Today, a gorgeous 1860s-style dress featured on the fabulous website Costume Dramas and Period Clothing
was really no information provided about this particular dress, but I am guessing (based on the presentation in the photograph) that it is a museum piece somewhere. Check out the website for tons of other amazing period clothing ~ both from movies and museums. The blog has some pretty amazing movie stills and publicity/costume shots so you get to see some incredible detail on the costuming.Will be posting more original dolls (clothing!) this weekend!
Edited to add: this yellow/gold dress from 1866 ~ total stunner! I could have made two separate posts, but they fall under the same category, were found on the same blog and they are both "beautiful things" so here we go.
I will definitely be stealing these designs for my own characters when the time comes to work out their 1860s ensembles.
I love how vivid the colors are. A woman photographed in this dress would have appeared to be wearing black as yellow and gold tones in sepia prints translate very dark (I should probably find out why, but it's true).
This dress is identified as being from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection.
I still have not gotten around to the clothes, but since I made Buster, I thought I ought to round out the household (as it were). The Hunters have a nurse/housekeeper named Olivia. She's a free woman, a recent widow, and she doesn't particularly care for the way the master of the house comports himself. She is, however, devoted to Emmaline and the two make good companions.
I put Olivia in a simple chemise, corset, and pantalettes common to the period. She's not a slave and although she is a servant, she has nice underthings and takes pride in her appearance.
One thing missing here that I will probably have to digitally insert for the .pdf version because I totally forgot it when I was drafting the character is that she ought to be wearing a locket ~ and article of some significance much farther down the line.
It occurs to me that if I make tags for all of these characters, the list will be endless, so I am reserving the tags for the principal characters only.
Also, I think Weebly does strange things to the sizing on these images when I upload the pictures and I can't figure out how to make it quit, so I don't trust that things are "to scale" here on the blog. They will definitely be to scale on the .pdf versions.
Okay, I got a little distracted when I went back to my worktable. I was going to paint clothing, but then struck upon the idea that James and Emmie have a bloodhound named Buster and I thought: why not?
And look at how adorable he is! Could you resist?
I am sure Buster won't be the last of the pets and other various animals that appear throughout the story. It was fun painting him as the first.
You can expect more dogs, horses, some birds, and a cat or two eventually.
Buster was born in 1850. At the start of Stain the Earth Red, he's already 10 years old.
Got James' wife painted pretty quickly this morning (but I think women are easier to paint then men ~ the skin requires much less detail because you want to keep it smooth).
I always describe Emmaline as not very pretty, with very large eyes, a tiny mouth, and otherwise unremarkable features. It's hard, however, for me to draw her the way I see her in my head, but I'm not displeased with this rendition. Maybe her nose is too long, but otherwise, it looks generally like her.
I cheated a little with her chemise also (purists, please don't throw rotten vegetables). When trying to make a figure over which you can overlay other clothing, I guess I am inclined to compromise. So yes, her chemise is very short for the period (again, this would be 1850s-1860s), and yes, it's awfully form-fitting (in reality it ought to just hang down from the top). While I am usually a stickler for the look of authentic period-era clothing, I am satisfying myself by suggesting that at least the garment doesn't have clocks and gears on it (sorry all you steam-punkers!).
I am still learning how to drape fabrics. This wasn't 100% successful, but it's in the ballpark. It's amazing to me how much I still have to learn.
At the start of Stain the Earth Red, James and Emmie have been married for 15 years and Emmaline is just shy of her 30th birthday.
I have a handful of introductory garments to paint for both Emmie and James. Hopefully they will all be up before the end of the day.
Second character for the weekend (hoping to do at least one more). James has always been a bit of a litmus test for me where it comes to making paper dolls. Most of the time I struggle with getting him right and then give up or "make do" with something that will ultimately put me off somewhere along the way (click on his name under the categories at the right and you will see past versions ~ and then you will know what I mean).
This time was no different, except that I struggled through it and ended up cobbling together pieces from two separate drafts. So this required a lot of touch-up on the computer, unfortunately. On the bright side, I'm pretty happy with the result. I like his face especially, though his hair turned out a lot darker than I had intended (it should be dark brown, not black!).
One of the problems I often have with James is deciding what to make him wearing. Particularly in his youth because he is the sort of man who didn't wear any undergarments until a certain age. But I didn't want to risk offending by drawing him nude (considered it!), so I put him in some simple drawstring drawers. I wanted to make them balloony the way they would have been in the 1850s, but didn't quite get there. Nevertheless, I am not dissatisfied. He definitely needs some clothes, though. Razi-el wasn't so naked!
Although I am trying to do everything in "real" (as opposed to digital) media, I admit I added the body hair on the computer. I was afraid to ruin the doll (despite a very fine brush, I just don't think I could have made it look right). I actually imagine James even hairier than this, but decided to show some restraint here as I did with regard to his underwear. You are probably thanking me on all counts.
The title, "Stain the Earth Red" is the name of first story in which we see James (more on that later). Will try to post some clothing for him late tonight or tomorrow morning. The other doll I would like to finish this weekend is his wife, Emmaline.
Still fighting with the scanner, but had to do less touch-up on this one (or else maybe I am just okay with the weird way it is representing the colors. Painting clothing that is black is always a challenge and I try to avoid (as much as possible) using straight blacks (except to dull other colors). Here I used a little bit of Payne's Grey (which has a blueish tint) and Yellow Grey (which is slightly greenish). I'm painting with very high-grade Holbein & Windsor/Newton watercolors and gouache, but doing so on very low-grade cardstock. I'm much more comfortable taking chances when I don't feel like I am wasting paper, which is strange, but it's getting the job done.
