Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fashion Doll Friday - Lillian

Every Friday, I'll post a one-page paper doll to download. The files are PDFs & are free for personal use.  Every Fashion Doll Friday doll has interchangeable outfits.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Drawing A Doll

Today we begin drawing a doll!

Materials List:
Pencil, light to medium darkness
Eraser, rubber kneaded eraser recommended
Pen, archival art pen recommended
Optional: ruler

The first step in created a paper doll is drawing the doll template.  I prefer to work with paper and pencil to start with, and then decide what method to use for creating the actual doll (tracing or digital, etc).  Gather your materials together and use what you're comfortable with.  I like to work on sketchbook paper with either a mechanical pencil or a lightweight art pencil, such as an HB.  A kneaded eraser is essential, and I like to ink my final drawing with an archival art pen.  If I'm drawing a base on the doll, a ruler comes in handy.

Drawing the doll

Step 1:

Start with a light sketch.  If you're planning on scanning your doll and printing it, or photocopying it, etc, work a little bit larger than your intended finished size.  A larger original makes for a cleaner, easier to edit copy. Use head height to measure out the figure.  The standard for drawing an adult is about 7 heads.  I wanted this doll to be more in the pre-teen range, so I settled on 6 heads.  Ultimately, it's up to each individual's style.

After laying out the height, lightly draw a stick figure to represent the shoulder line, waist line, arms and legs.  Add crossing lines to the head for the center (where the nose will go) and the eyes.
For this doll, I also roughly sketched a doll base, in case I decide to add it later.

Step 2:

At this point, use light lines and basic shapes to define the form.  Long ovals block out the arms, and hands. Rectangles for the torso, legs, and feet.

Step 3:

Start connecting those rough shapes.  Lightly outline the body forms.  Start sketching in the face as well.

Step 4:

Finalize the figure.  Draw in the hair, the rest of the face, and any other details, such as clothing and shoes.

Step 5:

If using a base, add that in at this stage.

Final image:

Outline your image in ink once it's completed.  This will help make it easier to trace or scan, depending on the method used later.

In the next lesson we'll talk about creating clothing templates using two tracing methods, the low-tech lightbox method and the even lower-tech window method.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fashion Doll Friday - Bridget

Every Friday, I'll post a one-page paper doll to download. The files are PDFs & are free for personal use.  Every Fashion Doll Friday doll has interchangeable outfits.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Here's the first of what I'm hoping will be many, many posts.  I'm planning this as a tutorial site for creating paper dolls using the various methods I've tried out over the years.  It's also going to be a showcase for paper dolls I've made and am currently working on.  So let's jump into the lessons!

I've decided to use one doll for all of the lessons.  We'll use the doll above to walk through the process of drawing the doll, outfits, and coloring the doll in traditional media and digital media.  I'll use others for illustrating different points or ideas, but there's just one doll for all the lessons.

Lesson One: Definitions

Body Type

There a two very broad categories that I use to describe my dolls: open body type and closed body type.  An open body doll has limbs that are spread out from the body, allowing for more flexibility in adding tabs.  A closed body doll has limbs that are closer to the body and create a white space, such as a bent arm.


The base of a doll is the bottom portion, often used to attach a stand.  Sometimes I use one and sometimes I don't.  It makes for a consistent, usually geometric area to add tabs on the doll's clothing, and can help with alignment when creating outfits for the doll.  The one rule I use is that the bottom of the base must be a straight line, especially if used to attach a stand. The doll above has a base and a rectangular strip to add to the base & use as a stand.


Take a look at the doll above again.  The outfits all have tabs in order to attach the outfits to the doll.  It's important that the tabs follow the lines of the body underneath the outfit.  We'll get into that more in the lessons about drawing outfits.

That's it for now.  Next lesson will be all about drawing a doll.