Geneviéve: Baile Folklorico

For this month’s challenge I wanted to do something off the wall like make a cello dress, but I’m just not that creative when it comes to designing things. So instead, I just went on the spur-of-the-moment and drew the first thing that suggested music to me.

I chose the traditional dress of the Baile Folklorico, which is a dance that I grew up with. The colorful fanning dresses and the beautiful braids and lacy shawls, etc., were common in my childhood and I always loved the sheer variety of colors used in these garments: the bolder the better!

My line work here is a little shaky; I’ve fallen out of practice and desperately need to get back into it. I’m glad I have these monthly themes to keep me going!

Find more theme outfits to match this doll at the following fabulous blogs:

[Click on this link or the picture to download a printable .pdf

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Geneviéve: Sekhmet

I’m struggling with an update that blows chunks and backend problems the likes of which make me sigh, but I’m posting this last Geneviéve anyway.

The theme was mythological creatures, so here she is as the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. I was going to draw her sun-disk “crown”, but when I logged in, I found all these black beans in my soup and so didn’t have time to make that final piece. But at least she has a scepter!

Had a lot of interesting things to say about Sekhmet and why I chose her, but am too irritated to bother at the moment. Download and enjoy while I determine whether this blog might need to be nuked.

I hope if I give it a break for a few days I can come back to this more rationally and maybe solve the backend problem and save its sad little life. For the moment I haven’t lost any of the content, so at least that’s a positive thing, right?

Find more theme outfits to match this doll at the following fabulous blogs:

[Click on this link or the picture to download a printable .pdf plate!]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: General Hux 1 & 2

I’ve been on a roller coaster with General Hux since The Force Awakens came out in 2015. I took an immediate dislike to the character: his costume, his crazy Starkiller Base speech performance. He’s a caricature. Later I realized I had actually seen Domhnall Gleeson in a number of movies in which he was quite good (Frank, About Time). I started to have a better appreciation for him as an actor. I think JJ Abrams did him no favors in this particular film, however.

Then I met a friend who was as passionate about defending this character as I am about defending Ben Solo. But I couldn’t quite understand why: Hux is just awful to the core. As played in the film, he hasn’t a scrap of redeeming value. Same is true of the book. He’s smart, but stone-hearted. Yet my friend insisted there was more to him. That his father Brendol (a known quantity in the Star Wars universe) was a brutal man. That Hux likely suffered under him–yadda yadda yadda.

I don’t know if my friend was just prescient, but the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig reveal that worse than just being the child of a ruthless imperial, Armitage Hux is actually Brendol’s bastard, whom he loathes. At age four he’s taken from his mother and forced along with Brendol into fleeing the galaxy. Brendol psychologically and physically abuses the boy. Heart-breakingly, Hux is quick to learn that power and violence are necessary for his survival.

We don’t know yet what has happened to him over the next twenty-some-odd years of his life, but with a start like that, it’s not hard to see why he turned out the way he did.

The idea of imperiled children has emerged as a major theme of the new Star Wars: all of the principal characters are dealing with abandonment and abuse issues. I doubt there’s much hope for Hux, though. It’s clear he’s set aside as the worst-case-scenario under adverse circumstances. That, to me, is at least pitiable. I dislike him much less now.

I made these plates out of mad respect for my friend who called it long before it became canon. The second plate includes Hux’s greatcoat, which he wears in the movie, but the other pieces on that plate were requests: an Admiral’s uniform (like the one Krennic wears in Rogue One, just for fun), and Hux’s “fanon” pet cat Millicent, the subject of much meme-ing. The cat started out as a joke, but she’s so ubiquitous now she might as well be canon.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Geneviéve: Ocean Explorer

For this month’s “occupation” theme I wanted some- thing unusual and adventuresome. My first impulse was to do a deep sea diver and then I wandered to astronaut and archeologist and even garbage maintenance before I returned to the ocean. Maybe she’s a treasure hunter. Maybe she’s an oceanographer or cetacean biologist. Or maybe she just teaches scuba lessons.

