So Is Dolling Dying?

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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Artzygrrl » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:24 pm

Let me just add one more comment - Read the account here about the origin of the very first doll. If you read her description about how she made it, it's a baseless doll. She didn't start out by making a base and then dressing it or distributing it so others could dress it. She started out by making the character with clothes, hair and all. So, the very first "pixel doll" was baseless. Let's focus more on creating new activities within out community & participating in the activities that others perpetuate. Being busy & active & interesting will attract new people, so I think we should consider that is the best way to keep dolling from becoming "extinct."
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Consonanta » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:10 pm

As someone who has made based dolls, baseless dolls, and pixels that were humanoid but not dolls, I feel that baseless dolls are just as valid as their based counterparts - while collaboration is a main feature of dolling, it should not and cannot be considered the defining feature. Baseless dolls have enriched the community and expanded the very boundaries of dolling; I see no reason to exclude them from the dolling movement, and narrowing the definition of dolling will not serve the community well - in the worst case scenario, they may even reinforce the negative perception of dolling as being entirely reliant on bases, which implies that dollers cannot ever be wholly original.

To elaborate on how a work may be baseless but still qualify as dolls, I would like to compare this humanoid pixel against this baseless doll; while the end products both assume a humanlike form, I had used different methods in creating them that leads me to characterize them differently. While the former was created in a single, continuous process, with the entire lineart done as a whole followed by shading for the entire pixel, the latter was built around the face as I envisioned a human form upon which I built its hair and clothing. To me, dolling is essentially componential rather than collaborative necessarily, although this may not apply to everyone. I apologise for the convoluted post, but I believe dolling is much more than using a base, as using bases exclusively does impose significant limitations onto the art form.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Shixam » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:43 pm

mariiii wrote:I don't want to offend anyone (I have done "baseless" dolls, too) but my suggestion for the "description-problem" would be to call our art "Miniature Digital art" and Dolling could be sub-category of that.


So, I agree with everything that Artzy and Consonanta have said.

There's just one thing that bugs me about the name "miniature digital art" that bugs me that neither of them touched on.

It's basically that it feels like taking away what makes dolling individual and just calling it digital art in general. The "miniature" really wouldn't feel necessary to me. Digital art is digital art regardless of the size. And to have dolling be a sub-category, basically says to me that we wouldn't be creating dolls, if that makes sense. Rather than being its own separate area, dolling would just be further eclipsed under the big umbrella of "digital art."

I guess a better way to explain it is, if digital art is just digital art, then dolling is digital art. And we try to change the name from dolling then...we're basically not changing the name. We're just taking the individual name away, or else not really changing anything in the end, depending on how you look at it.

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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby MeganClare » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:59 am

I would like to think that dolling wasn't 'dead', although I haven't contributed to it in a few years, so I can't exactly criticise others for not being active.

I agree with a lot of the points made here, particularly Shixam's comments about lack of leaders or people to look up to. I realised some time ago that the thing that made me so active in the dolling community for such a long time is that I felt motivated and inspired by others. As other dollers produced amazing work, I felt like trying to produce amazing work too. There were competitions and a sense of community, but also a sense of competitiveness, which drove me to work hard and create dolls. The communities had people that were very involved in the forums, people that would log on every single day, and post dolls they'd made or comments on others, and then participate in activities too.

I think though that possibly a lot of these people have now got older and have heavy life and work responsibilities, and so the days of spending all day online interacting with other dollers and the community (yep, I certainly used to do that) are long gone for those individuals. I am now 30 years-old, I have a full time job, I've split with my husband and relocated to a part of the UK which is 300 miles away from where I used to live. So my life has been completely full on in the last few years, as you can imagine. Making dolls was something that I did when I had endless spare time - I only had to fit it in between university work. So I had hours and hours every day to spend being a doller! And apparently a lot of other lasses did too, because at one point it felt like there were hundreds of us, all really active, and loving it. It really felt like the Dolling Renaissance.

What you would hope though is that new dollers would come to replace those ones that have got older and don't have the time to spend on dolling. But those dollers have come through in smaller and smaller numbers, and it feels like the community is far more sparse than it used to be. The trouble is, it can be a bit of a vicious circle; if there aren't the dollers to inspire the new dollers, then the new dollers won't stick around for long, so there won't be dollers to inspire the new dollers - rinse/repeat.

