The Mythic Ball, #5: Phoenix’s Rhinestone Gown

Liana's Paper Dolls: Phoenix's Costume. A dark navy blue gown with a high neckline and no sleeves. There's a circle keyhole cutout under the neckline, and the dress is mermaid-style, tight around the bodice and legs then fanning out near the floor. It's decorated with an abstract phoenix pattern in rhinestones all over the top of the dress and abstract swirls of rhinestones on the skirt. There's a long length of orange, yellow and red fabric patterned with gold swirls draped around the hips and legs, over one shoulder and over the skirt, fanning out like a tail. There's also a red and gold mask with stylized feathers on each side extending far past the head.Many of the attendees informally call this event the “Monsters’ Ball,” since all of the archetypes in attendance are fundamentally inhuman. (Are there human-based archetypes? Sure, but if they take physical form and throw a party, it’s not this one.) The nickname doesn’t sit right with everyone, though; Phoenix won’t let it be said around her, since she is very insistent that she’s not a monster. She likes to be known instead for her goodness and sparkly dresses.

“Destructive fire powers tend to suggest ‘monster’ to unbiased onlookers,” Dragon says. Her tone is a little arch but not unkind; they have this discussion nearly every year and the arguments are seldom novel.
“It’s not ‘destructive,’ it’s purifying,” Phoenix answers.
“Tell that to whatever’s being purified,” counters Dragon.

The ball draws to a close, and the archetypes get ready for the final event. It’s not a traditional activity, having only gained popularity in the last hundred years or so, but by now no one wants to be left out. There’s a flurry of movement as archetypes everywhere change their shape and adjust their clothes over the new, smaller bodies.

“This whole thing is so ridiculous,” sighs Fairy as she joins the line for the portal that will transport the group away from the ball.
“I didn’t hear you complaining when we found the house that was passing out full-sized Milky Ways last year,” Kraken says, poking her shoulder. The newly clumsy, child-sized feet of the archetypes around her keep stepping on her costume’s tentacles.

The portal leads to a quiet suburb, dotted with children and their parents going door-to-door. It’s dark enough that no one notices the archetypes stepping out of the portal and out onto the sidewalk, where they cluster into groups of extraordinarily well-dressed trick-or-treaters. A handful of archetypes, including Dragon and Phoenix, have retained their adult human forms, to provide what looks like proper supervision. They’ve learned it’s better if no one asks too many questions about the group.

Kraken is the first to ring the doorbell. “Trick or treat!” she says, directing what she hopes is a smile filled with child-like wonder at the woman who opens the door and holding out a rather large bag.

Now, I have an important question for you all. I understand the archetypes will abide by your decision, so think carefully…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this October’s visit to the mythic ball! I’m very proud of the five outfits I’ve done for this series. I don’t know what I’ll do next week, but it will likely not be as complex as this series has been. In the meantime, 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 clothes from India. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

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!

Masquerade Gown in Yellow Damask and Orange With Yellow Lace and Blue Bow

A masquerade gown with a bodice with a yellow damask pattern. The neckline is off the shoulders and slightly V-shaped, and is trimmed with a line of orange ribbon. The sleeves are three-quarter, and their edges are trimmed with more orange ribbon. There are long ruffles attached to the edges of the sleeves, and they are yellow and decorated with a lacy pattern. The bodice extends over the top of the skirt and is gathered at one hip, decorated with a light blue bow. From the bow, four rows of ruffles fall towards the base of the skirt like a waterfall. Each one is made of yellow lace. The skirt is orange, and falls to the floor. It is decorated with a leafy branch pattern in light orangeClick for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Sorry, I said you had seen the last of this one for a while, but Sarah, who won my previous contest by guessing that Milo’s favorite blankie is white, green and blue, didn’t get her request in until after the Sparkly Masquerade Gown week, so here it is now! (No sparkles, though.) She wrote: “Anyways, could you color that dress with a very pale yellow on top with darker orange on the bottom?” So here we have it. I hope you like it, Sarah! The damask is from Pixels & Ice Cream, and the lace, pattern on the skirt and white trim are from Obsidian Dawn.

Daffodil Fairy Dress with Crocuses

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

Here in Tacoma, the daffodils have been blooming for a while now; I got a lot of mileage out of this fact when I was back in Michigan, where the bitter cold on my legs brought back memories of ten years of winters that just refused to turn lamb-like. I’d get asked “So what’s it like out there?” A smug “well, the daffodils are already blooming” seldom failed to put an adorable look of hopelessness on the face of my winter-worn questioner. This is, certainly, the flip side of being teased for the endless rain.

I bought a bunch of ten daffodils from the store the other day, when they hadn’t even started to think about opening yet and you could just barely see a touch of yellow at the ends. Now, they look like this – brilliant orange and yellow. You know me, I can’t see such a pretty image without wanting to make a skirt out of it. I’ve included some bonus crocuses, too.

I don’t really do fairies very much; I have no shame about spending my time making up all kinds of mermaid tails and stories, but fairies bore me in much the same way blue jeans and real royalty bore me. But really, who else would wear this dress? Now, back when I was drawing clothes for the Boutique, I worked out a way to make separate fairy wings, through some system of cutting a slit in the doll’s chest and poking a tab through. I think sometimes I should sort that out again, but I draw fairy outfits so seldom that it always sinks back down to the bottom of the pool of things on my mind at any given moment.

Let’s have a new contest… The winner gets to tell me how to color one of my black-and-white dresses, as usual!
What’s my favorite flower?
Update: Ana got it – it’s the morning glory. (Heavenly Blue, preferably.)