Friday, June 28, 2013

Fashion Friday - Sandie

It's not my favorite doll name, but it's got a beachy feel.  Sandie has a beachy wardrobe -- it's all bathing suites & a cover-up! It's a mix & match set with various tops & bottoms.  I was going for a Malibu Barbie kind of feel.

I need a beach day myself :)


paperdoll school fashion friday paper doll directions sheet

Download Fashion Friday - Sandie pdf here

Monday, June 24, 2013

Acrylic Paint

I just recently bought some acrylic paints.  They were a steal & I just couldn't resist!  I haven't worked in acrylics since my first year of college, so this is a lot of fun.

On the left, a palette with cover and on the right the Reeves acrylic kit I recently picked up.

After I used watercolors as a kid, acrylics were the next step.  I initially used the leftover pots of paint from my mother's craft projects and then graduated to "real" tubes of acrylic.  They have a wonderful versatility.  For those of you who haven't worked with acrylics, or want more background, Wikipedia has a nice article.

For me, acrylics are a missing link or bridge between watercolors and oils.  They are mixed with water and can be used on paper, like watercolors.  They can be used in a thick, impasto technique on board or canvas, and are permanent, like oils.  You can use either watercolor brushes or oil brushes.  And, don't feel limited to just paper or canvas -- you can paint on virtually any surface with acrylics.

Today we're going to look at some of the ways to use acrylics and then dive into an actual doll next week.

Acrylics can be used in a thinned wash, much like watercolors.  One of the advantages (or disadvantages, I suppose...) is that these washes are permanent.  You can't pull out the color once it dries.  They are ideal for transparent layers.  These are a fast-paced paint and dry quickly.

Acrylics can also be used in a thick application, like oil paints.  You can add a medium to slow drying and work these much like oils.  There's a variety of media to add to acrylics: iridescent, high gloss, matte, etc.  Acrylics naturally have a slightly plastic sheen to them when dry -- that's what they are, after all -- liquid plastic!

On the left, paint out of the tube.  On the right, the same color thinned with water.

A few tips about working with acrylics:
- Use a plastic palette.  I like one with several depressions in it.  They can be had at most craft stores for under $2.
- If you plan on using the same colors for multiple painting sessions, cover your palette.  I take plastic wrap and cover up my paints, pressing slightly into the paint to form an airtight seal.  There are specially designed wet palettes, but I never had much luck with those.
- Clean up immediately!  Once acrylics dry on your brush, that's it.  You can use water & dish soap.  Many art teachers and professors over the years have recommended regular old Dawn for cleaning up paints.  That's what I use for watercolors, acrylics, and oils.

Next week we'll create a doll using acrylics on watercolor paper.  Til then, get comfortable with your acrylic techniques!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Just backed a Kickstarter project...

I just backed my first Kickstarter project.  Kickstarter is a great way to crowdfund a project and there's a project I just had to back: SenshiStock

Sarah "Sakky" Ruth Forde is an artist/model on deviantArt who is known for her stock images.  I've mentioned her work here before.  I've been using her stock as reference for years and her deviantArt account is the first place I go if I need a reference image.  She provides a ton of free, high quality images and this Kickstarter book is a nice addition to her collection.

I'll probably write a review of the book when it arrives in October.... but by then it'll be too late for all of you!! She has 7 days left on her Kickstarter -- go back her (at any level).  She's absolutely worth it!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fashion Friday - Kate

Today's doll theme came to me for a lot of reasons.  First, this blog is a year old! Yay!  I'm hoping to keep at it for a lot longer than that, as long as I still have something to say about paper dolls.  Second, I've been out of high school 15 years now (!!) and a graduation doll seemed appropriate.  There were a lot of girls in my school named Kate, and some of my closest friends now are named Kate, so that's how I came up with the name.  And third, it's June, the height of high school graduations.

So here's a Paper Doll School themed graduation doll.... Enjoy!

paperdoll school fashion friday paper doll directions sheet

Monday, June 17, 2013

Creating Stencil Outfits

I'm hoping to get this post up before the storms hit & potentially knock out the power....!!

