Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kawaii Wednesday - Farmers

I'm starting a new project with a new client, and that inspired this paper doll set!  I'll be working with an alpaca farmer (you can check out her farm here) on some graphic & web design stuff and thought a farmer paper doll was in order.  I'm not entirely certain of the scope of the project yet.  I don't see it affecting my blogging at all, but I'll keep you all posted!

There will be a new doll on Friday.  Til then, have fun with these little farmers!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Drawing a New Vector Paper Doll

I realize it's been about a week since I posted.... A few weeks ago we decided to update our shared office/studio.  I thought we'd slap some paint on the walls & call it a day.  Well, it got pretty involved!  My husband & I (with the help of my dad) installed new bookshelves, ripped up some ancient carpet, and moved around a ton of heavy, unwieldy furniture.  And slapped a three coats of paint on everything.  I've been spending every spare minute working on it.  Once it's totally finished, I'll post some pictures here.

Recently, I mentioned that I want to retire the Fashion Friday dolls.  I still want to post a new doll on Fridays, but the current template is getting a little stale.  My plan is to run it until doll #100 and then start up with something new.  I may do the same for the Kawaii Kids.  I have a few ideas.  One would be a completely different doll, in watercolors, with a history/fantasy/huge and complicated dresses kind of wardrobe.  That would be one or two dolls with a new dress every week, something like what Liana does on her blog.  My other idea is to create a child (or children) to go with the fashion dolls.  I have a female template, a male template, and adding a child to the mix would create a lot of options.  I've thought about developing a line of commemorative wedding dolls, including brides, grooms, flower girls, and whole wedding parties.  It's still in the planning stages and it's been on my mind quite a bit.

So here's what I'm going to do.  First, I'm going to develop the child dolls.  I may still work on a watercolor doll at some point.  I have lots of projects in the works!

Here are some sketches I've been working with.  None of them are finalized drawings.  I want to work on these in Illustrator and it felt like a waste of time to make them too perfect on paper.  Blank screens make me nervous and even a rough sketch helps! 

This scribble may turn into a baby-sized doll.  Babies are cute, have adorable clothes, and are a subject I'm rather familiar with! Also, this could easily a boy or girl baby with very little alteration.

With this scribble, I'm aiming for around preschool aged.  Maybe somewhere between 4 & 6.  Again, it's rough and I can work out some of the problems in Illustrator.  Right now, I'm not sure about the arm length and head size.
Finally, this is an older child who isn't yet a teen.  I'm thinking between 9 & 12.  It's important that these dolls function well.  I want a mix & match wardrobe similar to what the fashion paper dolls have.  To do this, I need a flexible template, one where there's sufficient space for tabs.  That's why the arms are away from the body on all of these.

At minimum, one of these will become a new vector paper doll.  Maybe all three of them will!  I plan on going through the process here.  I'll be working in my updated studio space (YAY!) and hopefully I can get started by next Monday.  Til then, look for new dolls this week and thanks for being patient with me!  Sometimes life gets in the way - and I'm not as great at building a backlog of posts like other amazing bloggers! There's a goal to work on, too...!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fashion Friday - Leah

I've been on a bit of a beach kick lately!  My sister has a pool at her house and we spent yesterday swimming with her family.  My boys love playing with their cousins & we all had a blast swimming!  And I thought it was time for another bathing suit themed doll....

I found a gorgeous pattern online and that's what I used for this doll.  Even the colors were perfect!  I like making my own patterns, but sometimes other artists make better one than I ever could!

Hopefully all of you are somewhere beachy and can enjoy some of this amazing weather!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kawaii Wednesdays - Science!

I love science and science fiction.  I don't always understand it (my husband would disagree) but I love it all anyway.  Most of my friends are scientists, so I have a soft spot for lab coats!  So today, we've got a science paper doll to color!

Again, I'm having some difficulty posting the PDF.  I upload the PDFs to my portfolio site and have a link here to download them.  For the second week in a row, I can't access the inner workings of my portfolio site.  I may need to change my method of sharing files.  Til then, download the image file in this post.

Have fun coloring!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Childhood Flashback

Today I'm going to share a couple of old paper doll sets I made as a kid.  It's a post I've been planning for a while, and today it feels all the more appropriate.

