Behind the scenes: how a donkey skin doll is born.

Inspiration and meaning.


Donkey Skin is a fairy tale that I remembered as a child and of which the illustrations made me dream. It was a long time that I wanted to represent it also because I am interested in the differences and the similarities of meaning of the donkey in this fairy tale compared with the story of Pinocchio.


While in Pinocchio the transformation into a donkey is equivalent to the apotheosis of being disobedient, ignorant and lonely, in Donkey skin wearing the skin of the donkey leads the princess to be marginalized and reduced to the rank of servant but at the same time protects her from the incestuous desires of the king acting almost like a magical mantle that makes her become invisible. Actually the transformation into a donkey corresponds for both stories to the darkest period and the liberation from this skin to rebirth. Pinocchio is freed from this shell by the little fish that eat it, preventing Pinocchio from drowning.


Donkey skin leaves it when she is recognized by the Prince. The donkey skin is a sort of placenta from which the two, Pinocchio and the princess, come out renewed and grown. (after all, in Pinocchio the theme of rebirth  occurs several times).

1.  Peau d’Âne illustrated by Sibylle Delacroix  2. Donkey Skin - The Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 1900
1. Peau d’Âne illustrated by Sibylle Delacroix 2. Donkey Skin - The Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 1900

Project and face of the doll.

Here I present an excursus of the birth of the donkey skin doll. I made a drawing based on my inspiration and trying to decide already the proportions of the doll. You see it below. I chose paper Clay as a medium to create the face because I wanted to make it smooth and precise. Paper Clay, for those unfamiliar with it, is an air-drying modeling clay with which many Art Dolls are made. I used one of the best brands, Premiere. (I'll probably do a post to tell you about clays in more detail). Here you can see the various steps of the processing of the face which I then painted with acrylics and pastels. The depth of the face painting comes from the fact that it was painted in layers.

Finishing and felt.

Then I finished it all with a crackle effect for a more poignant and antiqued look. As a technique to create the donkey skin, or the mantle with the donkey's head, I identified the felt. I made this head with the needle felting technique and then I firmed it up and passed it over with the water felt method and again finished by needle. I am very satisfied with my Donkey skin doll, what do you think?

If you are interested in buying it at a special price ask me for information here, no obligation.

Scrivi commento

Commenti: 2
  • #1

    Katy Poenaru (lunedì, 21 settembre 2020 14:53)

    How beautiful she is and so interesting the symbol of the donkey you unraveled for us! I never thought of such a dimension and of the various types of rebirth hidden in fairy tales. Thank you very much for the lovely post!

  • #2

    Rose Rejouis (giovedì, 21 gennaio 2021 15:51)

    Hello, my email is
    Your work is wonderful. Thank you for the video.
    I'm interested in the doll. But I would like one that has brown skin, black eyes, natural black curly hair. Could you make this for me and how much would it cost. Thank you

Privacy Policy