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I am creating a print edition of Maisie.

I am restoring paper dolls to where they started, a product to be cut out and played with. Paper dolls these days are produced (mainly) for a community of adult collectors. The pricey vintage items, if you can afford them, are certainly not to be cut into. Collectors of newer material, taking their cue from that, leave the items intact. ‘Uncut’ is the gold standard for paper playthings.

I had a small collection of — uncut!— rarities, lovingly assembled over a good many years. I sold it forty years ago, when my life fell apart and I needed money. That heartbreak, that’s when I decided, OK, I’ll create my own paper dolls. That’s how this mania of mine started.

Maisie will be an illustrated book of either thirty-two or forty pages. I want images on every page to break up the type. No outfit can be on the backside of another. This is a jigsaw puzzle. Every piece has to fit perfectly.

The pages are oversized, 8.5 x 13 inches high. I have a book of posters from Dover Publications that size. I have no idea how much it will cost to print. When I get half of it built, I’m going to investigate. So far, I have through page eleven laid out in Photoshop as rough pages, to judge how many inches the type is going to require, and to size the art accordingly.

The image above could be the cover art, but I already have a cover I like a lot. For the time being, I’m calling this my Title Page.

I finally feel I’ve got command of a style. It only took me forty years! Lack of a comfortable style is what made me quit an illustration major and go to costume design in art school at Syracuse University.

I never thought my drawing style was a suitable illustration style. I admire the art in ‘Faeries’ by Brian Froud and Alan Lee, but that look is not what I saw for my own work.


Yesterday, searching for a particular image for the Denishawn Dancers, my Maisie-as-Bumblebee art popped up in the finds. (She had danced for Denishawn at the start of her career, I put it in the tags.)

I have many historical figures in my story, and I’ve put many a name into my tags. I have Hedda Hopper, Thelma Furness, The Prince of Wales, Josephine Baker, W.C Fields, Fanny Brice, Louise Brooks, many, many more.

It could be that my art is all over the internet. This is exciting!


Actually, the catalogues I get from the garden centers are similar to what I want. My book would be two inches taller, four to eight pages fewer, slightly heavier paper, and a heavy-stock cover, pages stapled together.

A garden catalogue can’t cost an arm and a leg to print. Maybe I can afford to do it.

This is something that I would put on Amazon, but also sell at art fairs once (sigh) the Covid has passed. I’ll continue building the print file, but I’ll sit on it until it’s safe to do.

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10 thoughts on “I am creating a print edition of Maisie.

  1. “I have many historical figures in my story, and I’ve put many a name into my tags …. It could be that my art is all over the internet. This is exciting!”

    I love it! Not sure exactly how to use it, but you may have discovered the way to promote books in a self-publish digital world: Link your work so that your work comes up when relevant subjects are searched. Wrote a mystery book about a brain-damaged psychopath? Mix its key words with existing sites on mystery books, brain damage, and psychopaths. Let Google do the rest.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Perry Palin says:

    Mimi, I’m looking forward to seeing your paper book and hearing how it sells. I’ve never gotten into ebooks because, among other reasons, our rural internet service is so poor that we can’t download a file the size of a book. Paper books I like.

    Please let us know how you can get it printed economically. A friend has released a collection of his short writings with some black and white photos. He didn’t want to deal with the details of publishing, He went to a local vanity press that puts out a real good product. but at $18 per book retail he will break even after selling 750 copies. He has a regional reputation, knows a lot of people in his market, but the virus has put a crunch on readings and signings where he would sell a lot of books. Let’s hope we’re out of this pandemic soon.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    Today I begin to price a 40-page White-Flower-Farms type pamphlet/book. I have eleven chapters of story. I see, having laid out three of them, that most of them will require three pages. One short chapter needs maybe two. I have another shorter episode I may squeeze into two. Thirty-one pages plus 4 covers plus a title page. I’m sure I can keep it to forty pages.

    The story is entirely written. The art is all done except for chapter eleven. I’ve finally got something completely finished! A miracle, no?

    The paper dolls will go on. I will print them in single sheets tabloid-size, doing double duty as cut-outs and as promotional posters, on better quality stock. And so, the story can go on forever.

    My final image for the print edition will be Maisie in her sixties bell bottoms. That was cute, getting her into washed-out, low-slung, embroidered bell bottoms, but I did it and she looks great. I also have her in a swinging-London style outfit and white go-go boots.

    I’ve worked out a methodology in Photoshop. I paint, but not with the paint brushes. I dab with the clone tool. Something like what the Impressionists did. I need to test-print one image to see how it translates to the page. Do I have to smooth my blob edges or will they be fine as is?

    Maisie in Hollywood is available to read on Medium. I’ll be back shortly with a starter-link that will take you to my introduction. From there links will waft you along.

    Uh-oh. It just occurs to me. I don’t have eleven chapters. I have eleven chapters and an introduction. I’ll get it in hand one way or another.

    Maisie has a few committed followers, in addition to now-and-then readers. One made a comment that I plan to use in my promotion: “Your story is so weird that I can’t not continue to read it.” I call this the highest praise I’ll ever get.

    Back in a bit with a link. Here ya go: Read Maisie Here

    Liked by 4 people

  4. mimispeike says:

    Additional paper doll #1: Maisie, back in Manhattan, is determined to audition for the Met’s upcoming production of Die Fledermause, sure they would welcome an adorable dancing bat into the rollicking tale. Outfit: Maisie in a bat costume.

    She’d been a dancing bumblebee in her days with Denishawn. Why not a bat?

    And, I’ll be able to put ‘Metropolitan Opera’ and ‘Johann Strauss’ into my tags. Yes!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. mimispeike says:

    This has been a brutal week, working on this print edition. I’m only mocking it up in Photoshop, that I use easily and can manipulate art at the same time I am cobbling a layout.

    I’ve stolen art from myself, repurposed it where I think it’s a better fit. So I have a lot of replacement art to create.

    I have not tried to get a quote on a price because I wanted to see how many pages it came out to. The answer is 48. I’m going to do a type test tomorrow, take the type down half a point, and see if I have better than a snowball’s chance in hell of working it down to forty pages.

    This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a jigsaw puzzle that has to be put together very carefully. And this is only the mock-up, to see what’s possible.

    Liked by 2 people

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