Friday, May 2, 2014

Karl Urban is from the Future

We interrupt your regularly scheduled fashion paper doll to bring you... Karl Urban is from the Future!!

The newest issue of Paper Doll Studio magazine arrived and I sent them a sci-fi inspired paper doll for the Favorite Films issue.  And it has backstory!

My husband and I are kinda nerdy.  Ok, more him than me I guess, since he's a chemical engineer and works for a pharmaceutical company curing cancer. (No, really, that's what they do.  It's amazing stuff! I can't even pretend to understand it...)  I fall in that niche category of girls and women who love sci-fi.  Always have.  Some girls remember the first time they saw The Little Mermaid or Beuaty and the Beast in theaters.  I remember seeing Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country with my parents in the theaters when I was 11!

So when the call came out for a favorite film paper doll, I wanted to make Morticia Addams.  Wait, what?

That was my original idea. I love the Addams family in all its incarnations.  My husband had a better idea! We have a joke around my house that Karl Urban is from the future.  Many of his movie (and tv) roles are in science fiction films and they all seem to take place in the future.  Dr. McCoy in Star Trek.  Judge Dredd in the Dredd movie.  He's even a future bad guy in the Chronicles of Riddick.

This was also a fun project to work on my Photoshop skills.  I'm trying to master digital drawing and coloring, so every little bit helps!

Since this site is all about tutorials, here's a bit of a walkthrough.

First, I collected reference images.  I've discovered that Pinterest is the perfect way to do this.  I set up a secret board and collected images.  It isn't a secret anymore - check it out here

Next, I sketched out the doll and and clothing.

I like to make notes on my sketches.  It helps future me figure out what past me was doing :)

Once the sketches were done, I scanned them.  I had inked my drawings but I wasn't really sure about the fit, so I opened them in Photoshop.  The fit was terrible!  I adjusted the images and re-outlined them in Photoshop.  My drawing was a little shaky.  I'm still not great at digital drawing.  I'll keep trying... Also, my male anatomy is not great.  There are parts about the figure that look really off, but I went with it anyway.

Once everything was outlined and tweaked, I set off coloring.  Here's a layer-by-layer (with LOTS of pictures) breakdown of how I colored the doll.  Some of the outfits were more complex than coloring the doll because I used a lot of textures.  I wanted these to have some realism to them, something tactile.

1) Lines are on one layer, set to Multiply.  Practice good layer management!

2) I like to start with the skin tone on all of my dolls, digital or otherwise.

3) Add highlights and shadows.  I paint each of those on their own layers and then mess around with colors, opacities, and such.  I think the highlights layer was set to Screen and the shadows to Multiply.  I used a brown instead of black for the shadows - it was a more realistic color.

4) I like to keep the face separate.  It's a detailed part and I like to isolate every little bit.

5) The hair was separated into individual layers, too: base, shadows, highlights, and brighter highlights.

6) And finally, the clothing, with a base layer, highlights layer, and shadow layer. 

I loved making this, and plan to do more digital work!

Here's the 2 page doll! Feel free to download and share.


  1. A Karl Urban paper doll with changeable outfits is fantastic. Great job!!

    1. thanks! I was pretty happy with this one. It also reminded me that I need to do more life drawing and practice my Photoshop coloring techniques! He's one of my favorite actors & it was fun creating a little fan art!

  2. This is amazing! You did such a a fantastic job on Karl!Doll.

    1. thanks! It was a blast making this. I would love it if a copy ever found its way to him. Maybe I should send one!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's nice to work on something a little different every once in a while!