Sketch of the week: 15-Cosmos Exploratum

10 years, 10 months ago 57


I need to finish this doll. I’ve  never experienced this much indecision about anything as I have with this project. It’s like I can’t find the perfect solution for the outfit, that will reflect the headdress. When I made this sketch, I was intending for the helmet to be made of leather and cast brass, with cabochon stones set into it. But eventually I decided that the effect would be stronger if the thing was made entirely with bead embroidery.


The trouble is, that I’ve started making her outfit several times, and each time abandoned it after a considerable amount of effort and time. It just didn’t feel right. Nothing seems to feel right. Perhaps I should just go with my original idea of giving her an embroidered, black catsuit with stilletos. That was the plan, but after considering it further, I had abandoned that because it felt a bit Star Trek-ish. Perhaps the reason I can’t seem to do anything else, is because that’s what I’m supposed to make to begin with. The other option that I’m seriously considering, is a heavily embroidered, black mini-dress. But that also felt a bit space-ish.

The truth is- I have some sort of an artist block with this doll. Have had it for over a year, and still no solution. I should just clear my schedule for a week and work on nothing but this-start over again.

57 Responses

  1. aneemal says:

    The helmet is such a strong piece on it’s own, maybe you don’t need anything else?

    If wearing the helmet allows exploration of the cosmos… any costume might disrupt the time-space continuum and you’d find yourself quantum-leaping through wormholes the rest of eternity! I used to love Star Trek Voyager.

    Have you seen Donny Darko? I like that film’s visualisation of time travel…

  2. Louisa says:

    The headpiece looks beautiful. I can see a black catsuit, but maybe a simple, off the shoulder design to leave her neck and shoulders simple and bare to show off the headpiece? And perhaps instead of having the whole thing embroidered she could have some kind of beaded or metal corset over the catsuit. Stilettos do seem a little Trek-ish. Bare feet could be beautiful, with painted toenails or a cosmos-style tattoo over her feet and ankles, or beaded ankle cuffs/bracelets in the same style as her headdress?

  3. Angela says:

    I really think giving her absolutely nothing to wear is a good idea as well, but the first thing that comes to my mind in terms of what she could wear is something very simplistic. Maybe a lightweight, breezy, off the shoulder or one shoulder, slightly ruffled long gown a similar color to the large gemstone on the headdress? I realize that isn’t exactly “spacey”, but it seems like your trying to avoid stereotyping the dress, and I think if you do something in that style that way you could then do big huge stilettos and have it not appear Trek-ish : )
    Maybe thinking up something completely opposite of what you originally intended could be beneficial! Overall, I’m really looking forward to this design!

  4. Leah says:

    Make her a butterfly suit that looks like a monarch, maybe black and orange. Also a bunch of embroidery and beads with it, but not go overboard. Then instead of having wings stick out of the back, use long flowy sleeves that look like wings hanging down from her arms.

    I dunno, just throwing out ideas, that’s what popped in my head when I looked at her hat for awhile.

    (oh yeah, and maybe something collarless and shoulderless)

    Good Luck with your project :D

  5. Sarah says:

    The helmet itself looks very fancy, and to my mind the dress that goes with it should at first seem fancy too. When I look at this, I think of Queen Amidala’s wardrobe. If she’s a cosmic navigator it might be a very important role, so when she gets summoned to do her job she’s attired in a very fancy gown, but when she actually DOES her job the gown would get in the way, as aneemal said, so the outer costume is ritually taken away piece by piece (sort of the reverse of the Alice doll) until she’s left in a very simple shift, but with this fantastic creation still upon her head, no longer just pretty but now about to do its job.

    Yeah, I’m basically thinking of Dune now. XD

    Good luck!

  6. trista says:

    Though I think the helmit looks great just by itself, I think more of an 1900’s type outfit, something exploreresque, like Amelia Earheart. Something steampunk rather than startrek. I don’t know why, I just think that would work. Whatever you give her I’m sure it will look great.

