Realistic Animal Eyes

Needle felting eyes are really simple, once you know how…

Feeling ready to tackle needle felting your own animal eyes? Well, I have created a super easy tutorial for you. It consists of 8 simple steps to get you started and is the method I still use myself. Try a few practice runs first if you are a little nervous but, as with all my instructions and tutorials, everything is broken down into simple steps to make it really easy to follow. Adding eyelashes is the easiest feature to add to your animal and you will find the four step, mini tutorial at the bottom of the page.
If you want to learn how to crate a basic head shape, then pop over to my YouTube channel and follow the ‘needle felting for beginners’ series of short videos, showing you how to make each body part: head, legs, body and ears. Exactly as I teach my workshops. They work as standalone tutorials but have also been designed to work perfectly with the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts range of needle felting kits.
Happy felting! 

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Let’s do this!

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Say hello to Hamilton!

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This simple technique can be applied to most needle felted animals; the Winter Hare is life size.

EYELASHES

Eyelashes are the quickest – we are talking a couple of minutes – and easiest feature you can add to your projects. They also create a striking finishing touch to your animals features.

how to eyelashes

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

needle felted pig

Needle Felted Pig

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As I sat down to make a sheep at the weekend I decided to take some of my own advice and step out of my comfort zone. I have been wanting to make a pig for months but time, as always, ran away with me and other aspects of the business demanded my attention. So, I changed tack and pulled up various images of pigs on Google; even if your creations are not true to life a photo is always great for reference, proportions etc.

Now, you would think pigs, with their simple shapes and obvious snout wouldn’t be too hard… Not so. Their perceived simplicity means that there is nowhere to hide when it comes to making mistakes and that body and head shape took way longer than I expected. However, now I know what I would change for the next one. Overall I am pretty pleased with the end result but I would definitely do a few things differently next time; bigger snout; change how I assembled it; more work on the face.

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As far as technique is concerned I tend not to use full body armatures*, preferring to work with a much more solid shape and my favourite British wool tops. Instead, I used 1mm paper covered wire for the legs only to aid stability and create a leaner leg. I prefer paper covered wire as the wool holds much better when wrapping and negates the need for any messy waxes or glue. I wrapped each leg in a base layer of white Jacob top then added another layer of carded Corriedale flesh leaving the trotters exposed for contrast.

*Some pieces require a full armature, especially if you want to pose your piece when it’s finished. Carded wool usually works best for this and creates a much softer sculpture requiring much less use of the felting needle.

The body core is grey Jacob top which is a lovely coarse wool top that felts really easily and is still one of my favourites after six years of working with it. Felting the core really firmly allowed me to shape the wool once it was finished creating a nice curve along the back. See video tutorial: HOW TO CREATE A FIRM BODY

I actually made the body, head and snout as one piece but would definitely make the snout separately next time because it lost a lot of its definition and I had to build it up again.  I then covered the whole piece in a lovely carded Corriedale flesh, felting just until it held using my 38 needle at a diagonal angle to reduce needle marks.

You may be wondering why the core colour is a complete contrast to the top layer; this enabled me to create that lovely dark wiry detail that you will see on many pig breeds which sits in dark contrast to the really light top coat. This contrast is achieved by using a 32 reverse needle to pull through the dark grey Jacob wool top, enabling it to sit on top of the flesh colour. Wool tops work really well for this as they have a much longer fibre length than carded wool which allows them to be pulled through the body without breaking off.

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Ears were the easy part and using a photograph for reference makes it much easier to get the correct shape and proportions. My needle felted ears tutorial shows you my favourite, super easy technique for creating animal ears: TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL

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Finally, I covered a short piece of 0.5mm paper wrapped wire in carded flesh to create the curly tail; roll vigorously in the palm of your hands once the wool is attached. This will create a lovely firm finish which stops the wool from ‘sagging’ when it is curled.

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Add a couple of glass beads for eyes and hello Twiggy The Piggy*

*I claim no responsibility for the name. Blame lies solely with my good friend, Nancy (author of the amazing Maine Coon cat tutorial) who named her ‘Twiggy The Piggy’. I told her it was only marginally better than Babe but she insisted… 

Needle felting kits for all abilities are available on the website and Etsy:

TAKE ME TO NEEDLE FELTING KITS

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Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Needle Felted Maine Coon Cat

I was beyond excited when my good friend and talented artist, Nancy Sullivan, agreed to be a guest on the blog and put together a needle felting tutorial for you all. What I wasn’t prepared for though was an advanced tutorial that is so detailed that I have yet to see anything to match it. This beautiful life-size version of her own cat, Scout, has taken many, many, many hours to complete and is beautifully written in Nancy’s typically charming and funny way. Whilst it is a very advanced tutorial, Nancy’s writing style and presentation still make it easy to understand as she skillfully and seamlessly moves you from one section to the next, introducing techniques I have never seen used.  Thank you so much for all your hard work, time and generosity Nancy xxx

COPYRIGHT LAW APPLIES!

