What is Dolling?

Daenelia's doll

Dolling refers to making pixel dollz or dolls. Pixel dolls started as a form of pixel art, and evolved into a digital artform that includes pixel art as well as digital painting on a smaller scale. A doll is a digitally drawn human or humanoid figure. They have also been known as pixeldolls, digital dolls, e-dolls and just plain dollz.

Collaboration Art

Bases for making pixel dollsThe term ‘doll’ comes from old paper dress-up dolls. Dolls start out as bare bodies and are dressed by drawing clothes on. Most dolls are actually made by two people: a basemaker and a doller.

Pixel dolls are often a single image with a transparent background. There are many techniques to make dolls. Pixel-shaded dolls are shaded like pixel art, tool-shaded dolls are shaded like a digital painting. Some dolls and baseless dolls come closer to being a digital mini-painting.

Hobby or art

Two dolls, same base setDolling is a very accessible hobby. There are many levels of skill allowed. The dolling community is large and takes in many different types of dollers. Most dollers are girls and young women aged between 13-22, but male dollers are around as well. The community is international, with many different styles, from cutesy-girly stuff to dark and disturbing dolls.

Some Dolling Terms:

“Adopting” is a term used in dolling to describe showing off someone else”s dolls. If you really like someone”s dolls you can make a page on your site with two or three dolls they made, with a link back to the original site.

“Credit” is to say who made the doll, or base, or props, or palette, you used to make a doll. Most of the time a doll is the work of more than one person. One person would make the body, the base, and another person would draw the hair and clothes.

‘”Sisters” or “Siblings” is a term used to describe dollers that have become closer friends. You can ask someone to be your dolling sister if you feel you have a lot in common.

“Shading” refers to the technique used to colour in the doll’s outfit or base. Pixel shading is used for dolls made with crisp blocks of colours, associated with MS Paint. Tool shading is used to describe shading that is smoother, made with the smudge or anti-aliased brushes in a graphics program like Photoshop.

Dolls on this page are made by Daenelia on bases by Daenelia

See also: Dolling 101 by IridescentStardust on deviantArt, in English.

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