Sunday, March 31, 2013

Odds and Ends

I'm in the middle of my doll collection overhaul, so instead of setting up a photo shoot with the dolls, I thought I'd just share some pictures of what the new collection is starting to look like and somethings I'm planning to make.

A sneak preview of how the future collection will be organized.

Most of the old collection has been given to a younger family member as a gift. 

From Flickr
I'm planning on a giveaway for April, and since it's National Poetry Month who better to be the prize than a paper Ellowyne! More details to come, hopefully. 

From Etsy

DollyTown on Etsy makes the most stunning doll shoes! I think I'm going to replace Meredith's plain blue shoes with a pair of these two-tone flats. 

What doll projects are you working on?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something New

I'm not really used to writing personal posts, but I thought that maybe other people could relate to it so I'm sharing it anyway.

Do you ever have days when you just want to make doll things nonstop, and then days when you can't even look at your dolls? For me, it's a constant cycle. I absolutely love making dolls and doll things, but  storing them and playing with them doesn't bring me quite as much pleasure. This post from Sugar Balloon expresses what I feel much more eloquently, and inspired me to give my doll collection a figurative make-over in terms of simplicity and functionality.

When I designed Quinn's wardrobe, my aim was to keep it simple. Instead of making multiple outfits, I just made two tops, two bottoms, two pieces of headgear, and one pair of boots. No pajamas, no coats, no activity-specific clothes, just a few simple pieces that can be mixed and matched. I tried to accomplish the same thing with Meredith's wardrobe, but I didn't do that for my non-Blythes. Reading the Sugar Balloon piece made me realize that I should. Maybe my problems with playing with dolls come from having too big a doll collection to really appreciate and enjoy.

My plan is to put my current doll collection in storage and remake it in the same way I did with my Blythe collection. I'm going to shrink the size of the dolls I make and narrow down my inventory to the most basic and necessary pieces. With a smaller collection, I think doll play will be much more fun.

Have you ever tried something like this? What items would you say are the most basic and necessary?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Makeup Tutorial

Here's the makeup tutorial. Sorry about the lack of pictures, but I'm in a big rush and don't have time to make a more sophisticated tutorial. Hope you like it anyway!

First, draw the shape you want on the paper. I drew something big to make it easier to cut out, but you can make it whatever size you want.

Color it, cut it out, and tape it. Leave plenty of tape for sticking to the doll's face.

Attach it to the face and you're done! You can adapt this tutorial to basically anything - this is how I made Cora's hearing aid. 

What do you want to see next week?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quinn Moves In

Continued from where we left off last week...

Meredith lay down on her bed to process this bit of news when the new roommate came in. 

"Hi, I'm Quinn," she said. "You must be Meredith. Is that your dog?" 

"Her name's Bella," said Meredith, feeling a little intimidated by her new roommate and her strange outfit. 

Bella ran over to Quinn, barking excitedly. "She's really cute," said Quinn, petting her gently.

"What's with the outfit?' asked Meredith, trying to sound polite. 

"It's steam-punk. The human made me another outfit, want to see?"

"Can I try an outfit on?"

"Sure! Can I try on one of your outfits?"

"You're lucky that you got pants. I've only got dresses."

"Well, it's hard to climb into a dirigible in a dress."

"You have a dirigible?" asked Meredith incredulously.

"No, I wish!"

They changed back into their regular outfits and let me take a picture of them next to their beds before going to walk Bella and take a tour of the doll house (currently undergoing renovation). 

Quinn was complaining later that the waffle bed and strawberry hat don't really suit her. What do you think? Do you have any ideas for replacements?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Roommate Revealed

I just wanted to say thank you all so much for your kind get-well wishes. You guys are the best! I'm feeling a lot better, and will probably post the makeup tutorial next week.

Here at last is the new roommate, Quinn Marie!

Do you have dolls that seem to decide their personalities for you? Quinn is definitely one of those cases. Before I made her, I thought that the next Blythe doll I made would be named Natasha and love lollipops, which would work well with Meredith's liking ice cream and kawaii. I never thought of naming her Quinn, nor did I think she would be into fruit and steam-punk. I'm not even that interested steam-punk, so I have no idea where that came from. She's the complete opposite of what I though she would be, and surprisingly I'm really excited about that.

Quinn borrowed Meredith's dress for these photos, but I think that she'd like something with more gears and leather. And a pair of goggles. Guess I have to make a whole new wardrobe for her, and get rid of the lollipop bed... 

I had them pose for one picture together before letting them go off to the room they now share. I hope Quinn likes Bella, because I'm not going to make her a robot dog. 

