Online Needle Felting Lesson: Brown Bear

I prepared for the October 2021 online needle felting lesson by sketching studies of brown bears, pulling reference photos of caves from my archive of family photos, and prepping wool for another month in which our lesson will be held away from home. On the plus side, our flooring is now back in place following a house flood that occurred in May!

The imagery of the cave in our next story is inspired by a hike we went on with the kids last summer up Bald and Speckled Mountains in Sumner, Maine. The rock formations along the trail were just spectacular! I couldn’t ask for a better point of reference for my illustrations!

Illustration References

Dow Family Hike Bald Mountain Maine 2021

Never underestimate the power and influence of gathering reference photos and sketching out composition thumbnails.

bear sketches Hillary Dow
thumbnail study of a brown bear, Hillary Dow 2021

Needle Felting the Bear’s Cave

The early alarm didn’t take a hiatus while we were staying at my father-in-law’s house. In the wee hours of the day, while the kids were still sleeping I created the cave formations of the background illustration prior to the monthly lesson. Depending on what the focus of the lesson will be I sometimes have very little background prep prior to class, and other times I spend more time developing background elements for the illustration before class.

felted cave

Virtual Felting Lesson

The third Tuesday in October arrived and I got all of the colors of wool I would need for the construction of the bear set out on the table. With my laptop in front of me and my cell phone positioned over my foam pad to record my work from above, I was ready to begin the online felting lesson. The 2-hour lesson is then broken down into four 30-minute parts and posted online. Members of my felting community (the awesome artists on my email list) then have access to the videos until the end of the month at no cost. Once the month ends the videos and still image galleries of process shots are available for sale as a virtual felting lesson. Here are some process photos detailing the development of Tyler’s bear.

Brown Bear Felting Lesson Hillary Dow
Needle Felting a Bear Illustration
Needle Felting a Bear Illustration
Needle Felting a Bear Illustration dark brown fur
needle felted leafy green plants
needle feted leafy ground cover

White Curly Locks… On a Brown Bear?

You may be wondering why our bear friend has white curly wool locks? In the spring of 2021 we supported a local fiber farm with one of their Adopt-A-Lamb shares. We invested money in the early spring to support one of the lambs born in 2021. When baby Kate’s first shearing occurred we received her first fleece. Her wool is so very soft! What does that mean for our bear? Well, it looks like Tyler’s trusted old bear friend is very, very old.

white curly locks from Kate the lamb
White curly locks wool felting
needle feted leafy ground cover

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After each lesson, the footage from our virtual meeting is cut together into a lesson that everyone enrolled in our free felting lessons has access to until the end of the month. When the month ends, lessons are then available for individual sale or added to the membership portal for paid members of the Felting Master Class. Once lessons move on to paid access I also add still shots of the steps I take to complete final details in the development of the piece.

felting classes with Hillary Dow
Free Felting Lessons with Hillary Dow
felting an elf step by step lessons on Zoom
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