Norma Lu Meehan
From the time she was cutting out paper
dolls as a kid, Norma Lu Meehan knew her life was to be connected
in some way to the drawing of pretty clothes. After taking two
years of costume design and fashion illustration from Lois Marshall
in South Bend, Indiana, it was off to New York to the Parsons
School of Design. Taking anatomy and life classes, and painting
the historic gowns in the Brooklyn Museum laid the foundation
for what Norma Lu would be doing the rest of her life.
Returning home to South Bend, she began a long career as a fashion
illustrator. Her primary clients included The Frances Shop and
The Milady Shop ( fine specialty shops), Mr. Leonard Furs and
Gilbert’s Men’s store, said to be the largest menswear
advertiser in the country. A favorite client was the Dainty
Maid Bake Shop because Norma Lu and her family got to eat every
special of the week that she drew. Outside of South Bend, she
did the advertising for John T. Shayne on Michigan Avenue in
working for decades as a fashion illustrator and art director,
Norma Lu turned her creative efforts to paper dolls. Her specialty
is antique clothing and it shows in her paper doll art. Her
Wardrobe series, published by Hobby House Press, includes paper
doll sets from the Edwardian, Victorian and Art Deco periods.
Her Colonial series paper dolls have been published in Contemporary
Doll Collector and Miniature Collector magazines.
In more recent years, she illustrated several historic costume
paper doll books for Texas Tech University Press. Two books,
Collection by Design I and II, represent dozens of exquisitely
rendered costumes from the Kent State Museum collection. Other
titles include The Fowler Family Gets Dressed, The Fowler Family
Celebrates Statehood and a Wedding, and Heroine of the Limberlost
about naturalist and author, Gene Stratton-Porter.
Another specialty of Norma Lu’s is creating custom paper
dolls for individuals. Many families have been elated to see
a loved one and their wardrobe appear as a beautiful paper doll.
Today Norma Lu enjoys transforming favorite movie stars into
paper dolls including Greta
Garbo, Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl and Margaret
O’Brien. Other fashionable titles include A Palette of Paper Dolls and Little Ladies of Fashion. With a big family of children
and grandchildren, Norma Lu divides her time between her home
in Indiana and her lake house in Michigan.
Titles by Norma Lu Meehan for Paper Studio Press
Kate Middleton Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge
Fashions of the First Ladies