The Mythic Ball, Part 1: Dragon’s Blue, Black and Gold Masquerade Gown with Flame Underskirt

A black velvet masquerade gown with a square neckline, long sleeves and a large, bell-shaped skirt. At the neckline is a gold band in a stylized flame pattern, with a large fire opal surrounded by rhinestones set in the middle. The sleeves have blue ruffles at the shoulders and at the wrists, with iridescent blue-green highlights and shades of purple in the shaded areas. There's a bit of golden lace above each ruffle. A pattern of golden scrolls runs down the length of the sleeve. The bodice has a long, triangle-shaped area from the neckline to the waist patterned with shiny blue and purple dragon scales and bordered with delicate gold lace. At the waist is a gold band with a stylized flame pattern, set with three fire opals surrounded by rhinestones. The overskirt is open at the front and edged with a blue iridescent ruffle and golden lace. A golden pattern of a stylized dragon breathing flames is on the edge of the skirt. The underskirt appears to be made of fire. There's a light blue tail curling over the edge of the skirt and light blue wings at the shoulders, tipped with golden horns, and there's a small black velvet mask decorated with golden scrolls.Every year on Halloween, a certain kind of idea or story takes form, gets dressed up and throws a great party, called the mythic ball. These ideas prefer to be called “archetypes” (and you use the term “monster” at your own peril). For example, Dragon here isn’t a particular dragon; she didn’t make Saint George a legend, she’s never guarded the vaults in Gringotts and she doesn’t make a habit of burninating anything. Rather, she exists as the idea of a dragon, a force created by human culture and called upon when someone needs something large, reptilian and powerful for a particular creation.

It’s the night of the mythic ball; Dragon is holding court in her glorious dress. She was the queen of the monsters’ ball last year; those rare times she doesn’t win, she’s quite gracious about it, knowing as she does that the title will pass back to her sooner rather than later. Certain parties are known to hum “Puff, the Magic Dragon” behind her back, and there was a great fuss last year when Kraken made a snippy remark about her archetype being based on majestic giant squids and Dragon’s being based on cute little frill-necked lizards.

“I suppose you’re all just as popular as ever?” Dragon asks the group of archetypes surrounding her. She’s trying, without success, to keep from looking smug. Her courteous nature doesn’t allow her to directly bring up her own triumphs, but should someone happen to return the question to her, she would bring up how very pleased she was by that handsome and very popular young man voicing one of her newer representations, and how she had actually figured in several very popular cultural works lately. As a matter of fact, these days representing her archetype could be said to constitute its own industry. Not that she had calculated the salary of all the CG renderers, motion capture specialists, character designers and fantasy artists and authors who made up her most devoted fanbase, but she was sure it would be a most pleasing number. They feed their families and expand their portfolios thanks to the world’s desire for her; she grows as if nourished not by a hoard of gold but by a wealth of stories and artistic works.

Incidentally, there’s a second dragon archetype enjoying the party; this one is older than she is, and, she knows, more powerful. How much of her desire to be the center of this event stems from her jealousy, I can’t say.

Happy October, a month which you may know I like to celebrate as the most important time of the paperdoll year since it includes Halloween, a holiday that just begs for fanciful costumes. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember this dragon-themed masquerade gown from 2010, and the promise of similar dresses to come. It never happened, because I finished that dress — still one of my favorites — and realized I’d never top it in time. (I think that’s also when I first noticed my wrists having problems.) Well, now that I’m doing digital coloring and shooting for one dress a week, it’s time to revisit the mythic ball…

Who will we meet next? The contentious Kraken mentioned in this installment, perhaps? Or another of the many archetypes attending the ball? Come back next week to find out! In the meantime, don’t forget that you can now 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 fun reference images of dresses. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader Paperdoll Series #1: Cool Colored Gown based on the Dawn Treader

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

“It was a picture of a ship — a ship sailing nearly straight towards you. Her prow was gilded and shaped like the head of a dragon with wide open mouth. She had only one mast and one large, square sail which was a rich purple. The sides of the ships — what you could see of them where the gilded wings of the dragon ended — were green. She had just run up to the top of one glorious blue wave, and the nearer slope of that wave came down towards you, with streaks and bubbles on it. She was obviously running fast before a gay wind, listing over a little on her port side. (By the way, if you are going to read this story at all, and if you don’t know already, you had better get it into your head that the left of a ship when you are looking ahead, is port, and the right is starboard.) All the sunlight feel on her from that side, and the water on that side was full of greens and purples. On the other, it was darker blue from the shadow of the ship.” – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 1: The Picture in the Bedroom

