Before I sign off for vacation, I thought I should offer at least one Santa Claus paper doll ('tis the season and all). I intend to make my own one day ~ I have some pretty specific ideas about what I want him to look like, and he does appear in my series at least once that I am aware of, so he's officially a "character" of this universe. But in the meantime, here's Tom Tierney's Santa Claus, who deserves the honor since he has the coolest 19th century costumes of all the Santa Claus paper dolls that I have seen. Click on the image to see the costumes in more detail.
The marketing idea of a "Santa Claus" was really born in the 19th century, thanks to Clement Clarke Moore's poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (more commonly called by its opening line minus a "t'was: "The Night Before Christmas". The idea was popularized by Thomas Nast in the illustrated papers (the patriotic depiction on the left is drawn from a wartime newspaper in 1863 ~ notice the army camp in the background there).
Tierney's paper doll includes an interesting evolution of Santa Claus through the 19th century from his Dutch beginnings in a 1821 image all the way to the turn of the century in his first motorcar. The second costume here is undated, but by the look of the doll it's likely based on an image from somewhere in the 1830s or 40s.
I hope everyone has a happy holiday and I look forward to posting lots of fun stuff in the new year!
Well I exceeded my ambitions in that I finished the whole set of characters (dollwise at least ~ they are still all in their undergarments, however, which needs rectifying!). I have to get to work on some other projects and don't want to spend too much time scanning them properly for now, but I thought I would at least post the "evidence" that they are, in fact, completed. The picture doesn't really do them justice since you can't see the lovely nuances of their faces, etc., but I will share them in more detail shortly. I have a few days left here before departing on vacation, but when I return, I will definitely begin working on their clothing.
All of their heads are detachable and the set I made here is definitely a Reconstruction-era set (James and Lewis both have scars from the war on their faces). I'd say these are roughly 1870s-1880s-appropriate. I'll be making various other heads to go with these dolls, including war-time heads and antebellum heads and probably 1890s heads. I actually did make a second head for the Amy doll (in profile), but I'm not 100% sure that I like it. I suspect she may end up having numerous extra heads since that's the best way to change her hairstyle.
I had wanted to make Christmas clothes, but I won't have time before the holidays. That's all right. I am pretty confident I'm keeping this set (at long last!). Whatever minor quibbles I may have with the various heads, I think the bodies are just right and I don't intend to remake them again. Emmie is a little more tiny than I intended, but I've always described her as tiny and then never really drawn her tiny, so I kind of like seeing how small she is here. Tiny!
This was tons of fun. I devoted much of the afternoon to getting them done and it was completely worth it.
When you have more than one doll to work on at a time, it's nice to be able to switch back and forth between the two (keeps things fresh and interesting). I'd painted a body for Morse last week, but hadn't done anything with it since. Tonight I made a head for it (click on the image so you can see it in better detail). The best thing about this head is that I think it really captures something about Morse than many of my other pictures of him fail at: namely the sort of serene, vapid look in his eyes. I've never thought of Morse looking especially wise or priestly. I think he can be austere and certainly frightening for the intensity of his gaze, but I think his predominant expression is one of mindless ease: he's in no hurry to get anywhere and no earthly matter can be so pressing as to cause him a moment's fretfulness. This is not to say he doesn't ever fret or that things don't concern him, but in general, he really ought to have this slightly glazed happy look on his face.
The chasuble here is just a scribble (I was trying to come up with a "Christmas" outfit of some sort and I figured he would wear gold at the Christmas mass). Now that the doll is complete (head and body), I will probably make a more concerted effort to make him some actual clothes.
Meanwhile, Amy's looking good so far. Transferred her over to the painting paper. I'll probably paint her and Lewis both tomorrow.
I made some modifications to the Amy pose that I posted earlier. She seemed too small in the previous incarnation. Somehow, proportionally to the other dolls she was okay, but by herself something didn't seem right. So I made her a little taller and a little stouter. I also changed the posture of her arm and hand. The other position looked awkward and unnatural no matter what I did with it; like she was trying to be sexy or something, which would be peculiar for the character. Anyway, I am much happier with this pose and will transfer it to be painted this weekend.
I have a lot of projects to get done this weekend, but I am hoping that among them will be some dolls, so I hope hope hope that before I vanish for the Christmas holiday, that I will at least have a handful of dolls done, even if I don't have their clothes ready. It's still my goal to have clothes done before the new year, though, so get ready for more frequent updates!
The "dress-a-doll" artwork for the upcoming review is due on the 20th, but I don't think I will have a chance to make anything for it. If I get ambitious, I will share, but I think I'm going to let this one pass (I couldn't figure out what to do for the India theme anyway).
I decided to challenge myself to make some dolls before Christmas. I keep trying to modify the set of dolls I made previously, but something about the James character has just never been right. After much futzing, I've decided that it's his pose that's all wrong and so, yes, you guessed it, I'm going to make him over again (third time's a charm, right?).
In the meantime, I thought I would steal his pose (or a modified version thereof ~ I might switch the hand positions since Lewis is left-handed) and use it for the next set of dolls: Lewis and Amy. I've made sets of them before and not been pleased with the Amys for the most part. For some reason she's been tricky. The sketch here to the left is the general sense of how I think I will pose them, though the disposition of their heads is up in the air at the moment. I'm actually considering doing both of them in profile, though I like the tilt of Amy's head on the doodle. The bodies are not quite all there. Amy's looks okay and I think it will work well, but I'm going to probably adjust Lewis' feet in addition to his arms (haven't quite decided yet). I really ought to put socks on him, also. It doesn't seem likely he'd ever wander around with them (so the clothes might adjust a little too). So yes, these are very very preliminary.
I was careful this time to keep the feet small and the limbs thin, which is another big problem with the current James doll. Although I have shaved him down considerably, I think he was just built too wrong to actually fix. And like I said, I don't think he's in the right pose anyway.
I'm going to try to finalize the shape of these two dolls tomorrow and then see if I can't paint them during the week. I'm trying to be less perfectionist about my work in general (and therefore work faster). It's been a long year of failed attempts and I'd really like to leave December with something satisfying on the table into the New Year.