Liana’s Paperdolls from 2004

Liana’s Paperdolls from 2004

Hard to believe these are almost ten years old! For lots and lots of new dolls and dresses, please

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November 22, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Blue Skirt


I bought this skirt during our trip to Toronto this past week. I haven’t had the heart to wear it yet, though. It’s simply too nice; I would be sure to get the hem dirty or spill something on it or who knows what. But I can’t do the sensible thing and exile it to the closet…So I keep it in the living room, draped over a chair or on the coffee table, so I can look at it. (Oh, I do like my pretty things.)

My mom says yesterday’s dress is more of a dress for someone gathering up her dignity and undergoing a task than it is a dress for someone avoiding attention. I think she’s right.

You can look all you want, but you canít say a thing. You canít do a thing.

(A short edit: A person can say what one likes. But the last part holds.)

Liana   |   15 comments

November 21, 2004:

And if the mountains should crumble


Hello again.

I’m starting to come out of whatever I’ve been in.

I told my mom some of the blog privacy rules of thumb when she started her own. Stuff like “don’t write something you wouldn’t want posted on a bulletin board.” Or “don’t write something you don’t want your mom to read.” (To which she immediately replied “Oh, what’s going on that I can’t read?” ^_^)

I follow them, but it makes it difficult for me sometimes. The things on my mind I can’t write about. I invite enough trouble as it is. The things in my heart I was unhappy about couldn’t be paperdolled out. Thus the vacation. I apologize, and thanks for all the suggestions. I tried to take my mom’s: a grand, over-the-top fairy dress. But in the end, it’s subdued. A quiet winter fairy, just trying to go about her life without attracting too much attention from malice and company.

What else can you do, in the end?

Liana   |   6 comments

September 13, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Jessica’s Dinner Party Dress


I recently finished rereading Dune; this is - sort of - a dress Jessica wears. It’s described as a long dress, a “rustling of warm colors.” I don’t like it as much as I thought I would when I started drawing it, but I may as well post it as not. To tell the truth, I really messed it up ^_^ then in scanning it the colors are distorted anyways. Oh well.

I have a tough time with Dune; I think I’ve read it five times and only now do I think that I have a clear handle on who is doing what to who and why and what they want others to think about it and what their personal motivations are and what they secretly hope to gain, etc. etc. Maybe now I can tackle a sequel or two….

Today was not a fruitful day for paperdolling inspiration, considering that I read Flatland and went to hear Ralph Nader.


If I post a Flatland paperdoll, Brian will love me even more and no one else will understand. A tempting idea.

Liana   |   8 comments

September 11, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Anna


I don’t have official names for my dolls, but I call this one Anna because I made her to go with my Anna Karenina dress. I don’t remember if Anna is described very thoroughly in the book, but the doll isn’t really intended to look like her, aside from their both having black hair. I think she looks aristocratic and slightly troubled, and I can picture her wearing some of my outfits more readily than I can picture her wearing others. She’s very patient with me covering her up with a piece of paper every day and pressing pencils against her, but she did require that I draw her a robe for her official debut.

Poor Anna is not very well-designed; some dresses will work best if you cut her visible hand away from her hip such that the skirt of the dress will slip underneath the hand. (For example, this dress — and this robe, for that matter.)

We are moving one step closer to the redesigned page; this is one of the tasks that I have been negligent about doing!

Liana   |   5 comments

September 10, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Rose’s Flying Dress


The Michigan Theater showed Titanic for free with a student ID on Monday, but I was out of town. I have, however, recently become very fond of checking out movies from the public library (which I never used when I was a student, preferring the grad library) so I reserved it and watched it yesterday. I seem to remember thinking it was way overrated back when it was released, but I also seem to remember a deep appreciation of the costumes.

They sure are gorgeous, too; they seem to have acquired their own names along the line, as people reproduced them in great numbers. The Jump dress, the Heaven dress, the Swim dress. This would be the Flying dress.

I didn’t have a clear idea of how the skirt worked when I drew this, so it’s not quite right.

Hm, that’s a whole week of dresses! ^_^

Liana   |   4 comments

September 09, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Korean Hanbok


My friend Paul, one of the people who was a student at JCMU while I was there, is now headed for Korea to be a teacher. At first his plans were different, and he was going to leave in a month or two, but now he is leaving on Friday for an entirely new country where he doesn’t even know the language. mm, I think I’d be a little freaked out, myself. But that is why Paul goes to Korea and I stay here with my pencils and cats. ^_^

This is a hanbok, which is the traditional clothing for women in Korea. My knowledge of Korean things is limited to a day’s review of the language and a course on the Korean War, so standard not-my-field-of-study disclaimers apply. Looking at the links I post below will give you a pretty good idea of what they’re like. Mine isn’t quite right, I don’t think; I adjusted the line between the jacket and the skirt three times and it still seems too low to me.

Some hanbok links:
How to tie the front knot, how to put on the pants underneath, and some pretty images.
Many hanbok images.

I’m on a roll today - my husband isn’t even awake yet, and I’m done with the outfit ^_^

Liana   |   2 comments

September 08, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Pastel Flower Skirt


I sewed this skirt, sadly, before receiving a certain piece of sewing advice from my mom - that is, to wash fabric beforehand. With each washing, the fabric looks worse. Oh well.

Liana   |   3 comments

September 07, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: 1500s Renaissance Gown


A French gown from the Renaissance period, around 1500; dress sort of pasted together from descriptions and pictures in Katherine Lester’s “Historic Costume.”

