Monday, March 7, 2016

Making of Mondays: Kids at the Beach Paper Doll Book

It's time for something new! Well, it's also kind of old....

Last summer, while hitting the playground circuit with my sons, I started sketching.  I had sort of this nebulous idea of creating a mix & match kids at the beach paper doll book.  My sons like going to the beach with my sister and her daughters.  Seeing these kids year after year having fun at the beach got me to thinking that a beach/nautical paper doll set would be a lot of fun.

The first thing I like to do when I'm starting a more realistic project like this is to find good reference images.  It helps establish pose, proportions, etc. I wanted a girl (somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10), a boy (somewhere around 5 or 6), and a toddler girl.  I'm envisioning this as a set of siblings.  Although I seem to have misplaced the reference images, I do have the initial sketches.

And they are AWFUL!

Wait, what?

Yup.  I hate these initial sketches.  Well, mostly.  The older girl (in the middle) was something solid to start with, so that's what I did.

I literally went back to the drawing board and started sketching again.  Over the years, I've moved towards digital art -- it's easier to find ten minutes in Illustrator while wrangling the kids than it is to hole up in my studio with paper & paints.  What I lose in the process is regular drawing.  And I really need to draw more frequently.

And these are the result of drawing.  And drawing.  And drawing some more.  I'm not sure how many sketches I actually went through to get these.  And even these are a bit flawed, but I actually want to work with these sketches! These were scanned in at 300dpi and I'll outline and color them in Photoshop.  Next week, I'll go through the layout process.  Then it'll be on to drawing.

So let me know what you think of my little beach babies!  I'll have a new paper doll up on Friday, too, so look for that.


  1. Designing the "base doll" is totally the worst for me. I end up drawing and redrawing and redrawing... I think that's why I have some basic ones that I stick with. :)

    1. I like researching new poses & drawing new clothing, but actually drawing the base is a challenge. It's where I spend the most time on most projects. If it's terrible, the whole project is going to be terrible! At the same time, though, I get bored working with the same base doll or style for too long.

      I'm still in the excited/anxious phase of this project. I may very well hate it before I'm finished!!