Sunday, December 31, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 14

Today is the last day of the Little Ladies paper doll set.  Overall, this set was ok.  Not one of my favorites, admittedly, but I'm happy I completed it.  I may color it at some point - I may like it better then.

My goal with every project (especially the more experimental December projects) is to learn something new.  With this set, I didn't so much learn something new as refine some things I already knew.  I've learned to really love ArtRage - it's a powerful program that is absolutely ideal for drawing.  I love it.  It's totally intuitive and it does many things better than Photoshop.  I highly recommend it (and, as usual, I'm not paid to say that. I really do love it.) and the price can't be beat. I've also been trying to pay attention to layout and backgrounds.  That's something I'm very happy with in this set.

Right-click to download and print

For those of you keeping track, this year's December set came out just shy of 30.  I have 14 outfit sheets and one doll sheet.  So technically it's 28 outfits and two dolls.  Not bad if you ask me!

If you would like to download the whole set, you can find a pdf of it here.

I'm not entirely sure what my plan is for 2018.  I have some projects in the works that I can't talk about just yet.  I also got a computerized cutter (Silhouette Cameo) for Christmas and I'll be experimenting with that. And, as always, I love suggestions! I'm even thinking about next December's project.  Never too soon, right?!

See you all next year!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Paper Doll Collaboration 2017 - Winter Wardrobe

This is the last entry of the Paper Doll Collaboration project! I'm still amazed that we all found time every month to get this done! And I'm so happy with everyone's contributions. They're all so different & so unique.

Have all of you enjoyed it? Would you like to see more of this? We'll see what we can manage....

Here's my winter wardrobe:

I have said a million times that I'm from Vermont. I grew up riding on snow machines, ice skating, and generally bundled up from September to April. I wanted to include some of that in this wardrobe.  There's a snowsuit, complete with mittens & a hot beverage.  There's a more "flatlander" appropriate fur-trimmed coat and boots.  And, not to be forgotten, a toque.  (What's a toque? In Vermont, it's pronounced "tuke" and it's a tight-fitted knit hat.  Apparently it's a very Canadian thing, which I'm not surprised about at all....We all had at least one!)

To round out your collection, visit Paper Thin Personas, Miss Missy's Paper Dolls, and Pop Culture and Paper dolls.

To download my complete set, click here

And thanks for joining in on the fun! If you're downloaded the complete wardrobe, you should have 4 dolls with 48 mix and match sheets. If you've colored them or cut them out, I'd love to see them!

There's once more Little Ladies sheet and then I'm done for this year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 13

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a happy Christmas! My family has always had a loooong day on Christmas.  First, it's presents from Santa.  Even when I was a kid, that's what we'd do.  After that, cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Put on a new outfit & head to Nana's house.  When I was a kid, my Nana and Grandpa lived around the corner.  Now, my parents (the current Nana and Poppy) live 45 minutes away.  Still close in my opinion! We see them all the time and it's great!

My boys and I like to take selfies!! Here's our Christmas morning selfie.  My grandmother (who lives with us now) and my husband are less enthusiastic about it! I read on a parenting blog once about moms who avoid being in pictures or are so busy taking pictures that they're never in them! I refuse to be that mom and I take selfies WAY too much!!

Anyway, we had a great Christmas at home and with family.  Now for today's Little Ladies:

Right-click to download and print

This set is based on fashion plates from 1897 - I think that might be the latest year to date. I might modify the skirt on the right at some point. It's kinda boring, but I tried to be somewhat faithful to my source material.

Friday I'll have the last of this year's collaboration paper doll.  THAT has been a really fun project! So look for that!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 12

Merry Christmas to everyone out there celebrating! And Happy Holidays to everyone, too!

We had a quiet Christmas Eve and I was able to draw some beautiful fur trimmed outfits yesterday. I'm really happy with how they came out. I thought a set with fur would be very appropriate for a white Christmas - which we are having here in Massachusetts for the first time in years!

Right-click to download and print

Also, I solved my ongoing Surface pen problems. I ordered two different third-party pens, and I gotta say, I like them both better than the official Surface pen. One of them has a button that's pre-programmed to the eraser function in ArtRage and Photoshop, so that's handy. Hopefully these pens last for a little while...

Anyway, have a happy holiday! I'll be back with another set on the 27th! 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 11

There have been some challenges this month - a busy schedule, technical difficulties, and (admittedly) a lack of motivation.  I haven't been happy with every sheet in this series, but overall they've been pretty good.  Today's set is one that I really like and I'm glad I took the time to get it right.  I hate rushing but I hate falling short of my expectations & schedule, too.