I also feel like the DA traced bases of weird ponies and traced anime has left a black cloud over the community for me. I know we're supposed to accept and embrace these as they call themselves 'dollers', but I really don't feel that there is anything artistic about these pieces of work. So that really put me off, feeling like I had to congratulate a 'doller' on their 'awesome work' which they had traced over an anime character and used the paint bucket tool to fill in the hair and clothes, and then wanted to act like they'd achieved something.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby OKami_hu » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:07 am

Thank you Megan, I feel a LOT better now knowing that I'm not alone with my opinion about those traced base dolls. <3
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby MeganClare » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:45 am

Well, it's probably not a very helpful opinion if I'm honest, as it does nothing but divide the community. But perhaps that's what is happening, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. If there are now so many different types of dolls, and it's hard to define what a doll is (as was suggested earlier in this thread) then maybe the community needs to become sub-communities. That way nobody feels like they're being associated with something that they don't like or want to be associated with.

I also take the point that the community is all about 'the good old days' and doesn't focus enough on NOW. I think that's only natural when there is an obvious disparity between then and now. But it is important that we try to create a community that works for now. That may, as I said about, therefore involve creating sub communities.

I also agree with an earlier point about dolling being a bit 'oldskool' now. The community was based around forums a lot of the time, which aren't so popular now that social media has taken over the internet. So I would agree about Tumblr groups (I don't use Tumblr, but I know a lot of people do) and Twitter/Facebook groups. If this is how people communicate now, then we have to jump on the bandwagon if we expect to survive.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Lazzi » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:44 pm

MeganClare wrote:So I would agree about Tumblr groups (I don't use Tumblr, but I know a lot of people do) and Twitter/Facebook groups. If this is how people communicate now, then we have to jump on the bandwagon if we expect to survive.


The thing about Tumblr, Twitter & Facebook is that their set-ups don't really encourage a lot of interaction besides fav-ing & running (and, best-case scenario, a few short words).

I'm not judging it; it is what it is. But I do think it has a profound impact on the way we discuss, relate & interact. Does it fit the collaborative/social nature of what we've known as the dolling community? I don't know. TBD . . . .
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby MalevolentMask » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:59 am

I would say for the most part I kinda fizzled out of dolling because art school (currently working on a game design major) got in the way and my priorities kinda shifted. I guess on a personal note, while I love dolling, I felt as though the community needed a bit of a refresher, mainly in attitude, especially towards newer artists.

While I understand commenting and expressing love for the great works, I felt as though newer artists got pretty much ignored because they weren't quite on par as the older artists. With so many artists leaving the community, you really need to cater to the newer artists and help them develop.

The other thing, my interests were kinda shifting before I fizzled out and I tended to doll creatures, monsters etc. which was a bit odd for the doll community. To be honest, I remember I had drawn something once and someone had commented that it would scare them to be face to face with it in real-life and I felt rather discouraged. I can understand that everyone's interests are different but the lack of acceptance towards "different" dolls was a bit irking.

Now i'm sure everything's changed quite a bit since I had left a while ago, but these were my own personal reasons at the time.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Pinstripe » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:00 pm

MalevolentMask wrote:I can understand that everyone's interests are different but the lack of acceptance towards "different" dolls was a bit irking.

To add to this thought, while I do think the dolling community is improving in some ways as far as accepting different styles, I think there's still a ways to go. I would describe my style as fairly conventional as pixel shading goes. Not cliche (I hope), but certainly in the cute mode. But even I have had moments where I've felt like the dolling community was designed for a different type of doller. I think that a part of this has to do with how dominant the pageant scene is. A lot of times, it feels like it's the only type of contest that people get excited for anymore. And I think that a lot of pageants sort of imply that the entry be both female and glamorous. I know there are pageants that break away from this, and I'm not criticizing anyone's pageant in particular. I just think that, if the goal is to attract new dollers or appeal to a wide range of dollers, thought should be given to the types of events that are available and whether they skew towards a particular style. Feeling welcome isn't just about the comments people get, it's about whether everyone has access to the same aspects of the community.

Again, I don't mean this post to be overly critical, and I don't think it's everyone's job to make their contest appeal to every person on the planet. I just think that, if the goal is to attract new people and encourage activity, it's something to consider.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby MeganClare » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:04 am

I've been back in the dolls community for about a week now, looking at forums/deviantart/etc. and my general conclusion is that it's very very quiet.

