I have been suffering from computer woes this past week, alas, but hoping things will improve shortly.
To tide you over, here's a lovely fashion plate of children's clothing from October of 1875 (source uncertain, unfortunately). I haven't come across a lot of fashion plates for children, which makes this one interesting. Mostly children wore rather amorphous dresses until they were about 7 or 8 years old, then they generally wore miniature versions of whatever was fashionable for adults.
Love the colors: the blue shiny stripes and the gold/coppery combination. It seems I have not posted much from this era, which is interesting since it's so smack-dab into Reconstruction-era America, but maybe I have just been saving this stuff for when I get there. I feel right now like I will never get out of the 1850s. Gotta move this ahead quicker!
These are the absolutel final final final plates (officially, I promise). These are the plates that are going to be attached to the series, so there will be no more dickering with them ~ they are done done done. Right now I just have the two completed. I will be working on the others and rearranging them as I work on the series. I will always try to post the plates here before they are available for download on the Reconstruction web site, so that if you are visiting here, you will have them early!New plates will post every two weeks regularly, but again, you'll see stuff sooner.
Additionally, the plates are only posting on the actual "production" schedule. I will continue to post drafts and work that I am doing ahead of schedule here ~ it's just the final plates themselves that will be on my fortnightly posting timeline.
I'm not 100% organized yet, but definitely getting there. Hoping by the New Year I will have enough of a routine to be at least semi-predictable with regard to this work.
So much to do in the meantime. Will try to post something for Christmas in the next day or so to celebrate the holiday!
My Saint Nicholas idea wasn't inspiring me and I realized I was kinda jumping the gun with that since he doesn't even appear in this first Christmas story, so I abandoned that particular ship and painted this tonight: wings!
I was really debating whether I would since it's been a long time since I have thought about Razi-el as being a "traditional" angel-shaped thing, but after some consideration, I thought, well, why not. He would have been perceived as such contemporary to when the story is taking place and I do want to keep the whole bird/feather/wing leitmotif afloat, so voila. Enjoy. When I repost the plates (again ~ I know, I know, but I think I finally have them right this time), I will include these wings in their proper size, etc. In the meantime, you can click on them to see some of the detail (they are very basic, I guess, but not bad for a job done while talking on the phone and flinging paint on the page.
I need to remind myself more often how easy this is when I just relax and roll with it instead of agonizing over all the little details.
Okay, back to working on the story again. It's very nearly done and I have to admit I am rather proud of the noble thing it is turning out to be (particularly considering its surly, hideous start and its rather cantankerous journey into maturity. Expect it to be ready to download on Christmas Day ~ yay!
This is a recent auction from eBay that shows a lovely solution for the problem of tailcoats on paper dolls. It's probably from either the late 1890s or possibly just over the jump of the century ~ either way, formal wear had undergone no special changes in the last half of the century. The sorta cutaway morning coat looks more English to me, but was definitely a style in America too.
I used to be a lot more adventuresome with my paper doll construction but that becomes difficult to translate into something that other people can assemble and enjoy and it can be daunting to see something on paper that requires some assembly. I know I have never been real crazy about those hats that require you to paste backing on them.
I am working on a St. Nicholas doll (of course!), but because of his very necessary beard, I am having a hard time deciding whether to make his head a separate piece that needs to be glued on. It's either that or he'll have to be in profile. I guess we shall see!
Awesome boots from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
. I absolutely adore 19th century shoes ~ particularly high-laced/buttoned boots like these.
There are quite a few in this collection well-worth drooling over. The variety of fabrics and leathers and decorations on these shoes was pretty incredible. T
hese shown on the left look like satin and were made in 1889.
Click on the images for more detail!
This second pair is leather from 1868 ~ the style of these are buttoned (the flap pulls over the front of the foor and fastens on the side. Ladies had special button hooks (sometimes very fancy ones!) to help get these on and off.
It's amazing to find shoes this old in such prime shape. No matter how decorative, they were made for practical purposes and most were worn out, handed down and eventually destroyed after much use. Think about the life of your own shoes!
I'm going to stop referring to this character as Tennessee because it's just weird to me (it's his name, yes, but no one really calls him that). More than 20 years ago (ack!) when I created this character, his nickname was States and that (or just "Morse") is how I think of him in my head, so calling him Tennessee is akin to hearing myself as some scolding parent shaking my finger at him and saying "Tennessee States Morse, you are in big trouble!"
So States it is.
