Monday, January 17, 2011

Older Puppets

I don't really have anything new to show at the moment, though I've picked up some very nice new techniques in building.

I thought it might be fun to dip into the past a bit to see some of my earlier puppets, and how far I've come.

So, here are some of the first puppets I ever built.

I decided to make a puppet for my friend's birthday quite some time ago.  It had a fairly simple design, made to his specifications.  It's a bit crudely put together, but it's not fair to judge by my current standards.

All things considered though, I'd say it came out pretty well.

This was one of the earliest puppets of this kind that I had ever made.
What I learned in making this puppet, I applied in making Gertie: 
(She's on the left.)
She is very similar in shape.
Another puppet I made for a friend, was a replica of an even older puppet I had made:
...though I don't think I ever got a picture of it in finished form.  it doesn't seem to have hands, and it looks like the legs are pinned on.  However, it's not supposed to have eyes.  The original didn't either.  I decided to give this replica feet so you could tuck the sleeve in, and it would become a little doll-looking thing.

To see what I'm talking about, you'd have to travel way back.  Back to the very first puppets that I ever built.

These two were made out of old shirts.  The red one, "Red," as I took to calling it, gained a really big fan in one of my friends.  So, I made a more up-to-date version for them, also as a birthday present.  I kept the original for myself.
I'm sure I still have it somewhere.

Now, the blue fellow...  I wonder if anybody would make the connection...
Blue, horizontal stripes...  crazed eyes...

 It's Staniel.

Maybe it's not that obvious.

That old, old puppet there, is the first iteration of Staniel.
I grew attached to the character, and when I got to building new characters, I thought it would be nice to update him.  He got a total overhaul.  And among other things, moving eyebrows.

Around the same time as those two came around, I made my first big, foam-and-fur puppet:
That was quite an undertaking for someone who didn't know quite what they were doing.
It's also notable for being my first gloved-hand puppet.  The only problem with this was that the character's arms were so short.  He basically had hands sticking out of his body.
...which despite being what the design called for, it proved to make things difficult when operating the character.

I've come quite a way since then.  I learned new technique, how to better use my materials...  and to quit fussing too much over the details.  Sometimes, simpler is so much better.
At the time, I nitpicked these puppets to death.  Looking back, they're not perfect...  but how could they be?  They look good for what they are, they function fantastically, and have the spirit I wanted to give them in the first place.
You don't need amazing craftsmanship to make a puppet that is entertaining or endearing.  It's entirely possible to get an emotional response from a character that's just a bare hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment