Friday, December 14, 2018

Introducing New Pop Culture Paper Dolls from Paper Studio Press!

Pop Culture Paper Dolls are Here!

It has been an exciting year for Paper Studio Press! A year ago at this time, I envisioned a whole new line of paper dolls inspired by all things pop culture. These new books would feature a variety of retro subjects, trivia games, fun facts and even recipes. Our wonderful artists got on board and they were soon busy at their drawing boards. By summer of 2018 we introduced our first two Pop Culture Paper Dolls: Broadway Sensations by Cory Jensen and Retro Space Girls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox. In September we published Kitchen Kitsch by newcomer Julie Allen Matthews. And in November, Dancing With Paper Dolls, another wonderful title by Brenda Sneathen Mattox, and Merry Movie Christmas by David Wolfe.

Pop Culture Paper Dolls - Now Available!

Many more projects are in the works and I am so grateful to our artists, collectors and even volunteers who have seemingly magically appeared to help keep our paper doll endeavors going. I'd especially like to thank Alina Kolluri for her marketing and promotion assistance and setting up our eBay store, Emi Lotto for starting our #paperdollpostcard campaign on Instagram, Martha Raively for proofreading and editing our books and magazines, and Cory Jensen for lending his computer design talents to many of our projects.

Here's the behind-the-scenes scoop on our first five Pop Culture Paper Dolls!

Broadway Sensations by Cory Jensen

Broadway was an obvious choice for Cory. Through his social media accounts @paperdollsbycory and Facebook, Cory has posted dozens of paper dolls paying tribute to his favorite theater stars. So when I asked him about publishing a book of Broadway stars, the answer was a quick yes! The original title was "Stage Stars," and fortunately along the way we changed it to the more glamorous "Broadway Sensations." Cory chose eight of his favorite stage stars: Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, Heather Headley, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald. And he selected 16 costumes from Wicked, My Fair Lady, Gypsy, Funny Girl, The Lion King, Evita, Camelot, Porgy and Bess, Aida, Rent, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Sunday in the Park with George, Shuffle Along and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Cory and I worked on a set of trivia questions and Cory collaborated with David Wolfe on an essay about Broadway. Each inside page contains a doll and costumes, so the paper stock is a little heavier than normal, but not too heavy to cut and dress. Broadway Sensations, $12.50, is available from and

Sample pages from Broadway Sensations Paper Dolls by Cory Jensen

Font ideas and preliminary sketches.

Retro Space Girls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

Some time ago, Brenda approached me with the idea of doing a paper doll book called "Space Babes" with costumes from sci-fi movies and TV shows. Frankly, the idea didn't appeal to me at all. So Brenda started on the art and planned to sell it as a self-published set. Then, around the time I started percolating on ideas for our Pop Culture line of paper dolls, Brenda sent samples of her art and I viewed it in a whole new light. If we change the name, give it a bold design and add trivia questions and factoids, we could indeed include it in our Pop Culture line-up. Although I'm not a fan of sci-fi movies and TV shows, I super love this book. The costumes are wonderfully whacky as are the movies and shows in which they're from. With the help of sci-fi fans Tracy Williams and Valerie Keller, we came up with a fun list of trivia questions and fun factoids. I hope you'll give Retro Space Girls a try! $12, available from and

Sample pages from Retro Space Girls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox.

We called on David Wolfe to come up with a bold design plan for Brenda's book. Here are mock-ups for the cover and clothes page. Brenda then painted all the extra elements, rocket, planets, etc., and Jenny assembled everything into the finished book.

Brenda's original concept for her space-age paper dolls.

Kitchen Kitsch Paper Dolls by Julie Allen Matthews

When we announced ideas for the new line of Pop Culture Paper Dolls, Julie was especially interested in the "Kitchen Kitsch" theme. She envisioned two mid-century ladies and a retro wardrobe representing eight kitschy themes: Rockin' Rockets, Country Chicks, Cool Cats, Polynesian Party, Western Cook-Out, An Apple a Day, Pretty Picnic and Ice Cream Social. Perfect! A long-time contributor to our Paper Doll Studio magazine, I was delighted to bring Julie into our Paper Studio Press stable of artists for her first published book. Working with digital drawing tools, Julie's work is always clean, clever, detailed and skillfully executed. Check out Julie's Paper Doll School Blog for oodles of her printable paper dolls.

Julie had tons of fun creating a mix-and-match wardrobe for her two paper doll hostesses. When I asked David Wolfe to write an essay on mid-century fashion trends, he suggested we offer recipes instead. So I enlisted the help of my foodie friend Liz Cody to research her old recipe books and come up with a retro fun recipe to go with each kitschy theme. Kitchen Kitsch Paper Dolls, $12, available from and

Sample pages from Kitchen Kitsch Paper Dolls by Julie Allen Matthews

Original cover concept on the left, and the final cover on the right.

Preliminary sketches and final renderings for the adorable "An Apple a Day" clothes page.

Dancing With Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

After completing her "Retro Space Girls" book, Brenda was eager to start on another project. Inspired by the popular TV show, Dancing With the Stars, I thought it would be fun to send our paper dolls to the dance floor. Brenda's mom is a big fan of the show so she was delighted to delve into the world of dance.

Brenda and I decided that the book should have two dolls, male and female, and clothes representing various dance styles including jazz, salsa, jive, flamenco and waltz. But at that point, Brenda's vision differed from what I had in mind. Brenda's idea was to show more dance movement, putting the male and female costumes together on one stand. However, I thought they'd be too difficult to dress on the dolls and sent Brenda back to the drawing board. The professional that she is, Brenda didn't mind at all. Once I received the final art I sent copies to David Wolfe to go through the "David Dazzleometer" in which he comes up with a design concept for the book. His design was simple, a disco ball reflecting rays of light over an oval dance floor. Because this design would be best executed digitally, I called on Cory Jensen to create those elements. And to round out the book, we came up with a set of trivia questions and a synopsis for each dance stye. Dancing With Paper Dolls, $12, available from and

Sample pages from Dancing With Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox
Rejected costume designs, deemed "too energetic."

Mock-up cover design and final cover.

Merry Movie Christmas Paper Dolls by David Wolfe

Those of us lucky enough to be on David Wolfe's Christmas Card list have had the delight of receiving his classic star paper dolls each December since 2003. All of these paper dolls can be viewed on (under the David Wolfe tab). With the advent of our Pop Culture Paper Dolls, David and I thought it would be fun to turn his Christmas Paper Dolls into a book. But rather than recycle his previous artwork, David came up with eight new pages of holiday paper dolls representing characters and costumes from It's a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St. Louis, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, Holiday Affair, Miracle on 34th Street, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf. We're hoping the book will be so popular that David will get to do a volume 2! Merry Movie Christmas, $12.50, available from and

Sample pages from Merry Movie Paper Dolls by David Wolfe.

One of David's early paper doll Christmas cards, Auntie Mame from 2008.