Drawing Thursdays #3

In another installment of Don’t-Ask-Me-to-Art-for-You-Because-I-Am-A-Garbage-Person, in 2006 (yeah, 12 years ago), I promised to make a set of 12 cartoon dolls for a friend of mine. So far, I’ve made 8. Here’s the latest one:

I’m honestly not sure WHY this is taking me for so long, or why I haven’t just admitted that I’m never going to finish them, but to be fair, the longer it takes me to do them, the cuter they get. This is the first one that I made in 2006:

Okay, they’re pretty much equally cute. I am almost done with the next one, I just have to get the hat right. Here’s what I have so far:

You’ve probably noticed some similarities. So, if you’re not familiar with cartoon dolling, basically, it’s like paper dolls except that it’s digital and you create the hairstyles and clothes yourself. You can also adjust the makeup, expressions, etc. The purpose of this was initially to use as avatars in a chat program called the Palace and also on message boards.

For a while, there were message boards dedicating to “dolling” where you could “sell” your dolls for message board currency, using the currency to purchase dolls from other artists. I think I started doing this around 2003? I’m still friends with some of my old dolling friends, including Jodi, who won these dolls as a prize from an anniversary celebration of my website.

For a while, I sold cartoon dolls for actual money through Paypal, but I was never super comfortable with doing commissions. I have a lot of anxiety about meeting expectations and deadlines (obviously). I also had a “members-only” section of my website, where people could pay for access to exclusive doll bases and other graphic things that I had already made. Selling pixel art was a great way to ruin something that had at one point been fun and relaxing.

So, if you know me, you know that I was agoraphobic from 1996 to 2006, and during that time, I learned how to draw, I watched a lot of Oprah, and I slept a lot. After about a decade of that, I decided that if 10 years wasn’t enough time for me to feel ready to go out in the world, I may have to go out into the world, unready. So I went out and got a job. It was full-time, so that cut my pixelling time down a lot, and my website went by the wayside. I kept it online, but I didn’t update it, for years…

I felt really guilty for not keeping up with the website, which further curbed my desire to do pixel art, and that feeling taints the experience of pixelling, still. But I do love doing it, so I don’t know. Maybe I can work through that guilt at some point. Most of the people who paid for memberships aren’t even around anymore, at least not in terms of making pixel art, so I don’t know how to make it up to them.

I’ve never really stopped pixelling, but there are large gaps of time in between spurts. Here’s something I made a few years ago:

She’s a version of the original Palace Diva. I modified the base — the original ones were very cute, but crudely drawn. This is what the original base looked like:

If you want another blast from the past (and why wouldn’t you?), here is one of my first dolls on my first ever base. A few years ago, I modified the base and made a new doll. I think there are some improvements, although I’m always learning. I think I’ve already modified her face again since then:

Her shirt wrinkles look weird and her bangs are super stiff and too short to go with that long and thick of a braid. And I was too lazy to draw shoes — but her feet are so cute! But at least she doesn’t have weird, glowy green eyes and the shading is more deliberate than the first doll.

The interesting thing about this base is that it was originally a template that I used for fashion designs. I have a ton of real-life paper and pencil sketches drawn on this template, but I never liked using this base. I think these are the only two dolls I’ve ever made on it.

Wow, that got off topic. Garbage person! Right! Even though Jodi has probably lost all desire to receive a set of dolls from me at this point, I’m still going to finish them! Someday!

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