As promised, here are the rest of the pieces that go with the character I posted yesterday: a pair of ice skates (with curled prows), a winter suit of quilted trousers and light knit top, and a knit hat (that matches the scarf and mittens). The horse is probably wood or possibly gutta percha (no plastic in 1859).
Once again, I included an image of the assembled outfit. For the hat here, you would need to cut carefully along the inside in order to fit it on his head.
Painting the quilted pants on this was a total joy. Sometimes something just "works" and makes everything fabulous. I had also worried about the little horse he is holding, but it actually came off very well. All in all I am almost completely pleased with everything.
I had to do some PhotoShop fudging on areas where I was very careless with my overall design. Sometimes I don't use my light box when I should.
This is so far one of my favorite sets. It was fun to design and fun to paint.
Looking forward to getting more done, so stay tuned!
There are a lot of things I could quibble about with regard to how this character came out, but all things aside, for just leaping in without much planning, I guess I did all right by him and he will do.
Many of these characters will have multiple iterations as the story progresses, so I for now this one is just fine as a starter.
In 1859 Lewis is 14 years old (going on forty), though I did intend to give him a more youthful appearance. I may yet tweak his expression in the final plate, though I kind of like the scowl he has going on here.
I may use this same representation for the early 1860s as well (I haven't decided). But since he wouldn't look much different from 1850 through about mid-1862, it seems silly to create another. Again. i will have to think about it.
I had originally intended that this representation should be the only one of Lewis in which we would see his bare feet, but at the last minute I put socks on him anyway ~ maybe it's because I was painting winter clothing and thought his feet would look cold. And since I put long underwear on him, it just seemed to make sense.
And anyway, there's something kind of weird and fun about the fact that he never lets anyone see his feet and therefore you never get to see them either. There could be goat hooves under there for all we know!
I painted four pieces that represent Lewis' Christmas 1859 clothing: the pea coat shown here at the right, and three other bits which I will show in the post to follow this one.
The pea coat was supposed to be "too-large", but it fits him pretty well after all. The fate of his red mittens will also be a little leitmotif in the story, so I definitely wanted to include them.
I still have one other character to post, but I have not yet painted him. Don't know if I will get to him this weekend since it appears to have taken me all day to do these pieces. For sure I will post tomorrow; I need to finish the pair of ice skates that I am currently working on.
Painting this dress took me two hours, which is kind of staggering. And I am not even wildly crazy about how it came out (and to make matters worse, the scan doesn't do it any favors here, I don't think). But I'll have to keep moving forward.
This is the dress that Emmaline wears to the Christmas party (with James from yesterday's post). The two have a quarrel about it because James doesn't think it's appropriate for a dinner party. He's actually kind of a jerk about it. Emmaline takes it well though. It's only the first of many slights for the evening.
I really struggled with the lace on this one, so I will have to learn some techniques for handling lace. Lace was a bad choice anyway ~ it's too fru-fru for Emmaline, I think. Ah well, I expect there will be many more Christmases in which to improve her style.
I suppose I should say that I would have made a Thanksgiving set of clothing except that America did not have an official formal Thanksgiving holiday in 1859. And while it's early for Christmas, I know, that's where the story begins nevertheless and I have many more Christmas things to make before the actual holiday, so you can expect more winter clothing throughout the month of December, and at least two more new characters.
I was fairly close to giving up on painting these pieces (or any for that matter) a couple of weeks back. I feel like the train has regained the tracks now and all is well in the world, so as long as my scanner holds out, there should be regular updates here.
In the meantime, once again, happy holidays!
I still haven't quite figured out the best way to post things here (but I will eventally, I guess). I have been reworking the opening of the story in huge ways (alas, it's endless, though I am giving myself a December 25th deadline to get this tiger by the tail). Unfortunately for me, this means I will have to redo the plates (but don't you worry about that, I will figure it out). In the meantime, the changes mean the story opens at the Christmas party in 1859, so I am currently painting Christmas formal attire for James and Emmaline. I finished James yesterday morning.
