Fallout Retro Blue and Yellow Vault Dweller Jumpsuit

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Brian and I got ourselves a PS3 for Christmas – a little early – and so this Saturday has been devoted to gaming, specifically marathon sessions of Fallout 3. We both loved the first Fallout (and I think he liked Fallout 2, though I never played it), so it was an obvious choice for our first PS3 game.

I took a stab at playing it this morning, but I’m not all that good at any game I deem “twitchy,” which means anything that requires more coordination than taking out your average Dragon Warrior slime, because, although it’s not apparent from this blog – at least, I do hope it’s not apparent – I’ve got some mild coordination issues. Thanks to rather a lot of physical therapy when I was very young, it only really plagues me when I’m trying to remember which button changes the perspective, and the camera is pointed somewhere at my feet, I may have accidentally given my pistol to a dead ant, and oh, by the way, there’s a pair of rabid molerats trying to eat me and I just simply can’t deal. On the upside, that doesn’t happen to me very often, because I play the kind of games where everyone takes turns beating on each other like civilized folk. I can handle a very small amount of twitch in my games – I did play through the first Fallout, once as a pacifist – but past a certain point, I’m pretty hopeless.

Also, I’m pathetically easy to creep out – something about horrifying post-nuclear wastelands just tends to make me antsy, you know? When I played the first Fallout, I nearly held my breath the whole time I was in the Glow. Still, I notice that Brian is just now, after playing all day, wandering around the area I got myself repeatedly killed in earlier, so I wonder if my problem is that I got in too over my head and didn’t realize it?

In any case, Fallout 3 features some nicely tailored, practical-looking Vault jumpsuits, but me, I’ve got a soft spot for the shiny retro ones. The Vault number is on the back, so you can choose for yourself which vaults Ivy and Grace hail from.


Green Velvet Party Dress with Gold Ribbons

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When my mom told me how impressed she was with the burgundy velvet on the Good Queen’s gown, I felt like such a fraud. It’s basically two colors applied thickly and not overlapping, with just a touch of black and a bit of the colorless blender – pretty easy, honestly. In any case, it was the first time I’d tried that effect, and it was such fun that I thought I’d give it another shot, so I ended up with this party dress. There is not much to it other than an excuse for me to play with this technique!

Prismacolors used: Goldenrod, Bronze, Cream, Dark Umber, Dark Green, Apple Green and Black – however, apple green felt too bright compared to the dark green, and the colors of dress you see were changed in Photoshop.


Grey Kimono with Floating White Camellia Pattern Inspired by Sanjuro, plus bonus Black and White Kimono

Click for larger version (PNG):grey kimono, black and white kimono; click for PDF version: grey kimono, black and white kimono. Click here for the list of dolls.

Brian and I signed up for Netflix again recently. We had it a few years back, but canceled our subscription when we both went to grad school and then when he started his own business, leaving us little time to see each other let alone watch movies together. Now, with more reasonable work schedules, we’re merrily filling up our queues again — although I think I got up to around 300 movies in my queue last time, and I’m trying to be more restrained this time around.

The last movie I got was Sanjuro, a samurai movie directed by Akira Kurosawa, and I asked Brian if he wanted to watch it with me. “It’s not going to be like that other one, is it?” he replied. “That other one” would be Rashomon, which we went to see last year; Brian had never seen it before, so he went into it expecting some fun sword fights presented from different perspectives. After he crawled out of the theater, he was despondent about the human condition for a full week. “I don’t remember the description too well, but I think this one’s supposed to be funny,” I replied, a little hesitantly, thinking that I really shouldn’t be so impulsive with that shiny “Add” button.

Luckily, I was right: I think Sanjuro is the funniest samurai movie I’ve ever seen, although it’s hardly a comedy. Toshirō Mifune plays a wandering samurai who lends his expertise – less out of pity than from exasperation at their incompetence – to nine young samurai trying to save their clan leader from being framed for corruption. I don’t like to give too much away, so if you like samurai movies, see if you can find this one somewhere.

I’ve taken a stab at drawing a kimono here – my first one, and it sure does show, so if you know more about kimono than I do, please forgive me. I have a passing acquaintance with the various kimono rules and guidelines, but I’m no expert yet, so rather than a formal kimono I was aiming for a more casual and stylish look. (It might help to know I’m a big fan of CHOKOとチョコと, Mamechiyo — just try to tell me this isn’t awesome — and so on) The main design is a reference to the climactic scene in the movie, where the signal to attack is a mass of camellias floating down a stream. Now, camellias are apparently a rare design for kimonos, because the entire flower drops off the plant at once, instead of petal by petal; this was thought to be evocative of beheading, and therefore not the kind of imagery you wanted all over your sleeves. My design is intended to reference the movie, so I will not worry about emblematic misfortune. (But, should your doll accidentally get her head ripped off, she’s in a better position than a samurai — just print her out again.) Incidentally, the white thing on the obi (the sash around the waist) is the sail of a boat – I didn’t position it right, and it’s covered up by the obijime (the yellow cord). Since you can’t see the back of the obi, you have to imagine that the large, flat knot at the back has a pattern with two more boats on it, for a total of three boats. That would be a not-so-subtle reference to the actor Toshirō Mifune, whose family name 三船 literally means “three boats.”

