Livedolling the 2014 Oscars

Dresses for Penelope Cruz and Ellen DeGeneres. Peneleope's dress is pink and sleeveless with an empire waist. A length of pink fabric starts at the black ribbon under the bust and goes over the shoulder, falling behind her and draping over her arm like a shawl. Ellen is wearing a black velvet jacket, a vest and pants with a thin white scarf tied in a droopy bow.9:20 PM: And here’s Penelope Cruz and our host, Ellen DeGeneres. Let’s see, we have Best Costumes for The Great Gatsby, Cate Blanchett for Best Actress, Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor and 12 Years A Slave for Best Picture. That means no one got all four, but muddgirl and dannyscotland each got three. So you both win a recolored dress from the new series! Since I’ve just started out and there’s really only three choices (well, five if you count the dresses Mia and Leyla are wearing, but I wouldn’t) you’re free to wait for a better selection, or let me know if you’d like one right away – either way works for me! As for which of these drawings will become an actual dress, let’s put up a poll. It’s at the end of this post.

I’ve had lots of fun with this round of Oscars dresses! I hope to do it again next year, but next time I’ll make the post earlier so more people can enter.


Liza Minelli and Jennifer Garner's outfits. Liza is a satin top and pants set in royal blue, with one shoulder exposed. Jennifer's is a silver gown with spaghetti straps and a tiered skirt. 8:04: Here’s Liza Minelli and Jennifer Garner! I’ll probably be able to finish one or two more of these before I’m out for the night…


5:58: Taking the next hour off to put together dinner and get the boy in bed. I’ll pick out new outfits and start sketching again at 7.
5:45: Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence's gowns. Emma's is sleeveless with a scoop neck and is sparkly on the bodice, with a black belt, then sparkly at the top of the mermaid skirt, turning black towards the hem. Jennifer's is strapless and bright orange, with a peplum around the hips.Here’s Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence. I think the coloring on Jennifer’s is great, particularly! I’m up for taking suggestions, so if you see a dress you really like post in the comments. Caveats – the dress has to work on more than one skin color. For example, I may do Julia Roberts’ dress and just change the little lace panel in the middle, but Lady Gaga’s, with the net base, is probably out. The actual Oscars is going by now, right?


4:57: Mia and Leyla in Bette Midler and Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar gowns. Bette's is a cream mermaid dress with thick red lace, and Lupita's is a light blue gown with a low V neck and a full skirt, classically draped.Here’s sketches of Bette Midler and Lupita Nyong’o's gowns to start with, straight from Procreate. It’s the first time I’ve posted an image that’s not a finished dress, but it looks like it’ll work right! Lupita’s gorgeous gown suffers from the dolls having underwear too wide to really permit a dramatic V-neck like that one…

4:00 (all times PST): Hello! I think the last times I did this I had more readers, so I don’t know if I’ll be all alone or not. If I have company, please say hi in the comments and enter my contest!

First things first: Let’s have a special Oscars contest! In the comments section, post your guesses for which movies will win Best Picture and Best Costume Design, and which actors will win Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress. (Click for the list of nominated movies.) The contest is closed when Best Costume Design is announced, one guess per person please, and it’s open to anyone. The prize for anyone who gets the right combination is an outfit from the Mia and Leyla series of dresses, recolored by me as you like. (You can put off your prize until there’s more dresses to choose from, if you like.)

I’ll be watching the Getty Images feed of red carpet images and posting sketches of red carpet gowns here…


Introducing Leyla!

An adult female paper doll in a white and purple gown. She has dark brown skin and black hair arranged in several small box braids that curve gently around her face and fall past her shoulders. Her eyes are brown with tiny gold flecks, and she has sparkly gold eyeshadow. Her lips are full and deep  red, and she is wearing pearl earrings. She is wearing a sleeveless dress with a scoop neck, slightly gathered at the shoulders. The top is white satin, decorated with a pattern of light grey spirals. Around her hips is a belt made of gold, with a sunburst pattern in the middle. Set in the middle of the belt is a brilliant topaz rounded with pearls. The skirt is long and trumpet shaped, flaring out at the calves, and is light magenta at the top and deep purple at the base. It is covered all over with sequins. She also wears a gold circlet decorated with pearls and a second topaz.Please welcome my second paper doll in the new series, Leyla! Her name was chosen from a set of six names I picked out, and as with Mia’s name it was close for a while there but Leyla was the winner. I hope you like her! I’m very happy with her, I had a good time drawing her hair.

