Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Series of Stressful Events (+ Giveaway!)

Wow, it's been over a month since I was gone. My apologies for my absence - four weeks of crazy deadlines and difficult personal issues tend to eat up blogging time. But today's post isn't a series of complaints - it's a story of perseverance against the odds (read: my doing things that I really had no time for, and suffering the consequences) in which your help was indispensable.

To make it short, I'm going to present it as a timeline:

August: While I was on vacation with my family, the Doll Wardrobe released the theme for the Winter Fashion Design Challenge, and it looked like a lot of fun. I'm a fan of Fluttershy from My Little Pony, so I thought that her Equestria Girls outfit would be the perfect thing to make. Until I saw it, that is.

By litingphires on DeviantArt

Sorry, but that's just too boring. As I'm also a huge fan of the Lizze Bennet Diaries, I realized that Jane Bennet and Fluttershy have very similar personalities, so I decided to make the sort of outfit that Jane would wear, but in Fluttershy's signature color scheme and motifs.

September - November: I started sewing the outfit as fast as I could. In contrast to the summer, when I had plenty of free time to sew, all my time was eaten by my courseload. I put everything together as fast as possible, and took photos during my trip home (it rained, so technically I took them an hour before I had to leave). When I got back from my trip, I realized that I'd left the charging cable for my laptop, so I had to run around for twenty minutes at midnight trying to find someone to lend me a cable. Since it was dark, I missed a curb and fell, which meant that I needed to be in an air cast boot for two weeks. The things I do for love sewing contests (yes, that was a Song of Ice and Fire reference, and kudos to any of you who caught it). 

February - March: Voting opened, and I checked it daily. It was very close for most of the time, but at the end my entry came in third out of four in the votes. It was a disappointment, but I resigned myself to it, was very grateful to all of you who voted for me, and put it out of my mind.

April: I got an email from The Doll Wardrobe with the subject line Winter FDC Entry. At first, I thought it was a joke or a mistake, but then I saw this post. There was dancing, a little bit of shrieking and crying, and plenty of celebratory chocolate was consumed. I haven't been so happy in months, and it would never have happened without your support. 

So, per the traditional agreement, I'm going to pay it forward with a giveaway! Details are still uncertain, so comment with what you think would make a nice prize (within reason - as much as I would like to give you extravagant prizes, that's just not in my budget) and hopefully before long I'll have the giveaway up and running. 

Once again, thank you for reading and for your support!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guest Post by Minty: Grace's Bakery Cart

Way back in January, Vera from Valerie and Vera kindly wrote up a guest tutorial for the food from Grace's bakery cart. Unfortunately, due to an insane work schedule I haven't gotten around to posting it until now. Thank you Minty for sending this tutorial and for being so gracious about my delay!

Hello everybody! Today I will show you how to make the food from the new Girl of the Year Grace's bakery cart. Here's the stock photo:

Let's get started! First, use your doll for scale and draw a long, curved oval.

Add three curved lines from the top side to the approximate middle.

Draw another curved line connecting the end of your previous line to the top line.

Repeat the previous three steps for another baguette.

Next, let's make the cupcakes! Start by drawing a short, straight line with two other lines extending off of it.

Now draw a sideways "C" on top.

For lack of better terminology, draw a cupcake frosting shape on top of that. ;)

Add detailing lines on the frosting and the wrapper.

Repeat the previous steps for a second cupcake.
Now for the tarts! Start with a 'wiggly circle' shape.

Draw a similar shape inside the one you just drew.

Next, draw a cluster of strawberries in the center.

Finally, add detailing, such as dots on the strawberries and swirls in the frosting.

Repeat the first two steps for the tart for a second one. Then, draw a small rose surrounded by leaves.

One more tart to go! Start by drawing a small circle. Add a curved line on the side for a 3-D effect.

Finally, draw a garnish on the top.

You're done with the tarts! Now for the macaroons. Begin with drawing a tiny circle.

Draw a wavy line all around the circle you just drew.

Repeat for as many macaroons as you want. I made three.
On to the cake! Start by drawing a large cylinder shape.

Draw in detail lines on the bottom, and make a criss-cross pattern on the remainder.

