How to design your own cross-stitch patterns with simple pen and paper:
You will need graph paper. Black Pen. Pencil. Coloured Pencils. Sharpener. A photo you would like to stitch (A simple flower image is nice to begin with).
Your graph paper should have 2mm squares to be suitable.
To begin. Find a simple photograph or image of your choice. Using tracing paper or free hand your image to paper. Play around with the design arrangement to find something you like.
Once you have an arrangement you like, trace it onto graph paper or freehand draw it as I have done.
Now, take time to square off the drawing using the graph squares as a guide. Try to keep to the photograph as realistically as possible if you want a natural look to your finished stitched item.
Using coloured pencils, match the colours of your photo and begin to shade in the graph image. Square off as you colour in the outline. Keep in mind one square equals one cross stitch.
When you finish shading in your graph image, use a pencil to rule in the graph lines if your graph paper has very faint lines. This will help stand out your graph better. You can also use a pen to highlight the shaded areas a bit more to define where your stitches are. Finally find the centre of your chart by counting down, divide the number of squares you have counted by half, this is your centre for one side. Do the same for across the chart. Connect the two arrows and this is the centre of your chart. The centre of the chart is where you begin cross stitching. The centre matches the centre of your fabric (which you fold in half and half again, the crease is the centre).
Now you can go to your threads and pick out colours to match your chart. (White thread is gray shading on this chart. Of course you can leave the area blank too). The pen outline on the chart can also be used to determine where to place your backstitch if you feel the finished stitched item would need it.