Making digital dolls seems to be about making girls and/or women. Judging by how few dollers make mandolls it seems the unfashionable thing to do. But I’d like to take this opportunity to spread some love for the guys.
There seem to be a few reasons why dollers always put off trying to make a male doll. But making a male pixel doll is really not that different from making a female doll. It certainly is not more difficult. Whether you like to make fanart of certain game characters, or tv characters, or just some random doll, why not try a male doll next time?
Five reasons why dollers don’t make mandolls
1. I can’t do males!
There seems to be a bias to the female form. Most dollers are female, so it is easier to reference details of female outfits and bodies. Making a convincing male can be scary because we tend to think male bodies are utterly different from females. But aside from the obvious differences, a body is a body. If a good male base has been found, you should be able to dress it the same way you dress a female base. The same rules for folds apply, the same for gravity. If you can do one, you can do the other.
A good way to start is to try out a genderless chibi base and see where that leads you.
2. Male pixel dolls are boring!
It’s often said that men’s clothing is boring and always has been less interesting than female clothing. Maybe the men we see around us dess in boring suits or overalls, but men”s clothing has been as diverse through the ages as women’s clothing. There are also plenty of interesting male costumes from around the world. Trying to make a King Louis Quatorze type of doll would be just as rewarding, satisfying and remarkable as making an Antoinette.
And if you are having trouble making pants: dress yer men in kilts, ladies!
3. I can’t find male bases!
Though there may not be as many male bases, you can find them if you look for them. You can use the Natural Male bases by Caelest, or the Fashion Base Male by Pyrochan or look at the sets Wayuki made. You can find a male base to suit your style and fit your idea. And with the Pixistar Base search engine you can search for the perfect male base.
If you are good at editing bases, you can always see if you can edit a female base into a male. Not all basemakers allow this, so check up on the rules. Keep in mind when editing a base, it is not enough to just remove the boobs. You need to redraw the waist, hip and possibly shoulder parts to be wider and more angular. Golden rule: women round and soft, men angular and hard. (Don’t giggle in the back!)
But of course you can deviate from that rule to suit your subject.
4. No one else is making male dolls!
Yes? And? So? This could be the perfect reason to make male dolls. You could do something daring and different. Dolling is not about following what everyone else is doing. Part of this wonderful hobby is that you can set yourself little challenges like this: make a male doll and make it work. You will learn new things just by trying something you haven’t done much. Maybe your male doll won’t be as good as you’d hoped, but then you don”t have to show it to anyone. But even if it is not a success, you will come away with some new knowledge that you can use in future (female) dolls.
And the more male dolls are out there, the more normal and accepted it will be.
5. But I like dolling girls better!
That’s okay too. No doller has to make both male and female dolls, or be a doller and a basemaker. Everyone is free to do what pleases them most. It’s important to remember we doll for fun, it’s our little escape from daily demands. But if you want to keep your hobby interesting and challenging, try something different from time to time.
Give guys a chance. They can be yummy too.
This article first appeared in PxT Magazine in 2010