Mar 9, 2018

#82 - The 12 Dolls of Christmas, Oscar Fashions, Norman Norell Fashion Exhibition, Coloring Doris Day, Ziegfeld Girl Paper Doll Preview

The 12 Dolls of Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, on my drawing board, anyway. I’m working on a very special book for Paper Studio Press to be ready for the holiday season. “Merry Movie Christmas” will celebrate nine Christmas movies with paper dolls of 12 characters from “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Elf,” “White Christmas,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Home Alone,” “Holiday Affair,” “A Christmas Story” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Following are the familiar faces of the paper dolls. Can you identify them? 

Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle in “Miracle on 34th Street.” Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Henry Travers as Clarence the angel in “It’s A Wonderful Life!”

Will Ferrell as Buddy in “Elf.” Rosemary Clooney as Betty Haynes in “White Christmas.” Judy Garland as Esther Smith in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” 

Margaret O’Brien as Tootie Smith in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Natalie Wood as Susan Walker in “Miracle on 34th Street.” Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story.” Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister in “Home Alone.” Gordon Gebert as Timmy Ennis in “Holiday Affair.” 

Oscar Fashion Licks the Envelope

Trendspotting on the Hollywood Red Carpet used to be a fun spectator sport. But that was back in the days before serious social issues turned stars into celebrities with a cause that is more important than mere cinematic creativity. The 90th Academy Awards show was weighed down with good causes and award recipients got their chance to champion their genuinely righteous agenda. Where does that leave fashion? “Phantom Thread” costumes won an Oscar. A movie about a moody mega maniac (suggested by genius Charles James but the clothes in the film were not wonderful, in my opinion.) 

The vast Red Carpet was as crowded as an L.A. freeway jammed with more diverse fashion than there are stars in heaven. It was mostly good with a few clinkers to liven things up a little. Worst of the night was Salma Hayek in a trendy Gucci hot mess of pink pailettes draped with heavy rhinestones. The black dress solidarity of the recent Golden Globes affair was swept away by any color BUT black! Lots of white, although it sometimes looked a bit bridal at times. There was color but no color message. Some vivid color, some pale and a few deep shades. Red, orange, pink, purple, blue, yellow and more. Metallic textile treatments added a bit of the ol’ razzle bedazzlement. Necklines often took the plunge but that’s certainly old news. Trains were less prevalent this time ‘round, and there were a few massive full skirts that demonstrated how today’s women don’t know how to move gracefully rather than lumbering along struggling to control yards and yards of material. My fashion favorites were Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren, not quite as old as Oscar, but authentic golden girls with stellar glamour galore. 

Not-black but positive primary brights on Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney and Greta Gerwig.

Metallic eye-catchers on Gal Gadot, Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.

Fashion clinkers on Whoopi Goldberg, Salma Hayek and Emma Stone.

Age is just a number for Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Helen Mirren.

The height of fashion on Nicole Kidman, Saoirse Ronan and Zendaya.

Always-right white worn by Laura Dern, Margot Robbie and Mira Sorvino.

FIT Museum Honors the Dean of American Fashion 

Norman Norell’s importance in fashion has not been given the recognition that his role warrants. He elevated high-end ready-to-wear to a level of perfection previously limited to Paris Haute Couture. The current exhibition covers the last 12 years of Norell’s career from 1960 to 1972, a tribute to a major talent and history-making designer who set a new standard of elegance and craftsmanship. The most interesting item in the breath-taking exhibition is a garment displayed inside-out, revealing the complex inner couture construction. The trends set by Norell are duly displayed. They include the sequined “mermaid” gowns, the sailor style, menswear fabrics, jersey and the retro-reinterpretation of the 1920s. Norman Norell was never a celebrity persona but he was an influential game-changer, elevating American fashion standards to couture level. The FIT Museum exhibition closes April 14th. 

Norman Norell with his “mermaids” and haute ready-to-wear.

FIT Museum display of Norman Norell’s excellence.

Museum display of Norman Norell’s virtuosity. 

Coloring 1952 Doris Day

This month’s coloring exercise stars one of my lifetime favorites. Doris Day’s super stardom began with a leading role in her very first movie, “Romance on the High Seas.” Without any theatrical training, the wholesome band singer stepped in front of the cameras and when she sang “It’s Magic,” it was magic and remains so to this day. Of all the celebrity paper doll books I’ve created for Paper Studio Press, Doris Day is the most popular. I never met her, but we talked on the phone and she told me that her favorite movie costume was a suede trenchcoat with a matching floppy hat and boots. Doris said it made her feel “like Greta Garbo.”

