So here’s a little thing that started as a fad in the 60’s, then made flash comebacks each decade after that. The first troll doll was created in 1959 when a Danish fisherman and woodcutter named Thomas Dam couldn’t afford a Christmas gift for his young daughter Lila so he carved a doll from his imagination. When other kids in town wanted them too, the company “Dam Things” was formed and the rest, as they say, is history.

When I was a kid these things were often one of the prizes at amusement parks, could be fished out of the arcade’s Skill Crane Game, or purchased as a pencil topper. The last was the most fun, not only for the miniature size, but because you could smooth the hair up to a point and then spin the pencil between your palms as fast as you could to create the worst hair day ever for the hideously cute little thing. For some reason, that escapes me now, this was perfectly hilarious and never got old.

I don’t think I’d ever requested a troll doll, but the “Dam Things” were so prevalent that it was nearly impossible not to end up with a tiny one at some point. They weren’t always naked and genderless, as they also came in various outfits or people made different outfits for them. But I didn’t like the ones with outfits as they felt like dolls to me, and the naked ones just felt like toys. A distinction that only a psychiatrist could explain properly.

But never fear, if you missed out on these guys, Dreamworks bought the license and will be giving us a Trolls movie later this year. Again, something you may have never asked for, but apparently that’s just how these trolls work. They sort of force their way into your life like that. Unlike Smurfs, though, these guys were always just inanimate objects for me and that was part of the charm I think. If one started talking, I might feel weird jabbing a pencil up its butt and spinning it ’til its hair explodes! That would just spoil all of the fun.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Gamboge, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

70 replies on “Troll Dolls

  1. I remember these!! I always thought they were so cute. My kids had a few with clothes but it was the multicolored hair that I absolutely loved! And you captured the wildness and its funkiness. Love that! And I’m glad you got the Google+ worked out because I prefer viewing your post on it. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kari!! 💕😃 they were so weird and funky…hehe… I’d never really studied one until I doodlewashed this one today. And yep…I think I got Google+ working now…apparently my posts were set to only viewed by me after there update. Still can use the app as my Doodlewash page anymore so that pretty much sucks. I’ll keep robo-posting until they break it again, but had to give up iterating there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Waddya mean “hideous face”, Charlie! I adored them ‘cos they reminded me of Me as a baby, cabbage patch doll-like features and big eyes…cute, really! LOL.

        For some reason, that escapes me now, this was perfectly hilarious and never got old.

        — I SO loved doing that!! The one and only one I had had orange hair. Lovely doodle…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve done it again, Charlie – this is so cool! The colour of the hair is exactly as I remember them. My sisters had several of these, most of which found on the end of pencils, as you mention. I thought the hair was cool and I used to have fun moulding it into different shapes, but found their eyes, like the one you’ve painted, creepy as anything and this rather negated my endearment. Even so, it’s a real nostalgia trip to be reacquainted. I’m sure the movie is going to be terrific…

    And just to say, I love the finish and reflection you’ve got on the table. Icing on the cake!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your sketch is wonderful Charlie! Trolls are just weird but the background history you shared is completely fascinating. The movie (I think) is a really bad idea…Dreamworks…sigh…bad.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yes Charlie.. I meant it in a good the bid to fit into the ‘adult, correct’ way we forget the small things which brought us so much pleasure in our growing years.

        Liked by 1 person

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