Introducing Mia!

An adult female doll in a long, flowing gown. She has olive skin and shiny brown hair arranged in large curls that extends past her shoulders. Her expression is serene and she has hazel eyes, subdued purple eyeshadow and natural pink lipstick. She has pearl earrings and pink fingernails. She is wearing a one-shoulder gown with a white satin bodice patterned with thin, light grey scrolls. The skirt of the gown is yellow near the waist, then gradually turns to orange, then to red near the hem, and is sparkling all over. A gold belt separates the two parts of the gown, and has a large amethyst circled by a ring of pearls. She is wearing a gold circlet decorated with pearls and three smaller amethysts.Meet Mia, my first digitally-colored doll! I hope you all like her, as I’ve worked very hard to prepare a doll that I was happy with. I also intend to release other dolls to go with her, hopefully once a month. Mia’s name was partially chosen by people on the mailing list and people who follow me on Facebook and Twitter: I chose five names I liked, then made a poll. Right up to the very end, Mia and Amethyst were tied, but Mia pulled forward at the very end. I enjoyed the poll and will probably do it for future dolls!

The site is also shiny and new, thanks to my husband Brian Kerr of Different Chairs. Brian happens to do this sort of thing for a living, and he worked with me to create a fabulous showcase for my art and make the site faster, easier to read and tablet and mobile phone-friendly. The results are amazing, and I feel very lucky that I can put my new, more detailed digital coloring work on such a simple, but sophisticated site. It’s even got its own domain name! (Took me long enough.)

You’ll notice some changes. First, if you want to print out the dolls and dresses, you’ll want to use the PDFs; the other graphics no longer have tabs. This is so that you can enjoy the detail without the tabs to distract you, and also so that the pages print out consistently.

There is also a black-and-white version that you can print out, too! When I was drawing paper dolls that had black outlines, I used to make black-and-white versions of the dresses, but when I stopped outlining the drawings, that was the end of versions that you could color yourself. Now, because of the way I transfer my drawings to digital versions, it’s simple to make black-and-white versions of the dresses. If you color them yourself, I’d love to see the results!

I’ve made it easier to follow me on social media: I post site updates and my thoughts about paperdolling on Twitter @lianapaperdolls, site updates, things I’ve been working on and fun links on my Facebook fan page, and a steady stream of ballgowns, saris and Art Nouveau jewelry on my Pinterest boards. You can also sign up for my mailing list, the form is on the top right-hand side of the page. I’d love if you’d follow me on whichever of these fine platforms best suits you, or just come back to the page every Friday!

I finished my Paperdoll Retrospective from the other day by saying that the best days of this blog are still to come. I hope you’ll agree that Mia is a good start!

Come back next Friday for a medieval gown fit for a queen. The subject was chosen by my Facebook fans, and the coloring will be decided by Nikki Paulsen, who won my contest.

Edit (Feb. 2, 2014): I’ve edited the PDFs so that the dolls and dresses are slightly smaller, so that more elaborate gowns will be able to fit into the printable area on the page. If you’ve already downloaded the old PDFs, please delete them and download the new ones!

Masquerade Gown in Yellow Damask and Orange With Yellow Lace and Blue Bow

A masquerade gown with a bodice with a yellow damask pattern. The neckline is off the shoulders and slightly V-shaped, and is trimmed with a line of orange ribbon. The sleeves are three-quarter, and their edges are trimmed with more orange ribbon. There are long ruffles attached to the edges of the sleeves, and they are yellow and decorated with a lacy pattern. The bodice extends over the top of the skirt and is gathered at one hip, decorated with a light blue bow. From the bow, four rows of ruffles fall towards the base of the skirt like a waterfall. Each one is made of yellow lace. The skirt is orange, and falls to the floor. It is decorated with a leafy branch pattern in light orangeClick for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.

Sorry, I said you had seen the last of this one for a while, but Sarah, who won my previous contest by guessing that Milo’s favorite blankie is white, green and blue, didn’t get her request in until after the Sparkly Masquerade Gown week, so here it is now! (No sparkles, though.) She wrote: “Anyways, could you color that dress with a very pale yellow on top with darker orange on the bottom?” So here we have it. I hope you like it, Sarah! The damask is from Pixels & Ice Cream, and the lace, pattern on the skirt and white trim are from Obsidian Dawn.

Queens of the Sea #7: Pirate Costume for Unknown Pirate Captain

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

Welcome to day seven of the Queens of the Sea series, part of the Random Magic Pirates book tour! Here is the mini-bio for today’s pirate, provided again by Lyrika:

Unknown French pirate captain: The Mystery Captain

Jamaica Rose and Michael MacLeod relate the tale of a mystery pirate captain in their book, The Book of Pirates

In 1805, an American who was held prisoner in Cuba reported on a French privateer vessel, La Baugourt. He said the ship had a crew of one hundred, ‘commanded by a woman.’ This is about all that is known of this unnamed captain.

This anecdote might’ve easily been dismissed as just a fanciful tale, if not for the fact that there is, indeed, a mention of the activity of French privateers at that time — and this very ship — included in a volume of The Mariner’s Mirror, a quarterly bulletin printed by the Society for Nautical Research.

I have been trying to stay at least true to the spirit of the historical periods, and to think “well, someone in this century would have worn this, not that” or “if someone was just a regular sailor she wouldn’t be swanning around in a fancy coat, right?” or “no, somehow, I get the feeling hot pants were never actually part of most female pirates’ wardrobe.” But if this mysterious pirate captain may have never existed, I feel a little more free to give her a costume that never existed! Well, it’s not the most unreasonable pirate costume I’ve ever seen…

By the way, I’m scheduled to have another paper doll up tomorrow, but I’ll be out of town, so I’m going to try to do two over the weekend instead.

Don’t forget to enter my contests! Click here for the chance to win an original drawing, for those of you who can give me an address if you win, and click here for the chance to design a pirate outfit, open to everyone!

Check out the tour schedule here! And for more information about Random Magic, here’s the trailer for the book.

Also, check out the Rum + Plunder treasure hunt for more pirate prizes!

There is still time to join my crew… Take the poll!

Golden Yellow and Blue 1700s Gown

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

Shannon won the contest before last for guessing which kid I was in this picture: I’m the girl with short brown hair to the top right, underneath the outstretched arm of the boy on the chair. There are pictures of me on the “about” page and on my Twitter feed, so you can see how I turned out. She wrote:

Yaay! Lucky guess. :) I would looove to see the black and white 1700s dress colored in a golden yellow and royal (tending navy) blue with cream lace.

It reminds me of the other time I colored this gown, but it’s cute in its own right! I hope you like it, Shannon.