Fear the Walking Dead : the Horrors of Plaid

plaidsI like a good challenge now and then, but it’s equally true that I’m notoriously lazy. I’m working on drafting clothing for the Fear the Walking Dead characters and finding it a balance of both those worlds. This is a universe where people wear a lot of straight basics: t-shirts, sports coats, jeans, that sort of thing. But it’s also a show full of very particular prints and, worst of all worlds: lots of plaid.

Do men really wear this much plaid these days? Especially in California? It seems so 1990s. But then I guess all sorts of retro is in these days.

Fortunately the horror of plaids is largely restricted to one character, Travis. Each of the Clark children (Alicia and Nick) has at least one plaid of their own, as does one zombie critter. All told it’s about 6 or 7 plaid pieces that I have to get through. It could definitely be a lot worse.

And who knows? Maybe I will come to love painting plaid. It’s highly doubtful, but there’s always a chance that it will be a lot easier than I expect. At least I have plenty of reference pictures. And believe me, I’m not going to be super-particular about the exact patterns.

Between the plaids on this show and animal prints on Empire, I’m really wandering into new territories all over the place. Learning new stuff is never a bad thing. I’m looking forward to how these will turn out.

All-new Judy : the London Serio-comic Paper Doll

judy_2015_thumbTaking a break from The Walking Dead as I promised I would have new Judy dolls going forward and here they are. These dolls are the same size as the Judy I made for Volume 30, but they can’t share costumes. They will, however, be the regular on-going dolls for the remainder of this series. This is why I wanted two models; to keep a little variety in the mix.

Plates will be numbered sequentially, but I’ll likely skip around a bit. I like to try to match up the season with the outfits and sometimes that doesn’t quite make sense with the way the serial originally ran.

I’m stepping back to pick up Vol. 27 to begin with, and then will just work through the 10 volumes that I have available. It’s a lot of costumes and it should be a lot of fun.

Of all the dolls I am working on currently, these are the easiest for me to render, so I might actually set aside a special day just to post Judy plates in addition to whatever I’m posting on Thursdays. We’ll see how far ahead of the game I can get in the coming weeks.

[Click this link or the image to download a printable .pdf of these dolls]


thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving all! Thank you for your kindness, consideration, and comments!

Fear the Walking Dead and Future Plans

ftwd_templateThe Walking Dead birthed a spin-off series this past fall with the not-so-creative title Fear the Walking Dead. The first season only had six episodes so not a whole lot happened and fan reactions have been all over the map (everything from murderous to bemused).

Weirdly, I really like this show.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s got problems and it’s silly, and sometimes the characters do inscrutable things or the camera lingers on wind chimes for too long (and for no apparent reason). But I find it entertaining in all the ways that the flagship show doesn’t do it for me: I was a fan of Kim Dickens and Cliff Curtis already, so I was able to connect to and root for their characters early on (though Dickens’ Madison Clark is one tough lady to love ~ took me all season to warm up to her). I was also pleasantly surprised by Frank Dillane, Ruben Blades, and Colman Domingo. Even when the script is at its silliest, the actors really sell it.

Is it great television? It’s a zombie apocalypse show, so “greatness” may be relative. It’s madly entertaining, that’s for sure. I was perfectly happy to tune in every week even though I found myself occasionally yelling at the characters to stop being such self-absorbed dolts. And yeah, there was a moment when I declared that if they killed off Nick Clark I was dropping the show (the actor who plays him is just that amusingseriously, he is), but I’m pretty well-entrenched now.

Does the show make for good paper dolls? Probably not (ha!); it’s the end of the world and fashion isn’t exactly a priority. Also, some of the characters literally wear the same clothes throughout the first season. Ironically, the character about whose wardrobe most people complained (quite vociferously) actually had more costumes than at least one other who got through the whole season without ever changing–more on that later.

Once again, I am trawling through episodes to figure out what people are wearing. Fortunately, as with Empire, there is also some internet help for deciphering some of the trendier bits from this show. Again, I’m not a huge stickler for the minutest details, but anything that helps to make my interpretations more accurate seems like a nice bonus.

And I’m drawing lots of dead people for this series because it amuses me. If an infected character has a name, I’m drawing them. I would have done this with The Walking Dead, but there’s no way I can catch up to six seasons of the flagship show. Since I am at ground zero with the spinoff (and since I actually enjoy it), it feels more manageable.

The schedule for these cut-outs won’t start until 2016. I have a lot of time before Season Two and I’m hedging a bit because it’s hard to know what state of undress to put the characters in. Have I mentioned how weird it is to draw real actors in underwear? I originally drew Rick in boxer shorts because that’s what he wore in the pilot of The Walking Dead, but it felt odd, so I slapped jeans on him. It’s just not a show where people typically take off their clothes. Similarly, in Fear the Walking Dead we only ever see Nick in any state of undress (unless you count Alicia–in her first appearance, she’s only wearing a bath towel).  Anyway, it’s weird.

cast_promo2If you haven’t seen the show, expect SPOILERS. I am following far enough behind that I hope it won’t matter.

