Color Me Nursery Rhymes is Diana Vining’s newest paper doll coloring book.
As a souvenir for the Maryland Society of Doll Collectors’ 2020 Wonderland luncheon, Diana Vining illustrated a greeting card.

At a time when it’s easy to find conflict in the world, Diana Vining’s paper dolls are a welcome ray of sunshine. She mixes colored pencils, ink, markers, and digitally created backgrounds to produce pieces of art that radiate off the page with their uplifting presence.

“My style is very traditional,” Vining said. “I appre­ciate the artistry and beauty of fashion dolls, but draw­ing children comes more naturally to me than drawing adult characters. Fortunately, I don’t base my artwork on trends; I create paper dolls (and custom dolls) that exude sweetness and traditional innocence.”

Combining her passion for dolls and drawing, Vin­ing started creating paper dolls for private collectors and her young cousins in the late 1990s. By the year 2000, she was receiving commissions as a portrait art­ist. She said, “Through portraiture, I could ‘create’ a family portrait that never truly existed — for instance, something as simple as drawing siblings sitting nicely together (when they just wouldn’t sit still for a photo) or something more ethereal, such as an angelic grandparent holding their grand­child that they were never able to meet in real life.”

Paper doll Grace was created for Virtual Doll Convention’s Club Grace subscription box. It features Diana Vining’s Flower Festival dress design, which was produced as the monthly fashion to fit dolls with the 16-inch RTB-101 body (and other similarly proportioned
fashion dolls).
This is a portrait of artist Beverly Stoehr as a child, holding one of the lovely BJD dolls that she creates today. Diana Vining said, “My artwork allows me to create allegorical images that bring people and things together into a common space and time.”

In time, Vining began submitting her paper dolls to a variety of magazines. When one was chosen for publication, it gave her the confidence and motivation to keep pursuing her talents, and in 2008, she entered DOLLS magazine’s paper doll contest. Readers were asked to draw a paper doll based on a doll by Susan Krey. Vin­ing went on to win the contest, and her paper dolls have since been included in every issue of DOLLS, making this her 15th year as a contributor to the magazine. She said, “It’s been a wonderful part of my doll life, and I would love to ask readers, which paper doll has been your favorite?”

When asked about her own favorite creations, Vining said she loves her custom-painted vinyl Helen Kish and Beverly Stoehr dolls but when it comes to her child paper dolls, she has no favor­ites. She explained, “I grew up in a very diverse, very nurtur­ing community, and I’ve always had a deep-rooted love for people of all races. I’m fascinated by the beauty of the endless combinations of skin, eye, and hair colors, as well as lovely hair textures and styles. So, any time I draw a paper doll, I try to make her unique, and a reflection of God’s creative beauty that I see in all people.”

Over the years, Vining has drawn thou­sands of paper dolls and other illustrations, including Ginny doll designs for Vogue Doll Company, exclusives for UFDC, and authorized paper doll versions of modern collector dolls by renowned artists. “One of my greatest joys has been to design lim­ited edition dolls for Vogue Doll Company, Lee Middleton, Madame Alexander, Diamond Doll Designs, and most recently clothing for the Virtual Doll Convention fashion label,” she said. Without divulging specific de­tails, Vining also said multiple doll lun­cheons and events will be featuring her creations in the coming year, further demonstrating the popu­larity of her work.

Belinda, a Helen Kish doll, was purchased blank and hand-painted and wigged by Diana Vining.
Paper doll artist Diana Vining.
These are Diana Vining’s two favorite reborn doll creations. She said, “I created them to resemble baby pictures of my son and daughter, who have recently entered their teen years. These portrait dolls are special to me because they serve as a tangible snapshot of a moment in time.”

Vining is currently the creative director of Virtual Doll Convention and runs the Paper Darlings Club — a monthly paper doll subscrip­tion service she started that is going into its third year. She has a series of paper doll coloring books in the works as well; they will have a nursery rhyme theme. On top of all this, Vining paints, restores, and custom­izes dolls, breathing new life into each of them. In the future, she hopes to learn the craft of vinyl doll sculpting from one of the great modern doll artists, eventually produc­ing her own line. She has her hands full, es­pecially as she also holds a job as a teacher’s aide, but she can rely on the help and support of her husband and two children.

Seeing the quality of her dolls and the success she’s experienced, it’s difficult to believe Vining is a self-taught artist. “I never attended art or graphic de­sign school. For years, I thought this would pre­vent me from having a satisfying art career. When I finally realized I needed to focus on making my creations from my own heart, not out of a de­sire to be trendy or keep up with the styles, methods, or themes of other art­ists, it all became so much more enjoyable,” she said. “When I look back at all I’ve accomplished in the doll world, I realize that I’ve always been right where I need­ed to be — on my own path. And so it continues!”

Bambra, the doll that started it all, won first place in DOLLS magazine’s Susan Krey paper doll contest in 2008. One month later, Diana Vining found herself drawing paper dolls for every issue of DOLLS.
The design for Powder Puff Ginny was submitted to Vogue Doll Company in the fall of 2008.
Powder Puff Ginny, as pictured on the cover of the 2009 Vogue Doll Company catalog, won a 2009 DOTY award.

The Paper Doll Shoppe
Facebook: Designs by Diana Eufrasio Vining