Today we're going over how to make outfits to go with the stencil doll we made in the last lesson.  The outfits utilize the same technique as the doll, so we won't go into details that we've already covered.

Materials list:
- Doll from previous lesson
- Pencil and eraser
- Cardstock in any light color OR outfit templates printed on cardstock
- Glue, glue sticks, or double stick tape
- Lots of pretty papers

You can use either the doll template or the final doll from the previous lesson for this step.  Take you doll and trace it out on light colored cardstock.  These will become stencils to use on the fancy papers.  Alternately, you could use outfit templates and print them out on cardstock.  Either will work.

If you choose to print out templates, you can skip ahead.  If you're drawing on cardstock, take the previous traced images and draw clothing.  I made a shirt template, a skirt template, and a pants template.  Remember to draw tabs!

Cut out your stencils.  On the reverse side of the paper, place your stencil and trace it.  Make sure your template is flipped over so that when you cut the outfit out it's correct.

This image shows the paper cut out.  I cut two of the skirt in order to make a pleated skirt.

To make a pleated skirt, cut out two of the skirt template.  One is solid with no tabs and the other has had skinny triangles cut out.

Take the cut skirt and glue it on top of the solid skirt template.  And there's a pleated skirt!

Here's a skirt and pants.  I used a rough blue paper to simulate jeans.  And the top looks belted because of the patterned paper.

Here's the top & skirt.  Templates like these are very flexible.  Just changing the type of paper can give a simple template a very different look.  Cutting and layering can also add a lot of interest.  You could also paint or draw details.  Even sew thread through the paper!  Glue ribbons, sequins, etc.

This would be a really fun project for a Girl Scout troop or rainy Sunday.  I'd love to see the dolls people come up with!

Next week we'll take a look at acrylic paints.  I grabbed a great set at Hobby Lobby this week at a great price so watch for that.

And another doll on Friday!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fashion Friday - Jess

Today's doll is for two people: my mom and Jess, a fan of the blog.  Both have birthdays coming up, so I named the doll after Jess and used my mom's love of black & white.  I thought the bright pink would be fun & young, too.  And everyone seems to love zebra patterns right now.

So happy birthday Jess.  Happy birthday (tomorrow) Mom!

Enjoy the doll and we'll finish up with the stencil lesson on Monday....

paperdoll school fashion friday paper doll directions sheet

Download the Fashion Friday - Jess pdf here

Monday, June 10, 2013

Creating a Stencil Doll

A couple of weeks ago I was playing with my niece.  She's 5 and loves Aunt Julie's paper dolls.  Out of the blue she asked me, "Is there another way to play with paper dolls?"  Another way?  You dress them up -- that's what they are.  But I thought about it.  Sure there's another way - make your own outfits!

Today we're going to talk about creating a stencil paper doll. This is what I recommended to my niece.  Trace the outside of the doll and create new outfits.  We're going to take this a step further and create a stencil/scrapbook style doll.  Today's lesson will be the doll.  Next week will be some tips on creating outfits.


A copy of a doll (preferably with an open body style) printed on cardstock
Heavy paper, a tracing method, and your original doll
Pencil and eraser
Paper in a variety of colors
Colored pencils, markers, or paint (for details)

Start with a copy of a doll.  Always use a copy -- originals are precious.  I've started new dolls with old originals.  It's just good practice.  If you can, print 2 dolls out on cardstock.  These will become the stencils.  If you can't get to a printer, use the heaviest paper you can see through while tracing, and trace out at least two dolls.

Or you can print out my doll, pictured above.  I have two dolls and two heads.  I will use one doll as a full body stencil.  The other doll I'll be cutting up into smaller, detail stencils.  The heads are just in case I need them.

Here's the stencil doll cut-out and ready to go, as well as the basic stencils for her hair, undergarments, and shoes.