Anticipating that there will be other formal parties in James' near future and not wanting to have to paint the black trousers over and over, I made the tail a separate piece (and therefore changeable). I really love how this came out. Click to see the details a little better. he is holding mistletoe in his right hand.
This weekend I am planning to finish Emmaline's dress and a whole 'nother character, so hopefully I will post more soon. These long lags in between are kinda inexcusable, so I will continue to try to do better.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American (U.S.) readers! And thanks to you all!
And then some days everything is back to working fine and you wonder if all the struggle and gnashing of teeth was just some weird glitch on the radar.
Today I have posted a character whose name is Sandy. Sandy doesn't have a last name as he is the "servant" of Widow Van Daal, who is a neighbor to James and Emmaline Hunter. And that's about all I am going to say about him at this point. I drew him holding a jar of honey (one of his favorite things and a gift from Emmaline), and, in the blue jacket, he is holding one of James' pigeons (who are all named for characters in the Odyssey ~ this one is probably Argos). And then to round it out, I have included a hat, necktie, and shoes/socks. Sandy is just about too old to be in short pants (he's about 14, though he looks younger ~ chalk that up to my poor drawing skills; children are still difficult for me).
Other notes on this doll: variations in skin tone on people of African descent has not proved very successful for me. I really mixed a very different color for Sandy than I used on Olivia, but they seem to look the same to me here. I will continue to try to improve in this area. Frankly, my white people skin tones aren't much better, so I probably shouldn't fret about it too much.
Anyway, enjoy! Click on the image to see more detail. I will put Sandy on the third plate, which I will probably post next weekend or thereabouts. More to come!
My internet connection is acting up. My scanner is acting up. It would seem there is a cosmic conspiracy to keep me from working on paper dolls. Not the least of which is me: rethinking everything because I am frustrated with how sometimes watercolors are just groovy and easy and everything is cake and other times, they are just the bane of my existence. And not for any particular reason at the moment except that I somehow don't have the energy for them. Which is pitiful.
Also pitiful is that I keep looking at other people's cool paper dolls and thinking everything I do it bleh and beh. And I know it's not true (all dolls are unique and interesting ~ it's why I love them!). But naturally there's some weird part of me that just wants something different than what I can do. It's been my Achilles my whole life and now it's pouring over into paper dolls, which are supposed to be my respite from perfectionism. So I had to post something to prove that I did try to work on stuff this weekend, but it may be a while yet before I post the real deals since I can't seem to shoe horn my head out of my [unmentionable]. And the scanner is cranky. And the internet connection is cranky. And I am cranky.
Will return shortly with fresh perspective, I hope! And more cool stuff!
Click to see the detail on the pattern of the blue dress ~ it's is amazing! This is from Review de la Mode
from 1880 and the colors are wonderfully preserved!As much as I am itching to get out of the 1850s in my own work, I have to be patient. But it's exciting to see all the beautiful styles to look forward to. The late 1970s and early 1880s remain my favorite period in fashion; dresses were flattering without the craziness of the enormous bustle-to-come. Lovely wedding gown too, I should add.
This plate comes from the Los Angeles Public Library
Plates No. 1 and 2 are now available in the Gallery.
There was traveling and then I was all out of sync again with what I was doing, which is just tragic. I get so easily derailed! But I am back now and will hopefully get on the tracks again. For whatever reason, putting together the second plate was really agonizing! Fitting things in, making sure everything was right. I couldn't fit Olivia's apron on this plate, so it will have to come later. It's a good lesson to me to make sure to work in sets that I can squeeze onto a page. I will be more careful with the next round now that I know the format/size/etc. that I am working with.
Now if I could just figure out my tags in a way that made more sense....Will be working on new stuff over the weekend. Sorry to be such a slacker!