This one came about because there are, as far as I know from reading site logs, about three sites that link to me that are maintained by people I don’t know in person. So I get excited when I see my site linked to, and I asked the linkers if they had any requests. Amy, who writes ever so humble wrote back, saying that her daughters were interested in their local Renaissance faire and could I do a Renaissance outfit? So here we have the result.

My knowlege of Ren faires extends as far as one of the last issues of Sandman; Hob Gadling, the man who decided hundreds of years ago to simply never die and has thus lived through history, thinks them stupid on account of the lack of giant rotting tumors and other historical nasties, while Death personified thinks them fun and dandy. But what I mean to say is that I’ve never been to one and don’t really know if a person would wear this to one. However, if I had this dress, I would probably wear it to the grocery store. ^_^

Liana   |   8 comments

September 06, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Becky Sharp


We’re going to see Vanity Fair today with my family, so I thought I’d put up a gown from the book before my vision is clouded by the movie. I estimate Becky’s best years as being somewhere around the 1820s, so this isn’t a purely Regency dress - lower waistline, etc. I should note that it’s more fanciful than based on anything real, but I think Becky would approve.

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, as I’ve heard that it’s gorgeous, but if Becky’s character has been turned around, I think that’s a bit of a shame… we’ll see. Can’t comment without seeing the movie, but book-Becky is quite a character as it is.

I want to thank Jeanne for going to all the trouble of finding me information about the book - she sent me a bunch of links, so I was able to find a little more background information and date the book a little better. I really appreciate it ^_^

I’m done with the GRE. Thank goodness! That has weighed on me so much that towards the last few days I hardly knew what to do with myself. I can’t really think of what I could do for a celebratory paperdoll, though.

Liana   |   2 comments

September 02, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Back to School


I had some opportunity to watch the students all returning to or arriving at Michigan yesterday, so I sketched out a few outfits.

I find it hard to appreciate the little pleaty skirts popping up all over, slashing a prominent vertical line over the widest part of the hips as they do, but they’re everywhere.

Tomorrow is the GRE, so I won’t pay much attention to paperdolling.

Liana   |   one comment

August 31, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Vietnamese Ao Dai


Yesterday’s outfit made me remember receiving and subsequently neglecting a request for an ao dai, the traditional Vietnamese outfit for women.

Not being very familiar with Vietnam, I can’t vouch for the colors/pattern being right. I used this picture as a model of more everyday wear, so I didn’t want to make it as long as the more formal ones - but still I made it too short. I will chalk it up to my model being tall and try again another time!

Liana   |   5 comments

August 30, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Flying Snow’s Blue Robe


Brian, Eric and I went to see Hero yesterday evening. I loved it, and was impressed by the use of color. It was hard to decide which outfit (of the four main colors used) to draw, but I decided I liked the Emperor’s story best, which is where this robe comes from.

Liana   |   3 comments

August 17, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Twin Peaks’ Audrey’s Red Shirt


So, I’ve wanted to see Twin Peaks since Brian told me about the Red Room and how it was filmed. Wouldn’t you know, though, that the DVD of the first season that we got from the library has one instance of the Red Room… That happens to be during the second episode, which is on the first DVD, which is scratched more thoroughly then the wicker table the cats sharpen their claws on. I can’t see the very thing I was so curious about! But yet I manage to enjoy it somehow. It’s not the most fertile paperdolling ground I could think of, but Audrey gets some cute clothes.

If we have any lit geeks in the audience… I’m looking for a timeline of Vanity Fair, because I’d like to do a splendid dress for Becky. 1815 is Waterloo and around 1830 she is ruined, but how am I to date her hours of glory? My Google skills have been bested by the lingerie and the magazine of the same name, and I can’t find anything.

Liana   |   no comments

August 16, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Emiko from Godzilla’s Shirtdress


Brian and Eric and I went to go see Godzilla yesterday. The one everyone knows? No, get this - a gaijin-free Godzilla*. The Michigan Theater is showing the original version with extra footage, which calls to Brian like, say, the upcoming version of Vanity Fair calls to me.

Emiko gets a lot of cute, neat little shirtdresses in this movie, and as they are more to my taste than, say, a Godzilla suit (which is what Brian would want me to draw, I imagine) here we have one of them.

I’m sorry about my little vacation. After my rotten week at a temp job, I had one of those weeks where everything I touched turned to dust. (Where I say everything, I actually just mean my colored pencils and paper.) Now things are back to normal. (I think. This shirtdress look good to you?)

* Gaijin is the Japanese term for non-Japanese. As an Asian studies major, I can go on and on about this sort of word and its connotations, but suffice it to say: when I think “gaijin,” I think “Raymond Burr.” Here’s to you, patron saint of the outside people, whose primary function according to Dave Barry “is to frown at various scenes that he can’t actually be in because he wasn’t around when they were filmed.”

Liana   |   no comments

August 02, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Maiden from The Village wearing Safe Color Cloak (Complete With Magic Rocks)


Now, it wasn’t entirely a mistake to have gone to see The Village; I got plenty of enjoyment out of it. However, that enjoyment largely comes in the form of teasing Brian in a wordy way, accompanying him to the Old Apartment that Must Not Be Entered and performing the Ceremony of the Cat Foods to appease The Beasts That We Do Not Pet. Oh, I just slay myself. He might do it first, though.

