Game Review: Dowdle Jigsaw Puzzle “Hollywood”

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - in the boxI have to admit, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with jigsaw puzzles. I enjoy when I can find a piece and place it in the puzzle, but I hate when I look and look and just can’t find the one I seek. Puzzlers know that “I think this is the one piece missing from the puzzle!” angst of doing a jigsaw puzzle, even as the other voice in your head assures you that all is well and it’ll surface soon enough. This time I wanted to try out a Dowdle Puzzles jigsaw puzzle and the company kindly sent along their Hollywood puzzle, 500 pieces, based on a terrific and highly detailed painting by artist Eric Dowdle. You’ve probably seen his stuff, it’s very well known and his style is fun, somewhat in spirit of Where’s Waldo, actually!

If you don’t do jigsaw puzzles you might not be aware of the nuances of a good puzzle. You want a heavier base and clean, precise cuts. If you’re not sure whether a piece fits into another, well, it’s not a very well made puzzle and can be quite frustrating. That’s where Dowdle Folk Art does well; Hollywood was indeed a well made puzzle where I never questioned whether two pieces were mated correctly. This makes a big difference in the aesthetic experience of puzzle solving too. Not only that, but the bigger the puzzle, the more important this sort of workmanship quality can become.

Opening the box reveals their attention to detail:

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - open box

Not only that, but there’s an extra ziplock bag in the box for the puzzle after you’ve solved it and are ready to store it, and a larger print of the piece that helps you solve it more easily and, at least in this instance, had some interesting trivia about the elements of the image on the obverse. With all the pieces spread out you can see the print:

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - ready to solve!

Doesn’t look like 500 pieces, does it? Well, you can count and get back to me, okay? 🙂

At this point it’s a matter of just proceeding. I always start by doing the edge, then filling it in towards the center or, in this instance, bottom up to top. It didn’t take too long to get here:

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - partially solved

Now you can really see the fun details. Every person in the image is an homage to either a famous actor of the time or fictional character or stereotype. Like the pink poodle that shows up in the final puzzle.

A few hours later and at least 2-3 iterations of “the piece is missing! I’m doomed!” followed by actually finding the piece in question:

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - mostly solved

and, finally, that great feeling of accelerated placement as you get to fewer and fewer pieces and… slipping in the final piece!

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - solved puzzle

All in all, I really enjoyed solving this jigsaw puzzle. I had thought my kids, especially my teen daughter, would help, but they were sidetracked by other diversions and it ended up taking me about 4-5 hours total from unboxing to solved puzzle. Fun! And in terms of the shapes, it’s a pretty diverse set of cuts:

dowdle folk art jigsaw puzzle - hollywood - close up

Really enjoyed this puzzle and would recommend Dowdle Folk Arts jigsaw puzzles for folks who enjoy solving ’em. 300 pieces up to 1000 pieces for the more hardcore puzzlers too. Hollywood 500 piece, $19.99 at

Disclosure: Dowdle Folk Arts sent me this jigsaw puzzle in return for this writeup. Thanks, Dowdle!

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