Troll Dolls

Troll Doll Doodlewash

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.

 

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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
70 Comments
  1. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Lol, I love the hair! Great job Charlie.

  2. Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

    oh my gosh, I should have known you’d draw trolls! I never did understand the continuing fascination with these relatively ugly creatures…and a movie? I hope you’re kidding but I’m sure you’re not….

    • Author

      Lol…yeah…all this retro toy thinking had sent my mind to weird places. And no, sadly, I’m not joking. There’s a movie coming in November I think. Kind of what to see it just for curiosity’s sake. 😊hehe

      • Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

        Well i bet u may blog about it so i will enjoy it vicariously!

      • Author

        Lol…I probably will, but it would be delayed as I doubt I’ll go to the theater to see it. 😊hehe

  3. Sabiscuit 2 years ago

    Cool!!! I love trolls. xo

  4. Sabiscuit 2 years ago

    …wait… I love your trolls that you doodlewashed. (Just covering my bases).

  5. Kari 2 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      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.

  6. jotsfromasmallapt 2 years ago

    I never paid attention to these little “beauties” (term used loosely…very loosely) but most likely should have. Probably worth a kabillion dollars or krona now. Hmmmm……never mind. Nicely done, Charlie!

    • Author

      Here!! Thanks Raye! There were so many knock-offs I’d have no idea if any had value today. And they keep coming back! Can’t be stopped! Hehe… though I still think the movie might be overkill. Hehe

  7. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    I had one. I love your doodlewash of this iconic toy and the background story – I did not know that.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Cynthia! I actually didn’t know either until I did my quick and dirty research for the post. It’s definitely an icon though. That creepy cute face is burned into my brain! 😳lol

  8. kirkistan 2 years ago

    I had one but they were weird, weren’t they? Funny the stuff kids latch on to. Nice drawing!

    • Author

      I know! It’s surprising that these guys took off really. I still saw it had to be the hair though. If they were bald and only offered that hideous face I don’t they would have gone far.

      • jmnowak 2 years ago

        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…

      • Author

        Thanks!! Hehe…I’m sure you were an adorable big-eyed baby, Janina!! And I’m so glad you little to spin ’em around too…lol… it was so fun wasn’t it?!

      • jmnowak 2 years ago

        Yes, I was an adorable baby, and have fotos to prove it! hehehe. Spinning was/is fun…

      • kirkistan 2 years ago

        I’m trying to remember what the attraction was. I can’t.

      • Author

        Lol…me either

  9. Jodi 2 years ago

    You did it again Charlie O! An AMAZING doodlewash. You took me back in time, but most of all – you continue to blow me away with your artistic talent!

  10. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    They creep me out but I’ll make an exception and admire yours! 😜💜

  11. Teri C 2 years ago

    I love your sketch……of these ugly trolls.

  12. Jacob 2 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jacob! Glad you like this!! Funny…I thought I had finished and then went back in to fuss with the eyes a bit more because I didn’t think they were creepy enough. Lol And I had no idea you were a troll hairdresser and stylist… that’s awesome!! 😉👍🏻

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        Haha, you definitely made the eyes creepy enough! And who knew!? I should totally add that to my CV and watch the job offers roll in.

      • Author

        Just be careful where you post the ad…you might not get exactly what you’re looking for when they see “Troll Stylist” 😉Lol

  13. memadtwo 2 years ago

    My girls called them loopies…can’t remember why. We still have a few. I was thinking of drawing one, maybe I will one of these days. I like the toy theme. (K)

    • Author

      I like that name!! Hehe… And you should totally draw one, Kerfe! Would love to see it! Yeah…my theme was little things that bring out the child inside, so I’ll probably break out of toy land at some point (perhaps for bird day tomorrow!) but my mind keeps going to toys. 😊

  14. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Loving that hair, Charlie! 💙 Your doodlewash looks like the real dam thing! Lol! 😜 I never saw trolls as cute but I never had one with blue hair either. I feel deprived now. 😏

    • Author

      Haha! Thanks Jill!! 💕😃They aren’t cute really…just small and weird. But I liked that about them! Lol You need one with blue hair!! 😉👍🏻

  15. rebecca 2 years ago

    I am just looking forward to tomorrows toy…..hehe!

  16. Nicola 2 years ago

    A trolls movie – oh dear! I ended up tonnes of these as a kid. I also don’t remember asking for any 🙂

    • Author

      Apparently yes…Mark your calendar for the beginning of November! Lol And I know! They just seemed to keep appearing and I had no idea how they were acquired! 😊hehe

  17. Cathe 2 years ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe! 💕😃 Glad you like this weird little guy. I agree… I don’t really think they need a movie, but apparently Dreamworks is placing another of their “bets” 😉

  18. Your work is so awesome, Charlie! :))))))

  19. It’s the hair but the face too. You’re just so cool!

  20. Carmel Campbell 2 years ago

    These I do remember. Well done. Love the hair!

  21. kungfunaomi 2 years ago

    Ugh, we have one that keeps popping up every year at our church’s white elephant gift party. Creepy things, but it makes everyone laugh every year!

    • Author

      Haha! I never thought about that… Would be the perfect white elephant gift! Super funny…and undoubtedly creepy! Lol

  22. Susan Feniak 2 years ago

    You are making me travel down memory lane a lot these day Charlie!! I spent hours playing with trolls a little girl. I veered off Barbie briefly. LOL

    • Author

      Hope you like the ride, Susan!! My theme wasn’t necessarily retro, but that’s where I landed currently. Lol And Barbie was more of a traditional beauty unlike these guys! Hehe 😉

      • Susan Feniak 2 years ago

        Some how Barbie doesn’t fit into the “retro” theme even tho she has been around a very long time. I am enjoying the ride down memory lane Charlie! Thanks.

      • Author

        Thanks Susan!! Appreciate that… I never really know where these themes will go. 😊😊Glad you’re enjoying it!

  23. Misti 2 years ago

    so many of your art brings out memories which have been buried , Charlie

    • Author

      Hehe… And is that a good thing?! Lol Thanks Misti!! 😉😃

      • Misti 2 years ago

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

      • Author

        I know…it’s sad. Add a little extra fear in and things just aren’t as fun as they used to be. 😉

  24. That Aussie Geek 2 years ago

    This blog makes me feel old, LOL.

  25. M. L. Kappa 2 years ago

    My sister and I had these! And used to make clothes for them! Pathetic but fun at the time.

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