It’s hard to discuss the stupider points of a movie if a person is trying not to give away the twist; to Brian’s credit, though, he had it half figured out when he first saw the trailer for it months ago. (Right on the major count; wrong on the minor counts, dear.) However, that also means that it’s hard to discuss the parts about it I really enjoyed. I’ll wait until “Those Who Must Not Be Spoken Of are ROBOTS!!!” becomes as widespread as “I see dead people.” (Kidding, kidding. No robots in the movie.)

Sorry that this outfit isn’t the greatest; I’m sort of out of the groove. Last week was sort of hard on me, and I’ll try to make up for missing it. We’ll see how it goes. Really, I’m not sure this week is going to be any better; I’m working another receptionist temp job and while this is usually good for my paperdolling because I have a lot of down time and no one cares what I do as long as my phone voice is good, this time I can’t read… and I imagine that if I can’t read I can’t have my colored pencils strewn about the desk either. ^_^ I think I’ll start doing the dolls in the morning and neglecting the housework. Boy… No reading or studying or drawing from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM with an hour of lunch. But I can surf the web, so I will look busy if a multimillion-dollar client walks in… which means that I’m awfully lucky to have Project Gutenberg. Anybody have any book suggestions for me? Remember, I’m trying to stretch my vocabulary in preparation for the GRE.

Liana   |   3 comments

July 22, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Ann Arbor Art Fair-Goer Complete With Art On A Stick


Because, oh, how everyone loves the Art Fair!

For non-Ann Arborites, Art Fair takes over our fair city for about five days out of the year. (This map makes it seem like it’s not so bad; it just so happens, however, that the map illustrates just one of the four gatherings in the area. You start to comprehend the venom?) It attracts, if I remember it right, around 50,000 people, $3.00 lemonade and multiple varieties of Art on a Stick. (Full confession: I own a piece of Art on a Stick. It was a shower present from a relative who justifiably relished the opportunity to tease my husband and myself for being so snooty. It’s quite pretty, too. The cats love it.)

Sarah and I went down to campus yesterday, braving the 95-degree weather, so that we could complete our Art Fair Bingo sheets. I only got a few, though.

(About the doll: for play purposes, the Art on a Stick and the hat tie may be cut off without injury to the outfit. But I don’t know why a person would want to cut this one out anyways. I don’t much like everday modern clothes, myself. She is holding the Art on a Stick in her left hand, by the way.)

Liana   |   3 comments

July 21, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Star Captain Uniform


In honor of Star Captain Eric “Planetbarber” Goldberg’s birthday, I present a member of the Star Captains Club of America. (She has, apparently, broken through the glass ceiling - after that episode where she heroically, and according to some reports, singlehandedly, saved her crew from the terrifying Space Swashbucklers of the Southern Triangle, no one doubts her abilities.)

Star Captain Anna “Andromeda Ranger” Kerr, reporting for duty.

(Needless to say, this is a ceremonial uniform, and not what a self-respecting Star Captain would wear daily.)


Liana   |   3 comments

July 19, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Wuthering Heights-era 1783 Gown


I have a hard time with Wuthering Heights. It’s poignant and heartbreaking, to be sure, but I just want to shove the lot of them into counseling, to be honest. The atmosphere is smothering: to have to live there, and to not be able to leave… I suppose it’s no wonder they all need therapy. I much prefer sensible Jane Eyre.

This gown isn’t based on anything in the book; it’s just from that time period, taken from the Costumes in Detail book that I like so much. (What will I do when I have to take it back to the library? Luckily, UM has shelves upon shelves of costume books - and I can always renew it!) I looked up the timeline from this page about Emily Bronte.

Incidentally, the other day Brian and I were walking in a nearby park, and I was able to identify belladonna from when I drew it on a dress some weeks back. Imagine: A Paperdoll Field Guide to Michigan Wildflowers!

Liana   |   3 comments

July 16, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Spiderman 2: Mary Jane Watson’s Wedding Dress


I cannot entirely vouch for the authenticity of this dress. I paid attention, to be sure, but I saw it a few weeks ago, and the only pictures I can find online are on, which means I can’t access the larger ones. I think I have the shoulder part right, and I recall thinking that the cut of the bodice was similar to the brown dress, but I don’t remember if it’s layered like I have it. I know she’s got a ton of tulle or something underneath, which is displayed quite prettily when she runs through the park, but she’s motionless here so it doesn’t enter into the picture. Also, I think it’s longer in back, but my paper is only so large. So, anyways, I’m sorry for the inaccuracies. Don’t use this to settle a bet, for example.

I asked my husband if he thought the dress looked right, and he responded with a tirade about how he was too busy reeling from the slow-motion and the birds and this and that, and did he mention there was a train fighting scene? Then he tickled me. He can get away with all that, though, because he is designing me a new site ^_^ Stay tuned.

This week is Art Fair week in fair Ann Arbor, and also my cousin Sarah is visiting me; I think we’ll find a lot of great things to paperdoll. (Paperdoll on a stick, anyone?)

Update: And now some of you are finding this page when you are actually looking for the brown dress, which I did draw a while back. Oh, the wonders of Google. ^_^

Liana   |   14 comments

July 15, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog:Yellow 1823 Regency Gown


Taken from the same book as the other Regency gowns.

I did all three on one sheet of paper. It’s not that I wanted to make a collection; rather, my paper supply is running out and I need more!

Still having trouble dating Jane Eyre to my satisfaction. According to the footnotes in my copy, the dates are all jumbled up, unlike Wuthering Heights — maybe I’ll read that one next.

