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: 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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Catwalk Couture: Marchessa [Plate 14]

Where have I been? So terribly busy! Good stuff, but no time to tend the garden here despite having prepared a buffer of material in advance. But my schedule is opening up and hopefully I can gt back on track in some fashion in the coming week (pun intended).

To get us back in the mood, here are some jewel-toned gowns from Marchessa! Ifu’s dress on the left is fairly accurate to the original color, but Xia’s on the right was actually that pale bright yellow that’s all the rage right now. I decided to change it since Xia’s Oscar’s dress was already that shade (and it’s a color I’m not that fond of). Anyway, I much prefer this rich golden tone instead.

I also realize that I desperately need to make more hairstyles for the women. I’ve still got a handful of plates to post that have been done since March or early April (I forget). So it might be a while before I get to offer up more hair options for these lovely runway models.

I also have failed to make a decision about what to post next. I fell behind on the Klondike paper dolls in the last couple of weeks, but I might be getting back to them. Also, I still have lingering Star Wars dolls to post. I’m just so disorganized.

As I said, though, things are settling down. Hopefully I can focus on what I want to do and get some regular posting going on here again. I hate falling out of sync with this blog because it’s hard getting the momentum going again.

But I’m going to try to post at least a couple of times this week. Even if it’s stuff about paper dolls and not actual paper dolls themselves. I’m no good at “how I do stuff” kind of posts, but I can definitely share things I love that other people do!

As always with this series, if you want to make suggestions or recommend a designer, I’m game for that. Couture is certainly a bottomless pit of possibilities!

Next up on the catwalk: something a little more “Springtime” for Lonan and Niall!

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

 

 

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Catwalk Couture: Marchessa [Plate 12]

Marchessa has so many beautiful dresses it was almost impossible to choose. But I narrowed it down to six (for now). I might go back and pick up a couple more.

Plate 12 shows the first three choices. There are two here for Xia and one for Ifu. On Plate 14 there will be two for Ifu and one for Xia, so it will even out.

I also really meant to make more fancy hairstyles and ones with fancy earrings for these red carpet dresses, but oops. I’ll work on that. And accessories in general.

In coloring the two representative dresses, I changed the original color of Ifu’s gown from a soft baby blue to this bolder green. Ifu already has a light blue dress (from the Oscars plate).

This yellow-green was a fun color to mix and I wanted something that was just more season-appropriate. Let’s face it: nothing screams “Spring” louder than bright bright green!

Xia’s dress has a lot of sequins and things on it. Even though I tried to paint it glittery, the scan didn’t pick that up. It looks all right, but when you color your own version feel free to tart it up! It should be spangly!

Ah well, it’s all good practice.

The third dress on the plate was originally bright yellow, but again, I already painted Xia’s Oscars dress yellow, so I skipped it. You can decide for yourself what color you want it to be for yourself.

For all the Marchessa gowns I picked ones with relatively straight or fishtail skirts. There were a number of bigger poufier gowns, but I figured they would only fit two to a plate (and only if I put one upside-down) so I originally skipped them.

I’m getting smarter about how to plate stuff, however. So, like I mentioned above, I’ll probably go back and pick up a couple more plates worth of Marchessa fashions.

Marchessa is definitely one of those designers were you could make dozens of dresses and not run out of exciting reference material. When I get better at doing the glittery stuff, you will certainly see more. Glitz is something I need to work on. Especially in Black and white.

Next up: Ralph Lauren and some totally not-Spring fashions for the men!

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

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Catwalk Couture: Gucci [Plates 9 & 10]

The House of Gucci is 96 years old–one of the oldest fashion houses around. And certainly one of the most recognized brands in fashion. This year’s fashions have some fun patterns that were difficult to draw, but I’m glad I challenged myself with them. Once again, these pieces all came from farfetch.com.

I really love Ifu’s zebra shoes. And the purse with the bambo handle. I’m not good about making accessories for paper dolls, but always glad when I do.

These are the last plates with each character on their own plate. After I built the first ten, I saw it was hard to fill the plates in a way that made sense (particularly for the men due to their difference in stature).