Draw a curved line from top corner to top corner, and add a bow on top. Finish by drawing a rectangular slice of cake. (Sorry, I got lazy)

Now outline in Sharpie pen...

...color it in...

...cut out a rough outline...

...tape laminate...

...cut out...

...and you're done!

Thank you so much, Vera, for writing this tutorial and for your patience with me! I hope you enjoy trying this tutorial for yourselves.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Grace In Stores

Happy 2015! Like last year, I stopped by the American Girl Place to check out Grace Thomas, and took some photos for any of you who want to draw her items for your paper dolls.  It was crowded and crazy, but a lot less so than last year. I really don't know what's up with the terrible lighting in the American Girl Place, but I hope that these images are helpful.

Grace herself was a lot prettier in person than in her stock photos. Her hair is darker than the photos led me to believe, and she has lighter brown highlights that make the hair look more natural.  She's definitely got a new freckle pattern, and I believe but am not certain that she has Marie-Grace's eyes (that sounds a lot creepier than I intended, sorry). Her eyebrows are thicker than the normal feathered ones, which I also appreciate. 

Here she is in the box:

This picture shows more clearly the different shades of brown in her wig:

A closer look at her bracelet taped to the side of the box. It's definitely cute, but I'm not sure if I'm such a fan of this extra price-spiking accessory trend.

Grace's city outfit is stylish and seems to be well-made, but I wish I could say the same for the accessories (I was so unimpressed with the coin purse, metro ticket, and lipgloss that I neglected to photograph them). They're priced similarly to Isabelle's and contain practically the same items, except Isabelle's seem to be of better value for the cost because they included a jacket. The design team really dropped the ball here.

Despite the misleading stock photo, the cupcakes on her shirt are right-side up. I'm not the biggest fan of this set, but those shoes are pretty cute.

I don't love that the jacket is $28 on its own (at least include a pair of shoes so I don't feel entirely ripped off), but the material is nice and thick, and the buttons are functional, which is impressive. The earrings are meh, though - if you're going to charge extra for exclusive earrings, how about including more than two sets of studs and one set of dangles?

I'm not a fan, but it was a pretty popular item when I was at the store. If any of you attempt to recreate this in paper, I'd love to see it!

Some more of the food cart:

And, of course, the monolithic bakery:

You guys, this thing is massive. I have no idea where or how anyone would store such a thing, but it makes for great photo shoots. 

I can't wait to replicate this in paper!

The thing that made me laugh the most was this, though:

The level of combined sass and revulsion in Bonbon's expression almost makes it worth the price tag. I'd feel the same way if I'd been named after a piece of candy and then had a bow stitched to my ear - I feel your pain, little guy.

Like last year, I didn't buy anything, but seeing the products in person helped inspire me to create my own paper versions (that bakery is happening as soon as I can figure out how to put it together). What do you think of this new collection?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks all of you for entering the giveaway! Your suggestions were all great and I will do my best to incorporate them in the coming year.

Now, the reason you actually clicked on this post:

To make the giveaway fair for everyone, I put the names in the order of the Blogger timestamps and used a random number generator to determine the winner. And since the generator chose the number 2, the winner is Lulu! Congratulations! Please email me within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Thank you all for entering the giveaway, and for all your support. I'm getting ready for tutorials for next year, and can't wait to see you all on January 1 and share photos from the Doll of the Year release at the American Girl Place!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anniversary/Thank You Giveaway!

At last, here's the promised giveaway. I wanted to make it a little more special since I'm tremendously grateful for not only your help with the Doll Wardrobe FDC, but for being such an incredible group of readers throughout two years of blogging, so rather than just illustrating the outfit I made for the FDC, I put together a sheet of eight Ever After High characters to send to one lucky winner. Apologies in advance for the photo quality; the weather has been terrible.

Clockwise from right: C. A. Cupid, Madeleine Hatter, Raven Queen, Apple White, Cedar Wood, Ashlynn Ella, Blondie Lockes, Briar Beauty

I'm debating whether or not to color these in or leave them as is. What do you think?

Drawing these took about twelve hours divided between two and a half days, but I'm pretty happy with how these came out and I hope you are too. Some of my favorite details:

Blondie Lockes's hair was a pain and a half but since Goldilocks is known for her hair it seemed worth the extra effort.

