"Things that you don't see & things that you will"
Before I go to sleep at night, I design bear parts, (in my head) and in the morning I sketch what I THOUGHT was a good idea, sometimes not! I believe to make a quality bear, reinforced areas are a must, especially where stress is a factor. I reinforce the top of the nose, the areas left open for stuffing, and the joint openings. Because I stuff my BRUINS as firm as I can, I double sew my seams to ensure they won't rip out. Steel shot beads are used for weight. If it's a shelf-sitter, (BENT LEG), I add it to the bears butt. If I want a bear to stand, unaided, the shot is placed in the feet. (It sits nicely also) You won't have to use metal stands for MY cuties! I stuff the remainder of the bear with clean, 100% Polyester with antibacterial fiber. Fiberboard joint discs with washers are used and Locknuts'. Arms, Legs, and Heads can't come off because Locknuts' CAN'T back off without tools to do so. Things you can't see are the things that make my bear top quality on the inside AND out.
My earlier bears were signed on one of the paw pads but I found that VERY distracting. I believe you should notice the bears FACE before anything else. But, I found myself staring at a TATTOOED FOOT! You can test this for yourself. Stand in front of a bear but don't look yet. Now, quickly glance at it. Do it again if you have to. What do you see FIRST? Is it the sweet face that made you say, "I just have to have that BEAR", OR the signed foot? It's the same with color. If you have color somewhere on your bear, let's say the bow around the neck, and if it doesn't appear at least TWO other places on that bear, the colored bow will be the FIRST thing you'll see! I wouldn't want to spend all that time making a bear and end up having the BOW as my focal point!!!
As a Decorative artist in the ** "National Tole & Decorative Artists' Society" since 1987, I've learned a lot about color and it's application. It's been an asset to every part of my life including designing bears with color combinations that work well together.
Getting back to my signatured paw pads that I found disturbing--I now, cut a heart-shaped patch of ultrasuede or leather and sew it to the left butt cheek, (Because I'm left-handed) then stuff the heart, sign it using acrylic paint, that way the clean lines of the bear are never interrupted.
I always use glass eyes with one exception, for an older look, Sometimes I use antique leather shoe buttons. The nose and mouth areas are hand embroidered with cotton perle embroidery thread, in a color that enhances the personality of its face. Different materials are used for the paw pads such as ultrasuede and leather. If it's a shelfsitter, I use the natural mohair so it doesn't have a flat-footed look. The hair hangs down, giving it a natural look. The details are the same in all of my bears, giving attention to every last detail.