For those who haven't heard, Tom Tierney lost his battle with cancer on Saturday.  Jenny Taliadoros (OPDAG, Paper Doll Studio Press, Paperdoll Review) has a touching obituary posted on her blog.  Jenny points out that the paper doll industry was nearly extinct before Tom Tierney revived it.  So many paper doll artists and collectors know & love his work and cite him as an influence.  I'm an artist because of Crayola and Tom Tierney!   I only recently discovered that he illustrated a large number of things for Golden Book, including a Miss America paper doll I vividly remember owning as a kid, as well as several children's books based on Jem and the Holograms & Barbie.  Tom Tierney's work was a huge influence on my interest in art, fashion, illustration, and paper dolls long before I knew who he was!  I wish I had been able to meet him - he will be missed tremendously.

My childhood dolls in no way compare to the genius that inspired them, but I'll share them anyway! I think it's important to remember that everyone starts somewhere.  I know there are young artists who read my blog and this post is especially for you! 

This one was tough to scan.  It's actually larger than my scanner could accommodate!  This doll is dated 1993, so I was somewhere between 12 & 13.  This was drawn on construction paper with colored pencils and then glued to more construction paper to make it stiff.  I never made clothing for this doll because I never really like the way it turned out!

This doll was made sometime between 1993 and 1994.  I had just discovered Tom Tierney's collectible dolls and spent a lot of time studying them.  This isn't a great masterpiece or anything, but there's a lot of improvement over the first image.  From the time I was 9 until I was 19, I drew every single day.  Sometimes for hours at a time.  Anything worth doing is worth putting in the time!

The four images above are all that's left of a paper doll set I worked on between 1994 & 1995.  I know I made them in the summer, I just can't remember which summer!  These were painted with craft paints.  My mother painted ceramics around that time and I'd get her leftover paints to play around with.  Again, these were after I discovered Tom Tierney - before I saw his books, I didn't use a base on my dolls.  I wish I still had the actual dolls but those have been lost for a long time!

None of these are fantastic works of art!  The lesson here is really about putting in the time.  It can be frustrating & discouraging when starting out in art.  There was always a clear image in my mind that I wanted to get down on paper and it just never seemed to happen.  And then, one day, it did.  It takes hours and months and years to get to that point.

Just for reference, my Goddess paper dolls were drawn about 10 years after these childhood dolls.  I started drawing the Goddess dolls around 2003 and finished painting them in 2006 (I had a lot going on during those years!).  And my Wicked Women, the project I just completed? About 7 years after I completed the Goddess dolls!  It's all about practice and putting in the time!

I hope this was in some way encouraging to everyone starting out.  And remember Tom Tierney while you create this week - he spent 80+ years creating!  Something I think we should all aspire towards.  


Friday, July 11, 2014

Fairy Tale Fashion Friday - The Little Mermaid

Summer is full-blown here in New England!  I'm more of a winter person since I grew up in the mountains, but I'm now a 30 minute drive to the Atlantic coast and learning to love the beach, too.

I wanted to return to the fairy tale dolls with a summer/beachy doll, and we've got The Little Mermaid today.  I never really gave much thought to mermaids but my nieces love them.  It's a theme I may visit more because of them.  This Little Mermaid is obviously Disney-inspired.  I admit, I loved that movie as a kid.  I think I was 9 when it came yeah, like a million years ago!

Anyway, enjoy the doll!

Download Fairy Tale Friday - The Little Mermaid pdf here

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kawaii Wednesday - Dancers

My son just started his first activity - a tumbling class!  He's the only boy & loves it.  So today we've got a dancer paper doll.

I'm having some technical difficulties regarding with the pdfs.  PDF is all set and ready to download! You can click & save the image file posted below.  I'm hoping to get it sorted out today but we'll see!

Til then, try printing from the image and have fun coloring!


Monday, July 7, 2014

5 Paper Doll Work-in-Progress/Tutorials from around the Web

My plan for today was to share some of my old (as in childhood) paper dolls.  That plan didn't happen!  After spending the weekend with family and car shopping, we finally have our car situation sorted out but I ran out of time to do much else.  I also tore apart my studio/office so my work area is currently non-existent and access to my scanner is tough.  That room has been a deep burgundy with yellow trim for as long as we've lived here!  The color was sucking the creativity out of me, so it was time to paint & redecorate.  I can't wait to share pictures of the finished room once it's completed!

