Lavender-Tailed Mermaid with White and Gold Top and Starfish Brooch

A bluish-lavender mermaid tail with lighter, warmer fins along the top, sides and base of the tail. The top is a one-shoulder Greek inspired white top that shows the midriff and is bordered with gold scroll patterns. At the shoulder is a golden starfish brooch with an opal in the middle, and there are strands of pearls looped over the shoulder and upper arm.Here’s my first digitally colored mermaid tail! I’m not entirely satisfied with it, because without a little scale pattern I think it looks too flat, but I’m only just getting started with digital coloring so for today it will work.

I’ve had mermaids on the brain, because I read a book called Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee, which was all about how to construct a compelling, well-paced and satisfying story. It’s aimed at screenwriters, but it dealt with universal principles, so I got a lot out of it even though I’m not planning on writing a movie anytime soon. It’s a great book, but also pretty dense and something like 400 pages long, so I’ll also recommend Hilari Bell’s writing tips, which present much of the same information in a way that may be more understandable.

I always enjoyed writing my mini-stories about my mermaid world for this site, and I’ve often thought of making it into an actual story. I have a rather large amount of information already written about aspects of mermaid society, actually. Where I trip up is my lack of understanding about oceanography, general scientific principles and experience underwater, which has a direct bearing on a story set somewhere besides dry land. What does it feel like to hear things underwater, and what sounds are easiest to hear underwater? What might materials mermaids could possibly use to build cities look like after years spent in the sea? How far down can mermaids dive before they start to have problems with the pressure? Can they breathe underwater, like fish, or do they have to come up for air, like dolphins? If I want the geography to look a certain way, how did that come about? If you can’t store paper books underwater or too close to water, is there a good way of distributing and storing reading material?

For many of these questions, I don’t even know where to start looking because I have only a vague recollection of my science classes. I suppose if it’s my fantasy world I can answer all these things however I like, or simply not care, but to me it’s more fun if the world is plausible and the fantastic elements are placed elsewhere. I love worldbuilding, especially stuff like this geological history of A Game of Thrones where the setting is taken quite seriously. Still, it slows me down because I’m imagining a lot of things from scratch and learning a lot of things for the first time. If I actually want to write something, I’d probably do better with a setting that is easier to nail down, but I keep returning to my mermaids. And I do like it when I have the time to learn new things that I can apply to the world – I keep reading books about science or marine animals and coming up with mermaid world applications for little details.

In any case, it looks like an elf dress won my poll, with 51% of the vote, so I will sketch some out and be back next week with a black and white dress and a new contest, plus a 1930s outfit. Until then, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for site updates, previews and mermaid jewelry. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


Recolored Regency Gown in Bright Colors

A lavender regency gown trimmed with white lace at the neck and sleeves. The sleeves are gently puffed and the bodice is ruched, trimmed on the right side with red roses and blue forget-me-nots. Under the bust is a pink ribbon sash decorated with a scroll pattern. The dress fabric is decorated with small embroidered white flowers, then at the edge of the skirt are pink swags, trimmed with lace, with pink hearts, red roses and blue forget-me-nots at the top of each swag. Intricate white embroidery surrounds the flowers. Under the swags are pleated turquoise frills that fan out to the ground and are trimmed with white lace. Long white gloves are attached to the outfit, and there is a pink wrap over the arms that is decorated with a shiny gold paisley pattern. At the neck is a thin gold chain and a pearl pendant.I didn’t finish the dress I meant to have up today (the contest winner), so for now, I will present the recoloring chosen by one of the two winners of my Oscar contest, dannyscotland! Technically, it was chosen by her 5-year old daughter, and it did turn out to be vibrant. She wrote:

I have consulted with my ‘assistant’ a.k.a. daughter, and she would like to have you color the Valentine’s Day Regency Gown. For five years old, she’s pretty specific, so please feel free to alter as you see fit. :-) And thanks for understanding. She (and I, I guess) would love to see turquoise gloves and bottom ruffle, a pink shawl, lavender dress (the body of the dress), red roses, and pink draping over the bottom ruffle, kind of like it is now. Maybe it could be a different shade of pink?

Dannyscotland, I hope you and your daughter like it! It was fun for me, because the finished dress is quite different from the original, but it does some fun things in and of itself. The blue of the ruffle actually complements the forget-me-nots, and with the lavender background, you can see that there is a very subtle swirl pattern on the fabric, which was pretty hard to see on the earlier version.

The top part of a blue gown with a delicate darker blue vine and white flower pattern and puffed sleeves. There are a line of pearls at the neckline and a wide gold belt with pearls.But wait – that’s not all there is today! RLC of Paper Thin Personas has been doing interviews with paper doll bloggers lately, and for this month, she interviewed me! Check out the interview for my thoughts on why I love paper dolls, how I created the pose for the new doll series and whether I prefer sparkly things with some shine or shiny things with some sparkle. Plus, I did a blue princess gown exclusively for RLC’s site! If you’d like to see and download the full dress, you’ll have to check out the interview.

Come back next week for the 1912 gown with colors and patterns chosen by my husband! (I’ll give you a hint: Beetles.) I’ll do the poll next week, too. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for site updates, paperdoll thoughts and very pretty opals. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


Blue, White and Purple Ancient Greek Peplos with Gold Jewelry

A blue peplos, which is a sleeveless draped garment held up with pins at the shoulders. The top is folded over and is light blue, fading to white at the hem at the waist. At the edge of the fabric is a gold heart and line pattern. Underneath is the skirt part, which is a rich blue, turning purple towards the hem. At the hem of the ankle-length skirt are gold line, wave and scroll patterns. There is a bracelet with two large purple stones, a gold necklace with purple stones and gold drops and a diadem with a heart pattern and purple gems.This outfit is the result of my second contest, which I held over Twitter. An ancient Greek outfit won out over a 1930s dress or a fairy outfit, so I started a Pinterest board and did some research into what they were like. Happily, in this day and age plenty of the relevant information is easily available for free!


I’d be happy to hear about other good sources of information — for all I know, something new has been found since these books were printed! I wanted to read these books thoroughly and do more research, but didn’t have time. So I will probably continue, albeit slowly, even though this outfit is all done.

The winner of the contest, chosen by a random drawing, was Karen Martin, and here’s what she requested:

I think for colors, I’d like white, blue, and gold, with maybe some purple thrown in?

She also got to choose from a list of patterns, and she chose the wave, scroll and heart patterns you see on the outfit. So here it is! Karen, I hope you like it.

Let’s start a new contest! Part 1 is a poll, which will close next Thursday. Once I know what I’ll do next, I’ll do my research and draw a sketch, then hold the contest on the 21st. Here are your options…

Come back next week for a dress based on a key scene from one of the coolest games I’ve played in a long time! As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterestfor updates, sneak previews and lovely Art Nouveau pendant pictures. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.


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…