Liana   |   3 comments

July 14, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: White Embroidered Regency Gown


I like this one much better than the other regency gown I put up today (check the 9th). It’s from the beginning of the 1800s and basically copied from the beautiful book Costume in Detail 1730-1930 by Nancy Sayer.

I read Northanger Abbey yesterday, in preparation for the GRE (Jane Austen does have a propensity to use words that may very well show up on the test) and was in the mood, after reading of the splendors of Bath and high-class English society, to draw some regency dresses, hence the two today.

Today I read Jane Eyre; I am having some difficulty, however, dating it properly. My book says that the timeline is confused, so that the book might be set around 1808 or around the 1840s. Big difference as far as the paperdolling opportunities go.

Liana   |   one comment

July 13, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Sabrina’s Wedding Gown


We went to the wedding of a friend of mine who I knew when I lived in Alabama, which would have been between 1st and 4th grades; this is (more or less - working from memory) her wedding dress. It was a beautiful wedding; having come all the way from Michigan, too, we were somewhat of a curiousity.

My dear sensible Yankee husband was seduced by the South, somewhere between the flowers and the factories and the firefly hunts. This, of course, led to Mom designing a whole new plan for our lives, in which I teach Japanese culture and language at some nice liberal arts Southern college (and maybe Brian can be the president, too? My mom’s optimism knows no bounds). Yes, and we’ll have a little house and a nice big garden, and we’ll sit out on the porch and drink sweet tea every evening.

Liana   |   7 comments

July 12, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Sabrina’s bridesmaids’ dress


See the wedding dress entry for details of the wedding itself.

I may redo this one when we get pictures back from the wedding; don’t like it, didn’t scan well. The real dresses are quite elegant.

Liana   |   one comment

July 09, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Cream and Pink Regency Dress


I am not entirely satisfied with this dress, so I am backdating it to the 9th and hoping it will be overlooked, or at least forgiven. It is rendered tolerable by resizing it, however. Just another regency dress, this one from 1823.

Liana   |   no comments

July 08, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Sundress Coloring Opportunity


So I have a little vacation coming up this week… an old friend of mine is getting married, and we’re going to Tennessee for the ceremony. Considering that I haven’t hardly been out of Ann Arbor for any significant amount of time since my honeymoon, I’m really looking forwards to it! I don’t think I’m going to try to squeeze in a dress for Friday; I’ll make up for it by doing lots of sketching at the wedding and on the trip. For today, I’m doing a coloring opportunity (not a contest, right?)… I’m putting a plain line drawing up, and if anyone else wants to color it, then I’ll put your version up on the site. It can be rescanned in or it can be colored with computer programs, I don’t care - just add your own designs, frills, or details. .gif or .jpg format is best, though I can deal with others.

Do not try to e-mail any files to me: go to my Yahoo group and join that. Click on “Photos” on the left-hand side and click on the folder, then upload your picture.

Update: If you tried uploading a photo earlier and couldn’t, try again now; I had a setting or two set incorrectly, but you can now upload photos. Sorry about that!

I’ll post my colored version when I get back!

Liana   |   4 comments

July 07, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Mary Jane’s Brown Dress


So we went to go see Spiderman 2 the other day; Mary Jane wears this dress for a significant part of the movie, though it acquires a bit of wear and tear through the scenes.

I’m afraid this one didn’t work out quite right; the pattern on the dress is small, and I couldn’t really make it small enough. It kind of looks like it has a bunch of eyes all over it.

What I really want to do is her wedding dress. Hmm…

Update: Should you have found this page through a Google search or whatnot, I did actually draw her wedding dress (as best as I could remember it, that is).

Liana   |   7 comments

July 06, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Kerry / Edwards T-Shirt


Making no secret of my political leanings, I guess…

Liana   |   4 comments

July 05, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Revolutionary War-Era Gown


Happy 4th of July! (Belated as it may be.) Here we have a gown from the Revolutionary War era, more or less (the waistline is wrong, the quilted petticoat isn’t right, so on and so forth - rather farby, I suppose.)

I get my best drawing done before noon… I left this one too long. Oh well. It looks better resized to 25%, so I won’t fret about it.

Liana   |   2 comments

July 02, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: World UFO Day


Today is World UFO Day! In celebration, we help search for UFOs in retro sci-fi style.

I don’t have any intention of demonstrating in front of official buildings, but I do like to do my part.

Liana   |   one comment

July 01, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Dress Robes, part 2


Another set of dress robes.

I fancy that this is from a fairly new, young designer… some complain that her robes are almost too Muggle-ish in ways they can’t quite put their finger on but can easily complain about, but her philosophy is “if you look good wielding a wand in it, wear it!” Fortunately for her plenty of witches fancy that they would look stylish in such low-cut, colorful outfits… I imagine plenty of them scorn the popular new-age Muggle representations of witches and sorceresses, with perfectly made-up, ethereal women sporting huge billowing sleeves and skirts, their hair swirling everywhere, as they conjure immense power… “How ridiculous is that?” they might scoff. “I almost always wear plain, sensible black robes, and if your hair swirls around your head you’re apt to get your wand tangled in it! And obviously you don’t need that kind of power to peel potatoes…” But perhaps the Muggle hero-worship of pretty female magic-users is just too flattering of an image for them to eschew it totally… thus the runaway popularity of our new designer’s dress robes. Watch out for the women who wear them; they may be secretly hoping to duel someone that night just to get their outfit noticed.