I think for things to improve we're going to have to come up with entirely new ways of 'selling' our community to new dollers. Right now there's very little to bring new dollers in, and to make them stay *Captain Obvious klaxon*. That's not a criticism of anyone, as there are some members of the community who are clearly making a lot of effort to engage and create activities, but three or four people doing that isn't enough. I think we need to think about 'what attracted us to dolling in the first place?' Perhaps would should ask this question of ourselves?

I noticed that Pixel Princess has gone on to deviantart now, as the main forum is going to shut. I read one of their threads which asked the members 'shall we close the forum' and lots of people were saying 'no, no, keep it open, I love this place!' but the frustration was that actually a) people were rarely visiting any more and b) even if they were visiting, they were just lurking, and not participating in any of the activities, not commenting on dolls, not making dolls, just... not joining in (I am very guilty of this). So I could see the massive frustration from the admin side thinking, well we put effort into trying to keep this place running and making competitions/activities, which none of you participate in! And then you get upset when we say we want to close the forum? It has to be a two way street, not just three or four people taking time out of their day to make activities and prizes, and everyone else not lifting a finger. The question is, what causes people to do nothing but lurk around, or not visit at all? Is it because they feel there's not much going on? I ask myself this question, because I am SUPER GUILTY of doing this. I browse around, I see if anything much is going on, then I go away and come back again maybe in a months time. I think the main reason why I do this is because there isn't much making me think 'Oh, look, activity! Things happening!' Sometimes nothing much has changed in a whole month since I last visited! But who's fault is that? Mine, really. And all the other lurkers. Because I don't join in, so how can I expect others to do the same? And so it is cyclical.

I think we might need to recreate some of the things that used to happen on forums on deviantart, as that's where most people seem to have settled. And then promote them, a lot. Possibly forums are a bit oldskool now - I personally really like them, and never liked deviantart much, but it's a much larger community with access to potential new dollers.

I think that the mistake with forums now is that they're not promoted enough. There are very few dolls websites up and running, which are how other websites and forums used to be linked together (that's how people found forums in the first place). The whole page of links and dolling sisters used to be the spiders web that made the community what it was. Perhaps deviantart can be the replacement for that.

I've been gathering some ideas in my little brain and I'm going to post about them soon. I hope some people will join me to start and run some projects to get people interested :-)
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Daenerys » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:48 am

The thing is, Megan, Internet has changed. We're dinosaurs. Kids boorn around 2000 don't 'get' websites. I know, from experience. They do instagram, facebook, tumblr, whatsapp, but not forums or websites.

If you want to reach new dollers, you have to use the channels they use. And mind you, where we as dinosaur used the internet to reach out and find new people, most 12-15 years old today use the internet to remain in their own circle of friends.

On top of that, the dinosaurs have their own little pups to look after, or their jobs, or have developed other interests.

You can go all out on a website, I know I have (did you see http://manor.daenelia.com/en_US/, which is even bilingual and everything :P), you won't find the audience. Not unless you connect to 12-14 year olds you know and pull them in to dolling.

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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Lazzi » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:32 am

MeganClare - I agree with pretty much your whole post. I don't know if the suggestions will hook new dollers (because Daenerys has a point . . . and also multiple social media platforms tend to make any kind of common interest very . . . fractured - not to mention they tend to emphasize passive looking instead of interaction.

But what I REALLY want to say, in regards to the below quote, is . . .

I noticed that Pixel Princess has gone on to deviantart now, as the main forum is going to shut. I read one of their threads which asked the members 'shall we close the forum' and lots of people were saying 'no, no, keep it open, I love this place!' but the frustration was that actually a) people were rarely visiting any more and b) even if they were visiting, they were just lurking, and not participating in any of the activities, not commenting on dolls, not making dolls, just... not joining in (I am very guilty of this). So I could see the massive frustration from the admin side thinking, well we put effort into trying to keep this place running and making competitions/activities, which none of you participate in! And then you get upset when we say we want to close the forum? It has to be a two way street, not just three or four people taking time out of their day to make activities and prizes, and everyone else not lifting a finger. The question is, what causes people to do nothing but lurk around, or not visit at all? Is it because they feel there's not much going on? I ask myself this question, because I am SUPER GUILTY of doing this. I browse around, I see if anything much is going on, then I go away and come back again maybe in a months time. I think the main reason why I do this is because there isn't much making me think 'Oh, look, activity! Things happening!' Sometimes nothing much has changed in a whole month since I last visited! But who's fault is that? Mine, really. And all the other lurkers. Because I don't join in, so how can I expect others to do the same? And so it is cyclical.


