What is a ‘Doller’? A doller is a person who creates their own unique cartoon dollz; entirely drawn free hand, or on a base body they created or that was supplied by another doller. Cartoon dolls are akin to pixel art; often you will find cartoon dolls are shaded one pixel at a time in a paint program; yet other dollers use tools found in programs such as Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. Many dollers share their artwork online on their own websites, or on public profiles on websites such as Deviant Art or Elfwood.
General Guidelines For Visiting Doll Websites
So, you’ve stumbled across a fantastic dollz site. You are in awe of their own dollz, and you noticed that they also offer off some great base bodies that you immediately want to use as well. Therefore, your first stop should be to look for the doller’s rules page.
Check their rules. Most dollers have a rules or terms of service page in which they outline all the ways that other people are able to adopt, or use, their artwork for their own creations. Always follow the doller’s rules pertaining their own creations. If you are unclear of anything, sometimes dollers have a F.A.Q. page – this stands for ‘frequently asked questions’. Look for that page, because they may have already answered your question.
Always link back. Whatever the particular doller’s rules are, it’s just plain nice to link back to the page that you’ve gotten something from, and shows that you appreciate their work. This goes for adopted dolls, base bodies used, or even using a drag and drop from a doll maker’s website. It is always nice to link back with a working link and it’s even nicer to use the doller’s own linking banner. Most dollers make these linking banners in a variety of sizes and many websites have a page dedicated to nothing but links to other dollz websites.
Speaking of linking: Do not direct link to the image; this steals the original doller’s bandwidth and is frowned upon, and may cost them money if they pay for their hosting. Make sure you download the image or doll to your own computer, and then upload it to your own website. Only directly-link if the doller has provided you with permission and the HTML code to directly link to their dollz.
Show your appreciation. If you enjoyed their articles, dollz, base bodies, or drag and drops, let the doller know it! Sign their guestbook, write on their tagboard, write on their Deviant Art wall, or send them an e-mail. It makes dollers feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Adoption pages. Most dollers have a page dedicated to the dollz they’ve adopted from other pages. There is usually a link near or underneath the dollz to the original creator’s websites. Do not take the dollz from the adoption pages — go directly to the original website (and then follow the guidelines above!).
I don’t know who came up with the term originally, but the term “Frank-N-Doller” is used for people who basically steal parts of already made dolls, and paste them onto their own ‘creations’, much like Frank-N-Furter did (ok, ok, so it was originally Frankenstein, but I like my example better!). They’ll take body parts, hair, clothing, backgrounds, or anything else, and put it onto the doll they are working on; this is usually without permission from the original creator.
What should I do if I come across a website that doesn’t follow the rules of Dollz Netiquette?
In your travels across the internet, you may also run across not only Frank-N-Dollers, but also ‘doll-nappers’ – those who will take a doll and upload to their own websites, but will not link back to the original creator’s website. They may also be deluded (and stupid) and try to say they made the dollz themselves. Most people in the cartoon dollz community know the styles (and dollz) of others, so we can tell the difference between being inspired by a doller and actually stealing their dollz or doll-parts.
If you stumble across a website that isn’t linking properly to a dollz website, has Frank-N-Dollz, or has someone claiming to have made dollz that you know aren’t their own, you CAN do something. Simply contact the original doller with the website/ URL and what you found. You don’t need to go beyond that; don’t try to public shame anyone on a forum or anywhere else online. You do not want to get in the middle of a potential problem.
Contacting Frank-N-Dollers, Non-Linkers, Doll-Nappers
If you do not receive a response, then there are websites out there that can help you out. Visit Rights For Artists for more information. What you should not do is email them again and threaten them, or try to publicly shame them. And most importantly, do not give up dolling or art just because someone didn’t follow your rules. Historically, they’re usually young and inexperienced on the internet — but at the same time, also very excited about cartoon dollz.
Sometimes all it takes is someone to contact them about the mistake they made.
I am accepting linking banners for this page! I’d love for other dollers to make them so we can spread the word about Dollz Netiquette. Feel free to make them in any size you want, although 88×31 and 130×55 are considered universal sizes for linking banners. As I receive them I will edit this page, and I will also link back to your own website.
You can use this image to link back to Dollz Netiquette!