I could not tell you, however, which of the Hogwarts teachers, if any, wears this one. Really I can’t help but think it might be good for Rita Skeeter; at least I imagine she’d be vain enough to think so.

By the way, I think I drove off the skunks. Or perhaps Tony Blair did.

Liana   |   2 comments

June 30, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Wetland Fairy


Inspired, once again, by working among pictures of happy little birds in happy little wetlands that were probably restored by the nonprofit at which I work for this week. We have here making up the dress plants such as water lilies, cattails, marsh marigolds and various reeds. The bodice is supposed to look like pondweed, but didn’t really come off right.

I imagine that the wetland fairy and the wood duck fairy argue about my current company sometimes.

Wetland fairy: “They restore and protect the environment leading to the continued survival of your species!”
Wood duck fairy: “But they like to hunt and kill us!”
Wetland fairy: “Without all their hard work, there wouldn’t be nearly as many of you as there are today!”
Wood duck fairy: “But they like to hunt and kill us!”
Wetland fairy: “Not only do their efforts help ducks, but they also help other wildlife and the entire ecosystem!”
Wood duck fairy: “But they like to hunt and kill us!”
Wetland fairy: “Well, sometimes you’ve just got to take one for the team, OK?”

Speaking of the beauty and splendor of nature, I got back home to find both cats staring out the window intently, which is nothing new. They were staring at a rather ratty-looking skunk, which is. It went underneath our patio; I wonder when will it be safe to go outside and see how my zucchini plants are doing?

An update: I looked outside a litle later to find not one, not two, not three, but SIX skunks rooting around my garden. They didn’t touch my potted plants, which are good because that’s my zucchini and whatnot, but I guess they must have found something to eat. I think they were still babies… oh so cute! The cats, needless to say, are just about driven to distraction.

Further update: They appear to be, well, digging. As in creating living space under my patio.

They are not quite so cute now.

The mild-mannered paperdoll artist is hitting the warpath: first, know thine enemy. “There have been cases of skunks … dining with the family cat” I am, indeed, sure that my girls would just love that, but I for one do not. So we skip to the part about getting rid of skunks. Do not feed, check, no food outside, check, install a one-way door on the entrance to the den, uh, sure. Ah… tip 7. No mothballs in this house, but I frequently cook Indian food, and happen to have a barely-used one-pound bag of chili powder. I proceed to decorate the ground, and inadvertently parts of the patio and zucchini leaves, with the entire bag. Yes… no namby-pamby little sprinkles for this girl. This is a liberally applied “No Vacancy” sign for skunks, even cute little skunks. Next, out goes the radio. Yes, little skunks, I hope you enjoy the BBC news, because you’ll be treated to it all night!

Liana   |   5 comments

June 29, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Dress Robes


So, all at once, the maddening door can be opened and we have the name of the next Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In celebration, a dress robe.

I rather think this particular outfit belongs to Professor Sinistra, the Astronomy teacher; I’m just not seeing anyone else wearing it. I do wonder about those dress robes, you see. Of course they can’t be plain old robes in different colors with a little lace; if witches and wizards like to show off when they get together, there’s not much chance that they would be content with the same thing as they wear every day. We know as well that the fashions change to some degree. I suppose it would be fun to do a timeline of dress robes loosely based off of period costume… (of course, anything too Muggleish would be eschewed, but perhaps we can pretend that the Muggles were inspired by magical dressmakers?) I have, however, this horror of going to the Goblet of Fire movie and seeing that everybody’s been thrown into prom dresses. Dreadful.

Apologies for not actually putting this online yesterday. I misplaced my doll base that I draw the dresses from, so I couldn’t draw (to my satisfaction, at least) for a while.

Liana   |   4 comments

June 28, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Fairy Tactician


I started off trying to make a fairy queen dress, but I don’t think this one quite works. With the laurel leaf garlands and the clean lines, it seemed rather too martial and spartan for a fairy queen. I think it may be something that the director of the queen’s defense force wears in between fending off the attacks of malice, bad luck and their cohorts. If I was her, I think I would be unhappy at having the weight of defending the kingdom on my shoulders, so I gave her a nice bright skirt. Though it can, of course, be someone else’s dress; my co-worker thought it looked like something Snow White would wear, which I think is an equally nice way of seeing it.

Liana   |   2 comments

June 25, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Fairy of Malice


I’m not good at dealing with malicious people, but I find paperdolling cheaper than therapy or self-confidence improvement sessions: hence the Fairy of Malice, who must be related to our Murphy’s Fairy a ways down the page. (Think Murphy’s Law. Incidentally, my mom said Murphy’s Fairy was very well done but she really wanted to squash it… which, to me, said “mission accomplished!”) She doesn’t really quite have the impressive cape that Murphy’s Fairy does, but don’t go thinking that she’s a lesser spirit! Bad luck is bad luck, but it’s random: malice goes, or tries to go, straight to your weak points.

Her collar and skirt hem are decorated with deadly nightshade (belladonna) flowers and her sleeves are loose and flowing; if she can get them free from their absurd length she can cause all kinds of trouble. Fortunately, given the nature of her hobble skirt, she finds it hard to move.

Malice has so little actual power of her own. She can’t harm you, and her sting leaves no lasting effect. Pathetic creature, really.

I shall have to put up a good fairy or two next week to counteract the negative energy on this page, won’t I?

