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SkaBeary Bears SkaBeary Bears
East Sussex
Posts: 27
Website

Hi, i want to recreate my cocker spaniel as a artist bear and need a little help with pattern design.  I have been taking photos of Tia & looking online for sketches, I have also found the puppy Mabel by three oclock bears which is similar to what I am trying to creat but I am not that clear on how to make a new design pattern.  Can anyone please help me with this?  Thanks

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 6,019
Website

Hi Crafty,

It sounds as if you're at the beginning of a long process (kind of like asking Charlie Parker how to improvise a jazz saxophone solo). If you haven't done much designing, there are some good books out there, for example: http://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Design-S … toy+design or http://www.amazon.com/Constructing-Tedd … is+friends

Those would be excellent starting points.

Becky

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

The thing is there isn't a place to start and finish with designing anything...it really is a case of learning a process and working through until you find our own way.  I think the analogy of the jazz solo is a great one as it's very much like that. When I started out I wanted to design a squirrel and boy was it hard...mainly because a squirrel is so unique. It's hard to capture the character of the creature  and it's not something that a book can teach. It's a matter of looking and learning how to make the shapes. What is it particular that makes a squirrel different from a rabbit, or a cat.  I would love to have just found a one size fits all guide to making a pattern but there is none.
My suggestion for drawing was because in drawing something it's necessary to look in order to work out the shapes.
That's the essential part of designing is understanding the shape and then recreating it in 3D.

Us Bears Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,479
jenny wrote:

That's the essential part of designing is understanding the shape and then recreating it in 3D.

Interesting...  Gets me thinking...  I have an idea...  Strictly just for thought, though:

What if I used my computer to make a 3-D model of a Teddy Bear, thus...

1365300816_bearmodel.png

Then, instead of simply creating a picture like this...

1365300894_bearpic.png

I went back to my model and marked out where the seams should go, like so...

1365300972_bearseams.png

Until, finally, I could export a layout of the virtual pieces that the computer used to create the model in the first place.

1365301077_bearlayout.png

Do you think somebody could use this to make a sewing pattern for a Bear?

Just a thought.

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 6,019
Website

How interesting, Us Bears! (For some reason, only one of the images is showing up for me here, but I can see all four via links in an email since I subscribed to this post.) The resulting "pattern pieces" don't look anything like a typical bear pattern, but they really provide food for thought regarding 3-D shapes worked out in fabric pieces. I would think this process could be helpful to experienced pattern makers, especially if they were working on an animal they hadn't made before.

Becky

P.S. All four images appeared when I submitted this post, so if anyone else has trouble seeing them, try posting a comment, I guess.

Us Bears Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,479

If you look at the third picture, you'll see the red lines where I drew the seams.  I just did them quickly.

Here is a closeup of just the Bear's head.

1365304638_bearhead.jpg

You can see this is a lot like a giant game of "Connect the Dots."  My Bear has 6,790 dots, to be exact.  (Called "vertices.")
What I need to do is select the correct vertices in order to create the seams in the right places.  Then when the computer flattens out the pieces (called "U-V Mapping") the shapes will be more like what you would expect them to be.

There is a fad from Japan called "Pepakura," where you glue or tape paper patterns together to make 3-D models.  They have computer programs that allow you to design and build your own 3-D models out of paper.  I suppose, if one was interested, he could download the programs and see what he can make.

I wonder if any commercial companies that make plush toys use computer programs to create their designs.  I'm sure they do.  I just wonder exactly how.  It'd be neat if we could design a program or adapt an existing program to make Bear patterns, too.  bear_original

SkaBeary Bears SkaBeary Bears
East Sussex
Posts: 27
Website

Thank you to all who have posted comments to my question.  I have been studying and drawing sketches from photos of my dog with grid lines, with a bit of perseverance I am sure I will get there in the end .....! The book suggested may help - thanks.

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

I guess if you want to go down that road with computers. But for most bear crafters I think the challenge is discovering how to make what they are imagining. Then using their skills to build an image of their design using materials and sewing techniques. I don't think this would work for me. I like the exercise my brain gets in thinking about how to do something.

Francesca KALEideaSCOPE
Rheinfelden
Posts: 1,306
Website

I agree with Jenny. I'm sure the plush toys industries work that way. To me, it would be a totally different challenge as I would have to learn the use of the computer program first of all, and in the end, it would take time and energy from my old way of figuring out a pattern. The thing is, I just love that part of the process. Drawing the animal understand its shapes, translating each body part into a 3D pattern, making a prototype. All this trial and error thing is very important to me, it gives me great pride. When I find a new solution for a problem, and see that it works, it is really so exciting...it wouldn't feel the same if the same solution had come out of a PC program. Maybe I like to do things the hard  way!  bear_original

Caroline D Posts: 150
Website

I agree with Francesca, commercial companies like Ty almost certainly use CAD, but they probably have their own special software to do it with, that doesn't  work quite the same as whatever Us Bears used for hers. Pixar designed their own programmes when they made Toy Story, Ty probably have something too, that starts off knowing what are the basic shapes for a toy and they they rejig the shapes for every new design. I'd think they'd have to, considering how many new designs come out every year! Personally, I'm on the trial and error, with paper, rough fabric and do it again method right now. Just had a mini bear that looked like a duck because it's inset nose shape was soo wrong, :)

