Full Doll Tutorial

Note from the future: This is getting pretty dated now, but I still like it and I've seen people use it so I'm leaving it up anyway.

What can I say, I'm a sucker for full doll tuts. My last one was looking a bit shabby, so I decided to make a new one, but... let's just say I got a bit carried away. My last one had top, jeans, shoes and hair; this one has top, skirt, shoes, socks, armwarmers, hair, hat, necklace and a logo on the t-shirt, just for good measure. I figure you can ignore what you don't want, but it's there if you want it. A couple of times I give you outlines for other things you could do at suchandsuch a step (i.e. I have three tops, I only shade one). These are here to help but not be taken and used on your own dolls.
And that's pretty much it for an intro.

Oh yeah, the base is mine, palettes are provided all the way through so you can see what colours I use, but you don't have to use the same ones, obviously.

Jump to...
Shoes and Socks


I always start with a top. Really it makes no difference what you start with.

A vest top, off the shoulder sleeve thingies and a regular t-shirt.

I've gone for a slight v-neck, but you could have a round neckline, a high one, a sharper one or whatever. I've shown three easy peasy different tops, but with tops you really can go nuts, long sleeves, short sleeves, one sleeve, no sleeves, tears, zips, frills, all those bells and whistles. If I showed you an outline for every single type of top you could do we'd be here forever, and then someone would only go and make a new one to spite me.

As you can see I've gone for the first one. Means you don't see how I shade sleeves, but there'll be armwarmers later on so you don't really miss out. Take the second colour and start shading. Unless you get nicely fitted tops (which I don't) you're likely to get creases where the top settles around her hips, which I've done with little C shapes on the outline, then added shading above and below these. On huge bases the 'C's will be bigger, on tiny bases you'll only need a pixel or two standing out. Zoom out and make sure you're happy with them before you shade them all and then decide you don't like them. You can see I've also added the start of lines for hems at the top and bottom of the top, and if this had sleeves I'd add them at the bottom of those too.

Flood fill with 4. Wow, what an exciting step this is.

With 3 you effectively smudge the two colours together, building up the shading and softening it where it looks too dark. You can see I've coloured over a bit of 2 with 3 to stop the creases being so harsh. I've also built up the hemlines.

And now add highlights. On a bigger bases you might need a couple more colours so the top doesn't look flat, but on a doll this size five colours is plenty. On some of the creases I have 5 touching 3, or even 2. This just makes the creases a bit more defined, on a baggier top I wouldn't have these sharp creases.

That's it for the main top. Now to make it more exciting, I'm going to add a...

T-Shirt Logo

A heart (cheesy, but simple), some writing (ish) and something a little more exciting (though still pretty simple, just scribble something down and shade like you would anything else).
And yes, I did do this bit after the skirt and armwarmers.

Follow the shading on the top to shade the logo. If you have a baggy top with a lot of creases you might want to shape the logo around the creases, but if you can't be bothered then it doesn't matter too much, though it's worth the effort on a big base.

I've used an orangy colour (simply because that's red and yellow together, go for a colour between the colour of the top and that of the logo) and coloured over the edge of the heart to soften it a bit. This is also useful for rounding off bits that look choppy or more angular than you want them to.

On to the skirt