Apologies for the ongoing sluggishness of my posts. Internet woes continue, and this makes it hard for me to keep my promises (always excuses, I know!). Here we are at the end of the month and I have hardly posted a darn thing.
The good news is that there's no lack of cool things to post about! Today I bring you some interesting new paper dolls from Noble Rose press
. Though I have not seen any of these dolls up close and personal, they look like a very nice collection and there's a huge variety to choose from (and from all different periods in history). Among the 19th century choices are: Mary Anna Jackson, wife of General “Stonewall” Jackson, and Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon (both shown at left). This series looks like a nice educational series aimed at homeschooling Christian mothers (for their daughters), and appear to be nicely painted and produced with good quality. I will (most likely) acquire the above set eventually and maybe share more at another time. It appears that each doll only comes with three dresses, so they aren't very extensive, but nevertheless they look fun (I would have loved them as a child).
I hope the sisters who pr might make more dolls from the Victorian period as their collection grows.
Today we have a doll from National Doll World that was published in the summer of 1984. She's a bisque-looking critter with a stuffed body (popular in the 19th century), and looks to be dress for the 50s or 60s.
What's interesting about her is that she's got interchangeable heads! So if you like your dolls blonde or red-headed, you can cover up her brunette locks. Putting a new head on a paper doll always has seemed sort of counter to the point of having the doll to begin with (it being the stationary base on which to hang other things), but in this case I think it's kind of funny.
Sadly there's no artist identified on this piece, but at least the dolls have names: Sally, Meg, and Nell. I came across this in my random wanderings on eBay. I don't have many magazine dolls in my collection and am always finding interesting ones when I have time to browse. Don't know if there was originally a second page to this (as most magazine dolls are double-spreads). The other page may have had more information about the work. As always, click on the image to see a slightly larger version that will show some the details.
I have very few of these sticker-type paper dolls. I generally don't find them very interesting subject-wise, and don't really like the idea of stickers for clothing since you can't really gather the wardrobe in a pile and luxuriate at all the colors and shapes ~ which I think is one of the great appeals of playing with paper dolls. Nevertheless, occasionally a sticker doll comes along that I absolutely must have for my collection, and it seems like artist A.G. Smith is the one to make them. This little Abraham Lincoln is fabulously simple and nicely researched. As an added bonus, Smith has included a pair of hands wielding an axe. Of course, this is intended to represent Lincoln as the "rail-splitter" of his youth, but I think it doubles nicely in case you want to play Abraham Lincoln, Vampire-Hunter as well. In case you have never seen the above book, be sure to look at the image of the back cover, though if you're sensitive to bloodshed, you might want to skip it. Because this is a Dover "Little" activity book, it's nicely inexpensive and fun for all ages (vampires or no).
This is one of several Lincoln paper dolls I have to share with you and it being ten days until the anniversary of the Gettysburg address, it seems now's a good time to do so. It strikes me peculiar, however, that such an unlikely subject would have so many paper dolls modeled after him. Not that I am complaining.
I'm a little disappointed with myself. I didn't have the courage to paint this doll after I'd inked it. But I have to send it by the 15th and so I had to finish it, and, well, here it is, finished. I colored it on the computer with Adobe PhotoShop and boy-o does it look slick, but it's really not what I was aiming for when I started it (as usual, click on the image for a slightly larger version so you can see some details).
I really had just meant to work on the lettering and whatnot (which I had intended all along to do on the computer, but once I started, I couldn't resist ~ and I knew it would just be simpler than fighting with traditional media and my horror of colors. And if I made a mistake I could just redo it with the click of my Wacom pen. It's very hard to resist that kind of flexibility.
I don't hate the final results. I think it came out just fine. I only wish I'd had the courage to do it as I wanted to instead of resorting to what's easy. The sad thing is, I'm sure it's all the more impressive for me having done it with the computer than I could have ever made it look in paint ~ at least posted online like this. Holding the real thing in my hands, paint is infinitely more wonderful. And now I worry that I have consigned Henry Fleming to a permanent state of black and white mere outline on the page because the chances of me going back to this project now that it's done are pretty much nil. Sorry about that Henry.
Here's hoping I'll get work done on other dolls soon.
Despite a failing pen (that has been a favorite of mine for a very long time), I managed to at least transfer and ink Henry Fleming. There are details missing on the flag, etc. at the moment, but I'm doing all that with paint. For now, click on the image to see some better details. Don't mind the writing over it. I just wanted to make sure it's clear that this is a draft.
I didn't change very much from the original concept. The pose is more or less as I originally designed it. I shortened Henry's hair a little (it was too long for a Yankee), and decided against the gaiters (oh sigh). But it's not like I don't have a dozen other Civil War uniforms sketched out and lying around waiting to be made for other dolls. The hardest thing to draw was Henry's enfield rifle (getting the perspective right was not a picnic). But it came out pretty okay ~ I'm pleased.
