Paper dolls, sharp edges and all

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Meet Violaine, dark-hearted heroine and one of 20 misfit characters in Emily Martin’s ‘The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer,’ due out Tuesday from Potter Craft books.

Martin’s 160-page paper-doll extravaganza is loaded with tongue-in-cheek figures such as the conjoined twins Hazel and Olive and the mysterious Tom, who ‘might vanish for days at a time and then suddenly appear at the very diner where you just so happen to be having a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.’

‘All of these characters are facets of my own personality,’ the illustrator said from her studio in Portland, Ore., this week. ‘Violaine represents a time in my life when I was holed up in my darkroom, listening to the Cure and crying about no one understanding me.’

An obsessive crafter who is a top seller on Etsy, Martin wanted to create a book unlike any other. ‘The thing that attracted me to making the book was that it was such an excessive idea,’ she said. ‘The average picture book is 32 pages long.’


Included in the mix: apparel and accessories, beautifully painted scenes to use with the Black Paper Theater, a flip book and stationery.

Obsessive? Perhaps. Fun? Definitely. The book inspired my 12-year-old daughter to invent her own cast of misfits.

‘I hope people are drawn in by how different it is,’ Martin said.

Curious to see what a character like Violaine might wear? Keep reading ...

-- Lisa Boone

Illustrations: Potter Craft