With my previous sets of dolls I’ve only made two for each set, but my intention is to keep going and do a new one every month until I have enough dolls to put together a soccer team. Since Leyla has been released on time, I feel very confident that I will be able to pull that off. Their outfits aren’t going to get any more varied, I’m afraid, because the dolls themselves are rather a lot of work. I’m happy with the series dress theme, though. In my imagination, Mia, Leyla and the dolls to come after are the new goddesses of my paperdollverse, and so I thought to myself, what would this little pantheon like to wear? The answer, apparently, is “lots of sparkles.”

Speaking of goddesses, the contest on Twitter is over, and the winner is Karen Martin! (Her favorite Greek goddess, by the way, is Athena.) You will see how she chose to color an ancient Greek outfit next Friday. As I mentioned before, I’m going to start doing the contests on the blog after this, so if you would like to take part next time, just keep reading!

The Oscars are on March 2nd, and that means Oscar dresses! Twice before, I’ve “livedolled” the Oscars – that is, drawn some dresses straight from the red carpet. I did this in 2009, drawing three gowns, and in 2011, drawing an amazing four gowns. I’m ready to do it again this year, but with a twist. I’ll sketch the gowns I like on my iPad and post them here as I draw them. At the end, I’ll put up a poll for which one you all like best, then I’ll make the winner into a proper dress. Also, there’ll be a special Oscars contest! The red carpet starts at 7 PM EST, 4 PM Pacific. Join me and we’ll enjoy all those great gowns together!

As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for update notifications, links to things I find interesting and many, many fashion plates. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

In preparation for our Academy Awards party, let’s have a poll…


Meiko’s Hakama and Kimono Set from Gochisousan with Strawberry Embroidery

A kimono and hakama set with black leather boots. The kimono is white with a small geometrical design of purple arrowheads, and the inner collar is pink with strawberries, strawberry leaves and strawberry flowers embroidered on it. The obi is red with white asanoha, or geometrical star patterns on it, and it is mostly covered by the ties of the hakama. The hakama are a pair of reddish-purple pants with very wide legs, pleated at the front so that they look more like a skirt. It is worn slightly above the waist, and ties in the front. The bow droops down, and the ends of the ties extend towards the knees. There is a reddish-purple hairbow to go with the ensemble.Today’s drawing was inspired by one of the most popular dramas currently running on Japanese TV, “Gochisōsan,” which means something like “thank you for the meal” and is said after eating. It follows the life of Meiko Uno, a girl born in the early 1900s who is brash, big-hearted and a huge fan of food. The word used in Japanese is 食いしん坊, kuishinbō; English approximations might be “foodie” or “glutton” but the first is too serious and the second too severe. “Kuishinbō” is more like a lightly teasing word for someone who’s really into eating. Meiko reminds me very much of Anne of Green Gables, as she’s always getting into scrapes, but even though she can be careless and selfish, she has a warm, loving personality and always wants to make things better for the people she loves. Her love of food and her desire to share that love is the major theme of the show. Her family runs a French restaurant called Kaimeiken that becomes a pioneer of Japanese-Western fusion cuisine, all the chapter titles are food-related puns and many of Meiko’s problems and their solutions happen to be related to food. For those of us interested in Japanese food and its history, it’s full of fun details. For example, Meiko, a Tokyo native, later moves to another city called Osaka, where she unknowingly causes discomfort by making rice balls with the wrong shape: she is used to making them in a triangle shape, but at that point in time in Osaka, triangle-shaped rice balls are only used for funeral offerings. (It’s not a distinction anyone makes anymore, so please don’t get creeped out when you see triangle-shaped rice balls in your favorite anime.) The show follows her life from her childhood to her time as a high school student, then to her time as a young bride and, later, a mother of three. It is what’s known as a morning drama, and it runs every weekday morning for 15 minutes.

This drawing is of a kimono and hakama set worn with boots, which is what Meiko and her friends wear as young women when they’re attending the same high school. Hakama, which are the reddish-purple pants tied at the waist, were traditionally a garment only worn by men, but in the Meiji era, which was a time of quick modernization for Japan, women involved in education and similar activities done outside the home started to wear them as well. This served to lend their outfits a masculine, serious air. This combination of kimono and hakama became so identified with female students that today, it’s worn as formal wear at graduations. The modern day version tends to be more flashy and richly patterned, but this drawing is based on what Meiko wore as her daily uniform, with hakama that are all one color and a plain arrow pattern woven into the kimono fabric. This arrow pattern, too, is so heavily associated with Meiji and Taisho-era female students as to be a cliché, and one of the kimono Meiko wears has a pattern that’s almost identical.

