Designing usually takes place on the floor. I have large tables in my studio, but they are usually so covered with creative detritus that the floor is the best clear space available. If it is a doll I am designing, I usually start with a sculpted head. I then use the head as a guide to get the body proportions and size right and then the body sketch is used to make pattern pieces. I need to know at the outset what kind of jointing I am going to use, because that greatly affects how the limbs are constructed.
If I particularly like a head I've sculpted I sometimes make a silicone mould so that I can make more similars, or a series.
I am often asked how much you need to allow to translate a flat sketch into a rounded object......the answer is - I don't know. I do it intuitively and it is usually fairly right, though on occasion I have got it very wrong and have had to start again. My doll-making has entailed a lot of trial and error over the years!
The sculpted head - in this case it is a slightly stylized young child head. The pencil marks are just my way of making sure the sculpting is balanced enough - it's easy to get it unbalanced without realizing. They will disappear when I sand the head before putting on the cloth layer.
How cute will it be with a little knitted gumnut cap?
Original sketch and subsequent pattern pieces
Ready for a test run!