This will be a color set: The Walking Dead and its spinoff seem to love plaid and inking plaid is not something I have figured out. Also, what’s the point of zombie cutouts if you don’t cover them in bright red gore?

And yup, I’m going to try to do all these characters plus one more who didn’t make this photo shoot.

The Walking Dead Paper Dolls: Michonne

twd03_michonne_thumbMichonne is quite the formidable character on The Walking Dead. But of the three characters I’ve done for this series, she was probably the easiest (though, again, drawing her head took me three tries).

I appreciate that she’s a character we haven’t really seen in television before (at least not to my recollection), though she’s a stretch to the credibility overall (because how many people do you know become expert katana-wielders overnight?). But I digress. She’s was fun to work with and I used her for my initial coloring experiment, which was likewise a hoot.

I have a plate of additional costumes for her (I have additional plates for each of the characters), which I will maybe post on some off-days through the rest of the year or alternate with other things in the works. I want to get other stuff rolling and if I only post Walking Dead dolls, that’ll fill the schedule until Christmas.

[Click here or on the image to
download a printable .pdf]

Note: once I’ve posted the additional costume plates, I think I’m done with this series.

I know the show has tons of other characters, but these were seriously hard to do for me since I’m not a devotee of the series–and finding clear, usable source images for the costumes was surprisingly difficult. Maybe I can be convinced to do more if Season 6 stops sucking or someone gives me a compelling reason to pursue it.

If it’s any consolation, I am making paper dolls of the characters from the spinoff show, Fear the Walking Dead (more on that later). So there will be plenty of zombie fun in the new year to come.

In the Heart of the Sea: Coloring Pages

heart_of_the_sea_thumbI hope I properly warned you about the randomness of some of the content I’ll be uploading because this definitely qualifies.

I’m a huge (huge) fan of Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea, which Ron Howard has adapted to the big screen, and which will open in December. I know most people are getting in a fever about the new Star Wars, and I’m excited for that too, but a 19th century whaling story full of tragedy, hubris, sacrifice, and cannibalism?

No contest!

So yeah, I’m super excited, but also have to confess I’m experiencing some anxiety about it. If Howard screws this one up, he will have incurred my eternal wrath (and boy will you hear about it). This is the story that inspired Moby Dick, which is a really important book to me also (you’ll likely hear more about this later).

But until then, I’m keeping a positive thought. It’s got a phenomenal cast. I love Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy especially, and am very much looking forward to relative newcomer Frank Dillane in a supporting role (he plays my favorite “character” in the book). If the adaptation goes south, hopefully the actors will keep it watchable nonetheless.

Crossing my fingers for a great production, and meanwhile wishing they made coloring books for movies like this. I have no idea why that strikes me as something I would want, but I do like coloring. Not that this story would necessarily make a great coloring book. heart-of-the-sea-cover_thumbI mean, that poster is beautiful and all, but it’s mostly just ocean for days, which I suspect will be true of the film as well. Nevertheless, once I get an idea in my head, it’s hard to let it go.

No one will probably ever actually make a coloring book about the tragedy of the Essex (though Dover did put out a nice whaling coloring book once, surprisingly enough), so I’ve made a coloring page of my own. And lucky you, it’s downloadable so you can enjoy it too!

I know it’s exactly what you were hoping for!

I had fun doing this (and might make more ~ we’ll see how the movie goes). I did it super-quickly in an idle moment from an Asian variation on the poster. Also did it with a brush pen to get that sort of old-fashioned coloring book style. Poor Cillian Murphy is virtually unrecognizable, but I think Hemsworth came out okay.

Don’t mind my sloppy computer coloring job here. Just wanted to demonstrate that you can work lots of colors into otherwise boring blue skies and blue oceans.

[Click here or on the images to download an uncolored .pdf page to print and color!]

In Which an Old Dog Fails to Learn New Tricks

empire_coloringMy initial coloring test went well, but secondary efforts with colored pencils and markers both imploded. While it’s possible that I might figure out how to make it work, expediency is more important to me, so I guess I’m going back to paint because it’s the medium with which I am most comfortable–even though it’s time-consuming.

Not sure what impact this will have on my ability to post things quickly, but since I still would like to make linework available for coloring, I might go ahead and double up on posts so that you get the uncolored versions as preview, which will buy me more time to paint. I don’t know. I do like to post things as I finish. Having too much of a backlog tends to make me lazy.

On the plus side, I think they’re going to look great. I spent all day coloring yesterday and hated everything I did. The minute I switched over to paints this morning, all was right with the world again (funny, that).

I’ll probably post Cookie at the end of the month. I want to finish posting The Walking Dead pieces that I have first since they don’t need any coloring.

Tomorrow: Something completely different.


The Walking Dead Paper Dolls: Daryl Dixon

twd02_daryl_thumbOf all the characters in The Walking Dead, drawing Daryl’s given me the most overall fits (and that’s saying something given how much trouble Rick was). I had to draw his head three times before I settled (once again), but I had to draw his body three times too. And then there’s the matter of that crossbow. I drew two different pieces with the bow (only one of which is on this plate). Let me just say I don’t ever want to have to draw another crossbow so long as I live, if it can be helped.

