Monday, October 17, 2016

December Paper Doll Preview

It's October.  I know this.  But in order to get myself organized for a chaotic holiday season, I decided to start working on my December paper doll early.  This has its advantages: first, I'm not super stressed out in November trying to complete a 30 page doll; second, it allows me a little time to actually research what I want to make; and third, it allows for a bit of input from my dear readers.

Last year, I created Santa and Mrs Claus paper dolls that I just loved. (You can grab an extended paper doll book here -- these printed beautifully and I highly recommend it!)  The style felt really natural and the project came together fairly easily.  I've been kicking around some ideas for this year's doll and I settled on something I hope everyone likes.

Feel free to right-click and download this paper doll and make your own outfits for her! (Personal use only, etc, etc...)

Now, I don't like to do things that are overtly religious.  I don't belong to any organized religion myself and one of my goals for this blog is to be inclusive.  Diversity in everything including something as niche as paper dolls can only be a good thing, I think.  Angels occur in many religions and cultures, so I feel fairly safe using them as a somewhat neutral theme.

The other thing I try to avoid is being overly political, both here and in my personal social media.  Again, I respect everyone's opinions and hope that others respect mine.  This year, though, there's a tiny bit of politics in this project.  I'm heartbroken about the events occurring in my country.  The violence, hatred, and xenophobia are a bit hard to swallow at the moment.  I want to highlight the goodness we still have and that's the inspiration for this angel.

I'm still trying to decide on a face for the paper doll.  I'm leaning towards the downcast, closed eyes.  Anyone else have an opinion?  And yes, she's a brown skinned angel.  I felt that was important in light of what I said above.  I already know that I want some African inspired outfits for her.

And this is where things become more challenging.

Can I create an inclusive angel paper dolls without being accused of cultural appropriate?  I hope so.  There's so much beauty in the world and I want to see all of it. I understand the significance of color in kente clothe about as much as I understand the clan associations of Scottish tartans (which is not at all).  I want to learn and creating is how I learn.

So let me know what you think of this draft.  I have some kinks to work out and I'm undecided about the face.  And please, I'd love suggestions for outfits! I'm no where near the 30 I need for the month! Also, call me out on this.  Is it a good idea? A bad idea?  I love the collaborative input of sharing my projects on a blog.  Hopefully I can post more process images along the way!  


  1. Personally, I like the downcast eyes. I also love the shape of her wings.

    I don't think I can offer much insight on the cultural appropriation except to say "Good Luck". I struggle with that issue as well a lot.

    1. I like the downcast eyes, too. Stylistically, it's similar to most of my vector paper dolls but just different enough. I'm really happy with the wings! They were TOTALLY different and way more complicated. I really simplified them and it's better.

      Hopefully, I can research enough to get a handle on some of the influences I want to portray. It still makes me a bit nervous -- I don't want to inadvertently offend anyone -- but I also want to highlight the beauty and diversity of human costume. I know, for example, that I want several historically inspired costumes. I also want to explore kente cloth and it's amazing history. We'll see how it goes!

  2. I'm a fan of the downcast eyes, too. The other two just don't seem to fit as well.
    As for outfits, how an Egyptian-style one, or maybe from Jerusalem? There are just too many amazing cultures to pick from!

    1. Egypt is definitely on my list! The goddess Isis was in my Goddesses paper doll book & that outfit always looked like an angel to me.

  3. thumbs up on the peaceful downcast eyes.

    also: go ahead: appropriate culture! DO it! i'm tired of eggshells and all this trying so hard to be respectful that we're just drawing lines between us all over again. if someone is inspired by my culture, i say have at it. if it's done with love how can there be any objections? /endrant

    1. I think it's hard to create anything in a vacuum, so EVERYTHING is an influence at some point.

      And I agree that at some point we end up becoming divided by delicacies. We all need to have honest conversations about our perceptions of culture, people, and community. If we come at it from a place of respect and thoughtfulness, then maybe we'll all learn something.

      I'm finally at a point in my life where I feel like I can think again, where parenting isn't all-consuming, and I'm starting to think "big" thoughts again. How do I feel about gender and race? What do I want my children to learn from me? How can I do something positive in the world with my craft?

      And I love rants. Rant more :)