Editor's Note: This series of posts became a book!
Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction was published by Lark Crafts in 2013.
With just a little extra effort you can take a pattern for a standing animal and transform it into a pattern for a walking, stalking or prowling animal. Motion gives the animal energy and implies a narrative. Think about a predator and its prey or a mother carrying a baby in it's mouth. Some of the best examples I've seen of softies in motion are part of Jennifer Muskopf's series of animal interactions (Jennifer is also a contributor to my book).
I'm going to sew a walking leopard. To get started, let's look at an image of a walking leopard.
If I were making a standing leopard I would begin by drawing the leopard in profile and then use that drawing to create the side body pattern piece. I am going to do the same thing to make a walking leopard, except I need to draw two different side bodies, one for the right side of its body and one for the left.
First I am going to draw the left side of the leopard, showing how the legs look on that side. Then I am going to copy the main part of the body, redrawing the legs to show how they look on thr right side of his body.
Here are the two side bodies.
Here they are on top of one another so you can see the assymetry in the legs.
Now cut out the new pieces and sew the leopard together as usual, being sure to match the left underbody with the left side body and the right underbody with the right side body.
Have you made an assymetrical soft toy or one that appears to be in motion? How did you do it? What other techniques for showing motion do you suggest? Or do you know of an artist who makes animals in motion? We would love the link so we can get inspired. Please share in the comments! Thank you, everyone!