles.  They were both challenging in different ways & they came out exactly the way I wanted!

Josephine's wardrobe is definitely varied! Not sure what's on the table for next week but it should be interesting!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Miss Bunny's Spring Wardrobe - Outfit 4

Miss Bunny has been a fun little project this week - I hope you're all enjoying it, too.  Sometimes I need to break the mold and try something a little different.

Today Miss Bunny gets her Easter dress.  Now, we aren't a religious family in the slightest and we really celebrate a secular Easter.  It's a nice day to get all of the kids together & spend time as a family.

Right-click to download and print

I'm not entirely sure if the flower wreath will actually work. I haven't cut this out yet. I'm not entirely sure how to.  Sometimes I make something pretty for the sake of being pretty. Let's just call it that!

You can download the whole mini series in one handy pdf right here! Maybe I'll cut this out with the kiddos this weekend.  I hope all of you who are celebrating Easter have a lovely holiday, and to the rest of you, happy spring!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Miss Bunny's Spring Wardrobe - Outfit 3

My nieces have always had the most adorable wardrobes! One thing I always liked were their little raincoats.  They've gotten older & cooler, so I'm not sure if they still have cute raincoats.  But they did when they were little. Boys raincoats are much less exciting....

Right-click to download and print

I have to admit, I struggled with my color choices here.  It was tough having a background color and I didn't want something predominantly yellow because I did that with the first outfit.  I settled on pink & orange.  It's not perfect but it's not bad either.

Tomorrow is the last day of Miss Bunny's Spring Wardrobe and I'll have the pdf ready to go, too!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Miss Bunny's Spring Wardrobe - Outfit 2

Today's Miss Bunny is a bit different than yesterday's.  Instead of a frilly dress, Miss Bunny is getting her hands (paws?) dirty.

Right-click to download and print

For Christmas, my husband got me some gardening projects.  I've never really tried growing veggies, but I will this year! I started all of my little plants from seed last it won't be too long before I look like Miss Bunny here. Wish me luck!

Check in again tomorrow for another outfit for Miss Bunny and a pdf on Friday!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Miss Bunny's Spring Wardrobe - Outfit 1

Do you just love Miss Bunny?! I know I do! I worked on this last week while my kids were dealing with a bout of conjunctivitis. Honestly, as sick days go, pink eye isn't so bad.  No fevers, no stomach aches, and generally pretty good moods. And the medicine was a course of eye drops, so I didn't have to listen to them complain about yucky drinks and/or shots.

Anyway...Miss Bunny gets a little dress today.

Right-click to download and print

I found hats were a bit of a challenge with this set.  I'm pretty sure this one will work, especially if you tuck the side tabs under the face. I may have to test these out on my nieces on Easter Sunday.

Tomorrow, Miss Bunny gets another little outfit and I'll have a pdf on Friday!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Miss Bunny's Spring Wardrobe

If April showers bring May flowers, we're going to be absolutely covered in blooms! Seriously, I think it's been raining for a year.  I guess that's part of the reason why I have a bright & flowery paper doll for today!

This week, I decided to do an Easter mini series.  I wanted to make something cute with an Easter theme.  Initially, I wanted to draw it in Illustrator and add paper textures to it in Photoshop so it looked like a cut paper project.  That didn't work out so well.  My computer chugged and groaned and didn't do what I wanted.  Instead, this is a straight-up Illustrator paper doll.

Right-click to download and print

I wanted to make a bunny paper doll. I've never made an animal paper doll & this seemed like a good opportunity.  This looks like a stuffed toy bunny to me more than an actual bunny. And I needed a floral explosion! The colors are based on the Pantone color trends for fall 2011.  Why? Because I saw the palette on Pinterest and really liked it!

I'll be posting Miss Bunny all this week with a PDF on Friday.  Let me know what you think of this little expiriment!

Friday, April 7, 2017

At the Beach - An ArtRage Expiriment Page 2

On Tuesday, I shared a the first page of the beach paper doll in color.  I decided to round out this week with the second page because I want to focus on an Easter set next week.

