Last night, under the influence of too little sleep, I decided it would be an excellent idea to draw a paper doll for Illustration Friday (my last one was the butterfly catcher). A Regency masquerade was the obvious choice, but my Regency imaginings are frequently coloured by fairytales, thanks to the Susanna Clarke’s and Neil Gaiman’s overlapping variations on the era (“The Duke of Wellington Misplaces his Horse” in Clarke’s Ladies of Grace Adieu takes place in the world of Gaiman’s Stardust, and Charles Vess illustrated both works).

Illustration Friday: Disguise

The images behind the figure are a page in Racinet’s Historical Encyclopaedia of Costumes. I drew the design in pen and ink (using the pencil sketch below to keep the parts aligned), then scanned it and added flat colours digitally before printing it and cutting it out with a craft knife, because it was late and my judgement was impaired. You can see from the sketch that at one point she was going to have a floral boa.

Paper dolls in progress

There are two design flaws, both of which would be easily fixed. The first is that the floor extends too far upwards. I did that to give support to both her hooves, but as a result the cape does not sit properly unless I cut right through down to the hem. The second is that when the hood is on there is a glimpse of empty space beneath her hair. That is what happens when one simply draws a paper doll without considering all the consequences, but it was my first cloak design so a useful lesson (dresses are much easier – they simply hang down in front).