  7. Marlene says:

    It makes me think of Queen Amidala from Star Wars. Perhaps her costumes could bring you some inspiration :)

  8. Sarandipitty says:

    From the title “cosmos” I get the feeling it is supposed to be somewhat related to space exploration.

    Perhaps looking at pictures of nebulas for colors, etc.

    Also, if she is some kind of space explorer or researcher but you don’t want her image to invoke any TV series, maybe look at old time astronomers? Copernicus era??? Some sort of simplistic monastery looking outfit?

  9. Maybe a black version of the illumination cape, I think it would give her more of an “enchantress” feel rather than space-queen.

    Then again… the black cat suit with stiletto’s sounds to die for. If it’s been your first instinct all along, go for it! Spacey or not spacey – it would look stunning.

  10. Absinthe says:

    I actually envisioned this with a black kimono-esque robe, but with structured sleeves that end halfway between the elbow and wrist, and a simple neckline that dips very low in the back like a geisha’s to emphasize her slim neck. And a wide belt with a big cabachon jewel on it, worn high, just under her bust. Something very much like Queen Amidala’s royal costumes in ‘The Phantom Menace’. Yes it was a pretty bad movie, but her costumes were amazingly well-resolved despite having to marry so many different styles.

    And ohhh!! I just thought of it! She can wear the catsuit and stilettos underneath the robe, which would be long enough to completely hide her shoes. Wheeee!!

  11. Shiny says:

    Maybe the problem is thinking of her as a human. What if she’s an alien in disguise- sort of like “V”?

    I do agree that the catsuit is WAY Star-Trekish, and as someone who grew up with two Trekkie parents, I’ve seen several episodes.

    I actually really liked the idea that Sarah had about ritual and the costume removal being part of it.

  12. Lisa says:

    Я могу сделать подробный скетч, как я это вижу :) Возможно, декор будет сложноват для выполнения)

  13. Marina says:


    Я все могу.

  14. Lisa says:

    Не сомневаюсь :) Более того, я в этом уверена.
    Я просто предложила ))) Инициатива наказуема?
    Искренне восхищаюсь твоими нарядами, прочитала про “творческий ступор”, мне пришла в голову идейка, решила предложить.

  15. Alyce says:

    Something involving the moon and the sun, or maybe opposite eclipsed suns, on each breast. Or maybe 4 phases of the moon on each bum cheek and breast. This is just what came to my mind first… spheres, the cosmos, the female shape, it works!

  16. Lisa says:

    Куда выложить? :)
    Могу в личку на Долпленете. Надо? :)

  17. Crystal says:

    There’s really nothing wrong with making her some kind of space traveler. You could make her an “original”space suit, your own. You should not hesitate to explore all types of personas.

  18. silvana says:

    Hi Marina, beautiful sketch. I think like an Star War outift is beautiful for your headpiece doll….hum? She looks like somebody to the cosmos…

  19. Annina says:

    i really liked the idea that Companda in your fanart gallery had:

    that very tiny jacket that only covers the top of her chest and then the huge long sleeves, i think it’s cool!

  20. noxy says:

    I agree with Crystal, there’s nothing wrong with making her look spacey. I love Star Trek anyway. hee hee haha. But no, seriously… you’ve done your own version of Snow White, the Swan Princess, Alice in Wonderland… Cixi.. I mean, you have a whole ton of dolls that are an interpretation of one thing or another. And you did wonderfully on every one of them. Why not do an interpretation of “space-ish?”

  21. helvella says:

    Judging by the sketch you intended to make her more steampunk, but I agree with Crystal and noxy. Course I’m biased because I love science fiction.

  22. Erin says:

    It makes me think of super-fancy priest headgear. Maybe robes or vestments or something?

  23. giperborea says:

    The sketch of the headdress reminds me of the headdress of Artificial Intelligence. It turned out completely different though.

  24. Lisa says:

    Ссылка на скетч.

  25. Marina says:


    That’s an awesome sketch!I love it. Thank you for taking the time to do it.

