I agree, shadows are definately a finishing touch.
I've been doing them for a long while, but some dolls I just don't find them necessary.
The Serene doll was actually rushed. I slipped up. Ness was right about the pastels being on purpose, but I forgot to change the body color to match, and didn't realize it until well after I entered it. She was supposed to be 'glowing' from all the beautiful magic of the scenery since she's a monster, thus darker themed (and reds). The serene doll was a cooler mellower theme (in blues) and I wanted her skin to compliment her new surroundings. I'm glad you took notice in the top Ness! I was indeed going for clothing that she wouldn't typically wear. In all her Naga forms I had belly-dancer-type tops, the serene doll I went more fantasy-fairy, and the final never-turned-monster doll I went with traditional (and more, but not completely modest) sari dress.
I really like that ya'll pick apart the details, I work so hard to put them into the dolls it's nice to hear they're noticed and that I wasn't wasting my time with minor details!