After finishing both pages in ArtRage, I've got a few pros and cons about the program.  First, it's super easy to just pick up and use.  The tools are all pretty intuitive and self-explanatory, especially the fact that it's gesture based.  I can interact with my computer screen the way I use my smart phone.  Secondly, I love the way the program mimics natural media.  I used the felt tipped pen for most of the base coloring. It was fun smearing marker and blending layers of markers! I also liked that there were a lot of functional features, such as selection tools and blending modes.

Right-click to download and print

Now on to the cons.  There aren't a lot, really.  Importing patterns and textures is a little more cumbersome than in Photoshop but totally possible.  I had some problems with palm rejection but I'm not sure if it was the program or my computer so I really don't want to blame the program.  ArtRage 4 doesn't have the ability to add type, but ArtRage 5 does so I can't really complain about that either.

ArtRage 4 DOES have a type tool, as the awesome folks over there were kind enough to tell me!
 The biggest gripe I have is my own fault. I used the metallic paint option and forgot to turn it off. I ended up losing about an hour of work and having to do it over, partly because I didn't notice it was still metallic. And the reason I didn't notice is because it really only showed up as metallic when I exported the file.  ArtRage doesn't render metallic media well and that might - again - be the version I'm using.

Overall, I recommend ArtRage as a natural media program.  It's inexpensive and it's fun (and no, no one paid me to say that! I just personally love the program).

I'll probably play around with it more.  If you also test it out, let me know - I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

At the Beach - an ArtRage Expiriment

So the bad news is, there isn't a Josephine today.

The good news is, there's something different.

Much as I love the Josephine series, I wanted a brief break.  I've been thinking about ArtRage lately - they just released a new version - and I've been thinking about upgrading.  Thing is, I don't use it much so I can't really justify upgrading.

And I thought, why not use ArtRage 4 and see where things go.

Right-click to download and print

This is the beach paper doll from ages ago! I didn't realize it had been almost exactly a year since I posted the outlines of this set. It seemed like a good set to experiment with because I already had the line art and it wasn't a huge set.  That proved very helpful because this one sheet took me the better part of three days to color.  I'm terrible at estimated the time I spent, but if I'd say it was between 6 and 8 hours for this sheet.  And there's a second sheet for this doll, coming as soon as it's finished . (Don't hold your breath for the rest of the beach kiddos.  It might happen. It might not.)

Briefly, I used the felt maker tool in ArtRage for most of this with the pencil tool, too. The metallic paint option is awesome and I used that for the belt buckle and a few other things.  The background and bases are images that I combined & blended in ArtRage using blending modes - which have slightly different result than in Photoshop.  ArtRage 4 doesn't have a type option so I added the title in Photoshop.  The export-to-Photoshop option is fantastic and proved very handy!

The outlines and tabs were Photoshop, as well as the text.  Aside from that, everything else was ArtRage 4.  It really simulates natural media.  There are strokes and brush marks and everything! Lots of fun and I highly recommend it.  Maybe I'll color more black & white sets this way.....

(And I haven't given up on Josephine. I promise!!)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Paper Doll Collaboration 2017 - Fashions from Space

It's the end of March so that means another installment of the paper doll collaboration project! I hope everyone is enjoying this because I know I am.... Coming up with a theme is often the most difficult part for me.  It's nice to have a year of themes ready to go, and create accordingly.

This month's theme is fashions from space - a theme I never thought about but was SO much fun! I love science and sci-fi, but it never occurred to me to make a sci-fi paper doll.  I kept this one simple. I keep thinking that once the year is over, I'll go back and color all of my contributions.

My outfit was inspired by mid 20th century sci-fit.  A while back I decided to read more "hard" sci-fi, like Asimov and Clarke.  Which I've been doing and rather enjoying it! So this owes a bit to that era.

Continue with the them at Paper Thin Personas, Pop Culture & Paper Dolls, and Miss Missy's Paper Dolls!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 10

Today is another Josephine post and I can't believe I'm already up to 10 pages! This is one of my favorite projects ever, I think, and I'll keep doing it as long as it's fun.

There are some things in this world that I love & would love to know more about.  Embroidery is one of them.  My grandmother liked to cross stitch before her sight weakened and I'm trying my hand at that right now.  It's not difficult, but it's a skill that takes time & patience.  Today's outfits are based on an embroidered jacket I found on Pinterest.