Doris Day Coloring Book plus a page colored by me.

Celebrity lifestyle as pictured in 1952. Dressed-up with a hat and gloves on a plane! 

Convention Souvenir Preview

Hoping to see you at this year’s Paper Doll Convention, July 4-8, 2018, in Seattle, WA. Here’s a sneak peek of the souvenir book I’ve created, just one of lots of limited edition paper dolls from many talented artists for attendees. Even if you can’t attend, remember to order the Absentee Package and add rare treasures to your collection.

Just one of the many souvenirs planned for the 2018 Seattle Paper Doll Convention!
Order your Absentee Registration soon! 

Join us in Seattle for the 2018 Paper Doll Convention!

Feb 21, 2018

#81 Red Carpet Season Kicks Off, Paper Fashion Books, Ziegfeld Girls Paper Doll Preview, Paris Haute Couture, more!

Black Solidarity Statement

The so-called “Red Carpet Season” kicked off with an unusual fashion statement made by attendees at the Golden Globes Awards. Virtually every woman wore black to demonstrate her support of the revitalized women’s movement ignited by the revelation of sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood. Perhaps a fashion statement could be considered frivolous in expressing such a wave of anger and frustration. A serious protest movement needs serious action, not just wearing a glamorous (and often sexy) black evening gown. Message aside, black proved to be a flattering fashion choice. 

Black Pants and overskirts for Alison Brie, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Christina Hendricks.

Basic Black for Elizabeth Moss in Dior, Gal Gadot in Tom Ford and Viola Davis in Brandon Maxwell.

Romantic Black for Jessica Biel in Dior, Diane Kruger in Prada and Margot Robbie in Gucci.

Dramatic Black for Angelina Jolie in Versace, Reese Witherspoon in Zac Posen and Millie Bobby Brown in Calvin Klein.

Sexy Black for Catherina Zeta Jones in Zuhair Murad, Penelope Cruz in Versace and Kate Hudson in Valentino.

Downsizing Fashion's Big Names

For clever arts and crafters who are also fashionistas, a new book provides hours of fun (and a bit of frustration at times). Paper Fashion contains 20 pages of die-cut little figures from the fashion world. The paper figures (designers, mostly) require no glue, tape or scissors, just plenty of patience to punch-out and fold carefully, inserting tiny tabs into even tinier slots and slits. Once assembled, the miniature figures are amusing caricatures of familiar and not-so familiar fashion icons including Donatella Versace, Tom Ford, Anna Wintour, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and more. Available from for $11.77. 

Paper Fashion book cover.

Donatella in pieces and assembled.

Advance Peek of Convention Souvenir

The annual Paper Doll Conventions are always delightful and this year’s festivities, July 4th to 8th in Seattle will be a fun fest entitled ”Entertainment Extravaganza!” and hosted by Sharry and Michael O’Hara. Every Convention features an incomparable collection of limited edition souvenir paper dolls. And you don’t have to be attending the Convention to get the souvenirs. You can opt to buy the absentee package of souvenirs. Check out the details at the end of this blog/newsletter. I’m honored to have been invited to create one of the souvenirs and I’ve chosen as my subject the entertaining and glamorous 1941 movie, Ziegfeld Girl. Here’s a sneak peek at the covers, still a work-in progress starring dolls of Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr and Eve Arden. 

Front Cover of “Ziegfeld Girls” Convention Souvenir Book with Eve Arden paper doll.

Back Cover of “Ziegfeld Girls” Convention Souvenir Book with paper dolls of Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr. 

Awesome Women Paper Dolls

An unusual paper doll book has been published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Awesome Women Who Changed History proclaims it is “the most empowering collection of paper dolls, ever!” Obviously created to reflect the revitalized women’s movement, featuring 20 die-cut paper dolls depicting strong female role models from Joan of Arc to Oprah Winfrey. It is a very educational book by artist Carol del Angel and would be a wonderful gift for a young girl. The dolls are well-drawn (but not very pretty) and their clothes are simplistic, often with accessories that are a bit unusual (like extra limbs or heads). Available for $12.97 from

Awesome Women book cover and Eleanor Roosevelt doll.

