Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last Minute Halloween Treat!

If you're still looking for a Halloween treat, there are Halloween paper dolls on the PaperJanes Etsy site!  They're instant download for an instant project!  Pick from three skin tones or a black & white one to color.

I'll be trick or treating with a blue ninja & Super Why this year :)  I hope everyone has a safe and happy night!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Felt Paper Dolls - Part 2

Last week I started making felt paper dolls.  You can see part one here.  Today I want to finish what we started.  Last time, I had created a doll and one outfit, one hairstyle, and one set of shoes.

A note about these images: I used my tablet to take this pictures.  They aren't great!  I think it's partly the tablet's camera and partly the bad lighting in my laundry room.  You've been warned :)

Using the same method I used on the doll, I pinned clothing templates to felt and cut around them.  Although you could cut through multiple layers, I found that cutting one layer at a time worked best.  I wanted to work with the excess pink and purple felt in my collection.  Using a limited palette helps to create a mix-and-match wardrobe, too.

I have a lot of fun supplies hanging around, including iron-on patches and some ribbon.  Using a piece of felt, I ironed the patches on and used iron-on seam tape to add the ribbon.  Felt sticks to felt, so any item I used had to have a felt backing in order to stick to the doll.  Treat these like any other felt.  Use a template and cut out outfits.  It's a little bit tougher to cut this embellished felt, but still easy enough.

Here are two dolls, several hairstyles, and a wardrobe of mix-and-match outfits.  This is a quarter to half of each sheet of felt.  This is a super easy, super cheap little project!

For some of my items, I decided to glue pieces together.  I cut out all the pieces I wanted to glue together and organized them before getting out my glue gun.  That way, I could quickly glue everything all at once.

This is a close-up of a doll with a sweater set and jeans!  I used the felt with the ribbon and cut out a shirt.  Using the long sleeved shirt template, I cut out the sweater arms.  I glued the arms to the shirt.  I love this!

I don't really have sewing or embroidery skills and it shows here!  Using a pencil, I sketched in a face (right) and sewed in some eyes and a mouth (left).  The eyes are just embroidery floss threaded through in different directions and tied off.  The mouth is a very basic chain stitch.  Trust me, if I can do this, anyone can!  If sewing is REALLY not your thing, glue on some eyes & a mouth, or use markers.  Try different methods & see what works.

The colors aren't quite right here, but these are two completed dolls.  The doll on the right has an embellished outfit.  I took some small beads and used embroidery thread to sew them on.  I added stitching with yellow embroidery floss to the jeans so they looked more like jeans.  These were cut from the iron-on patch, but you could just as easily use iron-on seam tape and scraps of jeans from an old pair, iron it on to felt, and do the same thing.

And here's the little wardrobe!  I added beads to a few things.  I may do more embellishing before I hand these off to my nieces.

This was a fun experiment.  I still prefer paper to felt, but it was nice to think a little differently! Any questions, feel free to ask!

Hopefully I'll have a new doll up on Friday.  Halloween is a big day/night in our house, so we'll see if time allows....

Til then, have a happy, fun, safe, candy-filled Halloween!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spooky Friday Papercrafts

Today is NOT a Fashion Friday post!

I love Halloween, probably more than any other day of the year.  As a kid, I used to do a lot of paper crafts, not just paper dolls.  I loved jointed cardboard dolls and I figured out how to make them with construction paper and brass fasteners (like these).  A couple of years ago, I developed a Frankenstein's monster jointed doll.  This year, I added a mummy and a witch!

Today's download features all three of these as one page pdf files!

Download Frank pdf here

Download Mummy pdf here
(The Mummy file is a little slow to load.)

The witch preview is a little weird but the pdf is fine.  While working on it, I decided she needed a skirt, too, so there are two versions of the witch.

As with my paper dolls, I suggest you print these on cardstock.  I prefer matte photo paper -- it's easy to get at Staples, maybe even Target.  Amazon carries it, too.  And the brass fasteners can be found in similar places, too.

I'm hoping to print & cut these out myself.  If I do, I'll post pictures.  Til then, have fun with these!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Felt Paper Dolls - Part 1

My oldest son (he's almost 4) has started to take an interest in arts & crafts.  Over the summer and early fall, we did a bunch of crafts.  I had a bunch of felt from one of these, so I made a leaf garland like the ones shown here.

My awesome garland and pellet stove.

A close-up of my garland.

So that whole garland took one sheet each of about 8 different felt colors.  I bought a HUGE mix pack of felt and I have tons left over.

What's that got to do with paper dolls?


I was never "crafty".  I fancied myself a "fine" artist in the most snobby way possible.  Felt is a new, awesome media and I love it.  I found some felt doll tutorials here and here that looked fun.  Both of those are a bit sewing intensive and, I'll be honest, sewing isn't my thing.  I've wanted to learn how to sew for 20+ years and it just hasn't happened yet.  I own a sewing machine.  I can hem stuff.  And that is about it! Someday....!!

