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Topic: Channelling my inner fashion designer . . . or some such nonsense  (Read 622 times)
Tags for this thread: rubbings , fashion_design , women , toy  Add new tag
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« on: July 30, 2015 06:53:16 AM »

Well, this isn't a completed project per se, just me messing around with one of my recent thrift store "treasure" acquisitions again, so, I figured I'd post it in discussion.


When I was a kid, I had one of these artistic rubbing kits, but it was a monster-themed one, whereas this fashion design version is intended to appeal to girls (and evidently toy-obsessed weirdoes like me). My initial impression, when I saw this thing lying on a shelf in the store, was that it must be a Barbie product, but there aren't any copyright markings on it anywhere, from Mattel or anybody else, so I can only assume that it's a "generic" item. Whomever manufactured it, the device and its components are pretty well-built; there aren't any cracks or abrasions on it anywhere and all of the joints work flawlessly. It was fairly grimy, but that was nothing a little water and elbow grease couldn't fix.

 Operating this contraption is easy. All you need to do is select three of the tiles (head, torso, and legs), place them in the rubbing area, lay your paper over the tiles, and then close and lock down the overlay frame (sandwiching everything into place). Lastly, you simply rub your drawing implement over the paper's surface and the raised areas on the tiles lying underneath result in a line drawing "magically" appearing.

My sample came with 24 double-sided tiles (which, given their equal distribution in number, and the amount of pieces that the two holders can comfortably accommodate, is likely a complete assortment). There are six each of the head (A1-A6), torso (B1-B6), and leg tiles (C1-C6), as well as three texture tiles. After you finish a woman rubbing, you just lift up the paper, replace one of the body tiles with a texture tile, and go over the coordinating clothing area again if you want to add some pizzazz (and we know that Phyllis Gabor always approves of that).

 I tried doing the rubbings with graphite pencil, colored pencil, marker, and wax crayon. As I expected from my childhood memories, crayons work the best, followed by markers, while the results from the pencils weren't that great in comparison. The monster one I had as a kid came with a little plastic holder that your crayons clipped into, lengthwise, which allowed you to apply more-or-less even pressure over a wider area. I imagine that this item originally came with one of those (there are storage spaces, underneath the frame overlay, which are doubtlessly meant to hold your tools/supplies), but grasping your drawing implement with just your fingers works fine. You'll want to use thin paper too, as I found thicker stuff didn't produce good rubbings at all. All of my pictured samples were done on newsprint or lined notebook pages.

My rubbings with just wax crayons weren't all that impressive, so, I began to elaborate and experiment. Ultimately, I found that I got the best results when I used a light-colored crayon to do the rubbing, went over that with an ink pen, and then embellished the figure with various other media (marker, colored pencil, etc.) Maybe I should revisit using graphite pencil again, as then I could erase all of my rubbing marks after I ink it, giving me a clean outline to work with. But, then again, the color "aura" surrounding the figures does look kind of neat.

A part of me is dubious about accepting a rubbing/tracing as "real" art, in comparison to a traditional, freehand drawing, because you're just making a copy of someone else's work, but, that said, I can still appreciate the appeal that an item like this has and can see the creative possibilities in altering the original template. As a boy, it was magic to see those weird monsters appear almost instantly before my eyes as I ran my crayon over the paper, and I still got the same kind of gratification bringing these ladies to life. I had only planned to make a handful of quick, one-color rubbings for this write-up, but I ended up becoming quite engrossed with the item and lost track of time experimenting and creating--if that isn't a solid recommendation, then I don't know what is.

So . . . did any of you, or your children/grandchildren, nieces/nephews, etc. have one of these?  (And, if you happened to have this particular one, do you remember if it had a special name/title or if it was tied into any particular toy line?)  What are your experiences/memories with these devices, if any, and do you have any tricks/ideas regarding their usage to share that I didn't already mention above?
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015 08:01:05 AM »

Cool find!  All the girls in my family (sisters, niece,s great-nieces, etc.) had this or a version of it!  It was one of our favorites! We had different ones, including one for just Barbie.  They all seemed to have pink cases of some sort!

As I recall, you do the rubbing and then flip the paper over to draw the lines and color in your fashions...I don't remember seeing the background or maybe we cut them out and pasted them into notebooks...

I like how you are playing around and finding new fun ways to get a bit creative...we should never lose our childhood fun and imagination!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2015 09:40:22 AM by alwaysinmyroom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015 01:18:24 PM »

I remember that toy!  I wanted it as a kid, but never got it, so I just doodled instead - but that is so cool you found it!!!

« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015 07:26:59 AM »

@alwaysinmyroom:  Turning the sheet over and tracing the rubbings outline isnt an idea that occurred to me, but that does sound like it would work well; thanks for the tip!  I never used to flip my monster rubbings over either (I dont think I had the instructions for the thing anywayit might have been a hand-me-down from my older brother); Id just do the rubbing, add textures if I felt like it, and that was about it.  In addition to cutting them out and gluing them onto things, I imagine that these women would probably make good paper dolls too with the addition of a simple stand.

I did a bit of research after posting this yesterday and identified this item.  Its a Pretty Girl: Fashion Designer Kit made by Impag Toys, a company Ive never heard of before.  As I suspected, I do have all of the tiles and Im only missing the crayon holder (which was white, with a heart-shaped handle), which isn't too shabby for a secondhand find.  It also originally game with 4 crayons, 10 colored pencils, and 10 sheets of paper, but as those components are easily replaceable, their absence doesnt matter (except to OCD collectors I suppose).

@Onyxnox:  Drawing your own pictures is better for an individual, artistically, in the long run anyway, so, I dont think you missed out much by not having one.  Even though I did have the monster rubbing kit, I still mostly drew freehand anyway.
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015 05:37:21 PM »

I think I remember that either my friend or I had something along these lines - I don't think they were people... I seem to recall things like birthday cakes with candles?  Maybe it was to make cards?  Oh, memory, how you fail me (it was a long time ago!).  They were fun, but I was always more of a spirograph fan and I don't think the new versions of that are as good as the old, but that could be the "back in my day" curse... Smiley

AHA!  I was right about the cake: http://www.amazon.com/GREETINGS-Making-Crayon-Rubbing-Fashion/dp/B0047WZ3DG

Man, this makes me want to get one...  Cheesy
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015 08:03:14 AM »

Ive never seen that greeting card variation on the rubbing kits before; thanks for the link!  I wonder how many different kinds of tile themes have been manufactured over the years?
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2015 07:31:58 PM »

Oh my, childhood sentiment! I had THAT exact rubbing kit you have as well! Same colors, same models. I think I threw it away in my most recent move It was fun to play with though (Now I'm regretting doing away with it xD)

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