White and Purple Gown

A sleeveless white gown with a boat neck that fits tightly over the legs. There's a pattern all over the gown of large purple and magenta scrolls edged with rhinestones. At the left hip is a length of iridescent trumpet-shaped fabric that falls over the gown to the floor. It's magenta near the top, fading into purple, and is sparkly.I experimented with a new coloring technique with this dress, which you can see in the pink and purple part. I confess I don’t have much else to say about it — it was fun to color, that’s all! My imagination’s been going towards NaNoWriMo (just hit 20,000 words!) and my Christmas project.

Next week, I’m probably going to try coloring something else this way. Until then, you can download combined color and black and white PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free! Also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, paperdoll thoughts and gorgeous jewelry. If you enjoy my work, I'd also appreciate your support through Patreon.

The Mythic Ball, Part 1: Dragon’s Blue, Black and Gold Masquerade Gown with Flame Underskirt

A black velvet masquerade gown with a square neckline, long sleeves and a large, bell-shaped skirt. At the neckline is a gold band in a stylized flame pattern, with a large fire opal surrounded by rhinestones set in the middle. The sleeves have blue ruffles at the shoulders and at the wrists, with iridescent blue-green highlights and shades of purple in the shaded areas. There's a bit of golden lace above each ruffle. A pattern of golden scrolls runs down the length of the sleeve. The bodice has a long, triangle-shaped area from the neckline to the waist patterned with shiny blue and purple dragon scales and bordered with delicate gold lace. At the waist is a gold band with a stylized flame pattern, set with three fire opals surrounded by rhinestones. The overskirt is open at the front and edged with a blue iridescent ruffle and golden lace. A golden pattern of a stylized dragon breathing flames is on the edge of the skirt. The underskirt appears to be made of fire. There's a light blue tail curling over the edge of the skirt and light blue wings at the shoulders, tipped with golden horns, and there's a small black velvet mask decorated with golden scrolls.Every year on Halloween, a certain kind of idea or story takes form, gets dressed up and throws a great party, called the mythic ball. These ideas prefer to be called “archetypes” (and you use the term “monster” at your own peril). For example, Dragon here isn’t a particular dragon; she didn’t make Saint George a legend, she’s never guarded the vaults in Gringotts and she doesn’t make a habit of burninating anything. Rather, she exists as the idea of a dragon, a force created by human culture and called upon when someone needs something large, reptilian and powerful for a particular creation.

It’s the night of the mythic ball; Dragon is holding court in her glorious dress. She was the queen of the monsters’ ball last year; those rare times she doesn’t win, she’s quite gracious about it, knowing as she does that the title will pass back to her sooner rather than later. Certain parties are known to hum “Puff, the Magic Dragon” behind her back, and there was a great fuss last year when Kraken made a snippy remark about her archetype being based on majestic giant squids and Dragon’s being based on cute little frill-necked lizards.

“I suppose you’re all just as popular as ever?” Dragon asks the group of archetypes surrounding her. She’s trying, without success, to keep from looking smug. Her courteous nature doesn’t allow her to directly bring up her own triumphs, but should someone happen to return the question to her, she would bring up how very pleased she was by that handsome and very popular young man voicing one of her newer representations, and how she had actually figured in several very popular cultural works lately. As a matter of fact, these days representing her archetype could be said to constitute its own industry. Not that she had calculated the salary of all the CG renderers, motion capture specialists, character designers and fantasy artists and authors who made up her most devoted fanbase, but she was sure it would be a most pleasing number. They feed their families and expand their portfolios thanks to the world’s desire for her; she grows as if nourished not by a hoard of gold but by a wealth of stories and artistic works.

Incidentally, there’s a second dragon archetype enjoying the party; this one is older than she is, and, she knows, more powerful. How much of her desire to be the center of this event stems from her jealousy, I can’t say.

Happy October, a month which you may know I like to celebrate as the most important time of the paperdoll year since it includes Halloween, a holiday that just begs for fanciful costumes. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember this dragon-themed masquerade gown from 2010, and the promise of similar dresses to come. It never happened, because I finished that dress — still one of my favorites — and realized I’d never top it in time. (I think that’s also when I first noticed my wrists having problems.) Well, now that I’m doing digital coloring and shooting for one dress a week, it’s time to revisit the mythic ball…

Who will we meet next? The contentious Kraken mentioned in this installment, perhaps? Or another of the many archetypes attending the ball? Come back next week to find out! In the meantime, don’t forget that you can now download combined color and black and white PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free! Also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, paperdoll thoughts and fun reference images of dresses. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

Mermaid Monday #4: Bride Mermaid in Red Tattered Wedding Dress with Iridescent Blue and Purple Tail

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

My poll was a success! Thanks, everyone who voted. While black had a strong showing near the end, iridescent won the day, rather to my chagrin as I haven’t really drawn anything iridescent before… I think it worked out reasonably well, though not perfectly. I based the iridescent part on one of the pearls in this picture.

Mermaids associate the colors pink and red most strongly with weddings and brides, possibly due to red seaweed being a traditional bridal decoration. Pink has a rather old-fashioned feel and deep reds display the family’s wealth, because the deeper the color is, the harder it is to waterproof successfully, and so dark or rich colors weren’t available until more recently and they’re more expensive. These days, mermaid brides tend to choose a shade between pale pink and blood red that they think best suits their tail. (This means that mermaid bridesmaids grumble more than human ones if the bride insists on their wearing the same color; the green-tailed mermaid does not like the poppy red that sets off the bride’s black tail so well, and the mermaid with the light yellow tail feels washed out in the pale pink favored by the silver-tailed bride.) Pearls are also traditional wedding decorations, and a moderately priced rope of white pearls serves much the same function at a mermaid wedding as a toaster does at a wedding for American humans. Different-colored pearls, particularly black and rose ones, are most valued. Red seaweed is, of course, very popular, although seaweed of every type might be used much as humans might use flowers. Depending on where a mermaid lives and on the fashions, other flowers are popular; water lilies are often used in some areas, and tropical flowers such as hibiscus might be more popular in others. Not all mermaid wedding dresses are tattered, but it’s as hard for mermaid designers to resist as lace is for human ones, because of the strong romantic overtones.

For the veil, you will want to cut a straight line between the bottom of the crown, underneath the seaweed, and the veil. This way the doll’s head can be poked through.

New poll for this week: