I worked on dolls this weekend, though did not get as much done as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I decided (once again ~ I know, I know), to make some changes in what I'm doing. While the success of the digital versions gave me some great ideas about making dolls alongside the story, the story style has gone back to an line-art style (rather than digital), and so I think the dolls have to match.
It's so much easier making dolls on the computer as opposed to real paper, but I am determined to overcome my willies about coloring and the only way to do it is to continue to work in the physical mediums. This plan is going well for the story ~ I'm feeling so much less precious about each page. But the story is really painted in sepia, mostly (with only the hintiest hints of spot colors), so the narrowness (or lack thereof altogether) of a "palette" gives me a certain level of confidence.
To bolster a similar feeling with the dolls, I've decided to work in a slightly smaller format than I was previously. Dolls were roughly 7 1/2 inches, which is a lot of space to color if you're doing a skirt, for example. Now the dolls are about an inch shorter, which makes a big difference. I also created these two without removeable heads. I may get more complex about the main characters later on, but for now the attached heads seemed okay here ~ Katie is only a minor character and neither post obstructs the clothing in any way.
I also dramatically changed Katie's pose to reflect a more solemn demeanor. Despite her defiance in the story, she's clearly an cruelly abused girl and her ghost is definitely doleful. As for Lewis, I gave him a somewhat perplexed look. I think he spent most of his childhood being frustrated and uncertain and I wanted this particular doll to reflect his boyhood trepidation.
I'll try to paint these (and their clothes, which I have also redrawn), and have them in a downloadable/printable form by next Sunday.
I can't believe I forgot to post the clothing for the dolls I created at the end of last month (has it been two weeks already???). It's amazing how the time flies when you are distracted and busy. I was just thinking last night that I have so much stuff I could be posting here and yet there are these long lags between posts! I am trying to improve, I promise.
A lot has happened since I last posted. I received my copy of the OPDAG Paper Doll Studio yesterday and was very pleased to see my Henry Fleming doll in color! That's pretty fabulous and I am very excited that people are finding their way to my blog through that venue (all the more reason to keep this blog current!). The theme for the issue was literary characters, so there's more I'd like to share on the great art in the issue (post forthcoming!).
Also, much as I had fun making these digital dolls (and much as I haven't abandoned the idea of making dolls alongside the story as previously mentioned ~ not by a long shot!), I think I do prefer more traditional media. If I haven't already shown that I am crazy when it comes to remaking things and changing horse midstream, let me assure you that I am. The good news for you, however, is that means I am committed to redoing these dolls this coming weekend. Let's see how I step up to the challenge!
In the meantime, this will remain the template for the finished dolls. You'll just have to wait another week for the printable versions. Sorry! Once they are done, however, I promise they will be worth it!
Lewis Fletcher & Katie Kirkwood
As promised, I have been working on making some new paper dolls. And even though I sat at my painting desk and considered the dolls already in progress, I've decided to make dolls that will match the Reconstruction website. This gives me the dual advantage of actually making dolls alongside the story so that readers can see what the clothing looks like in color (the webcomic is mostly in sepia tones). Likewise, it's a great excuse to make dolls of supporting characters (like Katie Kirkwood here). As we progress through the story, I can supplement the dolls with new clothing, accessories, etc.
I am also going to tag the dolls by name so that you can find all of their pieces easily using the links on the side. The image I am posting here isn't a high-resolution version (you can click to make it larger, but it's not very large). I will be posting a downloadable .pdf version that you can print and cut ~ just as soon as I get done with their clothes. Fortunately, digital painting is a lot quickly and less stress-inducing than "real" media, so I won't have any excuses for getting this done quickly. I'm working on the clothes a little bit today, but have other things I need to do, so I might not finish until next week.
I really have no excuse for not posting more work and more often here. It's not like making paper dolls is ever very far from my mind. Unfortunately, I have been so distracted with other things (like getting Reconstruction) up and running. I guess that's a good thing for my other website, but not so good for this poor neglected blog.
I am trying to turn a new leaf, however, and am committing myself to looking at the dolls I have waiting to dress and will be working on them this weekend. I'm not sure entirely what it will amount to, but I promise I will produce something just to get things rolling again.
In the meantime, enjoy this Edgar Allen Poe cut out set from Lisa Perrin, who has such an interesting and delightful style. Poe's bunny slippers are not exactly period, but they're hilarious!There are other articulated paper dolls on her blog and a lot of other fun illustrations as well, many with a historical/antiquey bent. Beautiful and enviable work!
I was looking for a picture of a dress for a girl in the 1850s (and I will be drawing it, which I will share!), but I came across this wonderful ambrotype from that decade (1856 to be exact) with lovely tinting. The dress is perfect and the girl looks so sweet as well. The original source is this blog (currently defunct), which nevertheless features a lot of lovely period images.
Old photographs as references are great for many things; you get to see particular patterns and trimmings and you know it was a garment actually worn by a person as opposed to something put together by a fancy designer and maybe worn once by some socialite. I think I have stated here somewhere that I'm much more interested in the day-to-day clothes rather than the fancy pieces, so here's a pretty good example of a nice dress that was probably worn often by this child. And even though she was likely a child of privilege, it's not a display piece like you would see represented in the ladies' magazines of the period.
Click on the image to see the dress in more detail. It will be fun to reproduce the plaid trim (I've never done plaid before!). I'm not sure that i will make my own dress blue, however. I am thinking of changing it to lilac/purple or maybe even red.
I've been gone a long time, busy with countless other projects and occasionally fretting about this seemingly abandoned blog. But I'm hoping to get back to making dolls very soon and finally have the time to do it. I don't really have any good excuses ~ my priorities have just been elsewhere.
In the meantime, I offer some 1850s children's fashions I found while browsing this morning. Came across a site with a Regency & Victorian Paper Dolls CD for sale. It's a bit pricey, but an interesting collection of reproductions of early 19th century ephemera that you can print. Not much by way of samples shown, but it does provide a list of the contents, so I thought I would share the link at least.
Today's doll is another from Morphy's Auction. This one is called "American Lady With Something To Wear" and is dated 1857. The description reads: "Hand colored from wood engravings, this set has five lovely, detailed gowns, one shawl and four headdresses. Only the front of the envelope remains. The set is in wonderful condition with the average age and wear." It is estimated to fetch $300-$400!
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.
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.
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.
Here's a plate from Graham's Home Magazine (for ladies, of course), June 1852. Graham's is somewhat lesser known than Godey's and Harper's Bazar, but has some of the nicest plates I've seen.
Paper Dolls Downloads
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|19th Century Paper Dolls||