In the first few episodes of the show, which show Meiko as a young girl, she and her friends steal an offering of strawberries from the neighborhood Buddhist temple. At the time strawberries weren’t widely grown in Japan, so to them, the bright red berries were a new and exotic sight. Meiko, with her deep appreciation of flavor, falls in love with the sweet and tangy taste and becomes preoccupied with finding some to give to her sick grandmother. That’s why, for this drawing, I put a little strawberry pattern on the collar.

There’s a group (of one person) subtitling these; you can download the subtitles at their website. They also have written up some very useful commentary notes for some of the weeks they’ve subtitled. I don’t watch the show with English subtitles, so I can’t do tech support – you’ll be better off by looking for information at the Drama Addicts forum or finding a site where they’ve been uploaded. Drama.net looks fine but I don’t know anything about it. I watch it in Japanese with Japanese subtitles using an iPad app, J-Drama Master, and I understand maybe 80% of it, but that last 20% is all the most important stuff, so when there’s a very technical or emotionally intense scene I often wind up thinking “Hey, wait, what?”

There’s a contest going on! In the poll I did over Twitter, ancient Greek fashions won handily, with 8 votes, over a fairy dress (3 votes) or a 1930s dress (0 votes). So I have been reading all about ancient Greek fashions and setting up a Pinterest board, and I’ve sketched a Greek outfit for the winner of the next poll to tell me how to color. If you use Twitter, follow me, then vote by replying to @lianapaperdolls with your favorite Greek god or goddess. (Having the contests on Facebook and Twitter was an experiment, and I ended up not liking the feeling that I was excluding people. So all further contests are going to be on this blog.)

Next week, there’ll be a new doll! That’s right, Mia is going to get a friend, and I intend for her to be the first of many. I’ll be opening voting up on her name as well, so watch my various social media spaces if you want to join in! You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for update notifications, previews of upcoming dresses, paper doll musings and pictures of sparkly clothes. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


White Regency Gown with Blue Wrap, Red Roses and Forget Me Nots for Valentine’s Day

A white regency gown trimmed with white lace at the neck and sleeves. The sleeves are gently puffed and the bodice is ruched, trimmed on the right side with red roses and blue forget-me-nots. Under the bust is a pink ribbon sash decorated with a scroll pattern. The dress fabric is decorated with small embroidered white flowers, then at the edge of the skirt are pink swags, trimmed with lace, with pink hearts, red roses and blue forget-me-nots at the top of each swag. Intricate white embroidery surrounds the flowers. Under the swags are pleated frills that fan out to the ground and are trimmed with white lace. Long white gloves are attached to the outfit, and there is a blue wrap over the arms that is decorated with a shiny gold paisley pattern. At the neck is a thin gold chain and a pearl pendant.Happy Valentine’s Day! Here is my gift to all my beloved readers, whether you’ve just found my page recently or have been following me for a while. I’ve been drawing on and off for a long time now, but it’s been off a lot more than it’s been on. That means I have very patient fans, so I wanted to do something extra pretty for all of you!

This gown is not based on any particular Regency style, so it is more of a costume than a historically accurate dress. I also tried some new coloring tricks with this one. I use Photoshop’s paths tool to make the lines so nice and clean, but it doesn’t really lend itself to details, so the roses and a lot of other details were drawn in Procreate, my iPad drawing app.

The medieval dress I posted last week was the result of January’s contest — want to help decide what the next theme will be, and maybe get the chance to pick out the coloring yourself? I’m currently running February’s poll over Twitter! I’ve tweeted three categories to choose from, so if you’re using Twitter just follow me and tweet your favorite category. (Don’t forget to include my username, @LianaPaperDolls, so I can see it.) I’ll draw a gown from the winning category and start the contest over Twitter next week!

Come back next week for a outfit based on one of the most popular dramas on Japanese TV! As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for update notifications, peeks into how I work, thoughts about designing paper dolls and pretty pictures of jewelry. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon. If I can rustle up a few more patrons, I’ll be able to post a bonus dress!