The story of Dotty: The Suicidal Rag Doll (possibly triggering drawings and story)

Dotty is my original image and concept.  Please do not use her without express written permission from me.  She is my story, and she holds a sacred place in my heart and head.  While I am putting her out here for all to see, she is still my private world, and I would like to keep her being respected throughout her journey… in short: hands off, she’s mine! 😉

Dotty is a sad little one… She came about during a hospitalization a few years ago and spilled out in a series of drawings.  The first is the most detailed and I spent the most time on it.  Her story started with a single sketch that I ended up spending over an hour on.  The rest came quicker and I struggled to keep the momentum going.  The drawings varied in detail, and most of the last ones lacked effort beyond the basic sketch of the idea (crappy shading and detail, hurried drawings to be able to move on to the next scene).  I had not drawn her for about 2 years, but picked her back up this past week in the hospital.   This time she was not suicidal, just sad and defeated.  I have 2 more elements to add to the scene before I call it finished, but I will post the last one then.  Most of the titles are song titles that fit the image, but the images don’t necessarily depict the lyrics.  The lack of backgrounds is as deliberate as it is lazy – much of my struggles are fought in the vacuum of my head.

Dotty is a suicidal rag doll.  She just can’t get it right. She has tried to kill herself many times, but always fails.  Maybe it’s because she is not truly alive that she cannot die… She parallels my struggles and journey to healing. While I have not attempted suicide as many times or in as many ways, Dotty brings to light the images that have floated through my head or events that have happened in my life either figuratively or literally.  I have never really strung together her story in any comprehensive way before, but this is my best interpretation of her.  I say this because, while she parallels my own story, and is rooted in it, she has a story of her own that I attempt to bring to life (or death) in my drawings.

The first time we meet Dotty: 1) Gravity

Dotty - Gravity

Dotty has tried to hang herself, but soon realizes that she doesn’t breathe, so suffocation will not work.  Also, she weighs about as much as a feather pillow… So much for that.  Next.

2) Bullet With Her Name on it

Dotty - Bullet_With_Her_Name_On_It

Dotty tried to shoot her brains out, but only stuffing suffered…  The dog has done worse damage in the past.

3) Far Away

Dotty - Far Away

Drowning does not work when your body absorbs the water.  Oh, and she has no lungs.

4) Bliss

Dotty - Bliss

Pills only make her high.  Good effort Dotty.

4) Laws of Illusion

Dotty - Laws of Illusion

She sees her reflection, but does not connect.  This “together” little doll in the mirror cannot possibly be the container of the mess in her stuffing-filled head.  She looks at her image and is constantly amazed that there is anything even remotely “human” looking back at her… She will often stare at that doll in the mirror and not comprehend how she and the image are related.

5) These Things

Dotty - These Things

She tries to drown in the river, but the rope slips from her leg and she floats back to the top.  (Dotty, here’s a tip: you don’t have lungs, and can’t breathe, so cutting off your air supply does nothing.  What were you trying to accomplish here?)

6) Seeing Red Again

Dotty - Seeing Red Again

She slices her pain away, but they just stitch her up and throw her back to the toy chest.

7) Lost

Dotty - Lost

Dotty sits alone in the corner, a forgotten toy.

8) Inside Out

Dotty - Inside Out

She tries to eviscerate herself, but they blame it on the dog again, patch her up, and put her back on the shelf.  They don’t know that she was trying so hard to rid her insides of the memory of the dog.  They see a broken toy and fix her up, then put her out of reach so it doesn’t happen again.  They are baffled when the dog gets her over and over again… They don’t realize she is trying to show her darkest secrets.

9) What A Wonderful World (done by my wife)

Dotty - What A Wonderful World

Dotty tries electrocution.  What a Wonderful World plays in the background as her brain fries.  Who needs ECT when you have a good-ole-fashioned socket?

10) Oh oh oh I’m on Fire

Dotty - Up in Flames

She burns herself, or at least tries.  Damn those flame-retardant fabrics they make toys out of these days.

11) Left Behind

Dotty - Left Behind

Her friends and family take off as fast as they can, leaving Dotty behind to deal with her own hell.  She tries to catch up, but the train is long gone out of town.

12) Stuck in the Land of the Living

Dotty - Stuck in the Land of the Living

They pump her full of drugs and drag her back to life.  They tie her to the bed so she can’t hurt herself anymore before they drug her up to a stupor… This is not what she had wanted.  This was not her intent.  She just wanted an escape.

14) yet to be named… but I will put it up as soon as it’s done.

Dotty #14

Dotty #14

15) Don’t have a name for it, but was done around 11/14/13 (nowhere near complete, but as “complete” as it’s going to get anytime soon).


Dotty came by to see why I was crying.  She didn’t realize how deep the tears had gotten.  When she tried to step through the puddle, she fell in past her head… Oops!

16: Dotty: in the Felt.  As part of my “inside-out box” I wanted to make a “living” representation of Dotty.  I had some extra felt lying around, and this is what came out of it.  I wish I had stitched her face a bit better and that you couldn’t see the awkwardness under her “skin”… oops!  Better job next time I guess.  (I hadn’t sewed anything by hand in about 15 years and even then I was a total amateur). Presenting Dotty in 3D:


16) Spark.  Not totally sure where in the line-up this fits.  I do not know if it was done before or after the official “first” Dotty drawing, and I didn’t put a date on the file name (the original is in storage).  I know it was done in 2010… So I guess it fits somewhere in the first 13.  It was an entry for a contest to visualize the Tori Amos song “Spark” off of her From the Chiorgirl Hotel album.

Dotty: Spark  (A lost Dotty sketch)

Dotty: Spark (A lost Dotty sketch)

17) Dark Dotty (Art Journal piece on contrasts: light and dark). The best answers are the ones you discover within yourself, until you come up with something better. You have to discover something better Dotty… (5/31/14)

Art Journal/Dark Dotty


18) Dotty Finally Does It. She pooled all her resources and made her best effort… It didn’t work. She was quite upset after. (7/30/14).

Dotty Finally Does It

Dotty Finally Does It

19) WTJ Dotty: Crack the Spine. Dotty heard about my Wreck This Journal fun and wanted to check it out for herself. She got all excited when she found the page about cracking the spine. She liked the idea that was there, but thought she could pull it off better. I told her it was fine. I didn’t bother to remind her that she has no spine (Snoopy might break it to her though. He’s thinking about it)… (November 2014?)

Dotty: Crack the Spine

Dotty: Crack the Spine

20) Dotty in 8-bit. She really liked the graph paper and wanted to pay homage to early digital graphics… The whole story of this one can be found here. (June 7, 2015)

Dotty in 8-bit


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