So from here on out with this series, instead of two plates a week, it will only be one, but if I can continue to produce these at a quick clip, I might be able to post two a week after all. We’ll see, I’ve been super busy lately. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going.

Once again pieces of these plates can be mixed or layered for additional looks.

[click each black & white plate below to download a printable .pdf]

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Catwalk Couture: McQueen [Plates 5 & 6]

I can sit around and draw plates for this set all day long, but the coloring doesn’t come as easy. There’s a block in my head that differentiates something born color vs. born black & white. Not that these don’t look fabulous in color on the dolls. It’s just how flat the plates themselves look that bothers me for some reason. Hence why it’s been a little quiet on this blog recently.

After lots of finagling, here’s how it’s going to go. I’ll post a colored dressed thumbnail (like the one at right), and the black & white plates. Because maybe what’s fun about these is coloring them for yourself!).

I plated Ifu and Xia’s fashions separately here, but later I mix the plates up. I went through a lot of aggravating decision-making about what the heck I was doing. To be honest, I don’t think I resolved any of it. So for the first dozen plates or so, this is all sort of a mishmash.

And speaking of mishmash, these Alexander McQueen pieces are mix and match (more or less), and can be layered by design. In case it wasn’t obvious, I started with some pretty basic stuff just to get my toes wet. The more extravagant things will likely come later.

[click each black & white plate below to download a printable .pdf]

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Catwalk Couture: 2017 Oscars [Plates 3 & 4]

My fashion paper dolls are so unfashionable!  They’re not wearing 2017 couture to the Oscars. I’m going to blame it on the fact that this is their first time going and none of them knew any better. Well, Niall should have, but he’s kind of prone to break the rules.

So Ifu is wearing a two year-old Chanel gown–but c’mon, it’s not like Chanel goes out of style! And Xia is wearing last year’s Valentino-esque fashion. The wrap and bolero for the women are completely my own designs. I needed something to fill out the plate and clutch purses seemed too chintzy.

For the men, I separated the Tom Ford tuxedo jackets from the pants because it’s easier to pair the slacks and tuxedo shirt with multiple jackets. And yes, there’s that tiger-striped jacket of Niall’s that I mentioned on the salvage post. But rather than repeatedly draw more tuxedo slacks, it seemed the sensible thing to do here. I mean, I probably will draw more tuxedos, but the slacks are really only differentiated by colors–the style is typically very similar. Especially if they are black.

I should also say that the reason Xia’s dress is described as “Valentino-inspired” is because I drew it before I was being methodical about my choices and the reference picture I used said it was Valentino, but then I couldn’t actually confirm that anywhere, so I have no idea.

I’m being much more careful going forward! Rather than doing random Google searches, I’m using a variety of fashion-specific sources for reference, particularly:

Vogue Fashion Shows: comprehensive runway site!
Farfetch.com: couture outlet!

I made a conscious decision to fill in as little of the blacks on these line art plates. First, because it’s a drag on your printers, but also because you can color stuff however you want. The lapels and cuffs on Lonan’s Tom Ford tux jacket are black, but maybe you want them to be neon orange. Have at it!

I’m still working out the best way to plate these dolls, so prepare for a few bumps along the way. I’m trying to avoid leaving the plates too empty or too crowded, but it’s hard to find a middle ground. For the women it’s not too bad, but the difference in physique on the men makes plating their clothes an interesting challenge.

I decided to throw everything into this post since it’s the kick-off and I might as well make it sorta special. I also just haven’t figured out the best way to post these plates. Sometimes the colors look kind of flat to me when you can’t see what they look like on the dolls. I’m not sure why I have this impression.

To find all plates related to a character or designer, use the tags!

[click on each picture to download a printable .pdf]


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Catwalk Couture: Meet Ifu and Xia

At last! Two lovely ladies to kick of this series!

Ifu is from the Southern African province of KwaZulu-Natal. She was abandoned as a baby and grew up in an orphanage, but studied hard and won a scholarship to study abroad. Now twenty-one years old, she has a bachelors degree in political science and is modeling to support herself as she begins a masters program in public policy.

