My little man and I are huge fans of Science World here in Vancouver, so you can imagine how thrilled I was the day they got in touch with me to ask if I could make a very special plushie, for a very special occasion!
We often visit the Wonder Gallery at Science World, where my son loves to experiment and climb the big tree there. I love the designs of the characters they come up with at the center, so it was a real pleasure to work on Pejo, the Hippo!
I thought it would be fun to share a little behind the scenes peek at how Pejo came to life!
My first task when creating a custom plushie from a drawing, is to visualize the flat drawing in 3D. When you draw a character, it's easy to move things around and make changes to the front or the profile of the picture, but in 3D you can't cheat! Your character has to look exactly the same from every angle. I used to work as a 3D character animator, and that experience is very useful at this stage. I often also enlist my husband's help — who happens to be a character modeller — to bring the more complex shapes to life in 3D!
Once I am happy with my 3D model, I create my pattern. There is some trial and error that occurs before I have the perfect pattern. I use my printer and some paper, and I tape the pieces of my pattern together to make sure everything is aligning and in proportion!
Parallel to the pattern making, I spend time looking for the perfect fabric in terms of texture and colour.
This particular plushie was a challenge for me as I've never worked on such a complex shape before. I actually bought an embroidery machine to be able to embroider all the little details, like the nose and the eyes, myself. There was definitely a learning curve, but the process gave me lots of ideas for future plushies!
Once the pattern is finalized, I cut the pieces, embroider them, and then pin and sew them together. I always close my plushie with an invisible stitch for a perfect finish.
And there you have it! Meet Pejo, the Hippo, now part of Science World Vancouver's Wonder Gallery!