Right-click to download and print

Yeah, I know it's spring and this is more of a fall set.  The jacket I based this set on was these beautiful fall colors & I just loved it.  I'm really excited about how the applique embroidery came out! Once I drew it and colored it, I just fiddled with Photoshop layer styles til I liked it.

So this week is another collaboration week - come back Friday & check that out!!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Beautiful Angel - A Paper Doll Book

Remember that angel paper doll I made for December? Remember how I said I'd make it into a book? Well, I finally got around to it!

Here's the front cover. Order your copy here! 

For this project, I expanded on the December set by adding 6 new outfits exclusive to the book. This is also one of the largest books I've ever put together.  There's a total of 36 full-color wardrobe pages!

These are the six new costumes.  There isn't any real logic to them, much like the December project.  I wanted to expand upon some themes (historical, African textile) and try a couple of new things (flower, nature).

As a way of celebrating another paper doll book, ALL of my paper dolls on on sale right now! Beautiful Angel is 20% off and all other books are 15% off.  Good time to grab a book or three, if you ask me!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 9

Finally. The calendar says it's spring.  The weather says it's spring.  My husband got me some gardening stuff for Christmas so I guess it's time to get those seeds started!

Today's Josephine is a pretty simple one.  I wanted to add some more neutral pieces to the ever-expanding wardrobe.  I'm also thinking I'll print some of these out & cut them for fun sometime soon. I don't do that nearly enough!

Right-click to download and print

The mustard-ish colored bases aren't exactly what I had in mind but it's ok.  I wanted bright but fairly neutral.  The skirt and pants should mix with a fair bit.  The tops maybe a little less....

Any suggestions for Josephine? In case it isn't apparent, I'm all over the place with this project.  It's an anything-goes, experimental set.  I'm not sure what's up next but it should be interesting!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Darby

Happy St Patrick's Day! My mother's family is of Irish descent & I live north of Boston, so St Patrick's Day is definitely a thing around here.  My grandfather's family settled in northern Vermont during the 19th century Irish immigration.  We have very little actual ethnic heritage in any of my family but once a year, my mother and grandfather have corned beef & cabbage.

I actively avoid corned beef and cabbage.

Honestly, I can't even be in the house when they have it. I'm glad they love it and somehow feel connected to their heritage or whatever but really, I just can't.  I'll take my green beer and curried chips, thank you very much.

Today is the last of the green/Irish mix and match sets.  Not sure what I'll do next.  Maybe something bright and spring-ish....even though we have 20 inches of snow here. Again.  Anyway, enjoy your St Patrick's Day and hopefully (HOPEFULLY!!!!!!) spring is around the corner!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 8

I was feeling a bit inspired this weekend and made a new Josephine sheet.  My first thought was to make a sheet of basics to mix & match with the existing sheets, like jeans, etc.  And then I ended up on Pinterest.

In wandering around Pinterest, I found some gorgeous doll clothing.  I also happened to find two outfits by the same doll designer! (There's also a really interesting interview here with a photo of her super-tidy studio...and I am very envious.)  My dress for Josephine is very, very vaguely based on two outfits (here and here).  I loved the idea of a flower covered 18th century inspired gown and fitted jacket.

Right-click to download and print

I thought about coloring this set in soft pastels and then found bright patterns in my collection that I liked better.  The blue pattern and the pink-yellow pattern really had nothing in common, so I created the striped border in order to join them together.

The flowers were a problem.  I tried using photorealistic flowers and it looked wrong.  Then I tried flat shapes and that looked wrong.  So then I did what I should have done in the first place: I drew my own flowers!! And wouldn't you know it...they were exactly what I wanted.

To finish things off, I created a powdered wig and modified an earlier headwrap with some flowers.

The jacket fits over the dress and the bodice is meant to fit over the dress as well.  It was a tight fit getting everything on one sheet!

If you're looking for the Josephine doll, it's here. And you can find other wardrobe sheets with the "Josephine" tag.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Delia

So....anyone else ready for spring? It's cold again here in New England. And dark. And the time change is Sunday. And I am utterly unmotivated to do much of anything.  I'm calling it End of Winter Malaise.  You would think that the middle of winter would be the worst.  Nope.  For me, it's usually March.

Today's paper doll was an attempt at motivation.  I decided to piggy-back off of Moira when I created this set.  I really liked the colors & patterns of Moira, so why not?!

