Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 15 in Red

I hope your 2014 has been a fun one.  This project has been such a nice way to end my year.  I feel like I learned a little bit more about Photoshop and learning is always the goal!

My life is so much more than paper dolls and this has been a really good year. I've been lucky enough to see my kids continue to grow, change, and thrive.  They amaze me every day.  I've also had a great year creatively.  I've had more people visit my little paper doll blog than ever before.  I've also sold more paper dolls than any other year (thanks to everyone for that!!) and, more importantly, I've produced more than ever before.

It'll be a tough year to top.  But I'll try!

And, as promised, here's the pdf.  It's 16 full-color pages.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 15 in Green

It's the last day of the year.  Time to party, time to reflect, and time to plan for the next year.  I'm not sure what's next for this blog.  I have some ideas for things I'd like to work on, of course.  How much will get accomplished.... I dunno.

This dress seemed like a nice way to end the series.  It's vaguely Victorian inspired.  I think "Victorian" is often associated with Christmas. That nostalgic, warm & fuzzy kind of feeling.  It's sort of wholesome and beautiful and popular.

The outlines for this outfit, like so many in this set, felt really uninspired.  What really makes this set great, in my opinion, are the textures and colors.  The skirt was a public domain image from Wikimedia Commons and it was just about exactly what I envisioned.

The last outfit in the series posts tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 14 in Red

Here's the red version of the super sparkly dress. Well, sort of red.  I mean really, what's the difference between "light red" and "pink"? Pretty much nothing.

Still, pink is sort of red and I'm ok with that.

Part of the reason why I wanted to have colored dolls this December instead of black & white is because I need to brush up on Photoshop.  I have this fancy new computer designed for digital drawing and painting.  What better way to learn than to practice?  This has been such a fun way to learn!

One more set of outfits and the pdf.  Looks like the last outfit and pdf will be my first posts of the new year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 14 in Green

The end of the year is party season, right? So why not a bright, fun party dress!

When I drew this outfit, I had no idea where to go with it.  While searching for a different texture, I came across the sparkly texture I used for the body of the skirt.  I honestly just wanted an excuse to use it!  And the other sparkly bits are from a texture I created in ArtRage.  Seriously, get that program.  It's really inexpensive and really amazing!

One more outfit set! These December projects always end up way bigger than I anticipate! Totally worth it.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 13 in Red

It's the last Saturday of the year! If your family is anything like our family, the holidays are still in full swing. My husband and I have family in different parts of the Northeast and there's generally a lot of traveling involved. His family is primarily on Long Island.  Most of my family is concentrated within an hour's drive of here, so we see quite a bit of them.  My more extended family (grandparents & cousins) are still in our ancestral home of Caledonia County, Vermont.

"Ancestral" seems like such a pretentious term, but it's the accurate one.  I'm an avid amateur genealogist and I've traced my family roots back quite a bit.  I even had the DNA testing done.  Very interesting stuff.  And not at all related to paper dolls!

Anyway, here's the latest outfit in red.  I like the red & white combination here. Often, I overlook shoes.  I don't think much about shoes outside of their practical applications.  I've never really been a shoe enthusiast, but I thought this dress needed something a bit more interesting than plain shoes.  So both the green & red version got brightly colored leather shoes!

We're in the home stretch now.  I haven't had a chance to cut these out myself, but I hope some of you have! Green outfit tomorrow!

Friday, December 26, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 13 in Green

So many of these paper doll outfits have been Nordic inspired.  I'm not sure if that's due to the popularity of Frozen or the prevalence of Nordic patterns in winter clothing.  Probably, it's both.

This dress is a simple design and I wanted a bold pattern to contrast with that.  I also find that working with a limited palette (in this case, mainly red and green) presents interesting challenges.  I like the dark tones with the bright green and it's a combination that's popped up several times over the course of this project.

Tomorrow is the red version of this.  Two more outfit sets to go!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 12 in Red

Merry Christmas! I know not all of my readers out there celebrate Christmas, and that's just fine. I haven't had any sort of religious affiliation in years, honestly, but this time of year has always been important to me.  I believe in giving, sharing, and being kind to one another.  And really, ideas like that shouldn't need a specific religious backing to resonate. Not should they need a "season".  But if there is a season for it, this one is just fine.  The darkness and the cold can be a bit much in my part of the world at this time of year, and I'll take any cheerfulness I can get!

