The Puppet

Ok so I'm going to walk you through my puppet making process. I've written it into my sketchbook so I don't forget for the future and so you all know how much effort I put into making him.

Ok so step one: I drew out a life sized picture of my puppet so I could move his measurements over onto this board which has a whole bunch of holes for pegs in. This is what it looked like at this point.

 Ok so after three attempts I ended up with this puppet, who's legs and arms were the right length. Which was the biggest problem I was having with the two previous versions of my armature. The arms and head then had metal attached to them in order to allow the head and hands to be removed during animation to change them. (Made making the clothes a thousand times easier as well)

Then I made the head and hands. The head is just balsa wood and the hands are milliput and wire.

Here's what he looked like when I put him all together and shaved his skull down to the right size, he also sticks to the wall

Ok so onto hands now. Like I already explained the hands are milliput and aluminium wire. Then I dipped them into coloured latex, which I was hoping would just slightly skin colour them but they went a bit red. However the latex does keep them nice and flexible while covering them and keeping the wire from stabbing you. It also means that they look quite naturally like hands although mine ended up a bit fat. Doesn't really bother me though because children have quite fat little hands anyway. The hands now just have to be painted which will be acrylic paint and copydex so it sticks and won't crack. I'll update this post when that has happened.

So moving onto his head now. Once I'd filed the balsa wood down to a rough skull shape I hollowed out holes for eyes. To make the eyes I bought some wooden beads and painted them white and added blue pupils around the already existing holes in the beads. Once all the paint was dry I very carefully coated the beads in clear nail varnish. The difficulty with this is if you paint it on it will remove the acrylic paint and you'll have to start again so the best way to go about this is to drip it on and slowly coax it around the bead. Then to stick them in I used a small blob of plastcine behind the eyes. The good thing about this is that if I wish to move the eyes I can just put a piece of wire into the hole in the bead and pull the wire around. This is a technique I learned from RedKite animation and have been developing myself for a little while. I think I'm almost completely happy with it I just don't know if I think the pupils are to big to make it worth actually moving his eyes.

Alright, now there's some clothes. This was the biggest pain in my ass. I am so getting a costume designer to do this in the future.

So this whole process involved me finding patterns online and manipulating them to the size of the puppet. I drew out the correct size designs on grease proof paper and then cut them out and pinned them into the fabric then I cut them out, checked their size against the puppet, then I turned them inside out and stitched up the seems. Which worked for almost all of the seems. Following this the clothes had to be tried on and alternations made. His collar needed cut down as it was to high up to begin with. Also his shirt was to long and was making him look, for lack of a better word, half assed. Then my biggest problem came. Getting the sleeves in! Eventually I decided to just glue them in which actually worked out great (thanks mum).  And once all that horrifying ordeal was over I could embellish a little by adding a collar and buttons. Then he was clothed.

So still to do he needs his feet painted to look like feet and his hands painted too. The ne needs some placticine on his chest and shoulders as well as parts of his fore arms and shins so that he's fully covered. Also hair, for his hair I intend to use model magic as this is light weight and will stay in one piece. I've ordered it and he should have hair by the weekend.

P.S. He has no mouth yet because I don't want to put an expression on him incase its wrong.

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