So my goal was to create a sew-free felt paper doll.  We're going to create templates and cut a basic outfit today.  Next week we'll look into adding details and fancy stuff to our basic felt shapes.

Thick paper or lightweight cardboard (manilla folders would work great!)
Pencil and Eraser
Straight pins/ dressmakers pins (optional)
Scissors (the sharper, the better)

I'm using the kawaii girl doll from last week as a template.  Whatever doll you choose to create, keep it simple.  Felt doesn't cut as smoothly as paper, so simple lines are best.

(Forgive the weird shadows in almost all of these pictures!!)  I have a whole bunch of this medium grey cardstock so I'm using that to make my templates.  Trace your paper doll and cut it out.  This will become your doll body template.

To create some of the basic clothing templates, I started cutting up the paper doll and traced parts of it.  Legs became pants then I cut the undies and traced those.  I cut the hands and head off the top, traced it for a long sleeved shirt, then cut the sleeves off to make a short sleeved shirt.  It was pretty straightforward.

Here are all of my templates cut out.  I wanted to keep everything simple.  If I want to make a sweater set, for example, I'll just trace & cut the long sleeved shirt.  If I want capri pants, I'' trace the pants template and shorten them, etc.  I made some hair templates, a couple of skirts, a couple of shirts, and the pieces to make a princess or wedding dress.

This random pile of stuff is what I'll be working with and then some.  I have a pile of felt, yarn, beans, needle & thread, patches, etc.  Not pictured is some ribbon & embroidery floss.  My plan is to make simple clothing and embellish the heck out of it.

I realized with my previous projects that I really didn't want to make the felt if I could help it, so I pinned the templates to the felt.  You certainly don't have to do it this way.  A marker or chalk would work fine, too.  When cutting, be careful not to pole yourself!

This is the template and doll.  I marked my templates with what they were (skirt, shoes, etc) just in case I forgot!

And it's starting to come together!  Here's the template, hair, dress, shoes, and felt doll.  Felt is great.  It just sticks together.  No tabs, no fasteners, no velcro - nothing! It just sticks.

This is a good stopping point for today.  Next week I'll have more outfits ready to go following this technique.  I'll show you how to add a face and some details.  A needle & thread may be required!  And track down a glue gun or tacky glue if you want to avoid sewing altogether.

Until then, new doll on Friday and more kawaii suggestions for December are welcome.  Have fun making you felt doll!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fashion Friday - Annabelle

I've mentioned before that I live in New England.  I've probably also mentioned that my family has been in New England since it was still part of old England!  Our roots here run very, very deep and one thing that all of the various branches of my family tree have tried at one point or another is farming.  I'm only the second generation of my family not to have lived on a farm at some point in my life.  Maybe I'll retire & farm.

Anyway, I feel very tied to the changing seasons here.  In New England, autumn means harvest time and there's plenty of it!  Last weekend I went apple picking with my husband, boys, and my sister-in-law.  It was a blast -- and I'm still trying to cook/freeze/etc all the apples!  So I've had apples on the brain.

And that's how I got Annabelle.  This is my apple-themed farm girl.  I made a super quick apple pattern from a stock apple image I found online and used the colors from that image throughout.  I like this doll quite a bit, and I hope you do too.  Enjoy!

Download Fashion Friday - Annabelle pdf here

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kawaii Doll

This was a tough one!  I have been sketching for days.... I thought a simplified form would be easy.  It wasn't!  I'm not totally happy with my dolls, but I'm going to go with it.  I think once I start designing outfits & themes, I'll like the dolls more.

So here's the process.

First, I sketched out a ton of images.  This is just the one sheet that survived!

Most of these scribbles could easily become a doll (and just might).  None of them were quite what I was looking for, though.

 So I kept drawing.
 It was getting closer....
 I initially tried drawing in a style that didn't feel like "me".
 The more I tried to draw like myself, and not someone else, the more I like it.
 Almost there....
That's the final scribble.  I took it into Illustrator and created a final image:

I wanted to have a boy and girl doll.  I was able to do that from the one sketch.  To create these dolls in Illustrator,  I drew the one side of the body I liked (the left) and reflected it.  It took a little tweaking and refining, but I got the two sides to line up.  To get the heavy outline, I combined the head & body shapes using the Pathfinder tool and then outlined the final shape with a heavier stroke.

Feel free to download & play around with those dolls.  My plan is to make 30 one-page theme dolls.  All outfits will fit all dolls, but each sheet will have a unique doll & outfit set.

I know this isn't as thorough a tutorial as I usually like to write.  I really struggled with this self-imposed assignment.  I'm still taking theme requests, so let me know your thoughts!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fashion Friday - Janet

Today's doll isn't terribly exciting.  It's really a proof of concept for me.  I've been experimenting with Illustrator a lot (still!!) and I developed these ruffle brushes yesterday.  I thought this would be a good way to test them out.  I'm still a bit of a novice at making custom brushes, and every experiment helps.