And this outfit is all about cheery brightness! I've really had a "thing" for patterned tights & leggings in this paper doll set.  Today is yet another one!  Apparently these are quite trendy at the moment.  So yay for being trendy!

Have a happy, safe, fun holiday.  I have to say, my sons have made this day a blast!!

A green outfit tomorrow and we're winding down on the series, so the pdf is coming really soon...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 12 in Green

For those of you who celebrate, it's Christmas Eve! My little boys -- they're just-barely-5 and not-quite-3 -- LOVE Christmas this year.  We've been watching Christmas movies & listening to holiday music since November 1st. Literally.

Every year, I come up with a December paper doll set.  I think of it as a tiny way of giving something special to all the people who visit my blog & support my art. There are various times throughout the year that I get discouraged and think that I don't have the time for this blog, or I have nothing new to say, or -- even worse -- no new art to share.  And every time that happens, I find some kind comment or spike in traffic & interest that encourages me to keep it up.  It's getting to be the time of year where I think about what comes next.  I'm still not sure yet what next year holds, but I'm not quite ready to stop posting here yet!

Tomorrow is a red(ish) version of this!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 11 in Red

I mentioned yesterday that this outfit set was a bit bland.  And it is.  The red version is slightly better than the green version, I think.

I'm not sure exactly what I don't like about this set.  It was supposed to be a sort of Victorian inspired vest & pants set.  It just fell a little flat.

When I start a paper doll, I try to create more outfits than I think I'll use in order to weed out the weakest one.  I typically shoot for 12 to 15 outfits per doll, especially if I'm creating a book since there's a page minimum to reach.  Even still, it's important to create draft after draft to get it right.  The Goddess paper doll that I published took years to get right.  Even now, there's part of me that would like to do it over again because I've come so far.  But if I continually recreated old projects, there would never be time for new ones!

Tomorrow's outfit is a bit more fun!

One more thing.  It's my husband's birthday, so happy birthday.  You're the anchor who let's me be creative!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 11 in Green

A million years ago (ok, probably like 20 years ago....), I had an amazing art teacher.  She became my art teacher in 7th grade and molded me into the artist I am through out high school.  One thing that she strongly advocated was the ability to self-critique one's own work.  I still carry a self-evaluation work sheet around with me from her classes!

I think as a creative (whatever your creative vocation may be), it's important to look at your own art objectively, to truly see your own mistakes and triumphs.  Every set of paper dolls that I make has a strongest and weakest outfit.  My goal is to make sure that the strongest and weakest outfits aren't too far apart in quality.  This, to me, is the weakest outfit set in the bunch.  Not that it's bad, really, just not amazing.  The pattern is interesting, but the colors are bland.  I wasn't thrilled with the outfit to begin with, and coloring it didn't help much.

It just ended up being a little bland.

The equally bland red version is tomorrow, with some better outfits and a pdf coming soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 10 in Red

Yesterday's outfit was a sweater and skirt with work boots.  Today is the red version of that. It's no secret that I use a blend of brushes and textures that I created and that I find. This one is pretty much all found images.  I'm a big fan of Wikimedia Commons.  There are tons of public domain and Creative Commons images.

I was less diligent about using commercial use brushes and textures with this set primarily because I don't plan on selling these images. To be truly safe as far as copyright is concerned, I should make all of my own textures.  Someday... For now, I'm grateful for all of the awesome things out in the world for me to use.  Like the person who uploaded a picture of work boots to Wikimedia Commons that provided exactly the texture I needed!

A new green outfit tomorrow and pdf to come!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 10 in Green

I've probably mentioned this a bunch already, but I'm a New Englander.  My family has been in this area for ages and this place is a really important part of who I am.  I'm most comfortable in jeans, a flannel, and boots than anything else.  Although a sweater, skirt, and boots works, too!

