Ballgown with Tulle Skirt (A Not-Really-A-Tutorial Tutorial)

A ballgown with a halter-style black bodice and a floor-length, bell shaped skirt. The bodice is patterned with a metallic gold brocade. The gown is divided into three layers. The first one is shades of layered orange, yellow and red tulle under a light layer of black tulle, which the warm colors show through. The second layer is light green, dark green and light blue under a layer of black tulle. The third layer is dark blue, purple and magenta under a layer of black tulle. One of my Pinterest boards is titled “Paperdoll Reference.” It may as well be titled my “Why Can’t I Draw Like That?” board. I’ll pin dresses with interesting coloring, particularly shiny dresses or dresses with great draping, with the intention of using them to study from. Not being the most diligent artist in the world, I’ve been piling up interesting examples and not doing all that much with them. Then the thought came to me, why not make the learning process into a paper doll outfit? (Everything’s better with paperdolls.) Sort of like a tutorial, except I, too, start out with no clue what I’m doing. Let’s learn together!

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Red and Gold Party Dress

A strapless red dress with a tight bodice and a V-shaped waistline. The wide, knee-length circle skirt is flared out as if the wearer is spinning around. The whole dress is made of sleek, bright red fabric patterned with golden curls and dots, and the reverse side of the fabric, seen in a few folds at the edge of the skirt, is gold.

This dress was intended to be a birthday dress, but after much fussing in Photoshop I couldn’t get my initial vision to look as I had intended it to. Just for fun I gave it a bright red color and a playful golden pattern, and then I couldn’t bring myself to change it because it is just too cute. They don’t all have to be super fancy, and I love the movement in the skirt. Maybe this will be the year I finally do a full set of birthday dresses, but this is not the month they will start.

A black and white version of a gown with princess seams and lacing up the bodice. There's an under-layer that shows at the neck. The sleeves are three-quarter and there are long lengths of fabric that drape over the forearms and fall almost to the ground.Thanks to everyone who entered my contest last week! I enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions. The winner of the contest was Lorie Harding. I didn’t have the black and white version ready by last week, but it’s done now, with Mia modeling it for us. So, Lorie, please post a comment or e-mail me by next Friday to tell me how you’d like this one colored!

Next week, we have Adventures in Tulle, in which you all get a view into my digital coloring learning process and we wind up with a ballgown with a tri-color tulle skirt. Don’t forget that you can now download PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free – easier than fussing with all the files individually! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, paperdoll thoughts and pictures of pretty jewelry. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


1930s Blue Flower Patterned Dress with Lace Scarf and Cherry Brooch

A 1930s-style blue dress with a small pattern of white flowers and green leaves. The neckline is decorated with a white lace scarf pinned with a plastic brooch in the shape of a yellow bow over a pair of red cherries. The scarf falls in a lace-edged ruffle down the front of the dress. The sleeves are slightly puffed, and there are rows of pintucks down the front of the bodice to each side of the ruffle. It's belted at the waist with the same kind of fabric. The skirt is just past knee length and is slightly flared at the base.
I’m breaking my paper doll slump with this 1930s-style dress! If you don’t follow me on Pinterest, you probably should, or at least you should select a couple of my boards to follow because I actually have nearly 200 boards. (I suggest Jewelry, Gorgeous Dresses and, of course, Liana’s Paper Dolls.) You may be asking, what does one person need with nearly 200 boards? The answer is, I have one board for fashion plates, illustrations and actual examples of clothes from almost every year between 1788 and 1965. Even if you aren’t foolhardy enough to hit that “Follow All” button, it’s fun to go to my profile and just scroll down, watching the fashions change. Whenever I want to draw a historical outfit, I’m always scrambling through Google Image Search, museum sites and so on for examples of outfits from that time, so having these boards is a great resource for me! I particularly like 1930s clothes, so I did a 1930s dress today. It’s mostly based on late 1930s styles (I think mostly 1937), but the pattern and decorations are my own invention.

In other news, I now have PDF collections of my 2014 dolls and outfits to download! So if you want to print them out, you don’t have to fuss with each individual PDF any more. They’re pay what you want, including $0, and you don’t even have to sign up for anything or have any credit card information if you get them for free.

I don’t have an elf dress ready for the next contest, but let’s get it started anyway! I will have it done by next week at the latest, and the winner can decide on the coloring then. I promise it’ll be pretty!

To enter the contest, post a comment with your favorite time period for clothes. One comment per person please, and I’ll choose the winner with a random number generator. If you’ve won a contest this year, please don’t enter again. (And Mom, you’re free to enter!) The winner will get to tell me how to color an elf dress.


Liana’s Greek Pattern Photoshop Brushes

A set of several ancient Greek patterns made into Photoshop brushes. Has it really already been a couple of months since my last post? I’m sorry — I got caught up in other projects and discouraged about this one, for no good reason really. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get anything done by Friday, but I feel the urge to break my absent streak today, so for now let me give a present to the Photoshop users among you: the brushes I made when I did the ancient Greek peplos. Although I did the work of making them into brushes, I used the original patterns from a public domain book, The Costume of the Ancients, so I think it’s only right to pass the derivative work back into the public domain. Here’s the link to the zip file.

To install the brushes, just unzip the file, put the .abr file in your Brushes directory (for me, it’s under Presets), and restart Photoshop if necessary.

Free for personal and commercial uses, attribution appreciated but unnecessary, and if you change the brushes yourself, please keep the terms the same. To put it in Creative Common terms:
Creative Commons License
Liana’s Ancient Greek Pattern Brushes by Liana Kerr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at lianaspaperdolls.com.

I released it this way because I hate remembering where I got a particular brush and whether or not it’s OK to use for a project I’d like to make money off of, but if you use any of these brushes in your own work I’d certainly like to see how they turn out!

The brushes are a little on the large size, but I tend to use them at much smaller sizes, which is where they’ll probably look best. Feel free to ask if you have questions! (I may add a tutorial on using them later, but for now…)