The worst part of not having a scanner for all those weeks and falling into a funk is that I spent a lot of time thinking. This is an unfortunate business, of course, because thinking invariably leads to re-thinking, and subsequently revising. I love my water color paper dolls, but they give me anxiety for whatever reason. I seem to approach working on them with dread, which is the opposite of what making paper dolls should mean to me (and what it has always been in the past: a contemplative de-stressor). So when the think you love causes more stress than what it's supposed to alleviate, it's definitely time to reevaluate it.
Part of what causes so much stress is that it feels so time-consuming (even though it's really not ~ I can paint a page in under two hours; under one if it's not terribly complex). So even though it takes as long as it takes, it feels long and that's another good indicator that I'm not enjoying it as I should be.
I drew the dolls above over the last week; five last weekend and five today. I don't doubt I could produce clothing for all of them over the next two days (and then some). It would basically mean getting very well ahead of the last effort, which has taken me almost six months, in a matter of weeks.
I computer colored these because I have not decided whether to color them, how the color them, or leave them black & white. I do like the option of letting other people color them, so the original artwork is all simple ink.
I am shy here of a few characters I had previously painted (like Razi-el, Henry and Buster), but have added Eulalia and Peg & John Stewart Preston. You can click the image and see them a little larger, but since I have not decided what to do with them, I'm not making them the official choice until I can get some perspective.
If I stick with these, I can produce work quickly, which ostensibly means I can post more. Doesn't that sound like a good deal?
I dunno. Most days I just want to retreat into a corner.
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This is Lieutenant Henry Lighthorse [Worth]. Henry is one of my favorite characters. He's a mixedblood Cherokee whose Mexican War Veteren grandfather is a prominent slaveowner in Darkesville, VA
. Henry attended the VMI
, which is kinda sensational for his time. Even though he is a low-ranking officer, he doesn't get the respect he deserves (I'm sure you can imagine). Anyway, Henry's in the cavalry under Colonel Bernard on duty at Fort Stark (a remote short-straw duty to be certain).
In other news, I am clearly falling into bad habits again. I haven't been working on stuff lately due to either stress or tiredness (or both), and this past weekend I just felt too burned out to bother with anything. But I am trying to climb out of the proverbial hole, so thank you for your patience. I shall have more Judy for you this weekend to make up for my delinquency.
Visit the Gallery
to see the new plates. I have been really behind in the posting of updates, so there's not much new (James' outfit in four pieces shown assembled here). I have a coat and bonnet for Emmaline as well, but it didn't fit on the plate (so: next time). The really good news is that I have been working on all manner of paper doll stuff for the last two weeks. The bad news is I haven't been sharing any of it yet! I am in the process of getting a new computer and scanner, so my world is a little topsy turvy at the moment, but presumably will run a lot smoother once everything is in place. Anticipating a new system in early February. It had to be done ~ I am rather tired of struggling with this poor old thing.For whatever reason I have been struggling with these plates too. I think my mind is a bit unfocused, but that's pretty typical at the beginning of a New Year, so hopefully I will get into a groove. I am definitely getting better at letting go of some of my horrid perfectionism. Now I just need to work on my color palette (could I possibly use more yellow???). I may not have anything very bold for the next two plates, but I will try to splash a little more variation in color where I can (if I can).
I am still apparently very myopic in the realm of color. I am working on a project to try to help with that. Also, more Judy to come. Lots more! I will be sure to post her by Friday at the latest.
Perhaps the best way to post these interim pictures (before the plates are uploaded) is to show the clothing on the doll as it is supposed to fit. I am still completely disorganized when it comes to posting, but I'd rather post disorganized than not post at all.
Emmaline's traveling dress went through about 187 permutations and I am still not entirely happy with it, but once again, it's an exercise in "get over it and move on". My goal since last year (and topping my list this year) is to quit over-thinking everything and reaching for impossible perfection; just create, pop things off into the world and keep on creating. So far this has worked wonderfully. I have been very productive despite my inner-critic.
After doing this for so many years, I can see measurable improvement and that is encouraging. Even if I am not 100% crazy about this dress, I like it 100 times more than the dress I painted for her the last time ~ and in another year or so, whatever dress I am working will be even all that much better.
The plates I am making for plates I will post on January 22 include Morse, so I thought I would try to get ahead and finish his first bits of wardrobe. I made the mistake of posing this character in a way that makes it a little difficult to layer his outfits and alter the position of his hands, but I am working on ways around that. In the meantime, it's a typical pose for him, so it works, regardless what he's wearing.
This should not have taken me as long as it did, but I made some huge sloppy mistakes with the layers (despite my lightbox), so it required a lot of Photo-shopping to correct (alas). The good news is, the pieces should work together fine now.
The other difficulty with Mister Morse is his infernal collection of purple vests. Purple is the absolutely most wretched color to mix, keep consistent, and paint. Most pre-mixed purples are not very good (and look like no color known to nature), so I feel like I have to make my own. Fortunately the end result doesn't look nearly like I struggled with it as much as I did. Now let's see how many variations on the purple vest I can manage. This one is pretty simple because I was exhausted from just getting the color to layer.
The base outfit on the left, above, pretty much represents what Morse will wear for the rest of his life (ha!). We shall see how many more pairs of trousers I have to end up painting for him, though (certainly his war uniforms will offer some variety ~ at least for a while).
I have been fighting mightily with my internet connection (hence the silence), but I finally managed to get the plates posted (almost up-to-date). So check out the gallery
, download, and enjoy!In the meantime, I am working on more stuff. The 1st Christmas Annual has been posted to the Reconstruction site (yay!), and the first issue is due to be posted this coming Sunday. I'm having a hard time coordinating the plates with the series at the moment ~ too many plates and not enough series presently, but I think it will gradually even out.I'm excited about many new things to share very soon!
Happy New Year!
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!
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.