So. I ended up buying My Style Studio on a whim.
As it turns out, the whole thing has become a sort of meditation tool: it’s calming to spend a little time in a world where the most concerning thing to worry about is color combinations.
It all ended up being way, way neater than I expected, despite its unpresuming appearance.
Basically, it’s a platform with a white box attached—containing colored pencils, sharpener, eraser, and inking marker in Klutz’s usual “everything you need is right here!” wonderful way—and a book with folder pockets for clings, patterns, figure sheet, and tracing paper.
But it turns out to be much, much more than that, as Klutz usually does.
For one thing, the book is full of tips and tricks! Such as:
Color combinations for different seasons with examples
Layering and using colored pencils to get more colors than just eight
Easy step-by-step instructions on how to use My Style Studio effectively
Examples of techniques to make the clings and pattern plates very flexible in design
How to easily make more tracing paper sheets that fit the white work area. As it turns out, they spaced the pegs intentionally so that a standard three-hole punch can be used!
And more, some of which I cover in a little bit…
The book also contains extras for tracing earrings, buttons, bows, accessories; even patterns you can trace onto clothing (different from the pattern plates; in fact, it’s nice to combine the two). Combined with the clings—which include hair and faces in addition to the clothing—you don’t need to free-draw anything, although you can definitely do so if you wish.
One touch I found very nice is advice on how to do different realistic skin tones. This was never particularly covered in any of the old coloring project books I used to have; with this advice, you don’t need to buy skin tone pencils.
Oh: and just about at the beginning of the book, they mention that the basic model shape is not realistic, but an ideal fashion shape that doesn’t appear in the real world. Which is an unusual nod to body image when talking about fashion toys and such. Also, as you’ll see, the waist is not pencil-thin and the boobs are not pointy melons. ((I know gals with large boobs. But they aren’t rounded cones! I never understood Barbie body design. Apparently you’d have to remove ribs in order to ever get as thin in the waist as a Barbie.)) This is very nice.
And now for concrete examples!
Design #5 in Cling Stage
You can put together clings in many different ways; it’s a far more flexible arrangement than Fashion Plates. Other accessories are traced later in the book. You can see that the hair and the face are also clings.
After arranging the clings, you can turn the plastic sheet with the base model design over for a smooth tracing surface.
This is today’s arrangement. Or possibly tomorrow’s. It depends on when I’ll get around to tracing it.
Clings used: puff-sleeve top, pleated skirt, tall boots in addition to hair and face
My first design; I did this while waiting for a sleeping pill to take effect, and it was… highly effective by this point. The pill, not the design, of course. I suppose this is the equivalent of having a few drinks before doing a tracing, or possibly being five with ADD.
This is where I found out that not including skin tone leads to… strange pictures. It would have been better, I think, if I didn’t fill in the face.
Clings used: camisole, A-line skirt, ballet flats ((Most of the clings do have names, so it’s educational!)) in addition to face and hair
Pattern plates used: spirals and woven
Tracings from book: pendant necklace
Another sleeping pill/drunken design, by this time I was pretty much falling asleep, but wanted to keep going anyways. Kind of embarrassing, but it gets much better in the next two…
Clings used: crisscross top, shorts, flip-flops ((As it turns out, I obviously did not hate my pretend model enough.)) in addition to face and hair
Pattern plates used: woven, dots, stripes ((Yes, I believe sandals must be worn with socks. I know, it’s kind of like being a Jehovah’s Witness….))
Tracings used: belt ((There are three belts in the book.)), pockets ((There are multiple styles of pockets.)), shoulder bag ((There is a nice variety of purses and bags, in case your model wants to have a picnic somewhere or work on her laptop or something.))
I’m not sure why, but the basic design reminded me of Harriet at the beach in Have His Carcasse. I gave her a big bag to carry the clues that she and Lord Peter Wimsey found. This is the first figure I seriously used skin tone with, and also not drunk or sleeping-pilled at all.
Clings used: keyhole top without the keyhole, flippy skirt, strappy sandals in addition to hair and face
Pattern plates used: woven (crossed against itself), squares (using the plaid recipe from the book), stripes
Tracings used: Hat, bandana, belt, bag, circles art, some other kind of line art for the top laid at angles
The hair is yellow with red overlaid a few times. It turned out nice.
And yes, those are socks.
At first I wanted to make her white and blond, but then I looked at the skin tones again and decided to do something different. If all models were white and blond with blue eyes the fashion world would get kinda ((Firefox believes that “kinda” is a valid word, by the way.)) boring.
Her skin is a light-pressure red layered with a light-pressure brown, her hair is medium-pressure blue with medium-strong-pressure black overlaid.
Clings used: in addition to hair and face, ruffled demi-top on top of a tunic, then tracing down the outside legs until a usually short ruffled skirt, but I decided to make it the ending ruffles of a longer dress. I skipped a lot of lines to make it all one dress. And then added pumps.
Tracings used: triangle border for sleeves, and then the bendy hearts, which is actually presented as a regular pattern in the book, but I traced only a few leaves and laid the paper over the pattern in different directions for a falling leaves look.
Sort of complicated, and includes shading of the eyes and a shadow on the neck, but it wasn’t hard to get something that looked good to decent.
In the end…
This all does take much longer than fashion plates did, but you get a much better design and much more flexibility and better line art and… just about better everything. And it’s quite a meditative affair.
I may even go out and buy a hardcover unlined notebook to mount the pages in.
You know, I think emerald green of some kind is the way to go in Design #5….