    I will consider all your suggestions. You’ve been very helpful.

  26. Lisa says:

    I can paint it and make more detailed… But this will take a time…

  27. joan says:

    the helmet is so beautiful i would not do a dress. tattoos to compliment the helmet in the theme and just beaded boots to the knee.

  28. Kimmi says:

    Woah, I love Lisa’s design!!! No idea what she said, but I really love that sketch!!

  29. Marina says:

    I was considering keeping her nude, but thought that perhaps it needed something else, like a jet pack. But the boots will probably work too.

    It’s either boots and a beaded jet pack with a leather harness around her body, or boots and a tattoo of a jet pack with oxygen mask and hoses and a harness. Something mechanical….

  30. charwoman says:

    have you seen the movie Dune? In the beginning scene it shows the emperors daughter and the court in some wonderful gowns. Your headpiece makes me think that it requires something with interesting lines and a wider skirt to balance it’s wonderful shape. Maby your headpiece has changed in your hands but not your head…

  31. Tanya says:

    The doll’s headpiece looks really lovely! As a budding designer, I would suggest a flowing white gown with minimal embroidery or embellishment, because of how large and ornate the crown is. Maybe her legs could have mechanized tattoos, too?

  32. Maura says:

    Sarah’s idea sounds intriguing, Lisa’s design is wonderful…then again a simple suit, boots, and the beaded jet pack (!wow!) could be exactly what our explorer needs. Hope you’ll find your inspiration soon, Marina: being an Edie’s fan, I have been so curious to see the rest of this outfit…

  33. noxy says:

    Boots and a beaded jet pack sounds AWESOME. LIke, really really. Go with that, that’s a winner! *wants to see a beaded jet pack*

  34. joan says:

    your dolls have such graceful bodies that it is a pitty to clothe them.

  35. AnLouieNoir says:

    I like the mini dress idea, I think it would suit the doll and the head dress. I’m really sorry you have artists block, I know the feeling so I hope you sort it out soon. I say just go for it and anything that is made but you don’t liek can be stored away for another doll. Don’t stress too much Marina, you’ll pull through!

  36. Karen says:

    How about a trumpet vine flower upside down? With the same beading. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas1 Karen :-)

  37. KarolinFelix says:

    The style of a helmet reminds me the steam machines design… like in a ‘steamboy’manga or ‘Howl’s moving Castle’ by studio Ghibli…

    Rusty mechanical..

    And she’s a princess, so maybe a long gown in a bit machinery style would be perfect?

    Anyway <: Fingers crossed!

  38. Anne says:

    I think the headpiece looks animalistic, and that an outfit half human/half wood grazing animal would be enchanting. Like some type of fairytale animal kingdom princess.

  39. yani says:

    I’m thinking a beaded bustier/corset with JPG/Madonna conical breasts in the same style as the helmet, and thigh-high boots.

  40. Maxwell says:

    I’m sure you’ve already considered it but I couldn’t help but notice how the headpiece is very middle eastern (or maybe Moorish?) and I was thinking that maybe some sort of slightly altered Mughal costume would be appropriate? I noticed that in some of the sketches you posted for this there were gauze skirts with embroidery andI was looking through the V&A online collection when I found this water color and thought of this doll again.

  41. Viktoriya says:

    Dear Enchanted Doll Goddess,

    I love all of your work and the inspirations that power you!

    When I first saw this doll and its beautiful headpiece I was automatically reminded of the actress Shannyn Sossamon, particularly in her roll for the movie the Knights Tale. She plays a princess who falls in love with a Knight who by birth is not entitled to the ranking. I particularly relate your doll to the church scene of the movie, where Shannyn wears a simple off white flowy multi-piece gown that equally relates her standing in society and her power as a woman of importance. I do not know if you have seen this movie but if you find the time I highly recommend it.

    This is a link to a picture I found of Shannyn in one of the outfits from that movie.

    Hope your inspiration comes to you soon so you can continue to mesmerize us with your creations.

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