Since I missed Saturday, I’m adding a bonus today, a black and white kimono. Kimono are all about the patterns and colors, so I thought it would be much easier to draw kimono if I could just have a coloring-book style page to test colors on. I’ve been reading about kimono for many months now: the problem is that I’m familiar enough with them to know all the many ways in which I could get things wrong. If I draw a French court gown in colors that weren’t popular back then, or a 1920s skirt with a hemline a couple inches off, it doesn’t bother me, but somehow kimono are really intimidating. But now I’ve gotten over this first hurdle, I’m going to try some more designs!

By the way, there are a couple new paper doll blogs for you to enjoy: …. Of Paper Dolls…. and Kat’s Paper Doll Emporium. Check them out and leave nice comments! Don’t miss the other delightful paper doll blogs, either – there’s a handy list of them to the right.

Prismacolors used: Cool Grey 10%, 20%, 30%, 50%, 70%, Sandbar Brown, Aquamarine, Light Aqua, Indigo Blue, Blue Lake, Powder Blue, Black, Sunburst Yellow, Goldenrod, Tuscan Red, Crimson Red, Dark Umber and Light Umber, Verithin Black, Sakura Souffle White Gel Pen


The Good Queen’s Ghost’s Dress, in Gold, Black and Burgundy with Silver Ribbons

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I drew a Halloween costume one year called The Good Queen’s Ghost, a bloody blue and white gown, and ever since I put it up there have been complaints – mostly from my mom – that there’s no clean version. I don’t really like redrawing things, but I thought for this case, I would consider making an exception, and I put up a poll for guidance; the winning option was to redraw it with no blood – but in the colors it was when she was alive, not in the ghostly blue and white. For apparently it is a rule of the paperdollverse that a ghost’s clothes can change after death; the blue and white is not a color combination that she was particularly fond of in life. (I have enough of a morbid streak that I was rather hoping that another bloody dress would win, but now I am quite glad that the winner didn’t call for liberal application of Crimson Red.)

Now, the Good Queen never did have the slightest bit of restraint. I imagine most of you can think of times you have choked back biting, hurtful, self-evidently true words out of prudence, kindness or fear; there was never any such check on her tongue. Perhaps, too, there have been times where you have hidden your most vulnerable or outrageous feelings, times when you’ve wanted to share the very depths of your precious heart with someone and didn’t, or couldn’t. The Good Queen would not have understood such hesitation, and her passionate nature meant that you always knew precisely where you stood with her, whether she loved you, felt entirely indifferent to your very existence or was wondering why you hadn’t done anything useful with your wretched life, like feeding vultures. In turn, where she stood with other people was never of much concern to her: it was not so much that she had no feelings to hurt, for she was a creature of exquisite emotions, but rather that she valued her own feelings too highly to allow them to be affected by any of the ridiculous creatures surrounding her.

You might say it was due to her great power that she felt so free to dispense with the filter that, for most of us, prevents our every thought from being made public, but no: her brother would claim, later, that she was just always like that. You might suspect that it was an act to conceal a deep vulnerability, but I am quite sure that it was not; I think her vulnerabilities lied elsewhere. And in her own way, she was fair: she treasured the advisors and lovers who stood up to her, she never once took her anger out on unfortunate underlings who just happened to be in the way or messengers delivering bad news, and she only told one lie over the whole course of her life. For many people, she inspired confidence as much as she inspired fear or offense, for although she had zero tact, she was never capricious. (In this way, she was rather the opposite of the Twisted Queen, who was by the way a contemporary and not a relative.)

In dress, too, she always did go in for opulence. That she could exist in a world where the rich gold cloth of this dress would turn thin white shows the depth of whatever pain or curse keeps her here; she never would have put up with it in life. Don’t try telling her you think it’s beautiful in its own way – she would have some choice words for you.

Prismacolors used: Cool Grey 20%, 50%, 70%, Black Grape, Imperial Violet, Greyed Lavender, Henna, Black Raspberry, Goldenrod, Bronze, Light Umber, Dark Umber, Jasmine, Cream, Black, Colorless Blender