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…)


Tiny Tutorial #2: Basic Bead Brush in Photoshop

An image reading "Basic Bead Brush! A Tiny Tutorial from Liana's Paper Dolls, http://lianaspaperdolls.com. There is an image of a stylized sun with wavy rays radiating from the center, which looks like it's been done in small golden beads.Today’s Tiny Tutorial is very tiny indeed, but it’s a very useful technique in my bag of paperdolling tricks, and I wanted to put it up so I can refer to it in future tutorials. Now, I hesitate to do Photoshop tutorials because I’m hardly an expert myself, plus I work with Photoshop CS2, which is nearly a decade old, and I can’t promise that what I do is the best way to do things — or even accurate — for newer versions. Still, if someone can make good use of my techniques or the tutorial sparks someone’s imagination and that person improves on my techniques, then I believe it’s worthwhile.

Three examples of this bead technique: a beaded golden necklace, an edging of silver beads and a garland of pearls.One thing you’ll see me do in several of the new series are small lines of pearls or beads. These are done with a special brush and layer styles in Photoshop; once you have those two things created, Photoshop does all the work of making as many garlands of beads or sequins or rhinestones as you need. (A welcome development after drawing thousands of little circles to serve as pearls.)

An example of the circle brush next to a straight black line with curved ends.First, let’s make the brush. Start with an 20 pixel wide circle brush, 100% hardness, opacity and flow. A single brushstroke looks like a circle, and a line from that brush is going to look straight, thick and well-defined. (Holding Shift while drawing makes the line straight.)

The Photoshop CS2 brush settings window, with the spacing field highlighted.In effect, when I draw the line I’m drawing tons of little circles overlapping each other so that it looks like a solid line. What I want is to move those circles apart so that they don’t overlap, which will make it look like beads. So let’s look at the brush settings window. See the “spacing” setting? Right now, it’s at 25%, and that makes them spaced close enough together to look like a solid line. So all we have to do is…


The Brush settings screen with the spacing increased, creating a dotted line.Increase the spacing. At 105%, each individual brushstroke is far enough apart from the next one that there’s a little space between it.


The circle brush, spaced far enough apart to create a dotted line.There we have it, a dotted line. Save your brush if you like, to save yourself the trouble of having to do it again.

Now, let’s take a quick look at layer styles. Layer styles allow you to change how everything in a layer looks without making any permanent changes, so that you can easily change colors, add shadows and do other things to the underlying image. Layer styles are their own delightful world, and I’m just going to show off one small part of what you can do with them in this tutorial, with future Tiny Tutorials dedicated to how I use them to create the illusion of pearls, rhinestones, beads and so on. Double-click on the layer to open up the layer styles window.

A brownish-golden dotted line.First, let’s change the color with color overlay. I’m going to make this row of beads look golden, so I’m going to start with a warm golden brown base (#d28a00).

A dotted line with a Photoshop layer style effect that makes the beads look golden.To give the beads shape, I generally play around with bevel and emboss, inner shadow, inner glow and drop shadow until I come up with an effect I like. For this example, I’ve just used these settings to give it a simple gold bead look.

A nondescript brown line of beads.When using this, you’ll want to keep in mind how big you want the beads to be, because the layer style changes drastically with the size of the brush. Using that same layer style with a 5 pixel wide brush only gives me a muddy brown line.

A line of small golden beads.I have to adjust the layer style to get anything resembling beads when the brush is so small. You’ll also note that the beads in the 5 pixel wide brush line look like they’re closer together than the beads in the 20 pixel wide brush line; if you’re as picky as I am you may want to adjust the spacing every time you have a new shape.

Three strands of small gold beads winding around each other.With your brush created and your layer style made, all you have to do is draw your beads the way you want them. You can draw freehand, and I tend to use paths or shapes for this, to keep the lines nice and smooth or to be able to accurately go over the same area multiple times with different brushes; paths are well beyond the scope of this tutorial, however! (I used one of the default Photoshop shapes, set as a path, to create the sun symbol at the top of this post.)

In future Tiny Tutorials, I’ll build on this technique and show you the exact layer styles I use for sequins, metallic beads, rhinestones and pearls.