Are any of you into steam-punk? Do you have any advice for two opposite personalities sharing a room?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taking Inventory

I'm sorry that I can't post the makeup tutorial today. I'm really sick, and just not up for a complicated tutorial. I feel really bad for going back on my word, so please forgive me and I hope to have it up next week. To make it up to you, here are two clues about the new roommate mentioned in the last post:

1. The new roommate can share clothes with Holly.
2. The new roommate's first name is a unisex name. 

I don't know why there's a row of boxes with question marks here, and I'm trying to delete them. If you know how to get rid of them, please let me know. 

For this Tutorial Tuesday, here's some advice for keeping your doll things organized. It's a huge pain, as well as a waste of time, to have to re-make things because they got lost. Even worse is when you can't remember what you have because you have so much stuff. Having an organizational system (see last week's tutorial) is definitely useful, but another thing that is also very helpful is an inventory list.

Making one is extremely easy. All you need to do is write down everything that you have and add to it whenever you make something. Then every month, check your collection to make sure you have everything on your list. It's a good idea to write the date every time you do this so you don't forget to check regularly, which is the key to the success of this system (or really any organizational system).

I hope this was useful, and if you have any specific tutorial requests please tell me in the comments!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A New Arrival

Saige and Meredith were chatting about their plans for the afternoon when Meredith brought up a question.

"Saige, where can I get a pet?"

"What do you want a pet for?" asked Saige. "You've never shown interest in getting one before."

"I know, but seeing you and the other with your pets makes me a little jealous. It's hard being the only Blythe, and it would be nice to have a furry companion."

"Well, you could always try the local shelter," suggested Saige.

"Look at all the pets! I'm sure you'll find something you like. What about that little chocolate lab puppy?"

"I don't know, Saige. He's a little too rambunctious for me."

"What about a cat? Cats are quiet and won't cause problems."

"I don't think so. It doesn't seem to like me."

"Don't be ridiculous," said Saige, and then she spotted something in the corner.

"She's so cute! Thanks Saige! I think I'll name her Bella."

"Glad I could help. Let's pick up a bed and some food, and we can take her home."

Later that day, Meredith was lying on her bed and petting Bella, when Saige came back.

"I've got some news!"

"About what?"

"Meredith, how would you feel about having a new roommate?"


Friday, March 15, 2013

Doll Week - La Dee Da

I don't think I would buy one, but La Dee Da dolls are an interesting challenge to draw because of their oversized eyes, fanciful makeup, and interesting fashion choices. They remind me a little of Blythe dolls, but their undersized noses and eyes make them look a little alien-like. It's fun to try to capture that on paper.

I know that I say this all the time, but if you want to make a paper La Dee Da doll, it's absolutely essential to get the head and features right. For the eyes, I find it easiest to draw a circle and then pointed triangle shapes on either side. The nose is just a tiny backwards L and the mouth is just a dot. I'm working on putting together a removable makeup tutorial so you don't have to make a new doll for each La Dee Da line, and it will hopefully be up on Tuesday. 

Difficulty rating from 1(extremely basic) to 5(extremely difficult) - 3

Have fun!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doll Week - Little Miss Matched

As you may have guessed from yesterday's post, I'm a fan of Robert Tonner's work. Little Miss Matched is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Ellowyne line - the dolls look sweet and mischievous, and they wear colorful mismatched clothes. 

Holly is based on the redheaded doll.
Like with American Girl, the main thing with LMM is the eyes. While it's not always necessary to draw in the pupil for other dolls, it really makes a difference here. Don't forget that smile!

Difficulty rating from 1(extremely basic) to 5(extremely difficult) - 2.

PS I hate to ask again, but please vote for me! Thanks!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Doll Week - Ellowyne Wilde

Yesterday PaperDollies asked me what my 5 favorite doll brands are. It varies a lot, but Ellowyne Wilde is almost always on the list! They are just so beautiful.

Photo from Loulou Chocolat on Flickr
Unfortunately for paper doll creators, their beauty is extremely hard to capture on paper. It takes me half an hour to come up with a face that I'm only moderately satisfied with. I've searched through the internet for tutorials, to no avail. If you are dead set on making an Ellowyne Wilde paper doll (I'm considering the idea of making Tears of Endearment and dressing her up as Padme), then my best advice to you is to reference the cover of their catalogs (the digital edition is available on the company website) in your drawing, because the doll's face is enlarged and you can see the features a little better. If you create an Ellowyne paper doll, please send me a picture and tell me how you did it! 