I added a shamrock pattern to this set with colors that coordinate with Moira.  It's fun making these mini-series for more mix & match possibilities.

Hopefully I can snap out of this funk of mine and refocus.  Winter can't last forever!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tutorial: Creating the Josephine Pages with Clipping Masks in Photoshop

Sometimes, I don't feel like making stuff.  Really, it's just that simple.  It isn't that I don't love drawing & painting & such. I do.  But sometimes I need a break.

This weekend, my oldest son attended a birthday party and we had my younger son's birthday party at our house.  After that, I just wasn't feeling very creative. So I worked on genealogy research instead (which is loads of fun and I recommend it!) and today, I'm taking my mother to the doctor.  She broke her finger spectacularly and needed a crazy cast up to her elbow! Some weeks are busy around this house!

Today, instead of creating a page for Josephine, I want to share a little bit about how I make the Josephine pages.  The techniques here are also the techniques I used to create the Chanel paper doll, the Dupin paper doll, as well as the Akinye and Friends book and the Transformation Dress book.

Like most of my projects, this one starts with a sketch.

This sketch is from page 2 of the Josephine series.  To create the outfits, I use a black & white template and I draw over it.  The template is the actual lines from the finalized paper doll.  I lower the opacity & draw over it in ArtRage.  I'm using ArtRage 4 and I use the pencil tool to sketch.  This could easily be done on paper or in another program. I just happen to like the natural feel of sketching in ArtRage -- it also has a TON of features that I'm still working on perfecting.

Anyway, once I'm finished scribbling, I export the file as a JPG and bring it into Photoshop to line and color it.  I could line it in ArtRage but I'm not thrilled with any of the three pen tools available.  Could just be inexperience on my part.

Here's what my file in Photoshop looks like.  I'm a big fan of folders! I like to keep things tidy and labeled as I work.  Here, I have just the lines for the pants, belt, and shoes.  Each of this is on its own layer.  I do not re-draw the feet - I duplicate those from the finalized, colored doll and add them in here.  I'm a big fan of working smarter not harder!!

To outline the clothing, I use a custom oval brush.  Its gives me a little bit more variability and hand-drawn feel while I draw on screen.  It isn't an essential thing, just a preference. Any hard brush would work fine here. Just make sure your lines create a closed shape or the next step won't work.

Once the clothing is outlined, I fill it with one color.  To do this, I select the outside of the lines, then right-click and then Select Inverse.  This selects the inside portion of the lines.  Why do it this way? If I tried to select the interior of my image, I would only select the empty sections around the lines and not the *true* interior space.  Next, with my image still selected, I go to Select, Modify, Contract and choose a pixel amount, usually 1 or 2.  Again, why? This way, the selection is inside the lines and there won't be any color bleeding outside the black lines.

This is the modified selection.  The (faint) dashed lines are the selected area, now inside of the black lines.  I know there are other methods for doing this (see: Paper Thin Personas.  She uses a great technique!) but this is the one I like for me.

With the selection still in place, I create a new layer UNDER the selection and use the Fill paint bucket to fill it in with a color.  Doesn't really matter what color.

Here's the color fill.  It's highlighted in the group on the right side and labeled Layer 8 for now.  Name it something meaningful! These layers easily get out of control!

Next, I use this color layer as a clipping mask layer for the pattern on the belt.  This isn't the only way to apply a pattern.  Sometimes, I use a pattern layer style to apply an all-over repeating pattern, such as the velvet texture on the steampunk outfit.  Sometimes, I also use multiple clipping masks and merge them into a single layer once they look right.  That's what I did with the strip pattern on this belt.  But for the purposes of this tutorial, I'm using a different pattern.

Open the image you want to clip and place it ABOVE the color layer. In my case, it covers the whole page.

The image you want to clip needs to be above the layer you are clipping it to.  Now, this didn't make sense to me for a while.  Then it occurred to me that it's a lot like a stencil: the interior of the stencil is the thing you're drawing and the outside is the paper you're ignoring.  It's like that.  The color layer below the pattern is the interior of a stencil.  Right-click on the pattern layer and select Create Clipping Mask.

The patterned paper is now only applied to the color layer below it.  However, if you look at the layer, the paper is still completely intact -- that's the little boundary squares on the work area.  What this means is you can still manipulate the pattern.  In this case, I would like a smaller pattern so I scale the clipping image.

