Friday, January 30, 2009

Finding treasure...

Last post we got started on a valentine paper doll. Now I want to make a plastic template for the skirt shape, and plan the head, as just today I found one! On a visit to the library I sorted through the free postcard/brochure/flyer section and found a number of images which have potential and which I'll toss into my clipping file. Laying in the recycle bin was a disgarded catalogue from Canada Post showing postage stamps that were available. Inside was a head and shoulder shot of a young Audrey Hepburn. The size looked to be perfect for the skirt shape/size that I am using so I nabbed it. See the photo? It shows the array of images I got today. All free. One image in particular is of a Japanese woman that is so clear it has perfect potential as the beginning of a paper doll. So I am excited about that.

But I am wanting to make a plastic template so I need plastic material. I popped into the post office which is located at a 'quick print' business and discovered that their laminating machine had a whole bunch of scraps laying underneath it on the floor. I asked if I could have some of the scrap pieces. Yes was the now I have a bundle of plastic to make templates. So far I have spent nothing and am excited and inspired and can get on with making my doll.

Two more quick stops and then it's time to head home to work on my doll. I dropped by the bank to pick up a few of the deposit envelopes at the bank machine. Free art supplies. And I went to the dollar store to see what might be new in the scrapbooking section. They're always bringing in new stuff. Sure enough-my crow radar zeroes in on a package of shiny gemstones. A variety pack that must have (well let's count them)...265 stars, hearts, squares, ovals, butterflies, teardrops, circles, flowers. Every color. All different sizes. I had to open the package anyway as I am using the flat heavier (heavier than the laminating plastic) plastic of the packaging material holding the gemstones in place, to make the skirt template. Time to head home. How much money did I spend on art supplies today? One dollar. On the gemstones.

Let's make a template...

First you need a shape and I'd selected the skirt outline that I loved. Using an envelope I drew the outline of half of the skirt shape, with the fold of the envelope running down the middle of the skirt. Cut the shape out to see if it is what you had in mind. If you're not happy with it just keep drawing shapes, modifying your drawing each time, until you get what you like. When you've struck upon it, take the cut out paper skirt shape and tape it to a piece of plastic. You can cut the plastic in two ways. 1. If you only have scissors, then carefully cut the plastic following the edges as exactly as you can, of the skirt outline. It's as if you were just re-cutting along the edges of the paper cut out from the envelope. What you have now is a 'positive' shape of the skirt. There's no surrounding area whatsoever. You've cut it all away. 2. If you have an xacto knife I hope you have a cutting mat as well! Actually I've cut on cardboard (as a mat) successfully but it dulls the cutting blade in 2 seconds flat. You approach the cutting differently here, as you are cutting a 'negative' of the shape. You want to preserve and KEEP the whole area surrounding the skirt so that the skirt area itself falls away and disappears. Cut the outline of the skirt shape a bit at a time, getting rid of the skirt section and seeing that the margin areas surrounding the skirt are kept in tact. Are you with me so far?

Okay, so now you have a plastic template of the skirt. It's see-through so you can easily see where you are positioning it on your paper or collage image (mine was a blob of collaged tomatoes). Trace along the outline using the template-(either 'positive' or 'negative' shape, it doesn't matter) onto the paper you are using and cut it out as neatly as you can.

You are holding your first doll part (the skirt piece) of your valentine doll that you are making.

Next time we'll think about a head, and heart-shape bodice. Happy day! Creative hugs, Norma.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have a friend who is for reasons private to her, housebound. I know that she loves the paper dolls that I make and that she'd love to make her own. But she does not feel capable, or even qualified to do so.

In my travels over the internet this past year I have heard snippets of talk hinting at this same dilemma. The wish to make a paper doll coupled with a disbelief in one's own ability to do so.

So I decided to write this blog entry for my friend, and for any of you who similarly wish to make your own paper doll.

I am no expert. I just love making paper dolls. That's all that is needed to embark on this adventure. Love. So let's make a paper doll.

Valentine Paper Doll with moveable parts

I don't know if she is going to be a hot tomatoe or not but she will be wearing a skirt with tomatoes as the motif. She is going to be a Valentine paper doll with moveable parts. If you wish to make your own doll please feel free to follow along and see what you come up with. Each doll will be original, unique, and yours.

I drew roughly, the outline of the skirt area (profile) which I will use in the design process. From the paper label I then cut sections of the tomatoe images and arranged them to fit into a collage that wasn't meant to denote tomatoes in exact perfect form, but rather a mass of red color with the occasional bit of green tossed in for contrast. This collage I placed within the boundaries of the roughly drawn skirt profile. Having a generous margin area included in the profile enabled design choices in placement of the image overall. It's nice to have wiggle room.

I started with an illustration from a cartoon that I'd clipped from a magazine and which has intrigued me for years. It's good to have a clipping file--a place to keep your bits of paper all in one spot. Images and colors and ideas are everywhere around you. Magazines in doctors' offices or hairdressers' salons or airport lounges are examples. My local library has a FREE bin full of disgarded magazines. In languages not mine, and mine as well. I love using foreign language copy as backgrounds. I clip colors, shapes, images. It doesn't matter. If I notice it I clip it. I don't stop to question why. The 'why' will come into play later during the design process.

So I had a concrete idea to use the silhouette of this skirt shape that I saw in the original cartoon image. See the photograph at the beginning of this blog entry? It's the skirt section of a valentine paper doll that I am making. It is 2" high and at the widest point (bottom) across is 4 and 1/4". If you like the shape, draw your own version. If you want both sides to be the same, fold a piece of paper in half and draw half of the shape. Just keep drawing shapes until you get one that you like. This will be your skirt outline which you will use to make a template.

We will make a template in the next post so see you then! In the meantime, start a clipping file. Open your eyes. Look at packaging. Soak labels from tin cans and wine bottles. You can find these in the trash. Free art. At the library there is a section where posters and bookmarks and flyers advertise theatre and other events. They are chock full of images. Free art. What can you see? Creative hugs, Norma.



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