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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Phoe » Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:28 pm

MeganClare wrote:I would like to think that dolling wasn't 'dead', although I haven't contributed to it in a few years, so I can't exactly criticise others for not being active.


That is me as well, but life got very shitty, and drawing/crafting took a total backstep for me. Now Im hoping that i can personally change that around, since ive actually been able to draw.

MeganClare wrote:
I agree with a lot of the points made here, particularly Shixam's comments about lack of leaders or people to look up to. I realised some time ago that the thing that made me so active in the dolling community for such a long time is that I felt motivated and inspired by others. As other dollers produced amazing work, I felt like trying to produce amazing work too. There were competitions and a sense of community, but also a sense of competitiveness, which drove me to work hard and create dolls. The communities had people that were very involved in the forums, people that would log on every single day, and post dolls they'd made or comments on others, and then participate in activities too.


This I completely agree with as well, although i NEVER was a competition person, the influx of the dols drove me to actualy try and doll stuff as well. And when it was competition time, seeing all the poeplle get stuck in with each other with C/C and encouragement, was a real sign on how good our community was, and still is. It very much a case to me of "yeah im awesome i can do this, but ill help YOU do this as well".

MeganClare wrote:
I also feel like the DA traced bases of weird ponies and traced anime has left a black cloud over the community for me. I know we're supposed to accept and embrace these as they call themselves 'dollers', but I really don't feel that there is anything artistic about these pieces of work. So that really put me off, feeling like I had to congratulate a 'doller' on their 'awesome work' which they had traced over an anime character and used the paint bucket tool to fill in the hair and clothes, and then wanted to act like they'd achieved something.


This is me as well, even though thy have attempted to do art, i feel let down, and i know its stupid for me to feel so. We work hard on our dolls, and to see us all kinda lumped together is really sad. When we've got people in the community who make true art pieces, it makes it very hard for me to be accepting of the weird/sucky poines and traced shiz.


But in some ways ive gotta admint, im 28 years old, been around as mong as Megan, so yeah im one of the "old girls" so I just wanna draw nowardays, and kinda feel that we need to stop asking, is dolling dying, and start saying, stuff it, i wanna keep the community we have even if its small, and sit here and enjoy that community.

Which is probably me sticking my head in the sand, but hey, if people see our stuff and say "yeah i wanna try that", or see us interacting and say "hey i want to be part of that group", people will want to join more, rather than asking ourselves if our group/community is dead.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Magyk » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:50 pm

Well... I think this thread needs to be resurrected!

And as I don't want to be guilty of lurking and contribute to the no-activity in the forum, here I am putting in my thoughts!

I don't exactly remember how I got into dolling. It was like 11 years ago, but I think I was trying to find an avatar maker and came across the CandyBar Doll Maker - I think that was its name, and then I wanted to know how that kind of thing got made. Eventually I ended up at my first forum - Eden Enchanted, followed very soon after by Fractured Fairytales.

What attracted me to the forums were all the fun activities and contests going on all the dang time. Themed contests, seasonal/holiday things, etc. That's what really kept me around the community.

One of my favorite contests was around Halloween time at FF. There were a few options actually. One contest was to decorate a door for halloween, style/carve a pumpkin, and of course a costume contest!

I've just barely come back into the community myself, so I'm not sure what contests and things are going on just yet, but I think if we can somehow incorporate more activities like this, and more holiday fun, it might help?

I can't speak for everyone, as I do recognize that we need a new generation of dollers and they're really hard to come by these days. But I know these are things I'm really looking forward to getting into myself. I love themed stuff and having a reason to doll something!

That's all.
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Shixam » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:45 pm

Don't worry, Glam ha plenty of contests and events going on. :D There's the Doll A Dollmaker contest right now, and the redoll Actor's Challenge. Plus multiple member-run contests over in Independent Films.

We just finished a big event, so I think we're taking a break before going into the net one. We were doing a base race that ended at the end of last month. I think it's voting right now.

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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Magyk » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:49 am

Awesome! I'll have to look around some more and see what I can start participating in.

Also, I was thinking about how to help bring more attention to different dolling places, and I thought of buttons/banners. Back in the day I used to have a button from every forum I joined and linked to them from my site with those buttons. Does GLAM! have anything like that? I tried looking around some, but couldn't find anything. Maybe I just don't know where to look. Just thought maybe my DA profile could have a button linking back here or something...
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby 4br4 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:30 am

here you go!


it's under exclusives, there's some bases by Duckie & Hollay (dnya & thehword) there that are really great too :3
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby Magyk » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:56 pm

Thank you! It's really been too long for me. I could not figure out where that stuff normally goes. Haha!
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Re: So Is Dolling Dying?

