All About Cartoon Dollz Magazine

Interview with Xandorra

This interview is with Xandorra. She’s been gone from the dolling community for quite some time, but you can view her website via the Wayback Machine. This interview was posted to the Dolling History forums, which has been unused/abandoned for years. As such, I’m going to be regularly adding information stored there to my own website, so the information can live on (in case Invision ever decides to purge unused forums).

When did you start dolling and how did you find out about it?
I first got into dolls in around March 2001. I’d already had a PSP
tutorial website (Blue Daffodil’s Domain -
http://www.bluedaffodil.co.uk) for a few years at that point. I belonged
to a Paint Shop Pro group (Paint Shop Pro friends, long since departed
now though) & I had noticed these little pixel people in other members
signatures.
I was fascinated & asked around about them, but everyone was fairly
reticent to say anything (looking back, I think it’s because they were
embarrassed that they were made with D&D’s rather than from scratch).
Eventually, I got it out of someone that they were known as Cartoon
Dolls. I did a search on Google & found Veriria’s Palace
(http://ver.rubberhouse.net/). I somehow managed to miss everything
about D&D’s & The Palace & just started making my own dolls. I only
discovered dollmakers about 3 months later! My early dolls were
terrible. I remember editing Veriria’s bases, then sending them to her
saying she could put them on her site if she liked *cringe*. Very
embarrassing to remember!

What are the first dollsites you visited and which do you remember are the ones that were around back then?
Verira’s Palace, obviously. She was my complete idol! When I first
started, there were hardly any doll sites around & of those, even less
were hand-drawn dolls. Palace dolls were everywhere. The first doll
sites I linked to were:
- Evil Spice’s Doll World
- Absolute Zero (also my first sister site, I think…)
- Jorindesques
- Yankee Cowgirl.com

All those sites are long gone now.

A few months after I started, doll sites seemed to be popping up
everywhere. I found Josie’s Dollz & Dibble Avenue through Veriria’s
Palace, & Dollz of Flavor through Josie’s Dollz. I didn’t even know what
a forum was back then, so I missed out on a lot of the early dolling
communities, like Simfreaks Dolls & a lot of the dollers that came out
of them.

Despite this. by September 2001, my links page had grown quite a bit to
include:
- Veriria’s Palace (A former sister site of mine)
- Josie’s Dollz
- Minature Reality - http://www.geocities.com/a_spats/ (A former sister
site of mine)
- Mandra’s Dolls - http://mandra.nettness.net/ (A former sister site of
mine)
- Deidre’s Castle (which became Eagles Nest) (A former sister site of mine)
- Monsum
- Shimmerland
- Ivy’s Adoption Agency
- Dreamaz Dollz
- Sparklie Skies
- Destination Paradise (formerly Absolute Zero)
- E Z Dollz - http://www.geocities.com/ez_dollz/index.html
- Dead Chicks Dollz
- Gudruns Dolls - http://www.gjdesigns.dk/
- The Originz of Dollz - http://shatteredinnocents.com/dollz/index.html
- Soul Shadow Designs - http://soside.nettness.net/
- Drew Street Dolls
- Pink Cherry
- Stephanies Palette
- Dollz of Flavor
- Sugary Sweetness - http://hometown.aol.com/qtk803/enter.html
- Evil Spices Doll World
- Jorindas Place
- Yankee Cowgirl
- Near Dark
- Purple Paradise
- Katie’s Cartoon Dollz -
http://www.fortunecity.com/underworld/cartridge/233/
- Cartoon Doll World
- Buccaneer’s Site
- Silver Star Cartoon Dolls -
http://www.geocities.com/silver_star_cartoon_dolls/
- Laurens Land
- Dollz, Dollz & more Dollz

I didn’t really understand the whole sister site concept back then &
just agreed to be sibling sites with anyone who asked!