Liana   |   3 comments

June 24, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Wood Duck Fairy


So, I am temping at a non-profit called Ducks Unlimited for a couple of weeks. Receptionist work offers plentiful downtime, so I often bring books and drawing accessories, which attracted the attention of various passing co-workers. (I am working on saying “Yes, I’m a freelance artist, I draw paperdolls and put them on a website” as if it is a statement and not a confession.) The decorations here are highly duck-and-dog-centric, with a turkey or a bright-eyed young boy thrown in here and there for variety; one of the guys pointed to the pictures and jokingly said “You need to start drawing ducks! There’s money in that!” I can’t help it, though… everything has to be a paperdoll. Consequently, we have here a fairy outfit based loosely on the beautiful plumage of the wood duck. (Based very loosely, really.) I decided that if I can draw fairy outfits based off of flowers, I can just as well draw one based off of a duck.

What I learned today:
Question (apparently not a terribly uncommon question): What do you do when you see a duck that flies backwards?
Answer: Shoot it and get it out of the gene pool.

Liana   |   4 comments

Paperdoll Blog: Red-Tailed Mermaid


Sorry for not getting this up yesterday; I didn’t start work on it until too late and couldn’t make heads or tails of it, so left it for today. I hope the deprivation hasn’t been too terribly unbearable! Anyways, just a plain shiny ruffly red-tailed mermaid, here. I need to make a doll with different underclothes; it’s a pain to make a pretty mermaid outfit that also covers the midriff, which is necessary in Anna’s case.

Liana   |   one comment

June 22, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Murphy’s Fairy


So today I messed up a very pretty mermaid tail I was working on when a bit of red stuck to a light blue colored pencil got in the shimmery highlight part. I was quite put out; it didn’t help that my husband suggested that she might be a hemophiliac mermaid, or maybe had just been injured. Then while cooking lunch, I accidentally burnt myself twice, once on each hand. Not too badly, but it so happens that the big blister on my ring finger happens to be about where my hand hits the paper when I’m drawing. In the afternoon, we had a joint visit to the dentist for a thorough and painful cleaning. It’s no fair; my husband doesn’t get his teeth cleaned for three years, but I’m the one that gets a cavity and has a cracked filling. (Our insurance covers only checkups; my husband and I are poring through a big ugly PDF file to see how much this is going to cost us.) Then, to top it all off, we received some bad news from two of our friends. I think they’ll get through it, but it was a sad thing to read.

I thought for a while that today would be a good day to promise an extra outfit on the weekend and crawl into bed. But I refuse to go quietly! The world may have it in for me today, but I defy fortune! I not only call bad luck by name, I draw her loathsome, hideous gown! Witness my creation: Murphy’s Fairy, who spreads bad luck and anguish all around! (I know, I know… my day wasn’t really so terrible. But the description holds.)

(The shoulder and waist bits are supposed to look sort of like beetles’ wings, but they’re not shiny enough. I like them all the same. And I can hear Mom saying “she needs wings!” Hi, Mom. Don’t worry, the fairy will be back soon enough, and then I’ll get my revenge by drawing her wings. Also, I neglected to mention that the name “Murphy’s Fairy” is a product of my husband’s mind. There, dear.)

Now that Murphy’s Fairy is done, I reserve the right to do nothing but read my pretentious Barbie-essay book until bedtime, with the door locked and the shades drawn.

As a side note, you get so many charming results when you search Google images for “beetle.” Not recommended for those with a distaste for insects.

Liana   |   no comments

June 21, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: “Roses ‘N Ruffles” Homage to Barbie


While liberating about a dozen books from the grad library this morning in preparation for an upcoming project, I came across a couple of fascinating books. First, I found a book for Barbie collectors that had pictures of every Barbie doll ever sold. I suppose it’s terrible that I can’t keep my transitive and intransitive Japanese verbs straight but I can pick out the first doll I remember having, the one that Mom bribed me with for good behavior at the dentist, the one I got for Christmas, and so on and so forth. Yes, despite my poor mother’s best intentions I sure loved my Barbie dolls… and I suppose if one takes a good look at the Barbies of the 80s one can understand my prelidiction towards huge skirts and sparkly things. So I thought of doing a Barbie dress, but I understand that Mattel is a little testy about their copyrighted material. To that end, I present “Roses ‘N Ruffles”… I’d say it’s a parody of poufy pink early ’80s Barbie dresses, but the truth is, when I was young, I would have loved this one!

In my mind’s eye, the pink part is secured at the back with a bow, and can be placed around the neck as a cape, or removed entirely. The hot pink underskirt, for its part, can also be removed entirely to make a smart little purple party dress, or placed over the purple skirt. So, as I see it, the box for “Roses ‘N Ruffles” advertises something like “Seven Outfits In One!” If I was really good, I’d find a way to make a power suit out of it, too.

The other book was The Costume-Maker’s Art: Cloaks of Fantasy, Masks of Revelation. (Cover here. Out of print, it seems. Amazon’s resellers would be only too happy to gouge you for it; you might have better luck with the library.) It’s filled with detailed and fantastic pictures of costumes that people make for theatrical productions, conventions or as works of art in and of themselves (click here for an example). Due to my anime-fan days I am of course familiar with cosplay, and of course I knew about Renaissance festivals and whatnot, but I didn’t realize there were groups of people who made costumes just for their own sake. Learn something new every day, right? Anyways, check out the International Costumer’s Guild website if you’re interested.

Liana   |   5 comments

June 18, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Detroit Pistons Uniform


I guess the Pistons won something.