Difficulty rating from 1(extremely basic) to 5(extremely difficult) - 5

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Making Doll Closets

Now that you can make doll clothes, you need somewhere to keep them. This tutorial is super easy, and it's the best way that I've found of keeping paper doll things organized (and I have scoured the internet for ideas!) All you need is a piece of paper and some tape.

Measure the biggest piece of clothing that you want to store. Draw a mark for the height, leaving a little space to trim later.

Cut out the paper as long as you want. You can always tape on more paper later if it ends up being too short.

Accordion fold the paper so that the outfit on one end fits comfortably with nothing poking out.

Put the other outfits on each fold, as shown in the picture. 

Trim the edges to make them even.

Label the closet so you know what it contains, then tape the sides shut.

You're done! Hope you found this useful, and if you have another way of storing doll things please let me know!

Doll Week - Blythe

If you think American Girl fans have taken over in terms of doll customizations, you should check out some Blythe blogs. Blythe is a Japanese doll, and its fans create some of the most intense and detailed customizations I've ever seen. They carve the mouth and nose, re-root hair, paint the eyemechs and eyelids, sand the face, change eyechips ... you name it, they do it! 

Photo from
Even without customization, Blythe dolls are just really cute, and they're fun to replicate in paper doll form. As with all other dolls with oversized heads, it can be tricky to get the proportion just right. To do that, take a ruler and measure the ratio between head size and body length on a picture of a Blythe doll, then convert to the scale you use (I use a 6:1, meaning that for every six inches a doll is tall I will draw one inch, thus an 18 inch AG doll for me is 3 inches tall). Make sure the eyes are in the lower half of the head, and really make them oval shaped. Since Blythes have skinny bodies, make sure that you tape-laminate yours well, or else the limbs might rip. 

And after you make the doll, there's an army of incredibly talented artists that make fantastic Blythe clothes for just about any taste on Etsy and other online stores, aside from the clothing already made by the company. It can be hard to identify exactly what you want among all the options you have, but if you're persistent you'll eventually find exactly what you like. Or, you can make up outfits yourself!

Difficulty rating from 1(extremely basic) to 5(extremely difficult) - 3

Have fun, and send your doll pictures in for photo shoot Sunday!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Doll Week - American Girl of the Year

When you make a paper doll, it's easiest to base it off a doll that already exists. But with so many doll lines out there, how do you choose? Of course, your personal tastes play a big role, but you also want to consider how hard the doll will be to draw. So I thought that this week we'll have a series of posts on different doll lines, and ratings on how hard the doll is to draw, as well as some drawing tips. This rating isn't going to be perfectly accurate, because drawing skills vary between people - I think that Ellowynes are very hard to draw but you may disagree - but it may be helpful as a general guideline.

The doll line we'll discuss today is (surprise) American Girl's Girl of the Year line.

This picture shows all of them, except for Saige (GOTY 2013). 

With American Girl dolls, it's important to make sure you get the face right, especially the eyes. Try to make them slightly rounded and draw in the iris with a pencil before you color it. I know this sounds obvious, but it really gives the eyes more dimension. For monolids (Asian eyes), make the eyes less round but still draw in the iris. 

Difficulty rating from 1(extremely basic) to 5(extremely difficult): 2

If you have any pictures of your paper dolls, please send them in to be featured in photo shoot Sunday!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Concert

This week's photos are of Kenna and Vivi playing the piano and cello. I couldn't get very many because of bad lighting, but I hope you like them.

Playing together.

Kenna and the cello - sorry for the graininess! 

Vivienne on the piano.

Hopefully next week I can show you some pictures of the doll house.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Doll Wardrobe Photo Contest

I hate to ask, but I really need a favor. The Doll Wardrobe is having a photo contest, and the voting period is now! So can you please take some time and vote for mine? 

You may have to scroll down a bit to see them, but here they are. (You can vote for others too, of course.)

Thanks so much! I'll be back tomorrow for photo shoot Sunday. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making Doll Clothes

Last week you said you wanted to know how to make doll clothes. Here it is!

The other dolls were getting a little jealous of all the attention Meredith was getting, so this week Cora is my model. She's not wearing her hairpiece here because I wanted to measure the shoulders.

To ensure a good fit, trace around your doll's shoulders and body when making clothes. Cora was extremely embarrassed about having her photo taken without clothes, so I tried to blur it as much as possible while still showing where I drew the shoulders of the outfit.

Here is what the paper looked like after tracing. 

Now you fill in the neck and hemline, and add details. I don't have time to finish the outfit tonight, but hopefully I can show it to you on Sunday.

What do you want to see next, and who do you want to model? 
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