The scan came out very blue. I'll keep messing with it, and again, ultimately, I'll .pdf these all nicely so that they can be downloaded and printed.
Meanwhile, I have to add that this outfit is only very vaguely era-appropriate. I wanted to keep it very simple and borrowed a little bit of the feel from 19th century Russian dress. But again, very simplified (tempted, though I was, to add frogging and shiny embroidery). He's got plain black riding boots, black leather gloves, a black merino frock coat with a long wide skirt (the interior lining is probably red silk, but we never see it), and a red sash of fine pasham.
We first meet Razi-el in a snowy forest and don't get a good look at him, but he needed something to wear and this is what he's wearing when we do get a look at him (much later), so there you have it.
Thought I would also post a smaller image of what the clothing looks like on the figure. Not sure what people want to see (or how they want to see it). Since I am .pdfing the art for your own amusement, maybe it's redundant to post it here like this at first, but it's keeping me engaged, so I will do it anyway for now.
This is pretty much all we see of Razi-el for a long while, so I won't be coming back to this character for some time. I tried to think up some accessories for him, but he doesn't wear a hat and the pear (Pirum) is generally the only object he carries around, so, alas, there's nothing more to add.
The "Christmas, 1859" in the title refers to the story and not the style of dress. I will have to figure out the best way to "tag" these characters as I go along. Since you are just seeing the characters and clothing here--and not the story--I'll try to provide some context where helpful, but mostly I will focus on descriptions of what they are wearing and probably do a lot of kvetching about the process.
Won't it be so much fun?
It's kind of exciting to finally be off and running!
Oh look! As promised!
I am still fighting with my scanner and had to do quite a bit of touch-up on this (scanning watercolors is the worst, I think), but here's Razi-el and Pirum (the pear has a name). It's kind of strange, on a 19th century paper doll blog, to post the least 19th century character out of my entire pantheon first, but Razi-el is the first character we meet in the story, and I figured we would just go in order of appearance (more or less).I'm working on getting over my perfectionism and trying to produce these quickly, so it won't be long before I post something for him to wear (perhaps even later today). If you're wondering about the black "tights" in the meantime, I really struggled with what to put him in and decided to go with the black because he's not a real person per se (though I call him a "him", he's really an "it"), and so his physical form is kind of irrelevant. That will maybe only make sense in context of the story, which is currently not posting at my other mess of a website: Reconstruction
This is the absolutely last time I am reinventing these dolls, so I promise from here on out you should have semi-regular updates with original work. The dpi on this is not good enough to download and make a very good print. When I have enough pieces, I will try to post printable .pdfs. Right now I need to concentrate on just getting the characters started!
Just a quick update before a weekend in which I hope to have actually paper dolls to post for you! These are some fabulous hats from the French magazine La Saison (1885). These are lovely examples of the typical excess of hair/head accessories in this era: lots of ribbons, bows, lace, feathers, and flowers. Bonnets were long gone and these toppers made excellent stages for all sorts of flights of fancy (including actual whole birds). Will have to find an example of a "birded" hat for you.
Height was the "height" of fashion in the mid-1880s with women's hair and hair accessories jacking upward in amazing ways. Fashionable hair and hats would not come back down until the turn of the century.
My goal this weekend is to get some dolls done so that I can make good on a very long long ago promise that there would actually be original dolls to download and play with. It's taken me forever to make decisions about what I wanted to do with the characters, but I've finally come to the conclusion that it's now or never, so I better get on with it. Also, now that my scanner is working again, I hopefully won't have any trouble posting the work. Yay!
Yes, I have fallen behind again (confound it), but the good news is I managed to fix the problem with my scanner (for the time being). It's still a clunky old thing and who knows how long it will hang in there, but at the moment it's humming (yay!).Today I am posting a paper doll created by Tom Tierney for his Superstars of the Old West series (which is kinda funny because, well, Jesse James was a murderer and a thief ~ even if he was a folkhero). But anyway, it's a nice doll and has a nice old west nostalgia sensibility without sacrificing authenticity (Tierney is great about that). I omitted the outfit where he is holding the picture that he was hanging when he got shot. While historically interesting, I thought it was a wee bit morbid.Anyway, had Jesse James on my mind since last weekend I went to Northfield for the first time and watched the re-enactment of the Northfield raid at the annual "Defeat of Jesse James Days" event. It was a rollickin' good time.
American history is so wonderfully rich and fascinating.
Just some random lovely fashion plates today (want to keep things going here, though still no sign of me getting any closer to acquiring a new scanner). In the meantime, enjoy these lovelies. While I don't know the original source of the one down below (found it randomly on an internet search, the one posted here to the left is from the magazine Le Folliet
from The Costumer's Manifesto
(a site with some nice fashion plates!). I chose both of these because they show some fashionable men's clothing (which by now you all must know I am a bit obsessive about). Not that I don't love women's clothing as well. I just think
men's fashions from the 19th century are equally fascinating and more interesting than generally represented.Both of these plates show men in the wide-skirted long frocks of the 1840s-50s, with colorful vests and contrasting trousers (usually of a pale color like dun, dove, or gray). Cravats and lapels were wide, while waists were narrow. It was during the 60s that men's corsets fell out of fashion as the popular silhouette became less waspish. Small feet have always been considered beautiful and like most fashion plates, here are a bunch of people trotting about on tiny little pointed shoes. Men's footwear, in reality, was a bit less extreme than what is depicted here