I don’t keep up with sports too well, you see, though I do have a friend, perhaps a little too cool for the rest of us, who is entirely too fun to bait. Example:
Friend: Anyone know when the Pistons game is on?
Huband: Oh, there’s a game tonight?
Me: Uh, no idea.
Other friend: That’s a… sports team, right? Hockey?

Anyways, I am, at least, aware of the fact that the Pistons are not a WNBA team (that would be the Shock around these parts, and I have no clue whatsoever how they’re doing), but I figure that my doll can wear the gear anyways. I thought about making her a cheerleader outfit, but unfortunately the Pistons’ cheerleader outfits are all heavy on the exposed midriffs, which doesn’t work with the current doll undergarments. In any case, a jersey is more fun, though I can’t say I didn’t want to try my hand at those sequins.

By the way, I’ve now had a new outfit up each day for a week straight. Yay for me :) I don’t know if I’ll add anything on the weekends; nothing this weekend for sure. I might try adding one new doll each weekend when I get more on top of things. Anna is great and all, but we must admit she looks pretty silly in a basketball jersey. Also, my husband Brian is going to work on a new site for me which will be better organized and not cluttered with old journal entries, etc. (No pressure, dear.) Finally, I have a Yahoo! group for people interested in the site. (Hi, Mom.) It is more or less redundant if you’re reading the site, but it’s what I’ll use for some important messages; it can also be a place to discuss paperdolls, drawing and the like. I might do some cool stuff with it later, too, though the only thing I can think of now is an outfit coloring exchange or something.

(Maybe that’s not a bad idea. If I posted a black-and-white outfit on the site every so often, maybe people could color it and I’d post them on the site. My mom at least would color one, right? What do you think?)

Liana   |   no comments

June 17, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: June Birthday


This is a dress for a June birthday, with pearls and roses, which are June’s birthstone and its associated flower.

When I was doing the old old paperdoll page, I did a couple of birthday dresses, that is, dresses with a particular month’s birthstone and associated flower. Here’s February, for example, with violets and amythests. Oh, and I guess I had done a lot for the old old old site. The general trend, I guess, is that as the years go by, the birthday dresses get even more ridiculously frou-frou-y, or perhaps just more complex, take your pick. (I, for one, admit a great deal of fondness for frou-frou-y.)

Redoing things from the old paperdoll pages is not my highest priority, but the birthday dresses are on my list, ready for a great flowery redesign.

Liana   |   5 comments

June 16, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: A Mighty Wind


Download doll

Brian and I went to go see A Mighty Wind at the Top of the Park yesterday night. We’d both seen it before and I believe we found it funnier then my parents did, what with the goofy folk singers and all. This outfit is what the female members of the New Main Street Singers wear, more or less.

I hope they don’t set a hex on me for using the wrong color. I promise it looks right on paper; it’s the scanner that’s the problem. I’ll work on that, because it’s starting to really annoy me.

Liana   |   3 comments

June 15, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Angel Statue


I’d never devoted much thought to the matter, but it seems that graveyards need people to answer the phones as much as any other place does. That was my temp assignment for yesterday, so I found myself in an appropriately drab little office taking calls from people about which plot of land they wanted. (Brian: “You should ask them if they want the normal burial or the special Zombie Burial!” Me: “No!”)

I wandered around the graveyard on my lunch break; it’s actually a very pretty graveyard, and I enjoyed seeing squirrels sunning themselves on top of headstones and reading the old-fashioned names (Euphemia, Delphos, Minerva). This is from a statue of an angel adorning a cross with flowers, atop the grave of a 13-year old. (I think the skirt is too short; the sketch was sort of made on the back of a grocery store receipt.) I hadn’t thought of sketching the wings, sadly; maybe next time.

Here we have a Daily article on the cemetery. Not having lived here for very long, I can’t say I knew the myths about it.

A note on doll modifications: for a dress like this one to fit, the doll has to be cut so that her thumb is separate from her hip. This way the skirt can be slid underneath her hand. Usually I try to skirt the issue with gloves, but it doesn’t always work.

Also, as old entries scroll off the page, you can find all of my paperdolls by clicking the “Paperdolls” link on the side.

Finally, I’m not at all sure about this scanner. It has been so long since I used the old strip-type handheld scanner, you see, that I’m getting quite spoiled, but I can’t get over feeling that the color just isn’t right. We’ll work on it…

Liana   |   5 comments

June 14, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Hogwarts Robes


Brian took me out on a date yesterday; we lunched at the co-op and went to see the third Harry Potter movie. I have been known to pan the book, because as a set-up for book 4, which I love, it’s very good, but as the sequel to books 1 and 2, otherwise known as “Harry Potter, Boy Detective,” it’s sort of more of the same. The movie, however, doesn’t have that problem — it’s not at all like the first two movies. I had my fingers crossed that Alfonso CuarÛn was in charge of book 4, but it seems to be someone named Mike Newell. Oh well.

Speaking as a real geek, given the general disdain for all things Muggle I was surprised that the students all dressed down for the Hogsmeade field trip. Wizard fashion, who knows? (And I can’t help but wonder about the fashions in robes, i.e. do the hemlines go up? down? stay the same?) In any case, I suppose my doll is somewhat too old for the class robes… I will draw her a more appropriate dress (Trelawney?) if I get a chance, but in the meantime I won’t worry about it.

