November Birthday Gown with Chrysanthemums and Topazes in Orange and White, and an announcement

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

If I get distracted and don’t update, eventually people start to worry if I’m ever coming back. This makes me smile. I call drawing paper dolls a “hobby,” but it seems to have more in common with a curse. When I’m on my deathbed, I’ll probably be drawing the outfit I’ll be buried in — or maybe the one I wish I was being buried in, which will have 90% more pearls.

That said, trying to post something almost every day has obviously come to be untenable. If I’m just coming up with an outfit, it takes from five minutes to an hour to decide what I want to draw and what it will look like, and if I’m researching something like a particular year’s fashions, it might take an hour or two to get a sense of what the styles were like, then that five minutes to an hour again to come up with an original drawing. The time I spend drawing has increased over the years, easily hitting three hours for something with a lot of detail, and then there’s the time involved in scanning, cleaning up and writing a post – an hour, maybe two depending on the post. My job is part-time and the hours vary wildly, so sometimes it’s actually not all that unreasonable for me to take that kind of time working on something, and then just as often I get scheduled for a lot of hours and feel busy again.

Besides the actual work involved, a lot of other factors come into play: do I have a great idea or am I feeling really uninspired? Is there something else I’m really involved in at the moment? Have I put off drawing until it’s fairly late? Would the thing I want to draw take a long time to research? If, after work and chores, I only have time for one interesting activity, do I really want it to be paperdolls? Are my Prismacolors organized, or are all my blues rolling around my desk drawer because I stole one of my plastic bags I use to sort them for a trip through airline security? Do I much feel like sharing myself with the world today, or am I content with keeping to myself, hermit-like? Do I have time to write a good blog post, as well, or will it just be a couple of sentences I pad out so that it doesn’t look so unbalanced next to the dress? What about all those things I said I’d do and didn’t? (If I never heard the phrase “twelve dancing princesses” again it would be way too soon.)

In short, I expect too much from myself, I don’t prepare myself well, then I psych myself out and end up using my time elsewhere or really phoning it in. It’s frustrating and unfulfilling, so I’m going to try a different tack. Here are my main goals:
1) To draw three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
2) To write blog posts that aren’t just afterthoughts
3) To integrate my drawing hobby with my interest in Japanese

The first two are pretty self-explanatory; the third one is something I’ve been thinking of for quite some time, and I think I’ve come up with some good ways to do it.

Well, we’ll see how I do. Wish me luck! And thank you, as always, for your patience. Sometimes I wonder if I unconsciously sabotage myself with unreliable behavior so that I can deflect notice, hoping to drive people away so I don’t have to add their expectations to the already ridiculous weight of my own. Whether it’s that or just plain old laziness, either way you all are much better readers than I deserve.

Today, a November birthday dress with chrysanthemums and topaz accents. How many more of these do I have to do? I know I’ve skipped rather a few…

January Birthday Dress with Red Arabeque Patterned Tunic and Long-Sleeved Underdress with Snowdrops

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

And, for my last post of June, we have… the January birthday dress. Did I ever mention how lucky I am anyone still bothers reading this site? I’m sorry, January birthday people, although you do technically have one January dress for Sylvia. I never liked that one, though. You see the big white band on the red overskirt? There was supposed to be a snowdrop pattern there. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it for some reason. I don’t know if I like this one either, but that’s because the original is so much better than the scan… Oh well. Anyways, all I have to do is April now, and then I can catch up on the rest of the months as they come.

Prismacolors used: French Grey family (dress), Cool Grey family (snowdrops), Black, Kelly Green, Poppy Red, Crimson Red, Crimson Lake, Tuscan Red, Colorless Blender.

Colored Elf Gown in Blues and Greys with Grey Lavender Edges and Silver Trim

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

Emily won my last contest, for guessing that I had had visitors from 115 countries last week, and this was her request: “Can I choose a dress that has already been colored? Because if so I would like the Lord of the Rings elf gown from 10/5/09, but (kind of opposite of how it was colored before) in blues and grays, maybe a bit of very blueish lavender, and silver trim.” I really like how it turned out… hope you do too, Emily! (And don’t worry, trazy, I haven’t forgotten yours! I just want to do it justice, and I’ve messed up on the pattern too many times today…)

In my imagination, the elf who wears this dress and the one who wears today’s dress are good friends. The one who loves bright colors (we’ll call her Cathiel) has, over the years, influenced her friend’s color sense; you can thank her for the purple at the edges of this one, which seems quite muted to her but was a big leap forward for her sober-minded friend, who we’ll call Rhylar. It also means that she can thank her mother and aunt (who, unsurprisingly, disapprove of her style) quite sincerely for their optimistic gifts of pearl grey and clay rose robes: she assures them that she will put them to good use, and she does. They make wonderful gifts for the more conventional Rhylar. They like to find a picturesque spot and practice duets; Cathiel is a middling flutist, while Rhylar is decent on her harp, but a gifted singer. Often the former will lay aside her flute, close her eyes and just listen to her beloved friend sing a song or two, and if part of her attention wanders and she mentally changes Rhylar’s rust-colored gown to a snappy, sunshiny yellow, it only heightens her enjoyment of the scene.

White Medieval Wedding Gown with Long Sleeves and Gold and Silver Embroidery

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

“This may or may not influence what I end up drawing,” I wrote when I put up the wedding dress poll, but then “flowing, fantasy” gowns got over 50% of the vote, and, well, allow me to shamelessly pander for a night. I hope this is the sort of thing that people were envisioning; sorry that the bouquet looks so awkward. I envisioned it as a bouquet of ivy and sweet peas, incidentally, although I got a little tired towards the end.

Hey, let’s do a new contest! This one will be easy, so someone’s bound to guess it soon.
Last week (from the 8th to the 14th), how many different countries did my site visitors come from?
Post your guess in the comments! Again, the rules:
1) If you’ve already won this year, please don’t enter.
2) One guess per person per day.
3) If no one gets the exact date by 9:00 PM EST, June 19th, I’ll pick the closest guess.
4) I’ll give one hint each day the contest goes on.

Don’t worry, trazy, I will color yours next week, after I’m done with my week of weddings.