Some great patterns there Karen, thanks for sharing.
Paula - there are lots of good books out there and Ebearz does a fantastic course. Otherwise you can start by making some small changes to someone elses pattern (try one of the above) - just to see how a pattern goes together. There is alot of advice in our library section (above with the waving smiley). I have just finished making a bear out of a pattern which is 100% mine, before that I played with commercial patterns and patterns from magazine like Australian Bear Creations. I used faux fur to start out and a few scraps of mohair I either won on ebay or was kindly given. You can always make up a draft pattern in polycotton (called a wet cat on Ebearz) which gives you a good idea on how your bear (or animal) will look and allow you to make changes without the waste of using precious mohair. Hope this helps.
Wow I had no idea there were so many places that taught how to design them ~ thanks for mentioning them I'm going to look into them as I love to learn anything new. I have been designing my patterns since I started making bears ~ my first bear was another artist's pattern and from there I designed my own, I just took a stab at it and surprisingly it worked out well and of course they've gotten better as I've gone on and learnt from mistakes. I'm a self-taught artist mostly and wish I had have had internet when I started as I wouldn't have had to ruin some very good mohair and mink in the process.... But thankfully all my patterns and bears have come a long way LOL
Thanks for mentioning those books!