Dolls of awesome Billie Jean King and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Springtime in Paris Haute Couture

Why even bother viewing the semi-annual archaic showing of the venerable Paris Haute Couture custom-created collections? Only a handful of companies show clothes for the immediate season, spring 2018 (which is confusing because the fall 2018 shows have already started and soon will be overwhelming with massive social media coverage.) The couture collections give designers a last chance to get it right for the season and most missed by a mile. Only one designer, Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino, made real news. The talking point of the brilliant collection was a hybrid expression that combined dramatic high fashion with casual modernity in extraordinary color combinations. The usual soignee Giorgio Armani challenged his elegant (probably mature clients) with short shorts that should have been pants and micro-mini barely-there evening dresses. John Galliano at Martin Margiela paraded some God-awful creations that made news because the new-tech fabrics changed magically when hit with the flash of cell-phone cameras in the audience. Karl Lagerfeld thankfully eschewed madness and reworked never-fail tweed Chanel suits. 

Valentino’s surprise hits mix casual and drama in glorious colors.

Paris Haute Couture from Chanel, Armani Prive and Giambattista Valli.

Paris Haute Couture from Dior, Iris Van Herpen and John Galliano for Martin Margiela.

Picture Pretty Portrait

My youngest daughter, Amanda, asked me to do a portrait of her. Of course, I was delighted and I think I managed to capture her lively personality and innate glamour. She is getting married this spring and will be relocating from Long Island, New York to London, Ontario. The portrait will hang in her new home and be a sentimental reminder of good ol’ Dad. 

My daughter Amanda, painted by her Dad.

Coloring Augusta Dressed Up

Bruce Patrick Jones is one of the most gifted artists in the paper doll community. He has created many superlative books over the years and his latest is unusual and absolutely beautiful. Augusta Dresses Up features 11 figures and 35 costumes representing 130 years of fashions from the Roddis Family Collection, now housed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Published by Paper Studio Press, the collectible coloring and paper doll book is available from

Cover of “Augusta Dresses Up” and Augusta’s great aunt.

Augusta doll and a page of her extensive, elegant wardrobe.

Join us in Seattle for the 2018 Paper Doll Convention!

For paper doll enthusiasts, the pinnacle of each year is the paper doll convention, when we gather together for sales, exhibits, workshops, programs, banquet dinners, souvenirs, and fun time with friends, old and new. I hope you can join us! Download the form below or Click Here for a printable flyer. If you can't attend I urge you to order an absentee registration to get TEN spectacular souvenir paper doll books, created exclusively for the 2018 convention! With a theme like "Entertainment Extravaganza" you can imagine the dazzling array of subjects!


Jan 21, 2018

#80 Creating a Paper Doll Cover, Classic Hollywood Leading Men, Americana Coloring Pages, Pre-Fall 2018 Fashions, Powerful Prints for Spring 2018

Creating a Paper Doll Cover

Judging a book by its cover may be an old adage, but exciting artwork for the cover of a paper doll book is a must. An eye-catching cover promises glamour and fun cutting and dressing the dolls that grace the front and back covers of books published by Jenny Taliadoros’ Paper Studio Press. Coming up with a cover design is always a creative challenge and “Hollywood Gets Undressed” was typical. As always, first come the dolls, in this case four (3 female and one male). I did several versions and sent the ones I liked best to Jenny for her approval. Then I dreamed up a large figure of the blonde doll wearing the feather-sleeved beaded negligee worn by Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight. Jenny then worked and reworked the typography and background several times. I wanted to try a more “dramatic” effect on the big figure, so I added lots of blue shading. Both Jenny and I liked the effect, but we also agreed that it was too overwhelming and took all the attention away from the blonde doll, also on the front cover. We decided to place the red-head doll’s head on the blonde doll body. A simple task, thanks to the computer’s Photoshop program. The back cover was a no-brainer with three dolls standing in front of a big tufted cushion and we are ready to move on to the eight pages of clothes. 

My series of Hollywood fashion paper dolls (and more!) are available on, and 

Too dramatic artwork leads to final cover for publication. 

Leading Men Coming in 2018!

Male paper dolls are a bit rare. I have only a few in my vintage collection: Rock Hudson, Pat Boone, Clark Gable, Edd Byrnes, Ricky Nelson. Of course, many of Tom Tierney’s historic-themed books include men such as Presidents of the past. I’ve included a guy in a few of my recent books (Hollywood Gets Married and Hollywood Gets Undressed). Jenny encouraged me to create a book devoted to five leading men from Hollywood’s Golden Age, so that’s what I will soon be doing. Initially I’m planning to include hunky, handsome dolls of Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, Tyrone Power and Rock Hudson. 