Most of those original sites are long dead, but there are still a few
going…

Where there any special events in your dolling career? Tell us about them! 
Special events? Hmmm… Well, I joined SFD, a dolling forum, in around
August 2001, I think. That was were I really got to know Josie & Val,
from Josie’s Dollz & Dollz of Flavor & through them I met Steph from
Shimmerland. We’ve all become really close friends, which is great.
Launching my Twinkle & Mina bases was great too. Up until then, I’d only
made preps. Everyone was making such beautiful non-prep bases, I really
just wanted to try it too…

Did you notice any trends accuring during your dolling career?
There have been so many trends, it’s hard to remember them all!
I remember:
- Emby Quin’s Diva base
- Trinity’s Bratt base (& the mud kingdom dolls on it, on the Dollhouse
Forum)
- Camilla Nimue’s Cartoony base. That was the first non-prep base I ever
used. I also discovered Denise (of Pixel Punks) dolls through a cartoony
contest on Camilla’s site, her dolls just blew me away.
- There were a lot more base crazes, but as I rarely use bases other
than my own, I don’t really remember who’s bases they were
- Blinkies.
- Crayon blinkies & their controversy…
- Moo & cows (related to blinkies, really…)
- On TDH (the Dolls House) there was a strange pixie-sticks craze, I
seem to remember
- The Harry Potter trend re-starts after each book/film release
- Obviously, the Lord of the Rings trends
- When everyone discovered they could use the smudge brush to shade…
- When everyone discovered dodge/burn… some of the earlier attempts
are best forgotten!
- Amy Brown Faeries. This one got so bad that when holding a fairy
contest, I actually had to specify no dolls inspired by Amy Brown. You
couldn’t move for faeries…

What do you think when you look at your first dolls? (or don’t you look at them anymore?)
I actually look at my older dolls quite often. There are so many utterly
amazing dollers around now, that’s it’s easy to feel intimidated by
them. If I have a “I suck” day, looking at my early dolls & seeing how
far I’ve progressed does my confidence the world of good! Although there
are very few early dolls I like, I get a warm little nostalgic feel when
I look at them. The dolling world was so much smaller then, still
finding it’s feet. Before pixel/tool shading, frankendolling, terms
pages… A simpler time!

What does inspire you to dolling and what are the reasons for you to doll?
I used to love Barbies when I was younger. Not so much playing with them
as dressing them. With Cartoon Dolls, I can dress them up however I like
without the mess, expense or storage problems of real dolls!
My own imagination, movies I’ve seen & other dollers are probably my
greatest source of inspiration. I don’t often make dolls based on real
fashion or tv shows or other popular dolling subjects.

How would you describe your own dolling style?
That’s a tricky one. Soft shading, fantasy styled. Interesting hair? lol…

Did you or do you ever think of closing your site?
Surprisingly often, actually, especially in the last year or so. It’s
great to have, but it is a lot of responsibility. People tend to act as
if you “owe” them something. Everything you do is scrutenised. Why
haven’t you updated more? Why don’t you make more tutorials? Why don’t
you make a xyz doll? It does get very tiring. But then, every now &
again, you’ll get a really nice mail or comment from someone, whos says
you’ve helped them to express themselves or make websites or whatever &
you think, ok, we’ll stay open for now…

What are your hobbies apart from dolling?
I’ve somewhat of a hobbie collector lol! I have a terrible habit of
getting very into something, then getting very interested in something
else. I love making websites, hand-coding CSS & HTML is great. I’m also
a complete bookworm. I love books. I’ve also started sewing, beading &
modelling with polymer clay, but it’s trying to find the time to
actually get good at any of them! Oh, & baking. I love baking.

What’s the best way of relaxing for you? (yep. I’m getting stupid… but it’s already about midnight here)
I do a lot of Yoga, which always relaxes me. Baking also has a strangley
calming effect! If I’m tense or worked up, the PC is the worst place for
me to be, too many possible sources of aggravation! If I’m in one of
those moods, I’m more likely to switch the PC off & read.

Quick questions:
Ack! I’m terrible at these, too many to choose! Ok, I’ll pick 2 of my
favourites…
Colour – Green & maroon
Animal – Tortoises & cats
Song – Lightening Crashes by Live & Private Universe by Crowded House
Movie – Dark City & Edward Scissorhands

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