Monday, March 12, 2012

knit + crochet design week: sketching.

first off, i want to welcome all of the newcomers to my little piece of the internet! i'm excited to be participating in this blog week and can't wait to check out everyone's posts!

if you came to my blog from somewhere other than the linky list for Knit + Crochet Design Week be sure to check out all the designers participating by heading over to Fresh Stitches.

today's theme is sketching. i absolutely love to sketch and have been filling up notebooks a lot longer than i've been crocheting, knitting, or even papercrafting. i use sketches to help me work through striping patterns, figure out cross-stitch and embroidery grids, or to work out garment diagrams from patterns that i'd like to mutate to my own liking.

'baby's first ripple blanket' - striping colorway

most recently i've been sketching up all of the little creatures in my head that i hope to bring to life in the form of cute, cuddly, and sometimes ugly amigurumi friends. for Knit + Crochet Design Week i thought i'd get to work on a few sea creatures and share the process from sketch through completion.

my amigurumi sketching process...

my projects (usually) go through 3 stages of sketches.

1. idea sheets.
2. rough edits.
3. working diagram.

i say usually because sometimes i know exactly what i want to work on so i may skip the first stages and head straight to my working diagram.  in the case of snoopy i knew i wanted to design him for my mom and i had a pretty clear vision of how i wanted each part of his body to be shaped. my working diagrams helped me figure out exactly which shapes made up the individual pieces (see his head below) and from there i started crocheting using the diagram as a guide.

when i want to start some new designs but don't have a clear idea of what i want to create i begin by brainstorming and sketching idea sheets...

stage 1: idea sheet...

so this is my idea sheet. it's basically a brainstorming session of random characters who may or may not work out. i actually have quite a few sea creature idea sheets but for purposes of this week i decided to begin with my puffy-fish/squid themed creatures. (as you can see i'm a little obsessed with drawing squid...) i want to point out that it does take me a minute to get warmed up when i start sketching idea sheets. check out those two in the top left corner. not the most exciting little guys, but sometimes when i start i need to just get something onto paper quickly to get the creative juices flowing. i've come up with pages and pages of total duds just to get them out of my system. 

once i fill up a few pages of random ideas i go back and see who jumps out at me and screams MAKE ME NOW! for sure i want to work on a puffy fish (1.) i like the idea of a big squeezable guy with spikes, googly eyes, and big puffy lips. as i said before i am kind of crazy about drawing squid (2.) so i know i want to do something with one of those this week. finally i really like the little whale (3.) and i had a pretty neat idea for him that i'll get to in the next sketching stage which is...

stage 2: rough edits...

so now that i've decided on which characters i'd like to focus on i make a little bit bigger versions of them that start pulling together the details i want to include in the design. sometimes i can put together the rough edit in one go, and sometimes it takes me awhile to iron out how many details really work. 

i tend to draw something over and over again as i work out the balance and shaping of the character. if i end up with some extra sketches in the rough edit stage i may tear one or two out to tape into my design notebook so that i have a visual as i'm writing out the pattern or taking notes on potential problem areas that i haven't quite figured out yet. the puffy fish's lips are going to make or break this little guy so i want a visual of him everywhere i'm working. 

i'm hoping to turn this sweet little whale into a baby rattle. for that i have to do a supply run... his rough edit is basically just an idea place holder for when i can pick up the supplies i need for him. i.e. rattlers. 

and if you are wondering where my squid friends went, i'm not sure how much crochet time i'll get this week so i'm planning another fun diy project for those cuties that i will share next week!

stage 3: working diagram...

once i'm happy with how i've edited down my creature i draw them up large into a working diagram and start drafting my pattern...

i like to flip flop between my sketch and my design notebook as i'm crocheting an animal but most of my 'experimenting' notes stay on my working diagram so i can keep track of what i'm stitching.

you can see my finished wiggle monster here... but as you can see while i was stitching him up i used the working diagram to keep track of where i was in the design so i could go back and write out the pattern a little more detailed in my design notebook after he was completed. if i were to make this guy again i would just use my written pattern instead of relying on the sketch.

and that's it!

if you've read through my blog a bit you'll notice that i am fairly new to amigurumi design so my process is definitely still developing and i'm sure i'll always be changing things up. i'm hoping by sharing my learning process you will be inspired to create your own designs as well. if you are new to crochet or knitting i want to encourage you to pick up a hook or some needles and start learning! there are so many great tutorial videos online to get you started or help you through different stitches and techniques when you get stuck. another great resource that i've mentioned before is - they have classes and workshops that teach the basics of crochet and knitting as well as a class in beginning amigurumi from the host of Knit + Crochet Design Week Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches called Amigurumi: Woodland Animals.

thank you so much for dropping by! don't forget to check out the other designers by visiting Knit + Crochet Design Week Day 1.



Stacey said...

I love seeing how your process works! Your sketches are absolutely adorable :)

Brea J. said...

Wowee! that's a lot of preparation! Compared to you I just slap things together! XD adorable sketches!!

Renee said...

Your sketches look amazing! I can't wait to see how your designs work out, that fish looks so detailed!

meredith taylor said...

thanks ladies! to be honest sketching is something i love to do aside from the other crafting so i guess it never dawned on me that i might be going a little crazy, haha. some of the sketches i do get blown up and become coloring pages for my little miss. some just stay put in my notebooks. i'm thinking about turning a few of my idea sheets into embroidery pattern pdfs one of these days... we'll see!

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

Wow, your sketching is great. Can you come to my house and do my sketches, too?? :)

I love your process and I'm looking forward to seeing some very cute critters!

Victoria said...

Your planning process is just amazing. And your sketches are adorable :)

I've only "designed" 2 amigurumis before. Looking at your planning has given me a lot of inspiration.

Can't wait to see your designs all crocheted together :)

kawsar korayem said...

Wooww (y)
you gave me a good push on learning to sketch and crochet it :) i am a new beginner on the crochet hook..
Your work is amazing .. keep it up
and enjoy your talent

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