Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kawaii! (What the heck is kawaii?!)

As some of you may know, there are some times of the year that crazy for me.  December is one of those times.  My husband & son have December birthdays, and we see my mother's family in NH, my father's family in VT, and my in-laws at Christmas, as well as celebrating our own Christmas with the kids.  And we have a New Year's party with awesome friends every year.  Last December, I queued up a whole month of posts & it worked out really well so I'm planning ahead to do the same thing this year.

What's that have to do with kawaii?!

I'm testing out a 30 Theme Challenge! So here's the deal: over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to develop a kawaii style paper doll set.  I'll come up with 30 themes and draw black & white, one page kawaii dolls that I'll post every day for the month of December.  The really fun part is that I want suggestions!  I have some ideas but no where near 30!

So this week I'm going to go over what kawaii is and next week will be the kawaii doll step-by-step.

Kawaii, as defined by Wikipedia, is a Japanese term that describes "cuteness".  It's a very prominent aesthetic in Japan, and has been exported all over the world.  Kawaii covers a very broad spectrum of styles.  For our purposes, I'm looking at cute, stylized figures.  Small faces set on larger heads, squat proportions, etc. Hello Kitty is an example that I think most people have seen.   Other examples I've found that I like:

Paper Glitter
I love everything that Linnette & her team create here.  She creates lovely little paper dolls.  I'm specifically not showing them here.  They are amazing, but I might be too strongly influenced by her work to come up with my own!!

Jerrod Maruyama
Jerrod has a deviantArt profile and website.  The images below are from his dA profile.  Check both out!

Michelle (mAi2x-chan)
Michelle has a dA profile as well as a website.   The images below are from her dA profile.

I'm still learning about kawaii myself, I'll admit.  These are examples that I find appealing.  Do a search online and find the style that speaks to you! (My younger readers are probably WAY more familiar with this than I am!!)

To create my doll, I plan on using a few resources.  First, CreativeBloq has a great guide that I plan to follow.    Osi (sugarlette on dA) has a nice guide to faces I'll be looking at.  Anyway, next week will be a walkthrough of how I use these resources to come up with my own kawaii style doll.  Making something simple and clean is MUCH harder for me, so this should be an interesting challenge!

Also, add any themes that you want to see in the 30 Theme Challenge in the comments.  I'll take all the ideas I can get!


  1. My first thought was Christmas candy, but that only gives you candy canes and sugar plums. I tried looking up Channukah and Kwanzaa candy, but didn't find much helpful.
    Then I thought you could do a gingerbread and snow family.

    1. Love it! I definitely want to do at least one Christmas/winter/holiday page. I could a few pages just from your suggestion :)