States and Raziel both wear a lot of black, which makes them challenging on the one hand (I don't paint in black, I paint in Payne's Grey, but it's still a daunting color whatever you call it). In a way, though, it is also a lot easier for me because I can't deal with color theory so putting characters in colors is also daunting. This is why many of my earliest painted paper dolls were done in sepia.
The Morse brothers are fairly wealthy (or the sons of a wealthy father) in 1859, so they have nice clothes at the outset. I was going to paint this coat separate from the underclothes, but I don't mind so much painting shoes over and over as I did in the past.
In case it's not obvious, I think States Morse is adorable--he's a fun character because he is so disingenuous; somehow a deep thinker without any hint of erudition or superiority.
And I love his Mona Lisa smile (I may have mentioned this before here long ago). You just never really know what he is thinking.
And now that I have a full complement of the initial critical characters, I need to go back and work on the story a bit (it's a blobby mess of verbiage at the moment, alas). And since I want very much to get this series launched on Christmas Day, that means I've only got twenty days to coax it into some kind of shape.
So I will be working on more painting, etc., but possibly only posting from my collection or plates from the web for the next couple of weeks (I've been doing good this month ~ haven't missed a day yet!).
It occurs to me, from a comment RLC made on my last post, that of the eight characters I've made, only two are women! Clearly I like my men. Don't worry, I will definitely have more women in the new year.
As promised, here is the coat I was working on last night. The vest did not come out like I intended, but I'm still trying to learn the best way to handle very fine detail. Since you have no idea what it was supposed to look like, I won't belabor explanation ~ it's fine as it is and I will try something different next time I have a chance.
Anyway, as you can see, the coat does go with the hat, so the outfit looks a lot less goofy when assembled.
Still quarreling with my scanner. Must be the cold.
These two pieces may seem rather disparate (ill-matched is a more obvious expression perhaps). But they will make sense once I finish with Mish's coat, which I am currently working on. The gist is that Mish leaves abruptly during Christmas dinner, throwing on this hat and coat and never mind that he's still in his formal wear, he just wants to get out of the house. And anyway, the South has a somewhat different idea of formal wear; particularly when it's just a family dinner.And o
nce again, the scan loses a lot of the detail, but take my word for it, this shirt is the most fabulous thing ever. Meanwhile, I have posted (reposted) the first four plates to the Gallery. Again, with apologies for continually changing things up, but I really wasn't happy with the reduction. The current plates reproduce the characters and clothing by only 10%, so they are just shy of actual size (and therefore probably a lot easier to handle/cut, etc. I have two additional plates in the wings (Olivia and Sandy), but I am equivocating about what their numbers should be. Once I finish with Mish, I will have a better idea of who should come first and then hopefully I will post all three plates later on this week.I might not get to Tennessee's clothes this weekend (unless I get very ambitious ~ but I have a lot to do today). So he will have to bear being bare for a wee bit longer.
Yes, it's true, I couldn't stand it. After painting Tennessee Morse and him coming out looking just so, I knew I was doing poor Razi-el an injustice. I really should repaint him, but for now I just PhotoShopped the heck outta his face and came up with something that might actually work (I'll have to live with it for a while before I decide).
I seriously don't know which of the two (Razi-el or Tennessee) should be the more vapid-looking. Right now I think Tennessee is winning. And that's okay. Razi-el should probably be the brighter-eyed and bushier-tailed.
As promised, here is brother no. 2 of the Morse clan, Tennessee. The scan looks very washed out to me, so I may redo it for the final plate, but here he is in the meantime. I approached painting this character with a lot of trepidation because I knew if there was anything that looked even slightly off about him, it would be a total loss, but I was pleasantly surprised by the results (another good argument for just jumping in and not thinking about things too much).
And now that I have done Tennessee, I want to go back and re-do Razi-el, but I am going to restrain myself from that at the moment. Maybe later I will just re-do Razi-el's face (it's already been PhotoShopped a lot because of problems I had painting it). This face came out excellent. Once again, the hair is a tiny bit flat, but I'm happy with it overall.
I am especially happy with the skin tone (though again, this looks washed out). One of the mistakes I made with Razi-el is that his skin color is too dark (the fault of him being the first character I painted, and therefore the "experiment" with the skin tone I had mixed). This is another reason I am tempted to re-do Razi-el.
I will try to work on some clothes for the Morse brothers this weekend so that they won't be so naked. I am also redesigning the plates because I have decided the current layout is too much of a reduction and I don't