I think I generally start with figuring out the proportions first... like I want a tubby guy with short legs and a larger head, etc.... I sort of figure out how many "heads high" I want him to stand, how many "heads high" I want the body, and limbs. Then I start on the side profile head piece just like you. Then the gusset, then I design all the other pieces according to the height of the side head that I've drawn.
I start by looking closely at the proportions of bears in books, on the internet, magazines, previous designs of my own, etc etc. Then I decide what I want to achieve, drag out my pencil, eraser and large sheets of card and get down to it. I don't think it matters a hoot where you start, so long as everything 'fits' at the end. So, for example, I may start with a leg shape, which will lead me to thinking about how that leg will fit to the body, how big the joint needs to be, what angle I need the leg shaping on the body to be ... then I'll think about how long the body should be in relation to the leg size and begin work on that ... as they say, the knee bones connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the ... and so on ... so pick a starting point sketch out a shape, cut out that shape and then think about how you need your shape to sit into/onto the next bit. As far as I'm concerned, it's a one step at a time process, taking practicalities such as jointing, positioning, proportion etc into consideration first. Styling is applied once the basic pattern pieces fit neatly in place ... then the pattern can be expanded upon if necessary, always keeping a 3d image in your head, as you tweak your 2d pattern.
I draw a silhouette that appeals to me on a huge piece of paper and then refine it until it's right where I want it to be. Then I trace it in permanent black ink and grab some thin paper to lay over the inked silhouette, tracing each bit (side head, body, limb) into a pattern piece from that silhouette. The gusset and footpads come last. And I often tweak the body a bit -- widen it, then add darts, or add a side seam so it will stitch up rounder. Last, I always remember to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance. My silhouette is how I want the bear to look FINISHED, and that doesn't include a seam allowance.
I work up my patterns pretty much the same way Shelli described. I usually do full size sketches of the whole bear, both front and side view to help me visualize the bear in 3D and help me place any darts I might want. As I go, I work out the proportions, limb shape etc. I often trace around actual joint discs to work out the size I want the pattern to be at the joint.
As far as heads and gussets go, I usually do the sides first, tracing the pattern from my sketch, then I do the gusset. When I draw the gusset, I make the muzzle portion of the gusset the same length as the muzzle is in my sketch. I then adjust the the muzzle portion of the side pattern as needed to reach around the end of the gusset.
To do this I just measure the width of the gusset at the nose (not counting the seam allowance!) then add half that measurement to the length of the muzzle on the side pattern. ( Does that make any sense at all? It's much easier to do than to describe!) I add the seam allowances last.
If I am doing a completely new and different head pattern I usually do a mock up in muslin just to make sure it looks the way I expect it to. If it doesn't, I can tweak the muslin pattern until it does, bearing in mind that the head will look bigger when it's made up in fluffy fur. :)
Here is a greatd thread that discusses head patterns, gussets, and proportions:
Hi Jane, I have not been doing this long and I have tried this last weekend to professionally design a bear, starting with a head shape then moving on to other parts, what a disaster Finally after several hours of frustration and a few swear words, I went back to how I started to do patterns at the begining thinking that this method must be right for me, feeling very disappointed. The next thing you know I had done 3 bears in different shapes and sizes, at the end of the day I kind of figured that everyone is individual.
I must admit that I was glad to read Shelli's post as this is what I do, I ruler a line down the side of my paper and mark at intervals 1 inch, so I can get proportions correct and then go with the pencil flow, loosely, finally ending with a mass of lines making the shape, the head gusset and foot pads are last on separate paper. For the next bit I cheat, I photocopy the drawing many times then cut out required no of each shape, then I use masking tape to stick my bits together to see if the bear works, if it does great remove the tape and pattern is ready to go
PS remembering to add seam allowance when cutting, if not samller bear :dance: