February Birthday Dress with Primroses

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Well, this dress shows quite clearly why I shouldn’t put off drawing until 9:30 PM — and furthermore, why I shouldn’t try to correct mistakes at 10:15 PM. The black ribbon used to be a too-light lilac that was swallowed up by the rest of the purple; it did need to be changed, and I don’t know what I could have done better, but I do know I couldn’t have done much worse. Oh well. I like the rest of it, and I hope you all do too!

Misplaced black ribbon or no, at the moment I’m all caught up for the year with birthday dresses, which is a nice – and rather rare – feeling! February’s flower is the primrose, and the birth stone is the amethyst.

This post also shows why I shouldn’t start writing at 10:30 PM, so I think I had better stop here for now! I will try to muster up more spirit on Thursday.

January Birthday Gown in Deep Garnet Red with Gold Trim and Snowdrop Corsage

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Here’s the 2011 January birthday dress! I had thought about not doing them this year, actually, but then I had an idea for a March one that seemed like it would turn out beautifully, and now I think I will take another shot at completing a set this year. Now that January is finished, all I will have to do is one for February and I’ll be all caught up for at least a whole week!

I’ve got a good feeling about this year. This year may bring a dress for every month, including poor neglected April, July and August (thanks Liz!). For those of you with January birthdays, I am sorry this one is late; speaking of which, I’m sorry that today’s dress is late in general. Well, Sunday isn’t too bad — and for those of you for whom it is already Monday, well, I throw myself on your mercy.

January’s birth flower is the snowdrop, and the birthstone is the garnet. Incidentally, this is the first January dress I’ve done that I really like. (Technically, I liked the previous year’s dress, but it scanned out really badly and you can hardly see the pattern…)

December Birthday Dress in White and Blue with Narcissus and Silver and Turquoise Belt

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Yes, for once I’m prompt with the birthday dress. That’s mostly because I didn’t get home until fairly late and all of my other ideas were fairly labor-intensive… but perhaps also because I rather unfairly favor December. Why? Well, for one thing, my own birthday is in December! But when, you might wonder? Let’s make it a contest… Winner gets to tell me how to color one of my black-and-white dresses, as usual!

When is Liana’s birthday?
Rules as always:
1) If you’ve already won this year, please don’t enter. (Music contest winners are OK to enter a black-and-white coloring contest though. By the way, I intend to do those this month, and I’m sorry to have gotten so off track!)
2) One guess per person per day.
3) If no one gets the exact date by noon PST, December 6th, I’ll pick the closest guess.
4) Those of you who know me well enough to already know are disqualified.

Update: Ana guessed right: my birthday was December 3rd. Sorry I couldn’t confirm it earlier, I was out of town (the post on Saturday was a scheduled post).

Prismacolors used: Black, Indigo Blue, Cool Grey 10%, 20%, 30%, 50%, 70%, Sunburst Yellow, Goldenrod, Dark Umber, Light Aqua, Aquamarine, Sky Blue Light, Blue Slate, White, Verithin Warm Grey 20%, Cool Grey 20%, Orange, colorless blender, Sakura white gel pen

November Birthday Gown with Chrysanthemums and Topazes in Orange and White, and an announcement

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

If I get distracted and don’t update, eventually people start to worry if I’m ever coming back. This makes me smile. I call drawing paper dolls a “hobby,” but it seems to have more in common with a curse. When I’m on my deathbed, I’ll probably be drawing the outfit I’ll be buried in — or maybe the one I wish I was being buried in, which will have 90% more pearls.

That said, trying to post something almost every day has obviously come to be untenable. If I’m just coming up with an outfit, it takes from five minutes to an hour to decide what I want to draw and what it will look like, and if I’m researching something like a particular year’s fashions, it might take an hour or two to get a sense of what the styles were like, then that five minutes to an hour again to come up with an original drawing. The time I spend drawing has increased over the years, easily hitting three hours for something with a lot of detail, and then there’s the time involved in scanning, cleaning up and writing a post – an hour, maybe two depending on the post. My job is part-time and the hours vary wildly, so sometimes it’s actually not all that unreasonable for me to take that kind of time working on something, and then just as often I get scheduled for a lot of hours and feel busy again.

Besides the actual work involved, a lot of other factors come into play: do I have a great idea or am I feeling really uninspired? Is there something else I’m really involved in at the moment? Have I put off drawing until it’s fairly late? Would the thing I want to draw take a long time to research? If, after work and chores, I only have time for one interesting activity, do I really want it to be paperdolls? Are my Prismacolors organized, or are all my blues rolling around my desk drawer because I stole one of my plastic bags I use to sort them for a trip through airline security? Do I much feel like sharing myself with the world today, or am I content with keeping to myself, hermit-like? Do I have time to write a good blog post, as well, or will it just be a couple of sentences I pad out so that it doesn’t look so unbalanced next to the dress? What about all those things I said I’d do and didn’t? (If I never heard the phrase “twelve dancing princesses” again it would be way too soon.)

In short, I expect too much from myself, I don’t prepare myself well, then I psych myself out and end up using my time elsewhere or really phoning it in. It’s frustrating and unfulfilling, so I’m going to try a different tack. Here are my main goals:
1) To draw three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
2) To write blog posts that aren’t just afterthoughts
3) To integrate my drawing hobby with my interest in Japanese

The first two are pretty self-explanatory; the third one is something I’ve been thinking of for quite some time, and I think I’ve come up with some good ways to do it.

Well, we’ll see how I do. Wish me luck! And thank you, as always, for your patience. Sometimes I wonder if I unconsciously sabotage myself with unreliable behavior so that I can deflect notice, hoping to drive people away so I don’t have to add their expectations to the already ridiculous weight of my own. Whether it’s that or just plain old laziness, either way you all are much better readers than I deserve.

Today, a November birthday dress with chrysanthemums and topaz accents. How many more of these do I have to do? I know I’ve skipped rather a few…