Magenta, Charcoal Grey, Olive Green and Wine Red Ruffled Gown

A strapless, velvet gown with a silver sash around the waist, a peplum, and multiple ruffles dangling from the waist. Most of the gown is dark magenta, while the ruffles are either magenta, green or red at the edges, turning grey towards the top of the ruffle.Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.
It’s contest time! This time it’s on Facebook, so please take a look at my Facebook page to enter. The winner gets to tell me how to color a brand new medieval dress! If you don’t use Facebook, no worries, because I plan to move the contests around. The next one may be over Twitter, through my mailing list or on this blog. This was colored for the winner of my last contest, Lauren. She guessed that my son had a thing for spoons. (It’s been long enough since then that he can’t be easily amused by just handing him a grown-up spoon. No, he wields spoons on his own these days, and he only needs me to just scrape up the last bits of peanut butter oatmeal for him.) Lauren wrote, “I like the ruffle gown from the may 15th 2010 post; I picture it in a dark purpely magenta with wine red, olive green and charcoal grey accents. I think the dress should have a velvety, smoky look to it.” I hope you like it, Lauren!

I decided to use colored pencils for this dress, just for old times’ sake. If all goes well, this will be the last dress for Grace and Ivy, and it just seemed right to color it this way. I haven’t touched my colored pencils for so long that when I started taking them out, I felt like the hero of a samurai movie or a Western who’s forsworn violence taking up the sword or gun one more time. Because of my carpal tunnel, I’ve been scared of what it would feel like, but my thumb didn’t go numb at all. It just felt awkward to draw with a brace on my hand, and my hand ached slightly. This experience made me feel more confident about moving to digital coloring. I’m not saying I’m never going to use colored pencils again, certainly. It was just plain fun to draw with them, and I’m glad I did this dress in them.

But they have so many drawbacks compared to digital coloring! For one thing, they never look as good as scanned as they do drawn. This one looks much more subtle in reality, but if I try to even it out once it’s scanned, it just looks washed out. Doing digital coloring, I know from the start how the color will look in the end, and it’s much less frustrating. Plus, I don’t have to deal with a hundred plus pencils, not to mention sharpening them. That’s a real concern! If I’m drawing while my son naps, there’s no sharpening for me.

One of the biggest problems is that there’s no changing things after the fact. I decided, after drawing the first green ruffle, that the ruffles really needed just a touch of a lighter color on the edge, otherwise they looked too flat. But it was too late to add it with colored pencils. (I added just a touch of green in Photoshop later.) With colored pencils, I put something on the page and that’s where it stays, but I can redo lines, colors and so on as often as I need to when I’m using Photoshop or Procreate (my iPad drawing program). This can be both good and bad — you should see me redraw a simple-looking line ten times to get it just right — but mostly I think it leads to better drawings.

It does make my hand hurt, sadly, although it’s nowhere near where it was when I first started wearing the wrist brace. I can tell that I don’t want to do the detail work that really makes a drawing great, just because it would involve a lot of gripping the pencil tightly and pressing really hard. It makes me feel like I just want to get this drawing done already.

All the same, using colored pencils gave me a sense of nostalgia. I’ll probably never write them off completely…

Next Friday, if all goes well, you’ll meet my new doll and see the site redesign! If all doesn’t go well, I’ll still have something pretty for you to enjoy, so no worries. Wish me luck, and wish my husband Brian luck, because he’s the one doing all the fiddly WordPress stuff! Don’t forget to enter my contest on Facebook, and for updates on how the new content is going, follow me on Twitter. Also, if you use Pinterest, please check out my profile: I’m taking a page from RLC’s book and using it for paperdoll reference — and plain old pretty thing reference, too.

Edit Jan. 24 1:17 PM: My mom suggested that I add a mask, and I thought that was a great idea, so I did! The PDF has now been fixed, too.

9 thoughts on “Magenta, Charcoal Grey, Olive Green and Wine Red Ruffled Gown

  1. I love that the coloring gives the feel of the texture and it’s got a lot of color but…well,this dress is far from a favorite. I think it needs a nice Mari Gras mask to balance the look. Surely, there a little nap time you can use to do that?:)

  2. Hi Liana,
    Love the dress and the colors. Gorgeous. I’m so sorry you have problems with carpal tunnel. That’s got to be frustrating for an artist!
    I’m having trouble with the PDF. I don’t get the whole dress only part of the ruffles. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  3. I can appreciate the fun of pulling out old art supplies. I recently sat down to sew after having done nothing but repairs for the last few years. It felt wonderful to pull out fabric, cut out piece and make something in the “real world” sometimes digital art feels very removed to me.

  4. Thank you for coloring one last dress for us! I love your colored dresses–I mean with pencil–but I totally understand making the switch. My daughter and I will still enjoy your dresses!

    By the way, the PDF version isn’t working for me, it’s showing up a closeup of the ruffles. If you ever have a minute and can address that, I would be grateful. That way the dress will fit my daughter’s dolls when I print it. But I’m a mom too and I know time is tricky, so please don’t feel I’m rushing you. Thanks so much!

  5. Mom: Mask added :) Thanks, that was a good idea!

    Lorie: I don’t know how I managed to screw up the PDF, but you’re right, it was just the ruffles! It should be fine now :)

    RLC: I’ve always liked the idea of being able to sew, but have never learned, so I’m a little envious! I keep thinking I’ll learn eventually… but it’s not looking like I will.

    dannyscotland: All done! As my mom suggested, I fixed things up during baby’s nap time :)

  6. You’re amazing and awesome! Thank you so very much! I know you work hard, and I know how it is with little ones, but you don’t know what joy these dolls have brought my little girl! (And me, too!)

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