That’s what appealed to me about the dive-wear: there’s so many different things she could be!  You get to pick. In the meantime, I included some fishy friends she might encounter on her dives.

Find more theme outfits to match this doll at the following fabulous blogs:

This collaborative doll is posted at the end of each month throughout 2017. There’s a new theme each month!  To find all related posts on this blog, just click the “Geneviéve” tag.

[Click on this link or the picture to download a printable .pdf plate!]

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Catwalk Couture: Balmain [Plate 19]

Running behind in all things due to the long holiday weekend and traveling.

I’m traveling next weekend as well, so I might as well say up front that there won’t be a Couture post for the first Sunday of June unless I pull some kind of miracle out before Friday morning. But that’s all right. Missing dates doesn’t make me too crazy when I know it’s going to happen. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

In the meantime, have some more Balmain jackets (and lace-up boots, as promised!). These are kind of designed to go with the Balmain pants from Plate 17, but I can’t guarantee the fit–might need some futzing.

And I don’t know about my colors here either. Niall’s jacket was originally black, but I figured you had enough of that. I tried to be faithful to the colors on Lonan’s, but it doesn’t really look right. Once again, this is why it’s best if you pick your own!

Lonan’s other jacket on this plate was red and black, and Niall’s was a sort of camel color or dun like his pants (which look more yellow than they should here). Balmain’s not afraid of color, though, so I say just go crazy and make yourself happy!

Might take a little break from these characters once I post the 20th plate. Not only do I need to do lots of drawing to get ahead again, but I also want to work on my poor neglected Klondike dolls. I really miss doing 19th century subjects at this point, and those are just itching to be completed.

I’m trying to be better about finishing things that I start, so I want to make sure I get the Klondike dolls and some plates for them posted. Preferably before the end of the summer. I’ve got miles ahead before they’ll be ready, so I need to focus on that for a spell.

And I keep saying I want to get back to Judy and haven’t even start there!

We’ll see what the vagaries of the blog may bring.

Hopefully in two weeks: summer fashions for all the couture characters!

[click this link or the black & white plate  to download a printable .pdf]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Kylo Ren No. 2

Here is the rest of Kylo Ren’s costume, as promised. Just what you always wanted: more black!

I wasn’t crazy about Kylo Ren’s design when I first saw an image of him before the movie came out. I referred to him as the Darth Vader wanna-be in the little black dress. But I have really come to appreciate this costume for a lot of reasons and now I’m disappointed with how they have altered it for the the next film!  Hopefully the changes will grow on me.

And even though I know this mask is now not long for the galaxy, and still think it looks like a puffin for some reason, I’d really grown to love it. All things pass.

But I still love this character! I know people have a problem with him because he’s “evil”, and killed his father and all that. But I think he might surprise us in this sequel trilogy. I’m counting on Lucasfilm to not allow our original heroes to go down with this messed up kid as their legacy. That can’t happen. It would be completely un-Star Warsy.

Not to mention the mere fact of poor Leia: she already lost her home planet, her place in the Senate, her husband. She shouldn’t have to lose her son! That’s just unacceptable as far as I’m concerned!

And so yes, I included his real name on his base because I don’t care what anyone says: Ben Solo is still in there!

I provided two options for the cowl and added Grandpa to fill out the plate.

I really like the way the helmet/cowl combo came out. I’m impressed I got it done since I’m not very good at drawing these sorts of things. The helmet (Ren’s, not Vader’s) was the last piece I had to draw and technically I drew it in 2017, so I could have changed the date on this plate. But the rest of it had been sitting around so long, I just left it.

And actually, the Darth Vader helmet was drawn 2015, if you can believe it. I drew it over the Christmas holiday after The Force Awakens opened.

