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…


Introducing Mia!

An adult female doll in a long, flowing gown. She has olive skin and shiny brown hair arranged in large curls that extends past her shoulders. Her expression is serene and she has hazel eyes, subdued purple eyeshadow and natural pink lipstick. She has pearl earrings and pink fingernails. She is wearing a one-shoulder gown with a white satin bodice patterned with thin, light grey scrolls. The skirt of the gown is yellow near the waist, then gradually turns to orange, then to red near the hem, and is sparkling all over. A gold belt separates the two parts of the gown, and has a large amethyst circled by a ring of pearls. She is wearing a gold circlet decorated with pearls and three smaller amethysts.Meet Mia, my first digitally-colored doll! I hope you all like her, as I’ve worked very hard to prepare a doll that I was happy with. I also intend to release other dolls to go with her, hopefully once a month. Mia’s name was partially chosen by people on the mailing list and people who follow me on Facebook and Twitter: I chose five names I liked, then made a poll. Right up to the very end, Mia and Amethyst were tied, but Mia pulled forward at the very end. I enjoyed the poll and will probably do it for future dolls!

The site is also shiny and new, thanks to my husband Brian Kerr of Different Chairs. Brian happens to do this sort of thing for a living, and he worked with me to create a fabulous showcase for my art and make the site faster, easier to read and tablet and mobile phone-friendly. The results are amazing, and I feel very lucky that I can put my new, more detailed digital coloring work on such a simple, but sophisticated site. It’s even got its own domain name! (Took me long enough.)

You’ll notice some changes. First, if you want to print out the dolls and dresses, you’ll want to use the PDFs; the other graphics no longer have tabs. This is so that you can enjoy the detail without the tabs to distract you, and also so that the pages print out consistently.

There is also a black-and-white version that you can print out, too! When I was drawing paper dolls that had black outlines, I used to make black-and-white versions of the dresses, but when I stopped outlining the drawings, that was the end of versions that you could color yourself. Now, because of the way I transfer my drawings to digital versions, it’s simple to make black-and-white versions of the dresses. If you color them yourself, I’d love to see the results!

I’ve made it easier to follow me on social media: I post site updates and my thoughts about paperdolling on Twitter @lianapaperdolls, site updates, things I’ve been working on and fun links on my Facebook fan page, and a steady stream of ballgowns, saris and Art Nouveau jewelry on my Pinterest boards. You can also sign up for my mailing list, the form is on the top right-hand side of the page. I’d love if you’d follow me on whichever of these fine platforms best suits you, or just come back to the page every Friday!

I finished my Paperdoll Retrospective from the other day by saying that the best days of this blog are still to come. I hope you’ll agree that Mia is a good start!

Come back next Friday for a medieval gown fit for a queen. The subject was chosen by my Facebook fans, and the coloring will be decided by Nikki Paulsen, who won my contest.

Edit (Feb. 2, 2014): I’ve edited the PDFs so that the dolls and dresses are slightly smaller, so that more elaborate gowns will be able to fit into the printable area on the page. If you’ve already downloaded the old PDFs, please delete them and download the new ones!


Halloween ’10 Day 5: Queen of the Seas

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

As you know I generally have a soft spot for anything flowing and cool-colored, so I wanted to do a generic Queen of the Seas costume this month. If you were wearing this to a party with no particularly picky mythology or history geeks in attendance, you could perhaps call yourself the Queen of Atlantis, but I can’t just go blithely saying something like that somehow.

Lindsey commented on my blue and gold princess gown and said that she’d seen a similar one on Zwinky, but I can’t check it out because I use a Mac; can someone take a screenshot of it and send it to me, please?

The verdict is still out on the Good Queen…

Prismacolors used: Cool Grey 30%, 70%, 90%, Black, White, Indigo Blue, Denim Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Sky Blue Light, Marine Green, Jade Green, Tuscan Red, Poppy Red, Pale Vermillion; Verithin Black and Cool Grey 70%; Sakura Soufflé White.


Mermaid Monday #17: Layered Wedding Gown with Pink Pearls, For A Mermaid-Human Wedding

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

It happens, sometimes, that a mermaid falls in love with a human: maybe with a sailor, a brave seventh son, or maybe a shipwrecked prince. There are some that choose to keep their mermaid form (the houses built by such couples, designed to be comfortable for both sides, are architectural marvels) but many choose to pay a mystic for the spell that will grant them a pair of legs instead. Sometimes the love-struck mermaid forsakes the seas as part of her payment; sometimes she keeps her options open. Wherever the relationship may end up in ten years time, at any rate the wedding that starts it off is always a sight to behold.

I’ve written about traditional mermaid weddings, with their motifs of red seaweed and tattered gowns, but what looks romantic to mermaids just looks ragged to humans. Sometimes the bride will brook no compromise whatsoever, going with a dress that could just as easily be worn for a traditional mermaid wedding, except that it is the length humans expect for their weddings. These gowns will be the traditional bright red and have tattered edges, but they may also have more fabric than is considered practical or fashionable for an underwater wedding, just because the designer can get away with billowing skirts and so on on land. Such gowns are breathtaking, if unconventional to both humans and mermaids. But most such brides harbor romantic dreams of a human-style white wedding dress. (There’s a word in the mermaid language for the oddballs obsessed with human culture: our closest translation might be something like “xenophiliac” or “human otaku.”) As this bride did, they may include red accents or other reminders of the sea, perhaps as a nod to their heritage, perhaps just to keep their mothers happy.

I decided to go back to just the dresses in the thumbnails after all. Thanks, everyone for bearing with my experiment and giving your opinions!

No one has guessed the right answer to my question yet. This time, there are only 365 choices, so it should be possible. (I didn’t get married on Leap Year’s Day — no, that doesn’t count as today’s clue!)
What day is my wedding anniversary?
Post your guess in the comments! Again, the rules:
1) If you’ve already won this year, please don’t enter.
2) One guess per person per day.
3) If no one gets the exact date by 9:00 PM EST, June 9th, I’ll pick the closest guess.
4) I’ll give one hint each day the contest goes on.
– Today’s hint: It was in the summer.

This is my second mermaid-on-land dress in a row for Mermaid Monday. Shall I do a proper one with a tail next week, or shall I show you a traditional mermaid wedding dress adapted to land?