All say eye

I have ordered a gocco – thanks for all the tips! It’s out of stock unfortunately so there will be a three week wait but it’s a good excuse to get some designs done ready to print.
Right now I am thinking a lot about eyes. Apart from these eyes which I think about a great deal, I am contemplating the future direction of the eyes for my toys. Here is a brief history of toy eyes over the last 8 months:

In January I made my first strange toy. I embroidered the eyes and tried for a kind of Maurice Sendak thing.

This was followed by Mr Huggy who also had embroidered eyes but with a line underneath.

Then I went back to the earlier model for the Little Guy in a Kitten Suit. I liked these eyes a lot. I somehow seemed to get a lot of expression into them.

And then I made a little kitten (Flossy) for Alice for her birthday and went back to the Mr Huggy Style eyes. She has a very cute and innocent expression.

Then came the previously unpublished Mouse with a Huge Head who had little tiny circular embroidered eyes.

Shortly after this I decided to get into knitting and all animals went on hold but then I created the three dogs all with felt eyes appliqued on.

Amelia’s Dachshund and

the alluring Humphrey Beggs.

In my opinion the eyes are almost the most important part of the toy, giving it so much personality – humour, whimsy, cuteness, scariness and so on. It’s also important to me that the eyes make the toy look like it’s made by me – which means I want the eyes to have a similar look to the eyes that my illustrations have:

which is why I liked some of those earlier ones but they never quite did it for me. Also, I want the toys to look not only characterful but totally appealing — I want their little expressions to melt your heart. Here are some eyes from other dolls and illustrations that I quite like:

You may also like...

13 Responses

  1. For those of you who don’t have a Gocco and are interested in a place to get runs of business cards, postcards, etc. this place does a great job —

  2. So cute! Much better than a crummy seed bead, which is what most of MY dolls have for eyes! Must try embroidery….. How are you liking your Blythe’s eyes?

  3. It’s so true about eyes. It will eaither make or break the piece. Just like in photography. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right moment, the right expression, to capture the perfect eyes. They truly reveal the story.

  4. Very valid study Claire. I always was disturbed by artists who think that big eyes are best. I love the challenge of creating the suggestion of an eye and getting all the expression necessary.

  5. I totally agree with the expression of a character being in the eyes. I draw all my eyes the same way. How funny….I’ve never really thought about it.
    I think the the eyebrows do a lot for expression too.

  6. says:

    Very cool, your study of eyes. Nice. Inspiring. (So, that’s enough kind words 🙂

  7. I agree completely. The eyes are THE thing that make the expressions the most memorable (you know how you can tell that someone isn’t smiling sincerely at you by looking at their eyes?). Anyway, what have you decided? Or are you still in the experimentation mode?

    P.S. Do you do you illustrations by scanning in the drawings firt? Just curious…

  8. that is a very good point. The eyes certainly do make the toy! I have really enjoyed watching your foray into dollmaking and may try it myself this winter due to your inspiration. thanks!

  9. Eyes do make all the difference! I think you’ve already captured the “melt your heart” effect w/ eyes!

  10. I think all your eyes are gorgeous … did you know that Maurice Sendak works with Tony Kushner who wrote “Angels in America”? Your big mouse reminded me of a character in A A Milne’s Pooh stories, illustrations by Shepherd (if I’ve spelt that correctly).

  11. says:

    I was just perusing your different doll eyes and I have to say the boy in the kitten costume is the most like *you,* even though you intended to look more like a maurice sendak illo.All of the dolls are well done, but the boy is my favorite. Mr. Huggy is great too.

  12. You are extremely talented! I would pay for that. Very cute.

  13. Eyes are so difficult. Mine are at their worst creepy, at their best, benign. Yours are great. So expressive. I really like Little Guy in a Kitten Suit. He’s got great eyebrows too!