Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Making a Fabric Animal Character come to life:Part1


I hope all of you who celebrate have had a very Happy Easter, or Spring festival break. We had a few spells of glorious sunshine here, but mainly, it rained. It's still quite warm though, and the birds don't seem to mind, they're still singing gloriously.  The fairy blue haze and scent of bluebells fills the wood and there's been much activity and digging at the badger sett.

 
This  inspired me to start thinking about bringing  a new character to life, and I thought  you might like to see the progression of a new creation.

First, I delve into my design sketchbook. This is full of very scruffy/scrappy sketches, notes, thoughts and ideas. Many of these are put in last thing at night or scribbled at odd times when I'm inspired!


When I've decided which animal/character I want to work on,  I begin to research  my subject more thoroughly. Then, I make some preliminary sketches, notes and doodles, to try and get a 'feel' for who I want to create.

Once a picture is forming in my mind of the final character, I start thinking about how I can simplify the form to create a 3D replica in fabric. This part of the process usually involves a lot of mind changing as things don't work evolve!

After I am clearer how I can make a three dimensional figure - and how it will work with costuming/accessories etc, I begin to work on ways to fit the shapes together. This is a very flexible process, I don't create a 'formal' pattern, (unless it's going to be used by other people) or use graph paper or computer software, as I find them too restrictive.

I start playing about with the pieces on scrap paper. Quite often I just cut into my pattern pieces and alter the shapes as I go!


Now I'm at the stage to start roughly piecing in fabric, and thinking about joints and stability. All  my characters are designed to be tactile, and usually positionable, so they must be robust.
I constantly think about fabrics, materials, and the personality of the final character. Often my ideas change as he/she 'grows',  but that is part of the fun! You've probably guessed by now what sort of animal this is going to be - but his/her character is still a mystery!

Just for a further tease - I found a number of things on my walk through the wood,  common cockle shells dropped by gulls,  a lovely, brick red coloured, brown lipped snail shell, and a fragment of a blackbird's egg. I decided to paint them in my journal, and I think some of them will become part of my mysterious  new friend!


I'd love to know how others work. Do you keep a sketchbook or journal? Or do you have other methods of recording and remembering your creative journey and putting projects together?x

16 comments:

  1. looking forward to seeing what develops!

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  2. Jules - Thank you for the wonderful look at your creative process, I enjoyed it very much. I love the badger sketches, I am also looking forward to seeing what develops!

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  3. How delightful to see how you work and create from the inception. I can't draw so no sketchbook for me. I adore how you add elements as they "fall" into place. Nature truly is inspiring and your work is wonderful. Creative Bliss Dear...

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  4. Jules, thanks for sharing your process, I am so nosy and love a peep into others sketchbooks. Look forward to seeing this wee creature take shape. I love working in my sketchbooks, doodling & keeping inspirations from found things and often refer back to them through the years.

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  5. To awesome Jules. I love seeing this. You are so truly talented my friend. Love ya!

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  6. Thank you so much for the glimpse into your process Jules, I love to hear how artisans go about creating their characters. My process is very similar to yours, I have file folders filled with snippets of rough sketches, words and phrases that I often work from. My 'designs' are also sketched onto paper and cut out to see how the pieces will work as a whole and then it's onto muslin and the sewing machine. Can't wait to see how your lovely badger progresses and your shell paintings are so lovely!

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  7. Thats are wonderful inspirations and an interesting kind of work. I like th see scetchbooks of all artists (sometimes more than finished works)

    When I was still painting, very long time ago, had a different method: I was traveling a lot in dilapidated houses, I talked with them, trying to find their soul ... then I took some pictures and of these I inspired me to a more abstract painting or mural in textile collage ... I tried to translate the mood

    Wish you good luck :-)

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  8. bluebells are out so early, I have ! or 2 white ones but no blue yet. Wonderful sketching, you ask how we do it well I don`t, I cannot draw at all! I trace if I need anything

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  9. Thanks for sharing your process , I look forward to seeing your little character .

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  10. It's nice to get an insight into how you work. I generally just wing it when I have to make a pattern up. I've never tried sewing my own pattern of a softie though, that might be beyond my technical skills! We get loads of bluebells in our garden, they're flowering now. I always pull them up as they're toxic to bunnies. I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to do that though!

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  11. Wonderful to see your process, Jules; especially how you get your inspirations from the natural world. I so admire how you are able to bring your ideas to life! Looking very much forward to seeing how this one turns out. I'm wondering what kind of clothes a badger would wear and what his job might be!!

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  12. I am eager to see how your badger develops, and what character traits will be revealed. It's so interesting to peek into other's sketchbooks, and design processes. Have fun!

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  13. Jules I can't wait to see the final design.

    Hugs Diane

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  15. I love your creative process. It is good to have a formal training as it helps to focus and collect your thought processes and get it onto the drawing board. I never had any formal training in arts so I tend to make my projects in rather haphazard way. Sometimes I don't even bother to draw which is not good as if I want to do the same thing again I have no reference point to look at. I am looking forward to seeing your new project Jules.
    I hope this comment will go through. I have been trying to comment so many times but with no success. It did go through once but I had to delete the comment as it was not complete

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