There have been some really fascinating posts about "process" in creative blog land recently, with lots of designers sharing how they take a sketch or a doodle and end up with a finished pattern/print/illustration.
It reminded me of this old photo I took a couple of years ago when I was designing my bluetit brooches. Like most of my designs, my birds started out as some very quick sketches on a bit of scrap paper (I've got a whole folder full of odd scraps of paper covered in all kinds of scribblings!)
In this case, I was doodling ideas for how to draw robins for my Christmas range, and the more "realistic" design gave me the idea to try other bird species. With the help of some bird books, I did a rough sketch of a bluetit with colour annotations and rooted around in my felt stash for the matching colours.
I then re-drew the design more neatly and the size I wanted my brooch to be. I'm not that confident at drawing, so it sometimes takes me many, many attempts before I get my drawing looking the way I want it (and some designs never get to that point) but this design came together quite quickly and I got the bluetit looking a) enough like a real bluetit and b) quite cute and fat which is how bluetits are in my head!
Finally I traced over each part of my drawing to create paper patterns for each colour block, used the pattern pieces to cut out the various felt pieces and stitched together a prototype.
There's a huge difference between the simple line drawing and the finished design. One of the best things about working with felt is how quick and easy it is to test out a design - it's quicker and easier for me to cut out the pieces and sew a brooch together to see how it looks than to colour in a drawing to test out how the colours and shapes look.
Sometimes designs I like as a drawing just don't work when they're sewn and other times the colours aren't quite right. It's rare that I make a design that doesn't get a bit of tweaking in its final version, even if it's just a few stitches. In this case I chose a lighter background colour for my finished design.The Bluetit brooch is still one of my favourites and he's been joined by lots of other birdies over the past couple of years :)
Want to read some of the process posts that inspired this one? Check out these posts by Cicada Daydream, Treasuring, Daisy Janie, Jenean Morrison, Stephanie Corfee, Jezze, A Little Hut, Betz White and Tula Pink