Disneybound Snow White Outfit with Yellow Tulle Skirt

A shimmery dark blue camisole with a scoop neck tucked into a knee-length golden yellow tulle skirt. There's a light blue bolero jacket over the shoulders with lightly puffed cap sleeves. Each sleeve is ringed with a red ribbon and a small red bow.I recently got a book about drawing Disney princesses, “Learn To Draw Disney’s Enchanted Princesses” and although it’s ostensibly for ages six and up, I pity the poor six-year old who gets it for her birthday, sits down with her brand new sketchbook and tries to draw her favorite princess. The very first exercise is how to draw Snow White’s head, and if you’re wondering how to draw her eyes, well, here’s step 1 and step 2…
A picture of an oval next to a picture of a fully drawn cartoon eye.Looks like they’re missing two or three steps there to me!

That’s to say nothing of the later exercises: once you get to Tiana, who’s near the end of the book, they don’t even pretend to be holding your hand anymore.
Step 1: A circle for the head and a long curved line indicating the way the body will move. Step 2: A simplified body and large bell-shaped skirt drawn over the previous image.

“How To Draw The Tick” was a joke, but the difference between steps 1 and 2 here is no joke at all. This book either should be a lot longer, or should focus on only two or three princesses; either way I think the steps should be broken down a bit more for the benefit of readers who might not have several years of drawing experience to back them up.

However, I’m glad I bought the book, because of the very complexity that makes it so frustrating. If you have patience and drawing skill, it teaches you how to draw the princesses — not simplified approximations, but the princesses everyone wants to see more of, princesses that will make you the Queen of Buzzfeed for a day if you master them and pick some pop culture reference or art style to mash them up with. All you need is to be stubborn enough to draw the same thing over and over and over. There’s a movie about a tour of the Disney studios, The Reluctant Dragon, in which the man taking the tour meets with animator Ward Kimball, who dashes off a sketch and, when praised, answers that the first 100,000 drawings are the hardest. Even if the book broke down every step properly, it can’t do those 100,000 drawings for you. I’m starting to feel like I really will need to do that many drawings just to produce a Snow White head that looks like Snow White, because the slightest mistake is so noticeable.

So I’ve been spending a lot of time with Snow White lately, and I’m not even particularly all that much of a fan of Snow White unless she’s the Snow White in Castle Waiting. As with so many other expressions of femininity, like ballet and applying natural makeup, it takes a lot of hard work to produce a princess face that looks natural, simple and attractive. Trying to draw Snow White reminded me of a blog post by Andreas Deja, who worked as an animator at Disney for 30 years, where he wrote about Cinderella that “if you are off by the width of a pencil line, this character would look like an alien from outer space.” In my quest to draw Snow White, I’ve fallen right into the uncanny valley several times, and you’ll note that I’m not posting any sketches here! (You can see some if you stalk my Twitter account, but I’m not helping you out with a direct link.) But hey, I’m much better at drawing Snow White now than when I first started.

Today’s outfit is inspired by Disneybounding, which is putting together casual outfits that are an allusion to a Disney character. Here’s an article about Disneybounding, the Disneybounding tumblr that started it all, and a cool Pinterest board with examples of real-life Disneybounding. For my take on a Snow-White themed outfit, I started with a trendy tulle skirt and added a subtly sparkly blue camisole and a blue bolero jacket. (In my imagination the bolero jacket belongs to a bridesmaid’s dress ensemble, and the wearer added the ribbons later.)

Next week… well, you may actually see that fourth doll, who’s coming along nicely! Until then, you can download combined color and black and white PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free! (I’ll add the 2015 ones soon…) Also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, fashion plates and malformed sketches of Snow White’s head. If you enjoy my work, I'd also appreciate your support through Patreon.

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.

Ballgown with Tulle Skirt (A Not-Really-A-Tutorial Tutorial)

A ballgown with a halter-style black bodice and a floor-length, bell shaped skirt. The bodice is patterned with a metallic gold brocade. The gown is divided into three layers. The first one is shades of layered orange, yellow and red tulle under a light layer of black tulle, which the warm colors show through. The second layer is light green, dark green and light blue under a layer of black tulle. The third layer is dark blue, purple and magenta under a layer of black tulle. One of my Pinterest boards is titled “Paperdoll Reference.” It may as well be titled my “Why Can’t I Draw Like That?” board. I’ll pin dresses with interesting coloring, particularly shiny dresses or dresses with great draping, with the intention of using them to study from. Not being the most diligent artist in the world, I’ve been piling up interesting examples and not doing all that much with them. Then the thought came to me, why not make the learning process into a paper doll outfit? (Everything’s better with paperdolls.) Sort of like a tutorial, except I, too, start out with no clue what I’m doing. Let’s learn together!

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Red and Gold Party Dress

A strapless red dress with a tight bodice and a V-shaped waistline. The wide, knee-length circle skirt is flared out as if the wearer is spinning around. The whole dress is made of sleek, bright red fabric patterned with golden curls and dots, and the reverse side of the fabric, seen in a few folds at the edge of the skirt, is gold.

This dress was intended to be a birthday dress, but after much fussing in Photoshop I couldn’t get my initial vision to look as I had intended it to. Just for fun I gave it a bright red color and a playful golden pattern, and then I couldn’t bring myself to change it because it is just too cute. They don’t all have to be super fancy, and I love the movement in the skirt. Maybe this will be the year I finally do a full set of birthday dresses, but this is not the month they will start.

A black and white version of a gown with princess seams and lacing up the bodice. There's an under-layer that shows at the neck. The sleeves are three-quarter and there are long lengths of fabric that drape over the forearms and fall almost to the ground.Thanks to everyone who entered my contest last week! I enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions. The winner of the contest was Lorie Harding. I didn’t have the black and white version ready by last week, but it’s done now, with Mia modeling it for us. So, Lorie, please post a comment or e-mail me by next Friday to tell me how you’d like this one colored!

Next week, we have Adventures in Tulle, in which you all get a view into my digital coloring learning process and we wind up with a ballgown with a tri-color tulle skirt. Don’t forget that you can now download PDFs of all of my 2014 dolls and outfits for free – easier than fussing with all the files individually! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for sneak previews, paperdoll thoughts and pictures of pretty jewelry. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.