Until the studio is organized, there will be some random posts like this one and some digital art since I can work on my laptop anywhere.  I'm eager to do more painting, especially after working on the Wicked Women paper doll.

So today I'm sharing five paper doll related tutorials or work-in-progress posts I found while wondering the Web.  For those of you interested in such things, I also discovered that my SEO is apparently terrible!  When I Googled "paper doll tutorials" not ONE of mine showed up.  Really? Not one?!  Time to work on that....

1) Shannanigan on deviantArt
I love this doll! This is a work-in-progress image from Shannon Finch (shannanigan) on deviantArt.  She has several amazing paper dolls and tons of illustrations on her dA site.  I like that the first image here shows how the doll is broken down and how she sketches the various parts.  It's important to draw and draw regularly, and something like this is proof of that! She's an artist worth checking out.

2) Making of "TV Moms" by David Wolfe
David Wolfe is an important man in fashion! Not only is he a talented paper doll artist, but he's also a well-known fashion forecaster.  He's involved in OPDAG, Paper Doll Studio magazine, conventions, and has several published paper doll titles available.  This image is from his website, Paperdollywood, and it's easy to lose a few hours looking through everything!  On his site, he has a detailed walk-through of how he made the TV Moms paper doll book.  He explains his entire process from concept to completion.  One thing I find fascinating is that he makes the bodies & heads of his dolls separately.  He has some sound reasoning and I may try this in the future!

3) Knit Paper Doll Clothes Tutorial by Cynthia Shaffer

How adorable is that?! At the blog, Cynthia Shaffer walks through a mixed media paper doll clothing project.  She sketches and paints clothing, then applies a stamp to it that looks like it's knit! I love this.  The idea of mixed media sounds so fun!  The imperfection of this is what really makes it -- this is watercolor at its best.  And pencil!  And stamping!  A great new technique I'll have to try soon.

4) The Making of a Paper Doll, Lily & Thistle

After seeing the work at Lily & Thistle, I was tempted to put my pencil away forever!  Lily & Thistle Creative Studio is the work of Hannah Stevenson.  Her paper dolls are near perfection!  Her Etsy shop is what I would love my (now-abandoned) Etsy shop(s) to be.  On her blog, she goes through a step-by-step process about how she makes her perfect dolls.  It's a great look at an artist at work, clearly making something she loves.

5)  How to Draw Hair and Clothes for a Virtual Dress-Up Doll in Illustrator by Mary Winkler 

This!  This is what I want to make with Illustrator.  This tutorial is so detailed, and rich, and amazing that I want to sit down and do each & every step when I have some time.  (Time.... I'm the mother of two young boys....Time is a distant memory!!)  Computer illustration can be so fluid & lively, and that's what I love about this.  I've been using Illustrator for a while and there are things in this tutorial I learned!  If you have any interest in using Illustrator, this is a great tutorial (really, the whole site is great) to work with.  She also has a tutorial here detailing how to make a doll base.  Also worth checking out.

So those are some of the things I'm looking at online.  Inspiration and education can come from such diverse corners of the world!  I'll have a couple of dolls up this week, so look for those on Wednesday and Friday.  And my SEO.... totally need to work on that.....


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Technical Difficulties?

Just a quick post today...

My mom and I have both tried to print the Kawaii Kids dolls from PDF and it didn't print correctly.  Is anyone else experiencing this problem?  I'm going to take a look at the files and see if I can find anything on my end.

If there's a problem, I want to fix it.  It's important to me that everything on this site runs smoothly.  Leave a comment or send me an email if you're having the same problems I am!

Thanks for the feedback! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kawaii Wednesdays - July 4th Paper Doll

I can't believe it's already July! Time must be moving faster or something.... This week, here in the States, we're celebrating our independence.  I'm not sure if I'll get a doll up on Friday - we have family visiting for the whole weekend.

Just in case that doesn't happen, here's a little pre-4th paper doll to print out & color.   Have a fun and safe holiday!