I have often thought it would be fun to do something like this, and since so far this February I have done nothing but a trio of (admittedly cute) rainbow gowns and feel rather as if I am in need of forgiveness from my very patient audience, I thought that now is as good a time as any to try it out. Before you ask, no, I have not seen the movie; rather, I saw a couple of the trailers and decided I most certainly did not want to see the movie, but I would very much like to re-read the book. My favorite of the Narnia books is The Horse And His Boy, but I love the sense of adventure and beauty in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and as I re-read it, I couldn’t help but think about adapting it to paperdolls. It’s a great medium for a project like this, don’t you think? It provides room for something in between a costume and an illustration, and allows waves to become ruffles and for wildly impractical dragon wings that frame the face.

I’m going to aim to draw a new one every week until I finish, not a whole series of them all at once, so don’t be alarmed when there is a kimono next Saturday! Also – don’t forget to join me for livedolling the Oscars! Apparently the part I’m most interested in (that is, the red carpet) will start at 7:00 PM EST, 4:00 PM for me out here on the west coast.

Now, let me see if I have correctly judged what will most delight a nice big share of my readers…

Colors used: Poppy Red, Crimson Red, Tuscan Red, Black Grape, Violet Blue, Lilac, Cool Grey 20%, Cool Grey 50%, Cool Grey 90%, French Grey 10%, Black, Dark Umber, Light Umber, Cream, Sunburst Yellow, Goldenrod, Dark Green, Kelly Green, Peacock Green, Parrot Green, Pale Sage, Light Green, Spring Green, all the blues I own Light Cerulean Blue, China Blue, Powder Blue, Indigo Blue, Peacock Blue, Sky Blue Light, Cloud Blue, Mediterranean Blue

Halloween ’10 Day 8: Dragon Masquerade Gown in Green and Gold

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

As I said before, this week we join the mythical ball! At this time of year, not only does my traffic increase dramatically, but my masquerade gowns get quite popular, so I thought I would like to add to my stock. As far as the design goes, this dragon-themed masquerade gown was the low-hanging fruit of the five ball gowns I have planned, and I was able to sketch it out fairly easily and plan the colors without any problems… but in execution, oh, my aching hand! So that’s why it is a day late — it was just too good to rush. The others may suffer a similar fate, so do be patient with me.

I do love designing and drawing masquerade gowns! I like anything I don’t have to do a lot of research for, and by design masquerade gowns can be exquisitely beautiful, wild and creative, or both. If all goes well this week, you’ll see some fun ones…

Prismacolors used:Black, Poppy Red, Sunburst Yellow, Dark Umber, Cool Grey 50%, Pale Sage, Tuscan Red, Dark Green, Peach Beige, Grass Green, French Grey 30%, Black Grape, Lilac, Pumpkin Orange, Spring Green, Indigo Blue, Powder Blue, Sky Blue Light, Cool Grey 70%, Light Umber, Goldenrod, Yellowed Orange, Chartreuse, Yellow Chartreuse, Peacock Blue, Cream; Verithin Ultramarine, Orange, Crimson Red, Peacock Blue, Violet, Dark Brown, Grass Green, Cool Grey 70%; Sakura Soufflé White

Halloween ’10, Day 7: Black And White Cute Bat Costume

Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.
After drawing six iterations of a half-hearted gown, I took elements of the bodice that I liked and drew a cute bat costume around them.

That might tell you all a little more about the way my mind works than I am entirely comfortable divulging, but there you have it.

Next week, we shall have masquerade gowns for a mythical ball. I haven’t come up with a story to catch them in, but even if I don’t, they should be so much fun that they won’t need one…

There’s still time to vote on the Good Queen’s next appearance, but you’ll have to scroll down for it, because now it’s time for my favorite part of the Halloween costume parade: what was your favorite this week? (And last week, actually — I can’t leave out my priestess robes.)