Saturday, November 3, 2007
and what a nut he is! Just look at his crazy crooked eyes. He is made from a real coconut that I took from my girlfriend. She made coconut bread and used the coconut milk to make goat curry. I couldn't just let a perfectly good hollowed out coconut go to waste. That is one of the things about puppet making, any piece of garbage is seen as potential puppet material.
F.Y.I; the bread and the curry were SPECTACULAR!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I started on my second puppet before I even finished my first, The Texas Chili Cook. I bought some green foam from the craft store. It's not the same as the reticulated foam that I used on my first puppet, but it worked just as well. On a whim, I decided to give this puppet lips, mostly because I had a sheet of pink foamies sheets. I like the feel of the foamies sheets better than felt material, and wanted to see if it would make decent lips. It does. This puppet is going to be covered entirely in purple fur, that much I do know. But I did not do any sketches before hand of this character, I want to build him spontaneously.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
His head is pretty much done. I made a mess attaching his nose with the hot glue gun. I put too much glue between his eyes and there was a very visible glob of glue there when it dried. Then I tried to cut it off and that only made things look even messier. So I might take his nose off somehow and re-attach it a bit higher to cover the mess....or maybe not. Maybe I will leave it the way it is. So he has a bit of crust between his eyes... big deal. It's amazing how many things I would have done differently; this is my first puppet, and I knew he wouldn't be perfect. But it is a blast making a puppet and I am very tempted to start my next one right away. But I better not get ahead of myself, I have to give this guy a body and a hat first.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
With his ears on, he is definitely starting to look like the Texas Chili Cook he was meant to be. All that's left to do on his head is his nose and cowboy hat. I found another place for improvement on my next puppet with the ears. Now that I know what I am looking at when I see a puppet head pattern and a fleece head covering pattern I know where the ears would go on the flat pattern. So on my next puppet I will sew the ears on, before I put the fleece over the foam. This time I just hot glued the ears to the head.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Don't worry your nose won't be missing for much longer. Nose, ears, and hat are all that is left on his head. Then there's the body to make. My immediate concern is his nose. He has a pointy nose, a lot like THE COUNT from Sesame Street, but not exactly. I have a feeling his nose is going to turn out quite different from the way I drew it, still pointy though, because that's a part of his character.
With all the trouble and failure of trying to get the oval eyes I want for this puppet, I found a solution. I just drew the black oval pupils with a SHARPIE and a CADOMARK marker. It doesn't leave brush strokes or raised paint areas, it looks clean enough and it's the exact shape I wanted. If it starts to fade out over time I can always try something else, but for the here and now, it's fine. Next is to give him his eye lids.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
PRESENT- My progress so far, just a plain head with a moustache. He is quite different from the sketch, but he still has the makings of the right personality to be the TEXAS CHILI COOK.
FUTURE- I drew the eyes, ears, teeth, and hat and digitally added it to the present pic, to get a sense of how he will hopefully turn out.
Here's where he starts to take on the personality he will become, by adding the facial features. He has a great big handlebar moustachio. The moustache fur I used is much darker than in my design sketch. I did not want to use a white fur and dye it, I would rather just use the fur as is, without dying it. Dying is a whole other process that I need to learn...but later. The seam on the neck is kind of bunched up where it meets the head. It should be smooth, but I don't mind, because it gives my Texas Chili Cook a turkey neck; and many old men have turkey necks, probably from eating all that spicy hot chili.
I got to use my new sewing machine for the first time. My girlfriend sewed the first couple stitches as she taught me how to use the machine. I think I did OK. So in the pics, you will see that the area around the mouth is still not complete. I need to hot glue the fabric to the inside of the lip. In the pic on the far right, you see that I added the neck piece. I'm making good progress, but there is still a loooooooooong way to go.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
I glued the felt pieces to the inside of his mouth and the neck piece with the hole. I am very happy with how he is turning out so far. His nose is going to be tricky. He has a pointy nose, and I would imagine the nose will have to be attached after I give him his fleece skin. Shaping the nose will be tough, but so will covering it with fleece and attaching it with minimal seams. And I still have not solved the eye dilemma .
This is the most progress I have made on the puppet in one day. I glued the head together with a glue gun. You can see the pins holding it together as I glued a bit at a time. In the last picture I have marked out the hole to be cut for my hand to fit in the puppet head. It's starting to look like a puppet! He has a mouth and a definite head shape. The foam is very forgiving where it was not cut perfectly in the lines I traced from the pattern. I used a lot of hot glue and was not worried about glue oozing out of the seams, because he will have fleece "skin", even so the seams turned out pretty clean. If I ever decide to make a puppet just with foam and no fleece skin, I would be more meticulous about the gluing. I hope to be as productive tomorrow as I was today on this puppet.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I decided that the "skin" on my puppet will be fleece, not the foam. That way I don't have to dye the foam. So I bought fleece, that is already in the color of the lavender skin tone I want for the Texas Chili Cook. I saw some great fur that I could not resist too, for a future puppet of a furry monster. But the big purchase was this sewing machine. I have never used a sewing machine before, however my girlfriend is a pro, so tomorrow she will give me sewing lessons. She also made me some fabulous, rich, luxurious curtains seen here.