Kylo Ren is the first villain character I’ve posted for my Star Wars paper dolls. It just occurred to me because everyone else has a blue Rebel Alliance or Resistance logo background. Ren has a red First Order logo. But Ren won’t be all alone for long.

Next week: the ginger general

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Star Wars Paper Dolls: Kylo Ren No. 1

After many months, I finally managed to send some fully-assembled, hand-colored Hux and Ren paper dolls to a friend in Germany who originally wanted a Hux, so I can finally post these here! Having done a proof of concept for these, I am proud to say they assemble very nicely  (wish I had taken pictures!).

And yes, these plates are dated 2016 because they’ve been done since long long ago.

Because I drew all the layers of Kylo Ren’s costume, he didn’t fit on a single page. To be fair, they show him in all these unique individual layers in the film, so I wasn’t just being extreme for the sake of it here.

An all-black paper doll is a rough proposition. You can’t use pure black because you’ll lose the detail, but a median between too dark and too light is a challenge. With Ren, I probably went too light, but I figured it would save ink if you were going to print. The charcoal-ish color suggests black well enough. For a character like this, it almost makes more sense to just print out the black and white one and do your own coloring. But here you have options, regardless.

One of the interesting things about Kylo Ren’s costume is how concealing it is. He doesn’t show a smidge of skin. And even after the helmet comes off, everything about him is covered. Part of that is to shroud him (literally) in menace and mystery, but it’s also strangely monkish. Adam Driver is a big man and yet the costume hides his physique. And all those layers just add to the notion that this incredibly powerful individual swaths himself up against his own insecurity.

I really struggled with this one a lot because it wasn’t easy to draw Adam Driver’s unusual face. At some point last summer I just settled for what I could manage. Before posting, I considered whether to make one last attempt, but he matches the other Star Wars characters. If I tried to draw him again now, I fear he’d stand out stylistically.

It’s hard to go back to a series once I’ve abandoned it for exactly this reason. You would think a style I have used my whole life wouldn’t change dramatically, but it does for some reason. Even now I look at the whole Star Wars series and think: man I wish I had done that differently. Ah well. It is what it is.

Some notes: the helmet wont go over the head (because of the hair). It’s best to leave the head options loose and interchangeable.  The second plate includes his surcoat and cowl, so if you prefer the helmet and cowl, that’s a different look you can give him.

Tomorrow, I’ll post that second plate.

[click on each image to download a printable .pdf copy of each plate]

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Catwalk Couture: Tome [Plate 18]

I don’t know why Tome seemed like a good idea at the time that I actually drew these dresses. In retrospect they’re not terribly interesting. Maybe I was just looking for something simple. I tried to perk up the dress that Ifu is wearing on the left a little. It was originally a sort of dull brown color.

I don’t doubt my bias toward the men also played into this, but I’m going to do some Balmain for the ladies next. Hopefully that will even out the score. Balmain makes lots of amazing women’s clothing too, after all!

It was Balmain’s clothing for Cookie on Empire that actually inspired me to want to do modern fashion paper dolls in the first place.

I guess the other thing I liked about Tome was just the clean lines on the dresses; sometimes simplicity is nice. This is my idea of simplicity with style. When I see women in cotton sacks that hang from their shoulders–that’s not simplicity to me; that’s farmwear.

Tome has a lot of form-fitting clothing that I think would flatter most body types. The knit dresses maybe not so much (honestly, who can wear those unless you’re skinny as a q-tip?).

But I think, for example, the dresses on the colored plate here would/could look good on pretty much anybody. That’s a nice thing even if my models are rather idealized.

I’m not good at making different body types for my paper dolls and I know that’s a shortcoming, but I’d also mostly made my peace with it. So I want to at least be conscientious about what they are wearing. You will not likely see any shoulder-hanging sack dresses here ~ ha!