Big, bulky sweaters with work boots and a skirt are a natural fit, right?  Sure they are! This outfit looks so cozy.  I want one now.... There seems to be a recurring theme in this paper doll set -- I want all of the clothes! Maybe I should use them as a shopping list....!

And tomorrow is the red version, pdf to follow, etc etc.....

Friday, December 19, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 9 in Red

So here's the red version of yesterday's outfit. I was lucky enough to find a texture that looked enough like wool for this jacket, and I found a lovely silver clasp.  And I live the way the embroidery stands out on the dark jacket color.

If the embroidery looks familiar, it's an Illustrator brush & image set that I developed recently.  I used it on the Fashion Friday Katrin paper doll and will probably use it a whole lot more.  It's a beautiful and useful brush set.  And it was perfect for this application!

A new green outfit tomorrow, pdf coming soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 9 in Green

Ok, I'm super excited about this set of outfits.  I'm hesitant to chose a favorite, but if I had to, this is it! It's inspired by European folk costumes though not a specific one.  I've seen Frozen about a zillion times (that is NOT a complaint at all!!) so this is partly a Nordic inspired outfit.  But there's a little Irish in there, too.

I wanted this to look like an embroidered wool jacket. Embroidery is something I love from afar - I don't think I'll ever have the patience to even attempt it, let alone ever be good at it.  There are so many arts & crafts I would love to master.  There simply aren't enough hours/days/etc and we all have to choose our battles!  I will, however, continue to fake embroidery as often as possible!

Tomorrow is the equally stunning red version and a pdf at the end of it all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 8 in Red

As much as I liked the green version of this skirt & jacket, I think I might like the red even better.  I honestly thought I'd prefer the green outfits and the red ones were something of an afterthought but this has not been the case!  I almost always seem to prefer the red one after both are completed.

Part of what I love about this outfit is the jacket.  I found a perfect texture online.  I'm not sure exactly what the texture would be called, but it's something of a coarse weave I've seen in women's jackets.  I'm much more interested in the image of a thing than its name.  My husband & I are able to tag-team social functions that way: I have a wonderful memory for faces, but not for names while he remembers everyone's names flawlessly.  I'm not overly concerned with the correct names for fabrics or fashion history.  I suppose I should be -- and I am when it's important -- but this is a fun project, not a serious one!

A new outfit tomorrow, pdf to come.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 8 in Green

I find my fashion inspiration tends to be more retro than current, more mid-20th century than early 21st century.  Today's outfit certainly is.

I'm also drawn to "preppy" things. I love a structured jacket and bouncy skirts.  If I saw this outfit while out shopping, I would need to own it! My mom uniform of jeans & random t-shirts or whatever is definitely convenient, but not exactly inspired. This skirt and jacket is just so sweet and timeless! I love it and I hope you do, too.

Look for the red version tomorrow and a pdf is coming up soon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 7 in Red

Today is the red version of yesterday's outfit.  The dress shirt features the same plaid pattern as the base outfit.  I loved that pattern so much I wanted to make sure that it made it into the doll wardrobe. I grabbed the plaid pattern from this site. I like to create digital scrapbooks and this was a site I found while looking for digital scrapbooking materials.

And on a totally unrelated note, today is a very special day in our house.  Today is my son Noah's 5th birthday.  I can't believe this amazing little man is already 5.  Mothers more experienced than me say that the days are long but the years are short.  It's very true. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything! So happy birthday my dear boy.  It's going to be a fun day!

We're about halfway through the December dolls. PDF at the end of the month!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 7 in Green

If you look through the dolls I've created over the years, you might see the same outfits or types of outfits popping up time and time again.  I tend to draw outfits I like, naturally, and I love this shirt & sweater combination with jeans.

I pretty much live in jeans.  Jeans are a wardrobe essential for me: I can wear them with t-shirts while I play with my sons or with something a little more grown up for a night out!

Tomorrow will be the red version of this outfit, and I'll post the pdf at the end of the month.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 6 in Red

Yesterday's doll had an argyle sweater, and if you look quickly, this one looks the same.  It is and it isn't.  I wanted to change the green in that pattern to red, and the red to green.  Which proved harder than I thought.  By the time I sorted that out, I decided not to even attempt changing the plain pattern!