Monday we'll go over the development of my kawaii paper doll & come up with a few more theme ideas for December.

Til then, enjoy the doll!

(Fixed link!!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kawaii! (What the heck is kawaii?!)

As some of you may know, there are some times of the year that crazy for me.  December is one of those times.  My husband & son have December birthdays, and we see my mother's family in NH, my father's family in VT, and my in-laws at Christmas, as well as celebrating our own Christmas with the kids.  And we have a New Year's party with awesome friends every year.  Last December, I queued up a whole month of posts & it worked out really well so I'm planning ahead to do the same thing this year.

What's that have to do with kawaii?!

I'm testing out a 30 Theme Challenge! So here's the deal: over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to develop a kawaii style paper doll set.  I'll come up with 30 themes and draw black & white, one page kawaii dolls that I'll post every day for the month of December.  The really fun part is that I want suggestions!  I have some ideas but no where near 30!

So this week I'm going to go over what kawaii is and next week will be the kawaii doll step-by-step.

Kawaii, as defined by Wikipedia, is a Japanese term that describes "cuteness".  It's a very prominent aesthetic in Japan, and has been exported all over the world.  Kawaii covers a very broad spectrum of styles.  For our purposes, I'm looking at cute, stylized figures.  Small faces set on larger heads, squat proportions, etc. Hello Kitty is an example that I think most people have seen.   Other examples I've found that I like:

Paper Glitter
I love everything that Linnette & her team create here.  She creates lovely little paper dolls.  I'm specifically not showing them here.  They are amazing, but I might be too strongly influenced by her work to come up with my own!!

Jerrod Maruyama
Jerrod has a deviantArt profile and website.  The images below are from his dA profile.  Check both out!

Michelle (mAi2x-chan)
Michelle has a dA profile as well as a website.   The images below are from her dA profile.

I'm still learning about kawaii myself, I'll admit.  These are examples that I find appealing.  Do a search online and find the style that speaks to you! (My younger readers are probably WAY more familiar with this than I am!!)

To create my doll, I plan on using a few resources.  First, CreativeBloq has a great guide that I plan to follow.    Osi (sugarlette on dA) has a nice guide to faces I'll be looking at.  Anyway, next week will be a walkthrough of how I use these resources to come up with my own kawaii style doll.  Making something simple and clean is MUCH harder for me, so this should be an interesting challenge!

Also, add any themes that you want to see in the 30 Theme Challenge in the comments.  I'll take all the ideas I can get!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fashion Friday - Megan

Today's doll is another commemorative one!  Last year, my husband & I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  Ironically, on the same day, one of my close high school friends got married.  So as we celebrate our 6th anniversary, she's enjoying her 1st this weekend.

I tried to be as faithful as possible to her lovely dress.  I think it's pretty close.  Her groom has a more generic suit because I couldn't see a good picture of it.  They're a cute, tanned, sun-loving Florida couple :)

So this doll is for you, Megan!  Happy anniversary!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Halloween Jane!

I just wanted to share my newest PaperJane doll.  This one has a Halloween theme & features 5 classic costumes - a pirate, witch, skeleton, vampire, and pumpkin - as well as mix & match separates.  And this one comes in a black & white version to color as well.  I'm thrilled with this doll! One of my favorites...

Anyway, here's a preview.  Go to the Etsy store to check out the whole set!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Drawing Resources

Sorry I didn't post on Monday.  The weekend was super busy.  If you're ever near Hillsborough, NH in late September, go to Schnitzelfest!  It's a German culture & food festival.  My husband's family is of German and Polish descent, so they love this stuff.  It was a good time and everyone had loads of fun.

Today I'm posting a resource that I can across on Facebook, via Von Glitschka's Vector Basic Training page (it's also a great resource!).  He shared a link from Illustration Age of Andrew Loomis art instruction books.  These books are public domain, so use & share them freely.

Andrew Loomis created images that are decidely mid-century.  They are lovely illustrations of men, women, children, etc, and are very evocative of his era.  For our purposes, I find his instruction to be classic.  It doesn't really matter what style you draw with, or subject matter you prefer, you can gain some insights from these books.  They are utterly ideal if you want to create classic movie star paper dolls, I think!

I haven't had a chance to go through all of them yet, but I did browse through the second one on the download list, Drawing the Head and Hands.

This is the cover of the book.  He details how to draw men and women of all ages, and it's beautiful just to look at!

Here's a page from the section on drawing women's heads.  There's SO much more than just this page...

And a page on hands.  Honestly, I would love to sit down and follow each and every lesson in each and every book!  Maybe I'll put that on my ever-expanding to-do list.

Anyway, go check out the books.  They are free, public domain PDF files.  Enjoy!

New doll on Friday!!