I use GIMP for making dolls. back in the day I used MS paint and could never work out why other people's dolls looked so much better.

Start by using someone else's base. Create a new layer, and draw the outline of the clothes. Use the Pencil (N) and the Eraser (shift+E - set DYNAMICS OFF and HARD EDGE) to do this. Now, fill (shift+B) in that shape with a lighter colour.

Dodge/Burn is your friend. Set it to midtones (because your fill colour will be a midtone, and put DYNAMIC ON). Start by burning in the places shadows might be. I find that dodge highlights can be too overwhelming, but it can be good in small doses. Dodge/Burn will give a kinda glossy look, but most importantly it'll choose some really good colours for you. You can then zoom in and neaten up with the Pencil.

In the Colour menu, Colorize will turn the whole image (lights and shades) into one of a particular colour. Hue Chroma is good for tinkering with exact shades.

When you click on a colour to edit it, setting to HSV mode will allow you to adjust Values (light-to-dark) and Saturation (vivid-to-greyscale), and this is perfect for finding pixel colours.

Rule of thumb is to make brighter collours "more yellowy" and shadows "more blue", to make the image pop.

Put each garment or feature on its own layer for easier tinkering.

You can copy-paste in photos to trace, if you're not sure about dimensions. Colours>Posterise will reduce the number of colours in the image, and by shrinking this number you can speed up placement of highlights and lowlights

Types of doll!

Left: Bonita; Right: Silent

A Bonita dollmaker!

Preps! There were a lot of prep dollmakers around. I still think their faces are so cool. Preps were everywhere. See also fantasy style

Wunderkins. I vaguely remember these?


These are websites I remember, or have found since, where you can find dolls. (B) means there are bases there, T tutorials