This is such a retro set! The sweater, tie, and saddle shoes feel like something out of It's a Wonderful Life or something. Fun fact: It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas are the two holiday movies I insist on watching every year, despite the fact that I'm not crazy about black & white movies and really don't like musicals! I guess we all make exceptions to our own rules!

Outfit 7 tomorrow and pdfs to come.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 6 in Green

Argyle is one of my favorite patterns. It's also one that I haven't mastered on my own yet.  There are some great argyle vector patterns out there and I was thrilled when I found an image I could use in Photoshop that was similar to what I was used to in Illustrator.  This is also the only outfit that I used a skin tone on.

The buttons are probably too small to see this, but they have a stag on them.  I thought that would lend a bit of a retro/antique feel to the outfit.  The trim is from a photograph I took and cobbled together, and the skirt is a plaid I created myself as well. This set of dolls has given me some ideas for more tutorials in the new year, including this plain technique.  Maybe I should spend more time using Photoshop....

Red tomorrow, pdfs to come....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 5 in Red

This is only barely a "red" outfit.  It's really more of a pink. Who ever said that pink isn't a holiday color?!

Again, this dress is made up of patterns I tweaked in Illustrator and then used in Photoshop.  Some of the patterns in the set that I downloaded were really charming, like the bird pattern I used in the top section of the skirt. Don't be surprised if these patterns & colors show up again in some future projects!

Green tomorrow, pdf forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 5 in Green

This is easily my favorite outfit in the set, both the green & red versions! It's got everything a holiday dress should have: sparkles, fun patterns, and awesome colors. I want this outfit honestly!

The patterns are some that I found and adjusted in Illustrator then used in Photoshop.  The sparkles are the same texture I created in ArtRage. And the colors are just plain fun!

Tomorrow is the "red" version.  PDF to follow at the end of the month!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 4 in Red

Here's a red sweater dress! I kept the shoes the same color in both the red & green versions of this outfit.  I just liked them! I toyed with the idea of posting the line drawings as well but decided against it.  This doll was designed with simple lines that I wanted to fill with interesting textures & patterns.  As a result, the line drawings were very simple and super boring!

This dress is a great example of that. It's hard to tell from just the lines that I wanted this to be a sweater dress.  I could have drawn in the pattern.  I actually thought about hand-painting this set.  I even traced the outfits onto watercolor paper! Time really was not on my side and I went completely digital.  And I'm very happy with the results!

A new green outfit tomorrow, pdfs at the end of the month.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 4 in Green

I've said many times that I find lots of patterns and textures online, and I try to create some as needed, too. Today's outfit is a combination of the two.

My mother-in-law knits beautiful sweaters for my sons.  I photographed one of the sweaters with my phone and brought it into Photoshop.  I also photographed the edges of the sweater to use as the edges of my sweater dress.  The sweater was a neutral beige color and that helped tremendously! This would have been much more difficult with a bright sweater!

I also found a Nordic style pattern for the tights.  I love all of the patterned tights out in the world right now.  They aren't always a practical choice for me, so I haven't jumped on that trend yet.  But a girl can dream, even if the "girl" is a mommy in her mid-30s!!

Red version tomorrow, pdf to come....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 3 in Red

Here's the red version of yesterday's outfit.  With this project, I found myself bouncing between Photoshop and Illustrator.  Each program has its strengths and I wanted to use each fully in order to achieve the effect I wanted.

Oh! And there's one more program I use sporadically: ArtRage.  It's a great natural media program. I have a really old version of it on my Mac.  It's the main reason I can't fully abandon my Mac. What I use it for is sparkles.  Lots of sparkles.  There's a glitter tool that is awesome! I used it to create a sparkle texture for this and other outfits in the series.

The skirt pattern was an Illustrator pattern that I recolored in Illustrator and then ported to Photoshop. I tried warping the pattern so that it matched the lines of the skirt but, truthfully, I don't understand the way images are warped in Photoshop.  Just one more thing to learn!

