Including yourself in the images


Get a friend to take pictures of you and use those in the images. You can also have pictures taken in a variety of poses and then make stencils by printing on as heavy a paper as your printer will handle and then cutting out with a craft knife. This will give you the option of filling in the blank space or painting off the solid shape.

Paper dolls

In between semesters of graduate school, I found myself drawn to paper dolls. But I didn’t just want to cut them out and play with them. I wanted to create “me” in paper dolls. I purchased some books with stencils, but was really thrilled when I found Paper Thin Personas, which is an amazing collection of colorable paper dolls by Rachel Cohen, and Paper Doll School by Julie Matthews. I like to put them together in Photoshop, print them and then color them.

I take the files and assemble the dolls in Photoshop, which allows me to smooth out the edges. The ones below come from a compilation of different pieces from Paper Thin Personas.  I printed and then colored using colored pencils.

My Angels

Lately, I’ve been printing onto tracing paper and then taping that onto a cheap Crayola light box, then using watercolor pencils and colored pencils on mixed media paper. The ones below all came from the same nude body template. Since the lines are on a different piece of paper, I don’t have to include all of them or can modify them like smoothing the wings in the third one or creating different outfits for each. Here I’m using Prismacolor watercolor pencils, then adding Prismacolor Premier and Verithin for details.


Another possibility for those without Photoshop is The Doll Palace, which has a variety of different body positions and you can add individual features in their Doll Maker, then save the file and print it out in black and white. You’ll have to enlarge it in the printing and it will be bitmapped, but it will give you a basic shape to work with.

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