Right-click to download and print

The asymmetrical button on the right set is one of my favorite details! I really like both sets today.

One more thing to note today -  happy birthday to my husband! I say it every year, but I wouldn't be able to be an artist without the support of my husband.  He's a constant encouragement & it means the world to me.

There WILL be a set on Christmas morning so check back for that!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 10

Today's outfit sheet almost didn't happen.  As a result, it got a bit rushed.

So we all know about my ongoing love/hate saga with my Surface Pro 3.  When it works, I love it.  Drawing directly on the screen is just the best.  I would LOVE a Surface Studio with the Surface Dial.  However.... when it isn't working, I'm very, very frustrated. 

On Monday night, as I was getting ready to draw this sheet, my Surface pen broke.  My THIRD Surface pen.  Thankfully, my dear engineer husband rigged it up to work for now and I ordered a replacement pen.  I'm trying a third-party pen this time around because 1) dropping a hundred dollars on new pens is starting to annoy me and 2) if it's a cheap pen and it works, great.  If it doesn't, at least I didn't spend a hundred dollars on it.

So that's my rant for today.

Right-click to download and print

I didn't include hats today.  These are evening dresses and I really didn't feel like drawing hair.  If nothing else, I try to be honest! And in that spirit, I want to tell you how much I honestly LOVE ArtRage 5! This whole series has been created primarily in ArtRage, and I couldn't be happier.  I sketch with the pencil tool, ink with the technical pen, and it looks great. One big thing I love is the flip function.  In Photoshop, if I copy and flip something, it flips on a weird axis.  In ArtRage, it flips my image more intuitively.  Pictures would help....maybe I'll write about it in the New Year.

Anyway...barring any more technical difficulties, I'll have another sheet on Saturday!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 9

There comes a time every December when I'm not sure I can finish.  It's tough to pull a month-long project off! This year has been no exception.  I'll give it my best!!

Right-click to download and print

These dresses are from 1874.  Many of this month's sets would be better as one-piece outfits.  I don't make a lot of those for paper dolls in general, and I really didn't want to for this project.  I love mix and match options! I've modified almost every set in this series in some way that's different from my source material.  And that's ok! It's a reference, not a perfect reproduction!

Anyway...come back for more on the 21st! 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 8

As I expected, I was a bit late posting this today! We had a nice party with many of my son's friends yesterday and I just didn't finish this. So forgive me if the lines are a bit imperfect today - I'll admit, I rushed a bit!!

Right-click to download and print

I should be back on track for the rest of this week. Hopefully! And remember, I keep this going til the end of the month so check back after Christmas, too!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 7

We're halfway through December! It's been a crazy busy month (like every year....) but going well.  Today is my oldest son's birthday.  How he got to be 8 is beyond me - I feel like I was still pregnant with him like a minute ago!

So happy birthday to this cool guy.  He's my mini scientist, rad selfie taker, and overall fantastic little man.  Happy birthday Noah :)

And now....another outfit sheet!

Right-click to download and print

I came across a fashion plate from 1885 that had these great dresses with asymmetrical top skirts.  They were so complimentary and gorgeous!

Remember to come back on Sunday for another sheet. I'm *hoping* to get it up early but we have two birthday parties on Saturday! I'll do what I can :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 6

I didn't realize until I was finished with this set that the fashion plate I referenced was from 1898.  The first set of dresses were also from 1898! Maybe I just like that year in fashion....

Right-click to download and print

My next set will not be from 1898! There are so many great fashion plate examples to work from that it can be hard to choose.  I guess that's good, especially for a project like this!

Is there a year in the Victorian era you'd really like to set represented? Let me know and I'll fit it in. Come back Friday for another sheet!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 5

December is as third of the way finished, which I find hard to believe! Also, I'm officially making these as-needed instead of well in advance!! Things got hectic and I fell behind.... I'm still confident that I'll be able to meet my deadlines, so you should definitely expect another set on the 13th!

Right-click to download and print

We've finally had our first snow here in New England.  From what I understand, pretty much everyone on the Eastern seaboard from Mexico to Canada got at least a little snow! Crazy!! We've got a lot ahead of us this month (two birthdays, Christmas, etc....) but this set is still a priority!!

