The Lost Art of Paper Dolls

I remember them well.

Flat faces lying on coffee tables, smiles waiting for me, various one-dimensional clothes to choose from.

What ever happened to paper dolls?

Twenty-one years ago the Original Paper Doll Artists Guild (OPDAG) was formed to preserve the art and fashion of those dolls.

Members exchange ideas about the art and hobby of the paper doll and offer drawing tips as well.

“I love to see paper dolls from the late 30s and early 40s,” said Jinny Moore of California.

Members create paper dolls in the theme according to each magazine of the OPDAG from Renaissance to red carpet and send them in for judging.

Judy Johnson, founder of the organization, has been illustrating paper dolls for businesses since 1984.

There are even paper dolls parties and conventions like this year’s in L.A when the world of literature met the home of paper dolls.

Drawing paper dolls involves several tools such as white copier paper, pencils, eraser, pens, tracing paper, and tape.

What appears to be simple as a finished product in a child’s eyes is far more complicated than imagined.

The artist starts out by drawing the undergarments on the figure on white copier paper. The figure looks like a model for the old sewing patterns moms used to collect. Then you look for high sides on the figure where tabs may go. White art erasers are used very carefully to remove all pencil lines. With black and white paper dolls a copier is used.

On the opdag.com site details in drawing are demonstrated to get the best effect.

When making the paper doll layout page, part two of the creation, you use a cut-and-paste method to improve the final dynamics of your layout. When most people hear the words “cut and paste” today they generally think of that handy function on the computer but this method is the old-fashioned manual kind.

Dover books and other clip art books offer trimmings, borders, and other fancy ideas to make your creation complete.

For the finishing touches, you sign, date, and copyright with a stamp each creation in order.

You can print out your own free paper doll of a good angel and naughty angel on papergoodies.com, Johnson’s website.

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