YOU MUST NOT:

  • Copy and sell/promote this tutorial as your own
  • Share the link and password for this tutorial on any social media, Facebook groups or via any other forms of communication
  • Print tutorial for use at workshops
  • Tutorial is for personal use only and cannot be used for any other purpose

However, sharing photographs of your sculpture on social media, Facebook groups and giving as gifts is acceptable but please make sure to credit your source of information and inspiration.

Failure to comply with the above would be viewed as copyright infringement. 

All link content on this post is the property of Nancy Sullivan.
All content appearing on this blog is the property of:
Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts
Copyright © 2019 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts. All rights reserved.

 

About The Artist

My name is Nancy Sullivan. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in
1950, moved to New York in 1988, and have been here in Southern
California since 2002. Yes, I am 68 years old!
My interest in art began in the 2nd grade when my teacher told my mother
that I had talent. Because of that, my parents worked hard to give me as
many opportunities for special art student programs as were available
through my youth. Later, in high school, I entered a statewide competition
in Oklahoma and won the first place prize, a small scholarship for college.
Since then I have managed to work art into everything I do.
I started working in Medicine at age 26, and before long my first
“secretarial” job included working in eye surgery, designing and editing
medical publications and doing medical illustrations of surgical techniques
and graphically presenting research results for journals, textbooks, and
international medical symposia. My mentors paved the way for me to
attend workshops and special courses in anatomy and illustration. I was
very fortunate to be able to create a situation where I could get this
education as a part of my job. I also had the opportunity to attend and
observe human head and neck dissections with Ophthalmology Residents.
I also designed training manuals for non-medical employees so they would
understand the basics of ophthalmology.
I learned the most about anatomy from Joseph Sheppard, a celebrated
sculptor and painter from Baltimore, who now lives in Italy. His training
and publications gave me the knowledge to take my work to a higher level
of accuracy. He teaches drawing human figures from the skeleton out –
which is exactly how I approach the animals that I needle felt.

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Needle felting is only the most recent of a life-long progression of crafts
that I have enjoyed practicing. It started with making “outfits” for my
Barbie doll when I was very young, which evolved into making my own
clothes when I got a bit older. I used to make plastic car models with my
oldest brother when we were young, and he was meticulous with tiny
details, which seemed to rub off on me. My Grandmother encouraged me
to take up quilt-making, which I did for many years with her, and
continued to do on my own after she died.
In my career, most of my “craft” involved technical illustration, but I still
managed to do some quilting and other projects on the weekends. While
in New York, I was exposed to the most wonderful variation of arts and
crafts, attending shows and Museum exhibits as often as I possibly could.
I was surrounded with inspiration from all kinds of art and music.
The best time I’ve had has been since retiring, being able to choose how I
spend my time – I have taken up genealogy of my family and created
many volumes of information and images, and “scrapbooks” to be handed
down to future generations. Paper crafts have taken over the landscape of
my life, since there is no limit to the creativity you can translate into
tangible pieces you can hold in your hands and share with others. Stained
glass was also very exciting and rewarding. Recently I have enjoyed doing
hand-bound books; stamping, mixed media and watercolor remain some
of my favorite crafts. I make hand-crafted gifts for Christmas each year,
and design greeting cards for all occasions.

I’d like to share with you some words that I have learned are true
enough to live by, and they are certainly relevant when you think of
how our artistic endeavors can enhance our enjoyment of life… the
older you get, the more meaningful these words become!

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief
requirements of life, when all that we need to make us
really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley

Thanks to Sandy at Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts, I have added needle
felting to my growing list of interests, and enjoy it more than
anything else I have done – wool sculpture – it’s the best!
All these artistic endeavors have enriched my life enormously, and I
am very pleased to have this opportunity of sharing that with you.

TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL: Needle Felting a Maine Coon Cat Advanced Tutorial – By Nancy Sullivan February 2019

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