Both of the pieces I included on this plate are early costumes before the vest became ubiquitous–but don’t worry, I’ll include that too on a subsequent plate. I also tried to give him a sort of middle-ground hairstyle between the short crop he had at the beginning of the series and the crazy long greasy thing he’s got going on nowadays. The first two versions both showed his ears, but neither of them looked right–I just couldn’t get it to work, so I had to cover them.

I do like Daryl as a character, though he kinda hasn’t had anything interesting to do on the show for a while and there’s rampant speculation that he’s on the chopping block to be killed. As he’s not a character from the original comic book source, he’s a bit of a wild card, but he’s also a fan-favorite, so I’m interested to see which way he goes.

[Click here or on the image to download a printable .pdf]

Judy : the London Serio-comic Paper Doll : Volume 30, 1882

Vol30_01_thumbAnother volume of Judy, the London serio-comic journal. This is Volume 30 from 1882 and includes an additional plate not originally posted to 19th Century Paper Dolls (yay, something new!).

Note: for reasons I can’t explain (nor comprehend, frankly), I reduced the size of the first Judy doll and clothes when I plated them, so even though this one is drawn exactly the same size, the two aren’t compatible. Sorry, I’ll be more mindful going forward.

Volume 30 of the Judy serial has some very strange things in it, but I tried to pick out a balance of costumes that caught my fancy (like the foresty-looking dress) or challenged my ability to reproduce patterns and textures.

Chasemore, the original artist, not only had a vivid imagination, but an true gift for inking. Sometimes his costumes are weird, but mostly they’re a joy to behold and even more fun to render. I can’t do all his designs justice, but the Judy series is fun to work on.

As mentioned previously, I’ll be posting all-new Judy dolls around Thanksgiving. There’s plenty more where these came from!

[Click to download a complete printable .pdf of this doll (6 pages)]

Empire is My Not-So-Guilty Pleasure

empire_logoNot-so-guilty because it’s just so much fun! Fox’s Empire stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson as the patriarch and matriarch of a music industry family in upheaval. Loosely King Lear for a modern audience, it’s got all the crazy murder and drama you can imagine, with a healthy heaping of song and dance numbers interspersed. It’s the perfect storm of entertainment for an American audience.

Now in Season 2, I only watched the pilot last year because I was already a fan of Terrence Howard. But I was totally hooked from the start. This really surprises me because there’s nothing about the premise that is otherwise a draw for me personally. I’m not really interested in the music industry, really don’t like rap or hip-hop music, and power Drama with a capital D isn’t typically my thing. But the characters are amazing, the acting is top-notch, the music is actually sometimes really good, and the story, while way over the top insane, abides by its own logic and is extremely well-written.

There are a lot of characters in this series (it has a huge, outstanding cast overall) and fashion is a huge part of the show, but I’m only going to make the two main characters as paper dolls (Cookie’s wardrobe alone could keep me busy enough). Fortunately, many of the costumes are very well documentedall over the internet, so I don’t have to trawl through the episodes looking for outfits, taking notes, and trying to draw stuff from the screen. I’m doing that with other shows and it’s not easy sometimes.

Cookie’s wardrobe is so extensive, in fact, I can promise you that I’m not going to be able to capture all of it. The fact that I’m already a season behind means I have a lot of catch-up to do as it is. As for Lucious, I don’t expect he’ll have as immense a wardrobe since he wears a lot of suits. He occasionally breaks out into something unusual, so I’ll try to capture those moments in particular.

This is a set of dolls that will work best in color (though Cookie does wear a lot of black and white, interestingly enough). We’ll see how that goes. I’ve only drawn the figures themselves at this point and I’m planning to start their wardrobe in the coming week, so expect these to begin posting at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, if you’re not already watching this show, I recommend it strongly. Even if you think it couldn’t possibly be to your taste…oh who am I kidding, good television is really to everyone’s taste, right?  And look at these guys. They. Are. Awesome:


In Which I Arbitrarily Change My Mind

colorIt occurs to me, after spending some time plating costumes and whatnot, that straight-up black and white can all just start to run together after a while. I mean, I love me some b&w, but the blog is going to look a little pale without a splash from the rainbow now and then.

So I think I’m going to have to commit to coloring a set here and there. Yeah, it adds time and a layer of complexity, but I think I can do this smart. I’ll avoid the paints because I get into trouble with that, and instead use colored pencils or markers. I suck at computer coloring and can only do really basic flats that look, well, flat, so I won’t be going that direction (except maybe a touch-up here or there). And I still want to provide the line work so that coloring sheets can be an option, so I’ll ink the figures and clothes, which is not something I’ve done with my colored work in the past.

I did some experimenting, and I think this can work. It’s easiest to color things that come with a scheme already in place. When I have to figure out color for myself it’s a lot harder as I struggle with tones and complements. I have a color wheel and have tried to work with it, but my perception is poor and has resisted training.

Some dolls, like Judy, will remain in black and white.