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This blog has been retired. I won't respond to any inquiries but have retained it in case it is still of interest to anyone passing by.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Royal Flush - OPDAG issue 107

This is my doll from the latest issue of 'Paper Doll Studio' - the quarterly magazine showcasing the work of OPDAG members (The Original Paper Doll Artist's Guild).  The theme was 'Queens'.  There were so many dolls I could have made I hardly knew where to start, but in the end I went with this one as she allowed me to indulge in some fairytale fashion.  I called my submission 'Royal Flush' and she is a tongue-in-cheek representation of the four suits of playing cards.

I had two surprises with this submission.  First of all my doll was chosen to announce the issue when the newsletter to all OPDAG members was sent letting us know the magazine was ready for posting.  The three artists who appear alongside her are all big names in the industry and have worked on paper dolls for many years - so I was a bit overawed to be included in this graphic.

The second surprise was when I opened the magazine.  My doll had been placed inside the front cover so she was the first thing I saw as I turned the page.

Graphic in the OPDAG newsletter

I know I do seem to spend most of my time in blogland saying sorry - but once again I must apologise for my prolonged absence and no-show in visiting the many good friends I have made here.  I have popped in to look at some of your posts from time to time but have not often left a comment

In October my husband had a (planned) operation.  It was not life threatening but involved a very long recovery & recuperation period.  I found the extra responsibilities quite difficult on top of my long daily commute and pressurised job.  I'm afraid I hit the proverbial brick wall and am only just starting to bounce back again.  My head has hurt so badly for much of the time and often I feel as though its about to fragment into a million pieces.  All the things I usually enjoy doing have had to take a back seat just so I can get the essentials covered off.  Any spare time I've had has gone into making these paper dolls.  I think the fact they have deadlines is what has kept me going with them - it gives me a structure and discipline that makes it easier to achieve a result.

The figure of the doll is one I made many years ago (when I was in my 20's in the 1980's).  I included her in my blog way back in 2011 in a post called A Paper Doll of My Own.  To save a bit of time for this submission I decided I would use her again (I've always liked how she came out).  I gave her a new petticoat to represent playing cards (its not stuck on so the original doll is still the same as when she was made.)  Then I painted four new gowns to fit in with the theme.

I could only find one of the sketches today when I went to scan & accumulate the images for this post.  I'm not sure what happened to the other one (I am unravelling a bit sometimes at the moment!).  I don't have a sketch for the doll as she pre-dates the technology to scan and save images we have today.  

DeadSpiderEye asked me last time what medium I use for my work.  I always paint in acrylics - I know it is often called the amateur's medium of choice but I prefer it.  I can thin it out for washes or a water colour effect - or I can use it more or less straight from the tube for heavier detail.  I treated myself to a set of 24 colours a couple of months ago - but having said that I rarely use the colours in their pure form.  Most of the time I mix my own although I always try to keep the shades I use  bright and 'clean'.  I was very happy with the way the red dress (diamonds) came out.  Much of the colour used for the shading was mixed directly onto the paper and then blended before it dried and I could still work with it.

Once again the dresses are all taken from favourite 'memories' in the art world.  Anyone familiar with my blog may remember the first gown from a story I posted called The Prince and the White Cat .  I thought it was perfect for Hearts.  As an alternative I was toying with the idea of a more classic 'queen of hearts made some tarts' design but I love the strong vibrant colour of this dress and wanted the bright blue and red combination for the finished page.  If I'd had time I would have liked to include a tray of tarts as well but in the end I realised I had neither time nor space.

I've always wanted to use this dress for something so jumped at the chance to borrow it here.  I made mine full length instead of the lovely bubble cut and gave her a princess headdress in fitting with my theme.  I thought it was perfect for diamonds.  This is one of my favourite paper doll dresses of all time.  It is in my box of paper doll remnants from my childhood. I can't remember what doll it came from.  If anyone recognises the set please let me know.

All admirers of Hilda Boswell will recognise her 'Mary, Mary quite contrary' dress.  Once it popped into my mind I couldn't imagine anything else for Spades.  The little trowel provides the perfect finishing touch.

My reference to Clubs is a bit more oblique.  There was a temptation to depict a more modern golfing outfit but I wanted to stick with the fairytale theme.  The game of golf is said to have originated during the reign of Elizabeth I.  I already had this Elizabethan dress (its also included in the post mentioned before of the original doll.)  I made a new slightly different version to emphasise the link with clubs.  I had forgotten where the idea of the dress had come from until I treated myself to a Hilda Boswell Omnibus from March House Books. (I've sung Barbara's praises often I know but she is a marvel and a wonderful friend).   The book exceeded all my expectations.  One of the stories it contains is Tom Thumb and as I turned to this page all those wonderful memories came flooding back again.

