Rainbow Ball Gown with Rhinestones

A sleeveless ballgown with a black bodice and a sweetheart neckline. The bodice is covered with rhinestones in varying sizes and patterns. The skirt is floor-length, full and bell-shaped, and the colors on it go in a rainbow pattern, from red near the waist, then orange, yellow, green, blue and purple at the hem. There is a pattern of black lines over the fabric, giving it a dramatic look.As I wrote last week, I came up with a new way of doing my rhinestones, and this is the result of my experiments. To go into Photoshop talk for a moment, I like to sketch out the design on my iPad and turn it into a path, then go over it with a rhinestone brush. (That’s just a circle brush with spaces and a layer style — the same basic technique that I wrote about in my Tiny Tutorial #2 for making a basic bead brush.) I turn it into a path automatically instead of going over it with the pen tool, which would produce a much cleaner path but takes more time. What I realized is that drawing shapes, not lines, makes this work better, as well as putting those shapes on separate layers so that I can make some parts in smaller rhinestones and some parts in larger ones. There’s more experimentation to be done, but this is a good start!

Next week, you may see more experimentation with the technique. 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 the occasional non-clothes related pin. If you enjoy my work, I'd also appreciate your support through Patreon.

Light Green Tea Length 1950s Prom Dress with Green Tulle and White Lace Sash

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

Today I started drawing so late that you are all lucky not to be getting the paperdoll equivalent of coal in your stocking! Even though I was tired I think this came out fairly cute, though. I don’t quite know why I thought a 1950s prom dress was just what I needed tonight, but they certainly are adorable. This one may even be a little understated, but did I mention I’m tired?

White and Blue Cherry Blossom Prom Gown

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

So it is harder than a person might think, trying to both draw a paperdoll outfit every day and keep studying Japanese at the same time. The thing is, neither one is just about doing the work itself, whether that work is drawing little flowers on a skirt or writing out row after row of kanji. To really do well at either of them, I have to be open to associated experiences. That is, when I’m studying Japanese, it means I listen to Japanese stories on my iPod while washing dishes, I read books about the modernization of Japan, the yakuza, and marriage and alliances in traditional families, I cook rice and miso soup, I even play video games in Japanese (until I get impatient, skim screens and screens of dialogue, then can’t quite tell exactly what’s going on anymore). If I’m paperdolling, I listen to audiobooks instead, I watch more movies and read more books in English, I take more time to notice how things fit together and how colors and textures around me work, I play around with my Prismacolors. Basically, I try to create as many opportunities as I can to link my life to my hobby, thinking “How can this make my Japanese better?” or “How can I can turn this into a paperdoll blog entry?” In short, I get obsessive. I do my best work in the grip of an obsession, but there are disadvantages too, like six-month paperdoll page vacations. Trying to indulge two obsessions at once? It’s kind of like… crossing the streams. Could be bad.

Ah, well, I’m coping (doesn’t hurt that my work schedule’s been light this month) and I’ve been thinking of ways to combine the two. Of course everyone suggested I draw Japanese clothes last time I brought this up, but actually, I don’t know much about Japanese clothes! Now, I draw things I don’t know much about all the time. I don’t mind drawing things like this robe à la polonaise or this 1920s dress on the strength of a couple days’ worth of research and a bunch of reference images, and if the colors are wrong, the hemline a few inches high or the shoes anachronistic, I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it. I’m not a historian, I just like learning new things and drawing something pretty. But I know enough about traditional Japanese clothes and more recent trends to feel like I can’t quite fake it in the same way, because it would seriously annoy me to get the details wrong. I don’t know how to choose an obi to go with a kimono, what impressions various colors and patterns give, and most of the time I’m lucky if I remember that the front folds left over right (because the other way around is how you dress a corpse). Basically, I can kind of make an informed guess about what looks right for a Regency gown, but I’m lost with a kimono. So, of course, the answer is to learn the details; I’m working on that but it’ll take me a while. Incidentally, if anyone can point me to any good online resources (especially ones with lots and lots of pictures) I’d appreciate it! I got a nice new book about kimono, too, so that holds promise…

I’m a little late for cherry blossom season, but getting back into paperdolling reminds me of something some of my Japanese friends mentioned, which is that spring is seen as a time to start new projects and things like that. I never seem to start new projects, though, I just go back to my paperdolls. Well, that’s OK though! Anyways, I don’t know if this is the kind of thing kids are wearing to prom these days (off my lawn, etc.) but that’s kind of how it looked to me when I was done with it.

Two More Prom Dresses from Liana’s Paper Doll Boutique

Click for the doll.

Sorry for two days of Boutique posts in a row, I’m just feeling horribly uninspired today. Anyways, the yellow gown is probably my favorite of the sixteen prom dresses I did for the Boutique! I’ll do something new tomorrow though.