This is the clipped pattern, scaled down and rotated slightly.  What's great about this is that the pattern and the color are still separate.  I can change the pattern at any time and I can still select the color layer separately, too.

Which is what I'll do next.

Use the Magic Wand tool to select the interior of the color layer.  Next, create a new layer to add the shadows.  I like to keep as much separated as possible because it allows for more flexibility.  I might paint the shadows in black and then change the blend mode until it looks right.  If I paint directly on the color layer, I lose that ability, so shadows go on their own layer.  The reason I SELECT the interior first is so that the shadows stay confined to the area I'm painting.  I don't need to go back and try to erase areas that I didn't want.

To paint the shadows, I use a large soft brush with a lowered opacity (maybe 10 or 15 to start) and gradually build up the shadows and opacity until it looks the way I want.  I do the same with the highlights.  Sometimes I use black and white for shadows and highlights.  Sometimes I don't. It depends on the image.  Keep in mind, too, that I'm using a pen and a tablet screen.  This is a bit harder with just a mouse.

Here's the finalized belt in the original pattern.  I have a color layer - that's the merged clipping mask layers I created to manipulate the pattern.  Merging the clipping mask layer with the color filled layer is totally optional.  Above that is the shadow layer and the highlight layer.  These three parts are the entire belt.

And that's basically it.  I color each section of the clothing like this, separately out sections into layers as needed.  I use Group to create folders with like items.  In this case, all of the layers comprising the belt are grouped together and called "belt".  You can further group up these group folders, which is something I do.

One last note about color: keep it simple.  I had a professor who taught me that you really only need three tones to create a realistic form: a mid-tone, a highlight, and a shadow.  That's really it.  So when I'm painting or drawing, I keep that in mind. With these Photoshop paper dolls, I have a color layer (the mid-tone or main color of the object), a shadow layer, and a highlight layer.  It's possible to create more depth with more colors and layers.  Occasionally, I'll do that but mostly, I stick to three colors.

I hope this demystifies a little bit of how I color these images.  It really isn't complicated, aside from making sure I'm on the right layer at the right time!   Any questions, etc, feel free to let me know!

Friday there should be another doll posted and hopefully a new Josephine next week.  Feel free to send me theme suggestions! I love those!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Moira

Happy March! When I was a kid in northern Vermont, March was still fairly chilly but all of the tapped maple trees were a clear indication that spring was on its way.  Today, however, in northern Massachusetts, I've been walking my kiddos to school in unseasonably warm weather. 

The weather seems like a silly thing to talk about and yet, I do. A lot.  I'm the sort of person who thinks a lot about place & history, and weather is a big part of a place.  My place has always been New England and something we Yankees love talking about is the weather. When is the first snow coming, the first thaw, when are the trees getting tapped, when will the corn spring up, are the apples ready for picking...etc, etc. I love it.

Today's doll is a bit of an homage to place and history.  It was brought to my attention that I should make a Celtic or St Patrick's doll.  (I have. A couple of times. Like here. And here.)  When I think of St Patrick's Day I think of Ireland, of course.  My grandfather's great-grandfather (so 5 generations back....) left Ireland for northern Vermont.  We haven't retained much "Irishness", honestly.  So when I think of my Irish roots, I really think of my Vermont roots.  I suspect that the green hills & agricultural nature of Vermont was at least somewhat familiar to these immigrant families.

There were a few things I wanted to avoid with this set: no redheads (I've done that) and no stereotypical symbols (though I did slip one in).  My Irish ancestors had black hair and dark eyes.  Funny enough, my Scottish ancestors were redheads -- as is one of my nieces!

I knew I wanted to make a cozy sweater.  I love green, so that was a natural choice.  And I slipped one little shamrock.  The shorts & sandals are there partly because I had the space for them and partly because of the northern Atlantic Ocean.  If you have ever been to the northern reaches of the East Coast, it gets cold! The range of temperatures can be extreme.  Shorts at midday and a heavy sweater by evening is not unheard of!

So long story short, this is my New England interpretation of an Ireland I've never visited but hope to one day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 7

How did it get to be the last day of February already?! Also, here in New England we had all of winter in one week (25 inches of snow in 4 days) and then - poof! - spring.  It's been unusually warm so we've been outside a lot.