In addition to our theme dolls we were also invited to 'Dress the Queen'.  David Wolfe one of the editors of the magazine and a renowned paper doll artist provided a delightful portrayal of the queen as a young woman at the time of her coronation.

OPDAG members could submit two outfits.  I decided to borrow mine from Hollywood and chose two iconic dresses worn by Grace Kelly (queen of Hollywood and later royalty in real life).  This is how I sent them in with references to the movies they appeared in.  I knew they wouldn't be used like this in the issue as they had to be arranged with outfits submitted by other artists.

I've seen this page containing the doll on a couple of other blogs so I hope OPDAG won't mind it I include if here. I wanted to show you how the queen appears in the magazine.  My two dresses were included on two separate pages - this is how the blue dress appears - I didn't want to overstep the mark too much and so I'm not showing the other one.

The theme for the next magazine is 'Favourite Films'.  My submission is already in.  It may surprise a few people - we'll just have to see.

I also received another paper doll request that I am working on at the moment - but I think I'll save that for another time .........


Barbara said...

Hi Sharon,
Welcome back! You must have been thrilled when you opened the magazine and found your doll inside the front cover. Mind you, I’m not at all surprised! Your designs are beautiful and really deserve to be included. I love the dresses for the Queen of Hearts and diamonds. I also really like the two “dress the Queen” outfits, especially the blue one. I'm quite sure the Queen would enjoy wearing both.
Thank you so much for mentioning me in your post Sharon. I think of you as a friend and miss you when you are away, but you must put your own health first. I honestly don’t know how you find time to blog with all your other commitments, but I’m glad you do!
Please give my best wishes to your husband and take care of yourself. Headaches are no fun. Hugs Barbara

Darlene said...

Hi Sharon
So pleased to hear from you. I'm glad you are doing something creative. The costumes are amazing! Hope your hubby is well on the road to recovery. That sort of thing causes everything to go into a turmoil for a spell. Look after your self as well. Sending hugs.
Darlene from Canada

CraveCute said...

Sharon your work is just gorgeous and what an honor to have your doll given such a prominent place in the magazine! As Barbara said, it is well deserved, you have a remarkable talent! Very understandable that you have been away from blogland, you have been extremely busy! Do take care of yourself and I hope your husband is feeling much better. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such kind words on my blog. Look forward to hearing about your next adventures! ~ Diane

Unknown said...

An enchanting blog, congrats. be well Agman

DMS said...

Missed you and am so happy you are back. It sounds like you have had a lot going on over the last few months. No need to apologize! I am just glad things are getting better for you. :)

These dolls are beautiful. I love the long red dress in the first picture and want one for myself! I love that you had such wonderful surprises with your paper dolls being focused and spotlighted. Yeah!

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Unknown said...

Congratulations on your doll chosen. How fun that must have been. Of all these doll clothes, I favor the queen's red with the sparkles. This was a most interesting post.

GardenOfDaisies said...

Sharon, I just LOVE these!!! A well deserved honor to have your doll included alongside those other artists!
Sorry things have been so fought recently. Hoping for a complete healing and return to normal life.

RLC said...

Your suits of cards paper doll was one of my favorites in this OPDAG magazine and I loved the charming and witting "Spades" costume.

Nora said...

Sure did miss your postings while you were gone. Glad to see you back and what a lovely paper doll! Congratulations too on seeing her on the inside front cover. What a thrill! The gowns are stunning. I like how you got your inspiration from other illustrations from your childhood and adapted them to the theme you were given. Beautiful!!

I look forward to finding out what your favorite films are. Wish I could participate but then I'm not an OPDAG artist. :) I do like creating paper dolls though and have done so, like you, since I was a child. I would add to my paper doll sets (mostly of Barbie) using lined paper and crayons. Wish I had kept them all just to see how far I've progressed as an artist since childhood. In the 80's I created over 100 of them but have only recently found a few of the ones I created. About half of them and still looking for the others. I get glimpses of them when I've used extra sheets for other things, but I still haven't found the other 50. Very frustrating because some of the costumes I designed are intriguing.

Anyway, my favorite films (and ones I would LOVE to do costumes for) are: The Wizard of Oz, Kismit (with Howard Keel and Anne Blyth), The Slipper and the Rose (Richard Chamberlain made such a handsome Prince and I loved listening to him sing He/She Danced with Me), and the original Star Wars films, in particular Return of the Jedi. What fun!


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