I traced the whole body onto a flesh colored paper.  A heavier paper is better here.  You can always glue two papers together, if needed.  I would do that before cutting out the stencil.

There are two things worth mentioning here: first, if you want to avoid having your pencil lines show, flip your stencil over and trace it upside down on the back of your paper.  Secondly, you're new, traced doll will be slightly bigger than the original.  That's what happens when you trace the outside of a stencil.  If you trace the inside, the image is slightly smaller than original.

Here's the doll, hair, undergarments, and shoes.  I reversed the undergarment stencil and drew it on the back of the paper.  The paper has a pretty pattern that I didn't want to screw up!

Once your pieces are cut out, glue them to the flesh colored paper.  I used a clear Elmer's glue and I strongly recommend it.  A glue stick would be great here, too.  Notice how the camisole doesn't quite fit as well.  That's just the nature of tracing like this.  As long as you use the same stencil doll, everything should fit relatively well.

This is the doll with detailing.  I chose to use colored pencils.  The pencils sort of etched the paper as I applied it, giving the doll some extra dimension.

Here's a close-up of the face.  The jawline could use some work but I love the almost child-like quality of the final doll.

Feel free to experiment!  Scrapbooking paper or origami paper would make fantastic outfits.  If you want, you can make your own papers.  Use watercolors or tea to tint a sheet of watercolor paper.  Print out textures & patterns from the internet.  Really, the possibilities are endless.

Part of my inspiration for this doll is a series of Klutz paper fashion books and kits.  I have one of these kits and love it! I turned mine into a magnetic doll in a metal tin. (The images aren't the best....)

On the right is the cover of the tin.  I glued decorative paper that looks like a shop interior there with the doll.  The doll is glued down, too.  On the left is another "store" interior to keep the outfits in.

A close-up of the doll.  There's a mannequin for displaying an outfit as well as the doll.

A close-up of the storage side of the tin.  Kits like these are a lot of fun and a nice way to learn other techniques.  Sometimes creating "kid art" like this is a fun way to refresh & recharge the way I think about paper dolls.  As you can see from the lesson above, you don't NEED a kit, but it's fun anyway.

So next week we're going to make some clothing and possibly a base for the doll.  Should be a good time!

And a new doll on Friday.  Look for it :)


Friday, June 7, 2013

Fashion Friday - Zoe

I've been interested in fun, bright patterns lately and that was the inspiration for this doll.  I also read recently that patterned pants are popular right now, so I tried that here.  It seems like when the weather is rainy & grey, my dolls are bright & colorful!

There's going to be a two-part lesson posted this coming Monday & the Monday after that.  Should be a lot of fun for kids, and a reminder of simpler times for any adults who like to follow along with my lessons.  Til then, enjoy the doll!

paperdoll school fashion friday paper doll directions sheet

Download Fashion Friday - Zoe pdf here 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Accidental Hiatus

This is a quick post just to let everyone know I haven't forgotten about the blog! 

My mom had surgery on her shoulder last Thursday and I literally forgot that Friday existed.  I'll get a doll up this week for sure.  She's doing ok, but I just got busy with life and forgot to post.

And that's what's happening today, too!

I am working on a two-part tutorial for creating a paper doll stencil, and rather than throw a haphazard, slapdash tutorial up here just to meet my self-imposed deadlines, I'm going to perfect it and post it over the next two Mondays.  I think that's better for me and my readers get a better post.

Two more things: first, this blog has had over 10,000 visits and I am amazed & humbled by that.  I never anticipated that ANYONE would read this, let alone such a diverse group of people.  Secondly, I'm coming up on the one year anniversary for the blog.  It's been very rewarding to keep at this in the midst of raising two crazy sons.  It makes me a happy person, and a happy person is a better parent. 

It also means that it's time for another Paper Doll School yearbook!  I have 20 dolls ready to assemble into a "spring semester" compilation book.  Watch for it.

So, with that, I'll go work on that Monday tutorial.  Get out your fancy papers and glue for this one! It's going to be a lot of fun!