Reference photos of Gary Cooper, Clark Gable and Gene Kelly.

Reference photos of Tyrone Power and Rock Hudson.

Vintage 1957 Rock Hudson cover, doll and clothes.

Vintage 1959 Ricky Nelson cover, doll and clothes.

Vintage 1959 Edd “Kookie” Byrnes cover, doll and clothes.

Pre-Fall Fashion Feast

The fashion industry works on a very rigid schedule, introducing new collections months before the clothes are delivered to stores. (In recent years, renegade companies like Zara work on a shorter timetable and are known as “fast fashion” since they quickly copy ideas from trend-setting runway shows.) To add to the complexity of the fashion calendar, many companies present pre-season collections shown and delivered between the major seasons: Pre-Fall and Pre-Spring. Recently, the 2018 Pre-Fall collections were presented and showed such diversity that they could be worn any time of the year. That’s not a bad idea because it gives customers the opportunity to feast their eyes on myriad creations and to express their own personal preferences in look, color, fabric and styling. Nothing really new and different, but plenty of trends on offer. Take your pick! 

Pre-Fall 2018 Fendi, Alexander McQueen and Marni.

Pre-Fall 2018 Carolina Herrera, Coach 1941 and Missoni.

Pre-Fall 2018 Tomas Maier, Alexander McQueen and 3.1 Philip Lim.

Coloring Americana

The coloring book craze keeps expanding beyond the initial stress-reducing fantastical designs. How about Norman Rockwell’s sentimental All-American artwork, patriotic and heartfelt? Norman Rockwell Classics in The Saturday Evening Post contains 30 of Rockwell’s beloved cover illustrations rendered for coloring by Sara Jackson into meticulously black-and-white line drawings, ready to color. Of course, the colorist can be true to Rockwell, but it’s tempting to have a bit of fun and go technicolor or perhaps even psychedelic. 

Norman Rockwell Coloring Book cover and my psychedelic coloring.

Norman Rockwell pages colored by David. 

Powerful Prints Pack a Punch!

Digital printing, a major technical breakthrough in the early 1980s was followed by the development of dye-sublimation prints in the 1990s. With the new printing techniques, there began the most exciting prints in the history of fashion, works of art on fabric. Spring ’18 designer collections continued to embrace powerful prints, mostly bombastic blossoms printed in glorious color, out-doing Mother Nature at her colorful best. Other motifs know no bounds and talented textile designers rise to the challenge, season after season. Spring ’18 promises to celebrate a plethora of artistic printed fabrics. 

Floral prints from Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten and Badgley Mischka.

Fantastic prints from Comme des Garcons, Chloe and Emporio Armani.

Join us in Seattle for the 2018 Paper Doll Convention!

For paper doll enthusiasts, the pinnacle of each year is the paper doll convention, when we gather together for sales, exhibits, workshops, programs, banquet dinners, souvenirs, and fun time with friends, old and new. I hope you can join us! Download the form below or Click Here for a printable flyer. If you can't attend I urge you to order an absentee registration to get TEN spectacular souvenir paper doll books, created exclusively for the 2018 convention! With a theme like "Entertainment Extravaganza" you can imagine the dazzling array of subjects!

Dec 7, 2017

#79 Griswold Christmas, NYC Holiday Windows, Downton Abbey, Christmas Coloring, Plaids, Paper Doll Preview

Merry Christmas Card from David

This year, my Christmas Paper Doll card is inspired by the 1989 movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase. Click here for a high res image. Since 2002 I've been creating a Hollywood inspired paper doll, and they're all archived on (click on the David Wolfe tab and scroll down to the Christmas section).

Griswold Christmas Paper Doll
Griswold Family Christmas Paper Doll by David Wolfe
Click here for a high res version.

