Dollz, or cartoon dolls, such as those found here at The Doll Palace, have quite a history. The origins of online dolls, of course, came from traditional paper dolls. Much like traditional paper dolls, online dollz offer a base with clothing and accessories for creating the perfect look. Unlike the paper dolls of our past, online dollz have an entire virtual world complete with vocabulary dedicated especially to them.
The first cartoon dolls appeared online in 1995. These simplistic images were used as avatars on a virtual chat and very closely resembled cartoon paper dolls.
The dollz were hand-drawn in the editing palette of the chat application, and had only a few poses.
These early cartoon dolls were not called dollz. They were actually known as "little people’ then "skaterz" and finally "sk8ers." The little dollz did not become incredibly popular until one forum member began to "mass-produce" the dollz. As far as I can remember, the sequence of dolls by type was a following: wonderkins, preps, silents, minis, divas, ravers, flavas (sweets), bonitaz, emoz, unique, shuni, hand-drawn (I will try to write about types in coming articles). Users made editz to their new dollz and used the avatars online. Contests developed among dollers to create a certain look or accessory for their dollz, but some were not satisfied with the quality of the base or graphics of the dollz and began to create their own.
Websites dedicated exclusively to dollz, much like The Doll Palace, began in 1997. These websites showcased dollz created by various dollers, and as graphics programs became more sophisticated, so did the dollz. Some websites began to investigate new ways of making dollz, and soon doll makers were all the rage.
A doll maker allows a user to choose a base from a selection of various skin tones or poses, then select the clothing, hair, and accessories to match. These makers are also called "dress up games" or "drag-and-drops" as that is most of the time the required action. You literally drag the pieces into the build space and drop them into position. If your drag-and-drop skills are rusty, you may certainly practice them here.
Dollz Become Dolls
As doll making became even more popular, professional artists began to delve into the practice. Instead of simple cartoon style dollz, the new dollz were highly realistic and detailed. In fact, for many, creating this style of doll became a recognized form of graphic design. To be taken seriously, the graphic artists creating these realistic beings began calling their creation "dolls" rather than "dollz" to distinguish them from the cartoon internet fad.
Now, of course, there is a huge variety of doll styles including anime, traditional cartoon, and realistic. Dolling continues to grow in popularity as more users discover the communities, forums, and websites especially dedicated to the dolls or dollz. Creating dolls is catching on around the world because everyone can do it, and it is also a lot of fun. Try the new doll makers here on The Doll Palace, or see the professionally created dolls to get a sense of how intricate the design process has become and why so many people love these little girls. Dolls have become more than a hobby – they are a lifestyle.