Friday, October 20, 2006

For Those With "The Heart of a Doll"...


We all grew up playing with dolls to some extent. Baby dolls are one of the first toys given many girls, and even stuffed animals are dolls really. Barbies, Dollfies, collectable dolls, fashion dolls...we know em and most of us loved them. Even the guys had their dolls, though they will usually insist on calling them "action figures". *grins* Dolls are everywhere in our society...and it's only natural they end up in our Second Lives as well...

The idea for doll avatars first developed for me out of an idea I had while working on a steam-powered Victorian period suit of mech armour. The steampunk genre is a neat one and I love the Victorian period. I was planning on, and even started, a brass and copper, steam-powered victorian automoton avatar. basically an old fashioned robot with gears and tesla coils and steam valves instead of computer chips and fiber optics. I started the skin for it, and planned to make an AO as well...but I got side tracked and never finished that project.

But the idea for robots, androids, and dolls stewed in the back of my head for over six months while I was busy working on opening Temenos Island, getting neko skins and ears done and finally finishing my human skin line. It was an idea whose time was about to come...

Okay...that sounded silly and overly dramatic. Sue me.

Still, it was true the idea was about to resurface for me, and it seems not just for me either.

I was rather at a low place, both emotionally and creatively. My entire life I have stuggled with severe chronic depression and at times when it gets at it's worst my creative abilities vanish under the hopelessness and lack of motivation that ensues. The past month has been like that for me. So low I didn't want to do much except lay in bed and just disappear. I had done most of my main ideas for Nekos, and had finished some of the exciting clothes ideas I had for Boneflower Designs. I have a list of projects 9 pages long, but none of them motivated me at all, and the idea of starting any of them seemed daunting. I needed something new to stir things up...a electrical jolt to get me going again. That was when the dolls came in.

After a small, innocent few remarks by my friend about dolls, boom, I was inspired. The idea took off in my head like a brushfire in Texas and within a few hours I had hatched plans for a whole new store brand, a line of doll avatars, AOs, accessories and more.

Over the next two days I worked feverishly on a jointed doll skin that I could use as a basis for many of the dolls. I looked at some of the more popular doll lines in real life and finally settled on the joint style from a popular Japanese doll that I liked. The pictures here show the basic joints I ended up with...though not every doll will have the same exact joint configuration...


Each doll will come with two skin versions. One that is purely doll-like, and one that is anatomically correct, such as the one below. Best to appease everyone...I know some people get upset if they are deprived of their bits and parts...


After I had the skin template finished, I started one doll shapes, hair and clothes.

The idea is to have each doll be special...but not one of a kind. Obviously while having and owning a one off doll avatar would be cool...I make no money that way and it isn't a very viable business model. So, what I wanted was to make each doll special, but not limit sales of it. The plan I decided on was to make the shape, skin/makeup/joints, hair and clothing for each doll unique to that doll only. If I make hair for a doll, that hair can only be bought with that doll. It will never be reused for other dolls or sold in any other way. That way every doll is unique and special, but I don't limit potential revenue.

That decided, I started on the first doll in the series...a 16 year old Russian Gothic Lolita doll named Mishka. It took me only two days to complete her hair, shape, clothes and shoes. In the end I was very happy and very optimistic about it all. Mishka was everything I had wanted her to be.

In order to draw attention and start advertising the store (which I hoped to open before end of month with at least 3 dolls), I set Mishka up in the lobby at Temenos in her box with accessories and an information sign.



She had only been out for all to see for one night when I got up and found a whole group of "dolls" already waiting for me near her box. Seems I was not the only person who believed the time of dolls was upon us. hehe. They were all very nice people, and it gave me even more hope that the idea might really take off in Second Life.

So...that is where we stand at the moment...Mishka is finished and the second doll, Naomi is started. I want to finish at least three dolls before I open the store, as well as the Doll AOs and Doll Control panel I have pondered. I am hoping that once word gets around and people see the doll avatars in action, they too will let out their Inner Doll and join us in the ranks of those who have "The Heart of a Doll"...which is the store name BTW.

Feedback and ideas are of course wlecome. I am very interested to know what others think of the doll idea.

10 comments:

CronoCloud said...

I think dolls are "special" I think this doll is beautiful.

Willis said...

OH EM GEE too cool!

My Vent said...

I adore the Doll, well made and very beautiful! I can't wait to see the others you have planned for the future!

Choice said...

Oh I am so crazy about the idea of being a living doll these days, even if the living only happens in 1's and 0's. I can;t wait to see this line grow (African American doll with curly hair? Pleeeaaase?) I have a feeling this is going to be very special.

Congrats on the creative and emotional breakthrough, Zoe. There are many who can empathize with that cloud of unmotivating gray. I cheer for anyone who finds the sun again.

Anonymous said...

Make a hot asian one! I'd so buy it.

Anonymous said...

when can i buy?

Anonymous said...

hey is this project ever coming out? I've seen a few people like the grim guys totally rip this idea with wind up keys and bad dresses, but your dolls are like x-box 360, other people are like atari. You stuff is so nice, I REALLY hope you are still planning to release these dolls, they are extremely well made from what I saw on display at your store. GJ!

Zoe Llewelyn said...

Most definately still releasing everything. Just been working very hard on the Dolltopia sim the past few weeks. =) I plan to make the current dolls available before Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I realy love this Doll AV I was happy I found it.
Thank you so much
your friend
~Zoe Hartnell~

saimoe said...

"If I married I want a daughter beauty as doll.."