I still have done nothing to remedy the fact that I am out of plates for this series and haven’t managed to get anything else going. I’m hoping to get to work on the Balmain stuff for the ladies (and right soon), and I have no idea what I’m doing next for the men. Might do something simple like a mixed swimwear page for everybody.  It’s summer, why not?

Next: more jackets and boots from Balmain for the menfolk!

[click this link or the black & white plate  to download a printable .pdf]

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Catwalk Couture: Balmain [Plate 17]

I didn’t leave myself enough time to paint this week’s plate, so I slapped some color on this in Photoshop. Will have to go back and replace it when I have a chance. Just didn’t want to miss an update since I managed to draw this at the last minute. Miracles do happen!

This is probably the first of many Balmain plates. This is a designer I absolutely love. A lot of it borders on costume rather than practical everyday wear, but somehow it manages to pull off a lot of glam and still look sophisticated in some way. Balmain does a lot of stuff in black that I adore, but also has some startling bright colors in the mix now and then.

I decided Niall would definitely be on the “bright colors” end of the spectrum. I tried not to pick all black stuff for Lonan, but yes, here’s another pair of black pants. Of course, with the uncolored plates, you can make them whatever you want: denim, fuchsia, marmalade–just go for it!

The pattern on Niall’s jacket is definitely an approximation. I started out trying to be faithful, but when the shapes get that small, I tend to give in to my laziness. That jacket is actually beaded, which is insanely impressive when you see it up close. It probably weighs a ton.

I gave them both sandals for this plate (so they are kind of Spring/Summer still). The next plate for them will have more cool jackets and boots instead.

Totally love the fussy details on all of Balmain’s stuff, though it is painstaking to draw–even when I’m fudging it. I probably can’t do many of these items justice, but they are fun to try render.

At this point in my life I don’t know why I am still so surprised how easy it is to fall out of the habit of drawing regularly. And how once you do, it’s all that much harder to get back into it. I’m going to try to get back on a schedule of making sure to always incorporate it into my week.

Lastly, a big Happy Mother’s Day to all you fine mothers out there!

Next week: more from Tome for the women.

[click this link or the black & white plate  to download a printable .pdf]

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Catwalk Couture: Tome [Plate 16]

This week some toned-down styles from New York designer Tome. I never quite know how these plates will come out.  Sometimes the clothes look fabulous in the pictures but not quite as exciting as paper doll pieces. I did two plates of Tome and I think they both look flat. But I’m sharing them anyway!

And yes, I cheated a little because Xia’s hosiery and shoes are actually on the next plate even though I included them in the colored example here. I also would like to point out that these stockings ended up being thigh-highs instead of full panyhose/tights because they wouldn’t have fit on the plates otherwise. They can still be used to mix and match with other dresses and skirts, though. I don’t think I have drawn anything yet that is so short as to not cover the tops.

These are the colors of the original dresses.  You can probably come up with schemes to make these a lot brighter. Again, color and I have our good days and our bay days. I do the best I can with what I have.

This is the end of my buffer on this set, so I might be scrambling in the coming week. I just haven’t had sufficient focus to draw and that’s put me very sadly behind. It’s frustrating, but you can only do so much with the time and energy you have.

Still, I cleared off my desk this weekend and hopefully that’s a first step toward getting organized and being able to narrow down my concentration.

I’m also looking to buy a new computer this summer and doing that conversion is always incredibly painful for me. I’m going to try very hard not to drop off the face of the earth, but there’s a good chance the posting will get even more sporadic. I don’t want to drop the blog, so I might just change gears a little while I make transitions.

In the meantime, I do have some Star Wars plates to post, and I will push myself to pull a plate together for the guys. I have absolutely zip at the moment. And since I haven’t been painting my Klondike dolls like I hoped to be doing, maybe I can get Judy back on the docket. She’s always easy because she’s so low-pressure. Some days I wish I was just doing everything with a black pen and nothing else!

Lots of fire, too many irons.

Pretty much the story of my life.

[click this link or the black & white plate  to download a printable .pdf]

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