New York is Decked Out to Celebrate Christmas

Christmas in New York is always a visual feast, a happy holiday tradition, a heartwarming eye-candy gift for the hordes of window shoppers. Most major department and specialty stores still forsake a hard sell and deliver crowd-pleasing entertainment. Several stores honored the city itself. In one window, Macy’s featured the flagship store in miniature, opening up like a doll’s house. Other Macy’s windows playfully portrayed a revolving bird’s eye view of Central Park and another, the East River trams. Bergdorf-Goodman honored New York institutions such as the Philharmonic and the Museum of Natural History with windows packed with glamorous and amusing props. Saks Fifth Avenue devoted all their Fifth Avenue windows to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Disney’s first feature length cartoon, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Lord & Taylor’s tasteful winter wonderland was sweet and sentimental. Although the windows are a traditional people-pleaser, there is a growing trend for some buildings to decorate the edifice itself, not just windows. Cartier is wrapped with electrified red ribbon and silky flags. Tommy Hilfiger’s store is decorated with lavish stripes of gilded ornaments while Tiffany’s is hung with two huge glittering decorations. Rockefeller Center’s tree is greener than ever and stylized white angels once again line-up on the promenade. The city is bedecked and bedazzled as ever, wishing Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night! 

Bergdorf-Goodman, Macy’s, Bergdorf-Goodman.

Macy’s 34th Street Store as a Big Doll’s House.

Macy’s bird’s eye view and Saks’ Snow White.

Tiffany’s, Cartier and Tommy Hilfiger

Welcome Back to Downton Abbey

For fans of Downtown Abbey pining to revisit the phenomenally popular TV series, it’s possible to once again be transported to the stately home of Lady Mary, His Lordship, Carson, Mrs. Patmore and the rest of the beloved characters. Downton comes to life again with a fantastic exhibition in New York City. “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” is housed in a big three-story space on 57th Street and it is packed with people who loved the six season serial and are emotionally entranced by the sight of costumes, props, furnishings and film clips. The evocative theme music sets the mood as visitors are greeted by a life-size hologram of housekeeper Mrs. Hughes and the sonorous voice of Carson, the butler. The first floor is devoted to the below-stairs staff, the fully-equipped kitchen and Carson’s office. The second floor houses the grand dining room with an Edwardian setting, Lady Mary’s boudoir and many informational displays and film clips. The third floor is devoted to the gorgeous costumes. Noteworthy are the extravagantly beaded frocks, but it is the trio of wedding dresses that have the devoted fans brushing away tears. Visitors exit through a well-stocked gift shop. The exhibition has a timed-ticket seniors’ price of $28 and can be purchased online at For those who want their teacake and eat it too, a luxurious Edwardian tea is available at the nearby Whitby Hotel for $45 per person, 212-586-5656.

Welcome from Mrs. Hughes Hologram.

Downton Abbey Below Stairs Kitchen

Downton Abbey Elegant Dining Room.

Lady Mary’s Boudoir.

Downton Abbey Costumes.

Colorful Christmas Nostalgia

My monthly coloring book fun added holiday hues to a Dover Book published in 2016 and available from An Old-Fashioned Christmas by artist Ted Menten is drawn with a great deal of charm and depicts a traditional Christmas celebration. In a season of stress, coloring for a few hours truly does bring peace on earth. 

Ted Menten's Old-Fashioned Christmas Coloring Book Cover and Colored Page.

Ted Menten's Old Fashioned Christmas Coloring Book pages colored by David.

Pretty Plaid Pattern Play

Seldom is there a fashion season when plaid does not appear. At Christmastime, the plaids are usually red and green, but fashion-wise, often the most successful plaids are woven with menswear in mind, classy classics in neutral colors. Those classic masculine plaids are rebooted for spring ’18, a season of pretty plaids that are woven with feminine intentions. Color is the key to plaid diversity, sometimes soft shades and other times, richly saturated. This season’s plaids sometimes turn up as classic Prince of Wales pattern. Newer are varied scales and newest are the occasional collision of plaid-with-plaid or with prints. 

Pretty Plaids by Chanel, Sacai and Marni.

Not Quite Classic Plaids by Christopher Kane, Etro and Dries Van Noten.

Mixed Plaids by Balenciaga, Katrantzou and SMGM.

Undressed but all Dressed Up!

I have just completed Hollywood Gets Undressed, my latest paper doll book to be published in 2018 by Paper Studio Press! The book contains 36 outfits including racy, lacy lingerie, feather-trimmed negligees, period underwear and some naughty, scanty costumes that were shocking in movies years ago. Here are the dressed-up dolls. 

Costumes from Raintree County, Two Weeks with Love, Eternally Yours and Our Blushing Brides.

Costumes from The Women, Dinner at Eight, Ladies of Burlesque and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Costumes from The Owl and the Pussycat, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Thin Man, The Trojan Horse and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.