We're already through one full week of December! Tomorrow is a new green outfit and a pdf at the end of the month.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 3 in Green

Today's outfit was inspired in part by Pinterest.  I like the idea of menswear combine with something super feminine.  In this case, it's a shirt & tie with a sparkly, patterned skirt with a tulle underskirt. I'm not quite as industrious as Liana so I didn't make my own tulle brush.  I'm still new to the way brushes work in Photoshop as opposed to the way they work in Illustrator.  For this outfit, I found a brush on deviantArt that worked perfectly.

I admit, I use a lot of patterns, brushes, etc, created by other people.  In an ideal world, I would create every pattern, texture, and brush that I use.  I respect other creators and work diligently to respect their terms of usage for assets. Sometimes it's easier (and better looking!) not to reinvent the wheel.  Or, in this case, the skirt! So thank you to all of the awesome creators who make their work freely available for use in my freely available paper doll sets!

A red outfit tomorrow and remember, the pdf is at the end of the series!

Friday, December 5, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 2 in Red

And here's a red jacket! I thought light jeans with that bold red jacket would look great, and I love the results.  The textures I used were found online.  I wish I had kept better track of the textures I used so that I could direct people to the sources....

I find working with Photoshop to be very different than Illustrator, specifically working with patterns.  With Illustrator, I can add patterns to a shape's appearance and layer these within the Appearance panel.  I can scale and rotate these patterns easily.  Photoshop....well, it's a bit tougher.  Scaling is simple enough.  Rotating isn't.  I take individual segments of patterns and rotate them as needed and merge layers, etc.  It gets complicated.  But it's worth it in the end!

A new green outfit will be up tomorrow, and a pdf at the end of the month!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 2 in Green

Today's outfit is a winter jacket with jeans.  I love pea coats and double-breasted wool coats.  For the better part of a decade, I have owned various versions of this jacket.  I love green and I love wool coats.  When I see a green wool coat (the brighter, the better!) I need to own it.

I also love wearing a scarf.  My mother loves to crochet and has been making be scarves for ages.  I love them all.  Naturally, this jacket needed a scarf!

Look for the red version of this tomorrow and a pdf at the end of the month!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 1 in Red

Here's the red version of yesterday's outfit.  I didn't want each outfit to be exactly the same with just a small color change. I thought the red outfit would look great with a dark grey trim & boots instead of the white I used on the green outfit.

And I have to say that the fur was fun to paint, too.  The newest version of Photoshop has a lot of natural brush settings that I played with throughout this project.  This was the beginning of that.

Tomorrow is a green outfit with a pdf at the end of the month!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Paper Doll - Outfit 1 in Green

We've got the first outfit for the December holiday paper doll today!

I don't have any reason for starting with the green outfit, really.  Part of my plan for this series is to experiment with real-world textures in Photoshop.  This is a subtle tartan pattern I found online.  I wish I had the time to create all of the patterns and textures that I use.  Realistically, I just don't. This was a pattern that caught my attention so I used it.  Tomorrow will be the red version and there will be a pdf at the end of the month!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy December!

It's December...already.  I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by.  I feel like I just created the Kawaii Kids paper dolls!

This year, I decided to create a color set of paper dolls.  I typically post a black & white set in December, partly because colored dolls take a lot more effort and partly because coloring sheets are a lot of fun for the kiddos. This year I wanted to practice my Photoshop skills with my new-ish Surface.  I think it was a good choice, and I hope all of you out there think so too.

I also wanted to create two dolls with a wardrobe to share.  I thought about a mix & match set but found myself struggling with it.  Instead, I create entire outfits.  And because this is the most stressful time of the year for me, I only came up with 15 outfits instead of the 30 I was shooting for. I'm actually pretty happy about that - it forced me to do a little problem solving.

What I decided to do was create two dolls, one with a red color scheme and one with a green color scheme.  Same outfits, different colors. All of the outfits will fit both dolls.  I tried to limit any skin tones in the images to make them as interchangeable as possible.

I'm really excited about this set and it's a style I'll work with again soon.  I'll post an outfit a day (in jpg format) with a wrap-up pdf of everything at the end.

So Happy December! Whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, start your celebrations with this paper doll set. Enjoy!