Ifu is cheerful, but serious-minded. She likes bright colors and percussion music, but adores quiet reading most of all. She is very frugal. Ifu is a vegan and will only wear fake fur. She campaigns for human rights and against animal cruelty. Ifu enjoys yoga, running, and arthouse films. Even though she is afraid of horses, she wishes Lonan would invite her to go riding. Her Zulu name means cloud.

Xia is the youngest of the models, at nineteen. She has modeled since she was a child and won several beauty pageants growing up. She has always wanted a career in fashion. Raised with a very Americanized family in California, she loves the beach, junk food, and big summer parties. But she takes good care of her health and guards her delicate skin from the sun.

Xia enjoys animated films, pop music, and is studying Chinese so she can speak with her grandparents in the Jiangsu province of China, which she has never visited. She loves flower and birds, and keeps scrapbooks full of pressed leaves and colorful feathers. Xia means cloud in Chinese.

Despite their differences, Ifu and Xia are good friends and share an apartment in New York. Xia has taught Ifu a lot about fashion and modeling and helps her with her English. In return, Ifu tries to keep Xia out of trouble given the pitfalls and temptations of the industry. Xia still has a lot of growing up to do and Ifu has a natural protective and motherly nature.

I had originally designed the bodies of the women to mirror each other so that they could wear one another’s clothes if you flipped the image horizontally, but that idea went out the window with the revision.

Apologies for their Barbie-like nakedness. I went through a dozen debates about underthings for them and decided this was the easiest way to go.

I’ve mentioned before that I modeled Ifu (vaguely) on Lupita Nyong’o, though her character in my head is very different. As I was thinking about their personalities, I knew I wanted to give them contrasts: make Ifu more tailored and studious, and Xia more avant garde and bubbly. Their wardrobes will likely reflect this.

[click on the pictures to download the plates]

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Catwalk Couture: Never Underestimate My Mule-Headedness

A week or so back I gave the unfortunate impression that my Catwalk Couture series was an unmitigated disaster and that I was throwing the bathwater out whether there was a baby in there or not. What I meant to express is that the series was a highly mitigate-able disaster. That in spite of redrafting from the top, I intend to be on track before the Oscars in February.

While this does mean that I tossed out a lot of work, I tossed out stuff that was plain bad. Anything that could be salvaged, I did. And I was able to salvage more than I anticipated through the magic of PhotoShop!

Although I don’t post that much about my process, I am a very process-orientated person. I love other people’s process posts. I love dirty stacks of scribbling, seeing multiple drafts of works-in-progress, and hearing about the artistic trials and triumphs of others. And I absolutely don’t mind sharing my own–I’m just often too preoccupied to do it. But I was thinking about how much I am personally encouraged by other people’s willingness to share their processes and how I shouldn’t be so distracted or lazy about sharing my own.

All right then: an update on what’s going on with Catwalk Couture. I’ve redrawn, inked, and painted the dolls. They are much happier, I am much happier. I no longer want to put a sack over Niall’s head. Life is good. I’ve drawn and inked those tuxedos that gave me shingles last week and they are awesome (trust me–they are). I picked some simple but lovely designs for the women’s gowns that I think will be stunning. Those are done as well.

I’ve organized. I made actual decisions about what I’m doing. I’ve struck a balance between easy and challenging, which is a delicate thing with me and drawing (and part of why paper dolls suit me so well: one week it’s a white t-shirt, the next week it’s insane Spanish lace with meticulous insewn beadwork).

Most importantly, I found the joy again in this project and I am super-excited to share it with you.

The bottom line is, I fail a lot–quite regularly in fact. And I have the old blogs to prove it: I’ve abandoned more projects than I’ve completed. But when I fall, I’ve learned to put my hands out before my face hits the pavement. You don’t just learn to walk the first time, but all the time, every day.

So here’s this quote from a 19th century source on paper dolls, which I snipped out of a Victoriana magazine when I was a teenager and have kept all these years. It always helped me as I was learning to draw, to not be overly critical of my own skill relative to my learning curve. There will always be artists who are better than me, and I will always be better than others.

And most importantly, share everything because other people will always find joy in your work, even when you can’t see it for yourself.

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