I've wanted to try making Cedar Wood for ages, and she was a lot of fun to draw. I was conflicted between making her socks accurate to the webisodes or the doll, so I tried to compromise, but if you have a specific preference please let me know.

By far my favorite part of making these dolls was creating the faces. Ashlynn Ella's turned out particularly well:

How to enter the giveaway:

1. Comment below with a suggestion for improvement for next year. How can I make Paper Doll World a better blog? What posts would you like to see? Is there anything I should stop or continue?

2. For one extra entry, share this giveaway on your own site or social media. Leave a comment with a link so I can count the entry.

3. Following Paper Doll World is optional, but if you're a follower your first entry counts double. 

If you win, please email me within 48 hours at the email address in the sidebar to claim your prize. The giveaway ends on Sunday, December 28, at 12:00 pm EST. 

Good luck, and thanks again for all your support!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


This morning I realized that it's been two years since I started Paper Doll World. I'm not really good at marking anniversaries and I'm crazy busy since the semester ends next week (!!!), but it was the motivation I need to get back to blogging since I've maintained radio silence for the past month. Nostalgia and displays of emotion aren't really my thing either, but to me this is a milestone and I intend to mark it with a rare bit of sentiment.

This past year has been really hard physically and emotionally in my off-screen life, so blogging and paper doll creating have taken second priority. Yet the fact that you readers have stayed with me this whole time and put up with all my absence is something special for which I'm profoundly grateful. I remember the struggle to get five subscribers in January 2013, and now Paper Doll World has just hit 40. To say I'm floored, honored, and humbled is an understatement. Even beyond the numbers, the comments you've left have been so kind and supportive, and show me that I'm not just shouting into a void - that there are other people who find this simple art form as fun and captivating as I do. Thank you all so, so much. 

What better way to end this than by answering the Grateful Blog Award prompt? Thanks to Blaire and Cora for being so gracious and nominating me. I'm so behind on these things that I don't know who has and hasn't been nominated yet, so if you haven't and are interested, then consider yourself nominated. 

I'm thankful for:

1. My family, whom I adore beyond everything.
2. My father in particular, who has been my number one supporter from the beginning.
3. My friends, both in person and online, whose support and encouragement mean the world to me.
4. All of you wonderful readers, without whom Paper Doll World wouldn't exist.
5. My art teachers, whose instruction in drawing and craftsmanship has been indispensable.
6. Emily of Toy Box Philosopher for giving me the incredible opportunity to share my review of Ophelia. 
7. Bella and Lulu for all the opportunities they've given me to share tutorials for the Doll Mag.
8. Penny, Nora, and Maple, for Isla and all the subsequent joy and creativity she's brought me.  
9. Nethilia, whose sharp and hilarious posts have made me more conscientious and sensitive as a person, blogger, and paper doll designer. 
10. The ability to do what makes me happy - to share my love for drawing and find other people who share that love.

Thanks for seeing Paper Doll World through a second year! Here's to an even better and more productive third. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thank You! (+ Giveaway)

Sorry for the radio silence lately - what with my workload and some difficult things going on in my personal life, I've barely had time to sleep, let alone update here. I'm still trying to work out a proper posting schedule that I can manage, but I'm going to try to be a little more present.

Anyways, the main reason for this post is to say a massive "thank you" to all of you who voted for me in the Doll Wardrobe Summer FDC. That project was, to use the hackneyed phrase, an incredible labor of love, and all your support means the world to me. I just found out yesterday that I won in the newbie category, and as a thank you I'm going to have a giveaway! I'm still working out the details, so if there's any prize or idea for the giveaway that you'd like to suggest, please let me know.  I typically make paper doll PDFs for giveaway prizes since there's no shipping involved and all the winner needs to provide is an email address rather than a shipping address, but if you want to mix it up a little I was thinking about making something crafty for a giveaway prize. Again, the details are uncertain at this point, so if you can think of something that would be fun yet not overly expensive (while I dislike talking about finances on the internet and I would really love to give away an extravagant prize because you guys are awesome, the fact is that I'm a student on a budget) please share it in the comments. 

Lastly, I just realized that I never put up the second half of the Cerise Wolf tutorial. I'll put that up soon too - sorry about that!
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