Caroline

KJ Lyons KJ Lyons Design
Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,413
Website

I used autocad, experimentally, when I designed the character Chairry for Pee Wee Herman. It took a LOT of time and I was working with simple shapes. I could have accomplished the same thing much faster with just a pencil, ruler and drawing paper. Even with the computer print out you have to create prototypes. I'm sure the programs are much better now and I do use Photoshop to experiment with different looks, but the computer is just a tool. It's still the artist who creates the design. Here's a couple of examples of how I work. The first image is just the paper pattern taped together and I created the paper pattern pretty much from measuring the photos. The second image is the original clay sculpture I created when I first decided to design a cat. You have to have a basic plan for how many pieces you want/may need in your pattern, then I just use the statue to create paper pattern pieces by fitting the paper over the statue. Where there is a bend/fold in the pattern piece, I place a dart or gusset.
1365341605_designexample.jpg

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 6,019
Website

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Karen, and let me be the 1,000th person to tell you that I loved Chairry!

I also like to keep up with whatever I can, so I watched a video about using pepakura to design an Iron Man costume. Thanks, Randy, for letting us know about that!

Becky

Us Bears Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,479

Regardless of how you do it, you're still going to need to make a mockup, either from paper or muslin, etc.  The computer idea only gets you to that stage.  You'll still have to make adjustments and changes to your model before you cut and sew plush fabric.  There could be several mockups before you get that far.

I already make 3-D models on the computer.  That part isn't a big deal for me but, if you aren't we'll versed in that kind of computer work, it will be extra work just to learn the program.  (Blender 3-D.). If you are used to doing it the old fashioned way and don't want to take the time to learn Blender, you're probably better off keeping your old way.

I do like the idea of using Adobe illustrator to draw your pattern once you have finalzed the design.  Scaling, printing and annotation are much better that way.  You can still generate a regular file from the original such as a JPEG or a PDF.  I certainly recommend people who have patterns already made to consider doing that or, if you ask the right people (hint) you could have somebody scan your pattern(s) and create Illustrator files from the scan.

If somebody has already developed a good workflow doing things the "regular" way, I am not suggesting they change the way they do things for their own sake.  I'm just making a suggestion for people who want to try different things.

Pepakura could be a good way to design and try out prototypes before committing them to fabric patterns.  I'm glad people like the idea.  bear_original

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

I never make prototypes....or a model of any kind. I see why it's a good way to work for some but I have just never done it. I have sometimes thought I might try and I can see why its helpful but I just tend to go for it. Just like when I draw..particularly life drawing ..I never work to a grid on the paper. I just like to sketch freehand. I have occasionally, when I need to understand how a shape needs to work,  made a mock up pattern in cheap felt just to see the mechanics...but generally I try to just draw it how I see it in my head. That's maybe because I don't really ever depict a realistic creature...my pieces all tend to be whimsical.
I have to say that I don't think of bear making as an exercise in absolute exact measurements and scale etc. I think if you are building a car or something that requires a pattern of critical design that requires total symmetry etc then you clearly need that amount of accuracy.
But in bear making it's the idiosyncrasies and the personal features that come about through imagination and free expression that make for individuality and style. Making a computer mock up that is totally symmetrical and perfectly designed I feel would make for bland bears with very little character. Each to their own I guess but I don't like  computers enough to spend that long on one!

SkaBeary Bears SkaBeary Bears
East Sussex
Posts: 27
Website

I have bitten the bullet and brought a book called Teddy Bear Art by Jennifer Laing.  I found it at Waterstones (UK) for £15.50 (which is really cheap considering I have been if finding it for between £60-120)  if anyone is interested.  That was also free P&P - bargain!!

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 6,019
Website
Youcraftymare wrote:

I have bitten the bullet and brought a book called Teddy Bear Art by Jennifer Laing.

What a great find! It has an excellent overview of bear design, and much of the information will be transferable to a dog design.

Have fun, and stop back to ask any questions or to read the library topics. (And then to post pictures... bear_original )

Becky

Caroline D Posts: 150
Website
Youcraftymare wrote:

I have bitten the bullet and brought a book called Teddy Bear Art by Jennifer Laing.  I found it at Waterstones (UK) for £15.50 (which is really cheap considering I have been if finding it for between £60-120)  if anyone is interested.  That was also free P&P - bargain!!


That does look good! Unfortunately, I think I've spent more than enough on bear stuff this month, plus I've got 5 birthdays, so I'll have to hope they've still got it in May. Bookmarked, thanks :)

Caroline

Little Nan Posts: 233

For me a comparative newcomer to bear making, the satisfaction I get from knowing what I have made is solely down to myself , mistakes and all . However with the use of a computer I'm not sure that I wouldnt feel a slight pang of guilt, using science as a means to an end for an artistic creation. Of course that's only my slant on things but the uniqueness wouldn't for me be there .

ngallan Posts: 1

I would like to have an Owl pattern and instructions to make an owl about 16" high made out of fur. If you can answer via email at ngallan@rogers.com. I would truly appreciate that. Thank you. Nicole

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