Originality... altered

A doll is a model of a human. Each doll maker designs their own unique pattern that aligns with their personality and style.
No two artists are alike, so it's safe to say that no two dolls are exactly the same.
One can use the same body pattern or even the same materials, but that is where the similarities end.
...or do they?

There are many established doll artists that have come across aspiring doll makers whose creations mirror their original designs.
This is devastating, not only to the original artist but to the entire doll maker community.

It's okay to be inspired. But there is a fine line between inspiration and imitation. 

When using others as inspiration, consider the following questions: 
  • What speaks to you about this artist and their creations? 
  • What doll characteristics attract you the most? 
  • How can you adjust those characteristics to fit your style? 
  • How does the artists' work make you feel? 
  • How can you fabricate a completely different doll that can capture the same feelings? 

The motive is to arouse your own creativity.
To inspire you to create an entirely new product that doesn't emulate someone's work.

As a passionate soft sculpture doll artist, it is of greatest importance not only to provide exquisite, exclusive, and excellent products and customer service, but also to inspire others to dig into the world of imagination and creativity.
Create whatever it is that you love in a way that truly represents who you are as a unique individual.

There truly is room for everyone to shine and succeed in the world of doll making. 

My creations unreservedly represent who I am as a person.
My past, present, and future are embossed into each doll.
They depict my life, my heart, and my soul.  And no one can echo that. 

The world longs to see more of you, one creation at a time.

"One can steal ideas, but no one can steal execution or passion" 
[Timothy Ferris, Author of "The 4-Hour Workweek"] 

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
[Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company]

For further reading on this topic, head on over to Braid Creative and see their blog post about Inspiration and Imitation.

Where do you draw the line of distinction between inspiration and imitation? I'd love to know your thoughts.


  1. I've been seeing a lot of posts like this recently. They make me very sad. While I completely understand the distress it would cause any kind of artist to see her/his work copied, I've seen evidence in the doll-making community of very petty nastiness, I'm sorry to say and most of it not related to anything even approaching coping.

    Situations where very successful doll makers are capriciously choosing aspiring doll makers to help and others to hurt. I've really observed closely (I'm a professional researcher, so I feel comfortable saying that my skills in this area are well-honed). The odd thing I've noted is that the aspiring doll makers who have been aided by these particular successful ones have the SAME style (sometimes down to seeming to use a nearly identical pattern, color palette, creatures, etc) as the established one. While others who are actually MORE different are shunned by the established doll maker. It's a mystery. It's also very reminiscent of junior high where the popular girls decide who gets to sit at their table at lunch. Very juvenile.

    My advice to all would be: "Treat others as you want to be treated." I would ask the currently successful doll makers to think back to their early months. Truly look at their early creations and HONESTLY assess if they resembled someone else's? From researching this I can tell you that most DID. Then the doll maker kept going, often receiving encouragement from the more established doll makers and came into her own style. Now I would ask that maker to imagine for a moment that she had, Instead, been treated nastily by the established makers. Been blocked on Instagram. Perhaps received mean messages. Perhaps this maker has very thick skin and wouldn't have cared. I think most creative folks are sensitive enough though that it would have stung.

    Honestly, I think it would be more useful to the doll making community to blog about empathy, humility and compassion. No current doll maker has invented the art form (as you mention), so unless it's actual "copying" (of a complete doll or stealing one's photos for example), everyone should take a deep breath and imagine that someone whose work they admire were to treat them nastily because the inspiration shows in their early efforts. No one would enjoy that and it takes away from the joy of creating for all.

    Many experienced and established doll makers are kind and encouraging. To those who are not that way (and who go out if their way to ostracize newer doll makers), I would remind them that they did not construct that ladder that they have climbed and it is in extremely poor taste to then pull it up after them.

  2. I agree with you that not everything is copying. There are some who selfishly claim to have a copycat who made the same doll shoes, dress, etc. Again, a doll is a representation of a human being. There's only so many options. All dolls have two arms, two legs, etc. That should not be seeing as "copying"

    And yes, sadly there is a community of makers that appear to enjoy bullying. This post was meant to encourage, not only the new dollmakers but also those who have been through hard situations such as others blatantly copying the exact same doll, web description and all.

    I truly believe we can all help each other grow and perhaps even guide new dollmakers into finding their own voice. Those who have walked before us can be a great aid in teaching us and sharing their experiences. My aim is to do the same.

    1. Absolutely! And reading back over my comment, I'm so sorry that I didn't mention how much I love your dolls! I've also only ever seen you treat others with kindness online, and should have explicitly mentioned that I didn't put you into the bullying category! And well said about helping others find their voice. That's a wonderful sentiment and one I totally get behind! I once had another shop owner copy and paste me item description into her own item listing, verbatim. It was especially obvious as many of the things I had stated in my listing weren't true if hers (e.g.: the quilt top being free motion quilted, etc.). I simply took a deep breath and empathized for a minute. After reading her bio, I realized that English wasn't her first language. Having lived, studied and worked in several countries, I understood how daunting it can be to write anything public and official in your 2nd or 3rd language. So I wrote her a nice message, complimenting her work and gently asking her not to copy my exact item description (especially as many things did not apply). And I offered to help her write some appropriate copy. Easy peasey. No harm, no foul! :-)

    2. Happy feelings as I read your comments!! That's exactly how I envision this wonderful community of makers as a whole, weather it's dolls, tshirts, mugs, etc. a sisterhood of makers uplifting, encouraging, and selflessly giving to one another. What a beautiful thing you did to her and how much of an impact we can be to others, socially, emotionally and dare I say financially if just follow the golden rule of treating others how we may liked to be treated! I appreciate you taking the time to read and write such encouraging words. 😘