Postby queenxwitch » Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:47 am

Hope it isn't weird for me to post in this old thread, but I was reading it and I found a lot of the things being said quite interesting. I really resonated with the following quotes in particular:

meisie wrote:Skimmed through most of the thread, this is just my two cents...

I'm one of those dollers that took perhaps 7-8 years break from this whole community. when I came back to it, i found most of my favourite web sites didn't exist anymore or hadn't been updated since before 2010 (so sad...do they still pay for the domain?)
Not knowing where else to go i went to deviant art.... when I went to deviant art there was just pages and pages of anime and my little pony traces. not even proper pony bases or anything...just traced images from the cartoon. traced scenes from anime scenes that are just wayy too big and awkawrd.

meh...what...lol


I stopped dolling around 2008-2009. Along with the dissolution of Eden Enchanted, another forum that I used to go on fell apart and died. Activity grew less and less and eventually something happened to the owner - honestly not too sure what it was but long story short the forum disappeared and so did her website that was connected to it, some kind of server issue I'm guessing. That also was around the time when deviantart got the customized dolls category and at first I remember it was filled with exactly what you (or us dollers) would expect/want but when I tried to return in 2010/2011, I went to it and totally didn't recognize the category AT ALL. It was all huge traced anime art scenes and MLP (???????) on top of that most of the websites and people I was familiar with had gone on hiatuses, disappeared, grown older, grown up, didn't have time, etc. etc, and then of course all the usual places I used to go to for dolling weren't in existence anymore. Even by 2010 The Doll Palace stopped updating for some time and activity dropped. So really I returned to a loosely formed community that I didn't quite recognize and was unfamiliar with and just didn't know how to navigate. I think because of the...well, lack of artfullness from the traced base art people, I felt like dollers were being forced to categorize themselves with people who made a different type of artwork and I didn't know how to contend with that. Aside from that many of my own friends who dolled with me had kinda moved on and I was also just starting high school, so I kinda thought I would try again later and just focus on school and friends and whatnot. Which then brings me to:

OKami_hu wrote:
Also, I still believe that those traced bases aren't there for dolling: they're there to substitute drawing skills. Of course, I can't really defend this statement, because 'dolling' doesn't have a definition whatsoever, and according to what I said, everybody who couldn't make bases back in the Golden Age sucked artistically.


I think what I didn't understand when I returned to deviantart and saw all the weird af traced bases is like...what kind of artwork you were supposed to make with them??? If that makes sense. I think OKami_hu puts into words the exact confusion I felt. For me, personally, I always felt that dolling was rooted in pixel art. This is why it's so common for everything to be so tiny and even if works were large, they still had a lot of small, detailed elements. Seeing the HUGE traced bases of artwork and anime/manga panels to me seemed more like........oekaki art for lack of a better word. Like, the people with huge-ass traced bases from MLP and anime aren't trying to make pixel art per se, they're trying to just make a drawing. I know that definition excludes tooling but bear with me here. And I know pixel art is technically a form of digital drawing and art, but again bear with me - I guess where I try to draw the line between the communities is the end result. In dolling the end result is still closely related to pixel art. With the traced base art, the end result is more related to creating a drawing. Now, of course, with tool shading and also the evolution of tool shading I think that kind of butts heads with that "related to pixel art" definition, but I think even with tooled dolls that almost look like miniature paintings, I think the key word still is in "miniature", which I would also still relate to "pixel".

Regardless, I think that's where the disconnect is happening (maybe people in the thread already talked about this, I skipped over some posts) - traced base artists and dollers ultimately have slightly different end goals in mind. Whenever I was dolling I always had "pixel art" in my mind, I think traced base artists lean more towards just like...regular art just drawn with pixelated/aliased brushes if that makes sense. I think perhaps this is also what confuses people who are new to dolling and look through the category on deviantart. They see the two totally different styles of art and are confused about what they're supposed to be doing. I mean honestly just looking at the dolls vs base art you can see the obvious difference between them - like someone mentioned here I don't know if it would ever happen but separating the two into their own categories I believe would help a lot because at this point they really are two different types of art. Maybe cousins, but not sisters.
queenxwitch
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