Friday, June 29, 2007
The idea to use leather for pupils seemed promising at first...
...until i tried to cut out the oval. I discovered that leather is not easy to cut without getting frayed edges. So leather is not going to look much better than the paint job. I do like the stencil, so here's my next plan; use the stencil and air brush or spray paint the black pupil. Who'd of thought I'd have this much trouble just on the eye balls? I guess I could use the painted pupils, or the round screw pupils, or the leather pupil, it would look okay. But I want it to look perfect, so "If at first you don't succeed bla bla bla... you know the rest."
I'm working on the Texas Chili Cook puppet. In my sketch he has oval pupils, not round ones. So I tried to paint the pupils on the ping pong balls with a paint brush and some acrylic paint. Didn't turn out so good. The paint looks sloppy, I can see all the brush strokes. So I tried round pupils with plastic black screws. It looks nice, clean and professional. Problem is; I want him to have oval pupils like in the sketch, I feel it is important to his personality. So I need to try something else. I'm thinking I might make a stencil from something tacky and use an airbrush. Or I may use the stencil to cut out 2 identical ovals from fabric, felt or leather, and glue that to the ping pong ball.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
My puppet should have been completed in a few days, but it's been a few months and I still don't have anything resembling a puppet yet. I worked on it for 2 days in the past few months; I just haven't had time to devote a day to this puppet yet. But that day will come! In the meantime I have been buying various supplies at the craft store to use on my puppets. Ping Pong balls for eyes, red pipe cleaners for my Red Ant antenna, various furry swatches for beards and eye brows, and ostrich feathers for longer hairs. I still need to buy myself a good sewing machine.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
STEP 3 - cutting out the patterns on the foam.
I traced the pattern onto the foam and started cutting out the shapes. I guess I'll see how forgiving the reticulated foam is when it comes to rough edges and slightly wavering inside and outside of the line I traced when cutting. That's the head shape being cut out in the picture above. I have the hands, neck and body still to go.
This should have been STEP ONE. But lets call it STEP TWO now. It's creating, planning and designing your character!! Duh! So here are a few possibilities I am thinking about. You'll notice they all have the same head shape, an egg head; that's because I am using the PUNTO PATTERN from PROJECT PUPPET. I sketched these in Flash directly with my WACOM tablet. I drew one featureless puppet, copied it 6 times and then drew different features for each one. Since this is my first ever puppet, I kept them very simple. I think it helps being an animator for this step. All those years of drawing and designing characters helps to bring out a personality, even a quick sketch like this. Now I need to decide which character to build. I have enough foam to make one character right now. But I would really make all 6 if I had the resources. So far I am leaning toward the TEXAS CHILI COOK. Which do you think I should make first?
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Okay, this is step one- cutting out the pattern and sticking it to a flat sturdy board of some kind. I used foam board because it this particular foam board had a tacky side, to save me from gluing the pattern. Or as my girlfriend puts it "because I am lazy." I'm not quite sure yet, but this may or not be mistake number 1. Foam board is hard to cut with nice smooth edges, even with a lot of patience and a sharp exacto knife. Maybe for my next pattern I will use poster board, as recommended by Project Puppet. Hopefully when I trace out the pattern onto the foam and cut out the foam pieces I can make sure the edges are smooth.
You will also notice the green foam pictures. You can see from my first blog entry that the foam is off white, or yellowish. My girlfriend was dying some silk with a green acid dye; so as a test, we put 2 little pieces of foam in the dye pot. It turned out nice and even and green. Thanks sweety! I'm not sure yet if my muppet will have "fleece skin" or "fur covering" or if I will leave the foam exposed as his skin and dye it.
The next step will be to cut out the foam pieces. This is getting very exciting.
EUREKA!! I have been waiting for this moment for months now; the moment when work is less hectic and I have some time to myself, time to start my new hobby...MAKING MUPPETS!! I really have no idea how this hobby will turn out or what to expect, but it is going to be a fun ride, that's for sure.
While waiting for this day to come, I did a lot of research on puppet making. I put all the important links on this blog. The links are essential for inspiration, techniques, resources and information. Check out PROJECT PUPPET, it's the best way to start. They sell the patterns, the foam, and have tons of tutorials. Thanks to the PUPPET MUSE for posting his first experiment into puppet making. It's always good to learn from other peoples mistakes and not repeat them yourself. David, the puppet muse, gives lots of excellent advice. Thanks to his advice, I went out and found foam board that has a tacky surface. David tried a glue stick on poster board. He also says that is NOT the way to go. So I listened to him. He suggests poster board with double sided tape. I did not go that route , so we'll see how the tacky foam board works out.
So here are the materials to start. I have the tutorial CD's I purchased from PROJECT PUPPET. I have the actual puppet patterns, also from Project Puppet. I have the reticulated foam and the foam board. Okay, time to cut out the patterns and stick them to the flat sturdy foam board. And so it begins..................