Check back on the 13th and make sure I'm still on-task :)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 4

Winter is finally on its way to New England! December snow is nice -- just enough to cover the ground, have a white Christmas, etc.  March and April snowstorms are significantly less fun!  But there's something almost amazing about the first snow and it's coming this weekend!

Today's Little Ladies wardrobe sheet features fur-trimmed jackets and skirts from circa 1893. I took a few liberties with my source material.  I'm not always crazy about giant bows.... And the hats for this series have been a challenge....

Right-click to download

I'd like to say that I'm super far ahead in this project and they're all just waiting to be posted.  I'd like to, but it would be a lie! I always manage to pull it off, though!

Let me know what you think so far - there will be another wardrobe sheet on Monday!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 3

For today's installment of the Little Ladies, I wanted to make ballgowns.  I'm not totally happy with the skirt on the left.  I've said many times that "good enough" is sometimes adequate.  I'd like every drawing to be perfect, of course, but that just isn't how these things work!

Right-click to download and print today's Little Ladies sheet

These ballgowns are loosely based on these ballgowns. I may go back and edit the gown on the right.  I'm not sure yet.  In my reference image, the overskirt was all lace, but my wrist simply wasn't up for that challenge!

The next Little Ladies set will go up on the 9th - I'm running on an every/other schedule this year!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 2

So what did everyone think of the first wardrobe sheet? I liked drawing all the fussy details and I hope you all enjoyed it, too.  That's why I decided to keep these black & white this year - there's no way I could have drawn all the details on every set AND colored them and posted them on schedule.

Right-click to download and print

Today's set is based on this fashion plate from 1876.  Because these dolls are so starkly front facing, much of the awesome details I liked about my source material kind of get scrapped.  Oh well.  I like the pleats on both sets as a bit of a unifying element.

If I ever get around to coloring all of these, I'll go with a limited palette for maximum mix and match options.  If you're coloring at home, you might want to experiment with that, too!  And for more fashions, come back on December 7th! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Little Ladies: Outfit Sheet 1

Today is the first wardrobe sheet for the Little Ladies paper doll project! When I first sketched this out, I didn't have hats.  Hats are a pain to draw, easy to lose when cut out, and generally not my favorite thing to make.  However, hats were crucial to Victorian fashion and I wanted a Victorian inspired paper doll.  So there are hats. 

Right-click to download and print

These outfits are based on antique catalogue pages I found on Pinterest here and here.  I don't remember where I found the hats... Anyway, these aren't perfect representations of the source material, but a reasonable interpretation. These are fashions from about 1898, if anyone is curious! 

Look for more in this continuing, month-long series on December 5th - remember, I'm running an every other day schedule this year!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Little Ladies: A Victorian Mix and Match Paper Doll to Color

Happy December!!

I LOVE making a December paper doll every year! If you're new to the blog (or just want to look at previous years) here you go: 2016 (an angel paper doll), 2015 (Santa and Mrs Claus), 2014 (holiday fashions in red and green), and 2013 (Kawaii Kids). I posted one in 2012, too, but it isn't my best and I've always wanted to revisit it.  Also, several of the previous December paper dolls are available as books. Check out and for all of my books.

And that's enough self-promotion for one day... here's the December set!

Years ago, I drafted a stylized paper doll that I wanted to turn into a steampunk set, but it never quite felt right.  There were things I liked about it, and things I didn't.  Ultimately, the sketch sat in a drawer until I decided to tinker with it.  I made some edits in Photoshop, redrafted and inked it in ArtRage, and suddenly, it was pretty good!

Right-click to download and print.  There will be a PDF at the end of the project! 

This whole project is loosely based on historical images.  These undergarments are less accurate and more my interpretation of several images I found. I envision the left doll as pale skinned and the right as darker skinned, but feel free to do what you'd like! I may get around to coloring this at some point....

These paper dolls are drawn almost entirely in ArtRage5.  I ported them into Photoshop for minor touch-ups and such, but really, ArtRage is doing the heavy lifting.  My sketches were created with the pencil tool and the final inks were done with the technical pen.

One more thing to note about this year's paper doll: I will be posting every other day instead of every day. I couldn't find a way to format these with just one set per page that I liked.  There will be two mix and match sets every other day and a PDF at the end of the project.  If you color these & you'd like to share, feel free! You can email me or follow me on Instagram (it's a mix of projects & personal photos - @juliematthews).

So tomorrow there won't be a post but there will be on December 3rd! Happy coloring :)