Last week Chris asked how I got started making Amigurumi and for some advice about how to design your own and I thought some others might be interested too. I have a background in costume design, so when I decided to start creating my own patterns, I went at it in a very systematic way.
I had been crocheting for years, but I had only ever made two dimensional objects, afghans, doilies and the like. I had seen the Amigurumi on Craftster and, like many others, I fell deeply in love. The first one I made was the classic Amineko. I made two of them, one for each of my kids. It was a great way to get started thinking in three dimensions. When I finished with the first one I was able to look at it and see what I liked and what I didn’t and I made some changes to the second one to make it a little better proportioned to my eye.
Now I had some knowledge of some basic shapes. Circles for heads, pears for bodies, triangles for ears, long cylinders for legs and arms. What else could I make with these shapes? What if I moved the decreases and increases around to different places? What if I elongated the head or shortened the arms. What if I flattened a shape that was usually round? I found that once I new the basic shapes and the pattern formulas to make them, that I could just plug them into each other to make new creatures.
I looked at lots of pictures of other Amigurumi. There are lots of different patterns available for free online. If there was a pattern that had a shape I had not made yet, I went ahead and made the pattern to learn the new shape. I sketched. Part of my design process was to sit with a piece of paper and draw thumbnail sketches of Amigurumi I had seen and liked, ideas that popped into my head randomly, things I saw pictures of that I thought might make interesting creatures. I also had a notebook where I wrote down names of people or things that I thought of that I might like to try creating.
After all the sketching and designing, I found that simpler and smaller is better for Amigurumi. You aren’t going to be making a photo realistic representation of something, but a cartoon caricature. Picking 2 or 3 characteristics (or more for a more complicated creation) I broke the sketch I had drawn down into the basic component shapes I knew and began creating. I experimented with adding different stitches, like bobble stitches for fingers, to add more detail. I kept detailed notes of every stitch I made. When I wasn’t working on a specific project, I was experimenting with new shapes.
I sure hope this is helpfull in answering your questions. If you have more, please let me know!