Liana   |   one comment

June 13, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Jess’ Wedding Dress


We visited our friends Mark and Jess over the past weekend. It has actually been some time since their wedding, which was in October of 2002; I was studying in Japan at the time and hadn’t seen pictures of the ceremony before, so after seeing all the pictures displayed at their home I had to sketch the dress.

I have a hard time with white dresses. Push the colored pencils too far and you get a gray wedding dress; not far enough, and it looks flat. Practice makes perfect, so I should study white fabric before the wedding of my old friend Sabrina in July.

Liana   |   2 comments

June 12, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Sky Blue Russian Court Dress


This gown is a court dress from the 1820s which is more or less copied from a book that I referred to when working on the Anna Karenina gown, Le Costume en Russie. It’s a gorgeous book, with lots of closeups of embroidery; shame it’s due in two days. (I’ll renew it.)

In other news, we got a scanner. No more hiking down to Central Campus for me! This means, of course, I have fewer excuses to not put up dresses.

Liana   |   9 comments

June 09, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Sweet Flag Iris Heian juuni hitoe

heian-gown-sweet-flag-iris-small-tabbed copy.gif

I’m a temp, so on occasion I get called upon to do emergency receptionist work, at which point I grab the largest book at hand and prepare to handle about fifty calls in seven hours. The last book to accompany me on a day of this nature was the Tale of Genji, which is one of the books I routinely use to press water out of tofu, to give you an idea of its size.

Genji, written during the Heian era of Japan (from the 9th to 11th centuries) is widely regarded as the first novel ever written; its author was a court lady of ancient Japan who has come to be called Murasaki Shikibu. It calls upon traditions far removed from modern Japanese culture, or even from Japanese culture of 200 years ago. The protagonist of the novel, Genji, son of the Emperor, could probably no more handle a sword than he could drive a car. Instead his skills lie in creating rich poetry, dancing, blending incense, playing music and being very open to his emotions — making him, essentially, the perfect Heian gentleman. The book might be called, slightly more accurately, the first romance novel ever written; to read of his adventures with various women for seven hours straight, even for a Japanese major, is somewhat tiring.

The clothes of nobles of the Heian era, especially for the women, were one of the major indicators of taste and rank. Women wore layered robes; this drawing has five, but some women at times wore twenty. The gown is often referred to as “juuni hitoe,” or the “twelve layers.” Strict rules of rank and seasonality governed the colors and fabrics that could be worn, and mistakes were noticed, as indicated in this passage from Murasaki Shikibu’s diary:
One had a little fault in the colour combination at the wrist opening. When she went before the Royal presence to fetch something, the nobles and high officials noticed it. Afterwards, Lady Saisho regretted it deeply. It was not so bad; only one colour was a little too pale.
This color combination, put together from descriptions and drawn as it is by a novice, would probably be panned by the nobles and high officials, which is to say I can’t vouch 100% for its authenticity or correctness. It is the “sweet flag iris” color combination and is suitable for late spring to early summer. It also goes without saying that my poor doll is freakishly tall in comparison to the average Heian lady.

The Seidensticker translation is excellent, and I find the names easier to follow then the newer translation by Royall Tyler; Tyler’s translation, however, I think is easier to read, reminding me at points of Jane Austen. Another good thing to look at is Murasaki Shikibu’s diary. The book that I consulted for my outfit is Liza Dalby’s “Kimono: Fashioning Culture” which has an excellent list of Heian-era colors and lists of seasonally appropriate combinations.

Liana   |   2 comments

June 05, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Anna Karenina


Anna’s ballgown from Anna Karenina

Download the doll

I finished Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina some days ago, just in time for Oprah to choose it as her book club selection. Next I will have to re-read an obscure book I’m very fond of and see if she and I are on the same wavelength. (The Corrections, perhaps? Hah hah.)

I’ve read it before, when I was in high school; I vaguely recall skimming over Levin’s self-discovery, treating it rather like John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged (which, actually, is to confess that I didn’t read it at all), and towards the end of the book I was quite fed up with Anna’s dramatics. This time, I can’t help but have some more sympathy for her plight, while Levin’s struggles bring to mind the spiritual battles of other doubters I know. I’ll reread it when I’m forty and catch more things that I overlooked, perhaps…

The dress is Anna’s ballgown from the fateful ball; Tolstoy describes it as a low-cut black velvet gown trimmed with “sumptuous” Venetian lace, accented with pansies and black ribbons. The book is set in the early 1870s, when gowns are moving away from hoopskirts and towards bustles while remaining fairly complex. Anna being who she was, I assume she would have had the latest in Paris gowns.

Liana   |   7 comments

June 03, 2004:

Paperdoll Blog: Introduction

Or, My Life In Clothes.

Out with the old and in with the new:
1) No, Mom, I’m not going back to the old paperdoll site. It would be a lot like trying to rewrite a story I started when I was eleven. I want to do something better than that; let it go.
2) Poor Celadon Stars is probably going to be neglected as well. I broke my hand, went off to Japan, had one of my files I was working on vanish, and now I find I don’t even remember how to do what I did. It was a cool project while it lasted.
3) I’m not sure where this project will take me, or how to organize the page or if I can replace the old clothes that I did. In the past I’ve gotten hung up on that sort of thing. This time it is drawing first, page redesign later.
4) Thanks to Cat, who patiently helped me get the paperdolls to a printable size - not too big, not too small, and with no part of the lace being cut off!

Currently, I’d like to have one new outfit a day, weekends excepted for the time being (primarily becaue I won’t be able to put anything up this weekend).

Wish me luck!

Liana   |   16 comments