Also, with today being the last day of February, I've been thinking about my youngest son.  He was almost born on a Leap Year but just missed it.  His birthday is tomorrow and I'm amazed at how fast the years are going. I started this blog the summer after he was born and tomorrow, he turns 5! Happy birthday, Mr. Miles. It's been an interesting five years so far!!

Today's wardrobe sheet for Ms Josephine is menswear inspired.  I wanted to create something with mix and match possibilities, of course.  I also wanted something that was both masculine and feminine - or neither, because honestly, what do those even mean?!

Right-click to download and print

So Josephine has some nicely tailored, professional outfits this time around.  I knew I wanted a floral suit and I thought long & hard about making both the skirt and the pants floral.  And then thought better of it. There still isn't a lot of mix & match possibilities across the whole project. I really should make a sheet with just neutrals of some sort.  Maybe next week, since I've used up all the backlog I had ready to go!

If you're looking for Josephine, you can grab her here.  You can search for everything in the Josephine series or use the "Josephine" tag to track down more sheets. And I'll get something up for Friday, too!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Paperdoll Collaboration 2017 - Night at the Oscars

I lied.

I was going to make a fourth Valentine's paper doll.  It just didn't happen.  2017 has been a pretty best/worst kind of year so far.  Lots of good things are happening to me, and a lot of less good things are happening around me.  So I didn't get around to a fourth doll.  There's always March for a quick themed set...

Today is the next part of the on-going paper doll collaboration project with Paper Thin Personas, Pop Culture Paper Dolls, and Miss Missy Paper Dolls.  This month's theme is a night at the Oscars.

Personally, I don't care about rewards shows at all.  I do, however, LOVE fancy dresses and elaborate gowns!

My dress is based on a Dolce & Gabbana dress.  I can't seem to track the dress down online. That's fine.  Part of the reason I loved it was because it was a fairly simple black dress but it was paired with fancy, Renaissance inspired jewelry. Sometimes I create things in Illustrator and bring them into Photoshop -- that's what I did here with the jewelry.

And because I can be my own worst critic (it's the best way to grow as an artist!!), that hand is the worst.  I knew it was bad when I drew it ages ago, but seeing it now....the worst.

I'll update links to the other paper doll collaboration pages as they go live, so look for that!

Paper Thin Personas - find it here
Pop Culture Paper Dolls - find it here
Miss Missy Paper Dolls - find it here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 6

It's still winter-ish here in New England. This year hasn't been too bad and I'm just about ready to think spring.  In a way, I wish it had been a bit more wintery -- my boys got a bunch of fun snow toys for Christmas that they've hardly used!

Today's Josephine is winter inspired.

Right-click to download and print

I really, really wanted to do something fur this week.  There's a beautiful deer fur texture in my collection that was just begging to be used! And purple leather sounded like a thing that should exist. I don't know how many mix & match sets Josephine has across the whole series.... I'm thinking I should print these at some point!

If you're looking for Josephine, the doll is here.  And you can search the "Josephine" tag to see the entire project!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tween Fashion Friday - Jaimee

Here's round 3 of the Valentine's Day series! I didn't actually set out to make this a series, but it's worked out rather nicely, I think.  It's so much easier to work with a theme than a blank computer screen!!

So here's Jaimee.  There isn't a whole lot to say about her. Same colors, same patterns.  I even borrowed the hair from one of the angel paper dolls.  Speaking of....I really need to get that compiled into a book.  Any angel requests for the book? Now's the time to suggest them!

One more Valentine's Day paper doll....even though it's over & done with. Why not?!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Eclectic Wardrobe of Josephine - Page 5

Happy Valentine's Day! Not a big deal for me, honestly, but the boys love it.  In true nerd mom fashion, I gave my boys books instead of candy.  They love books so it's a win all around.

Today's set for Josephine is oddly appropriate especially considering I made it weeks ago!

Right-click to download and print

I found a jumpsuit on Pinterest with a bit of a plunging neckline that I thought would be perfect for Josephine. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to create some tops to go over the jumpsuit instead of a second bottom piece.  Black is a color I struggle with and this was a good reason to work on that, too.

Josephine got some fancy tops and I think they're pretty great.

If you're looking for Josephine, you can grab the doll here.