As RLC noted in the last post I made with the original sketch, I'm doing this for the OPDAG newsletter. The due date is the 15th, but I've got a whole 'nuther weekend to paint and finish it, so I'm sure I'll have it in well before the deadline.
This month, Morphy Auctions is auctioning off a ton of vintage/antique paper dolls (thank God I have no money to bid!). I had never considered buying actual 19th century dolls until I saw some of these.
Throughout the month of May, I'll share some of the lots with you as fun examples. I have polished a few of these from the catalog so that you can print them if you like (the resolution isn't that good, but they might still be fun!). Many of the dolls are not identified very in depth. I'll provide whatever information the catalog contains and some comments of my own.
First up is Grace Lee (Lot 486). The site says: "'Grace Lee' has five outfits [only four are shown] and a hat with an envelope from the period indicating the set may have been a gift. " The actual doll is 5 inches, comes with a second doll with more clothing (not shown), and the two are expected to fetch anywhere between $200 and $250 dollars. This is one of many sets of dolls printed by McLoughlin.
From the style of the clothing, Grace Lee looks like she was produced in the late 1850s or early 1860s. I love the ermine-tail trim on the lavender coat and the Flemish-styled overskirt on the fourth dress. It looks like this is a very nice set and well-cared for.
Click on the doll and the clothes below for a larger image from which to print.
Finally, I am working on Henry Fleming this weekend, so I hope to update my progress by Sunday so you can see how he's coming along.
Wanted to update with the project I am currently working on (and which has a deadline of May 15th, so I guess I need to get cracking on it). I'm making a paper doll of Henry Fleming from The Red Badge of Courage. Nothing too complex: just Henry in his uniform in various states and, of course, carrying the standard for the triumphant finale.
I haven't quite decided on a lot of things for this doll including his pose. I want him to look both startled and heroic, which is sort of a hard mix, but I think I can get it there so that he can play both coward and courage as required.
My favorite piece of this, of course, is the bandage for his head. I like the shock of hair coming off the top. I'm going to do this one in color. I feel safe enough about it since it's just a Yankee uniform, so I don't have to think too hard about how it ought to look. Not sure about all the pieces yet, though. I might make him some civilian clothes as well (and put regular brogans on his feet instead of the gaiters ~ I just happen to be fond of gaiters).
I'm always delighted to find paper dolls by artists other than Tom Tierney. Not that I don't appreciate Tierney's work (and especially since he's so prolific and has created so many cool 19th century-era dolls!). But I enjoy different styles and enjoy the distinctive qualities each artist brings to their own work.
I'm not very familiar with most of Stall's work, but I found this little gem (4 pages originally published in the May, June/July 1985 editions of Doll Reader) on eBay (where else?). I did not reproduce the whole set of costumes, but wanted to share the doll and my favorite dress at least.
This is Adrienne, a "fashionable lady of 1864" and her wardrobe is based on designs that originally appeared in The Lady's Friend, which was a journal for women produced in Philadelphia in the 19th century. The nice thing about Stall basing this on contemporary magazine fashions from the era is that she included some footnotes regarding the various pieces of clothing and where they originally appeared in the magazine. Very cool idea!
The Dress here at the left is my favorite of the lot and I am drawing something based on it for my own set of dolls (for Emmaline). You can see both the doll and the dress in much more detail if you click on the images.
Because this is printed on somewhat fragile magazine paper, I'm looking forward to making a photocopy on sturdy paper so that I can cut the pieces out. I love them so much in black and white, I don't think I'll even attempt to color them.
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!
Robert Todd Lincoln gets the Tierney treatment in Abraham Lincoln and His Family. This has got to be one of the stranger set of paper dolls on some level: the Lincolns didn't exactly have a happy household; Lincoln was assassinated, Tad died young, and Robert and his mother parted ways rather bitterly over her erratic (insane) behavior. I'm surprised there's no inclusion of Willie among the boys (Why not? What's one more dead Lincoln?). Maybe it's just my own morbid mind that conjures these thoughts.
Otherwise, the collection is very nice (though I don't really need to think about what Abraham Lincoln looks like in his long johns). The inclusion of Mary's widows weeds brings us back to the whole "morbid" thing, but seems a necessary inclusion. With Tierney's other presidents, he often included some close friends or other "family", not so here. Just Abe, Mary, and the two boys. Probably that was a good choice. I don't know what I would have done if there had been a Stanton doll (shudder!).
I didn't get any work done on paper dolls last week (didn't like the way I mixed the paints and ended up with a flesh tone that was just gagly. So I ruined a set. Now I have to start over. I'll try to work on them this weekend and post something soon! I cleaned off my desk space so that I could work more comfortably, but of course it is already crowded with books and papers again.