Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kickstarter preparation: Maquette of Shaman Puppet Being for Kickstart video

   As you may know I have been building a miniature model of Twig Theatre. The idea behind this venture is to give potential contributors to the Twig theatre Project (on Kickstarter) an idea or feel for what it is I am trying to create.  This puppet is part of that miniature. Both are a visual representation of what the final lifesize puppet and lifesize theatre will look like. 

I consider this little puppet model/maquette yet another "character study" .  This special puppet seems to be constantly changing and evolving.
Pictured below is the process of building this miniature model. 

A simple little sculpt out of Sculpey (love that stuff)... 
baked in the oven for drill-able hardness! 

. kind of a little skull with a little creatureness.

Of course he has antlers! I like these crooked, bent and uneven.

Okay, drilled some holes in his head. The bottom wire is hanger wire- it has a loop in it and goes in under his neck...this is the axis point for his head to tilt forward and back. The rubber band tight will  pull his head down.  You will see soon how that works. 
okay, now to get him on some kind of stand. ...

I had no idea how this was going to come together before I started...I just go!
Notice the little woody things to the right...those will become his hands. They come from a succulent..last years growth.

A heave-ho and he is up and far so good!
He even has his antlers on. (wire and masking tape wrap).

Not sure where this is going but I'm thinkin it'll work out in the end. At least I can tilt the head back and the rubber band pulling down in the front gives some good tension.

Long rod inserted in the bottom of the platform allows me to push/slide  him across the table.

 Now for a pull-lever to tilt his head back. The string from his head goes down through the green tube ....

And through a second green tube to a small pull bar. The loop of wire at the far right side is to wrap with my thumb for leverage.

Thats workin' okay. Now to bulk his shape out a bit. Just a little wire framing here and there did the trick.

Testin' out his head lift while bulkin' out his shape. Pretty can see the rubber band in the front pulled tight(under his chin)

Taking shape now!
Notice the round thing on the side of his head...there is one on the other side as well....they are little cross-sections from a cork. I needed something to put on the wire tubes to keep them from sliding out. You make what you have available work for you! (Not to say there were tons of wine corks laying around! :)

 I want to speak to this way of creating from what is available...sometimes something really neat  and unforeseen occurs....Those corks create an interesting design element to the head...yes, something a bit "Princess Leia" about them. But that can change depending on how you "dress" them or what you make them out of. The point is that I would have never really thought to put a round element there...not with his antlers already so "large" a design ...something about the circles are very balancing. Although I kinda covered them for the filming of the miniature I will certainly consider retaining such a feature in the full size puppet. Character studies are sooo valuable. love it!!

A little Lichen fungus stuff for his headress.

Some halloweeney cheesecloth to give a tattered look underneath.

Finishing touches...Fur hide (fakey) as well as some little woody hands. I attached a wire rod to his left hand so I could then move his head and his hand in the video. He isn't supposed to move much or really "do" anything in the scene...just enough to appear to be alive. The head movement, even with the smooth rubber band ended up being a bit choppy...this, I'm sure, has to do with getting the angles and my axis of tilt just right. I was pinched for time to get him done and I am actually okay with the fact that in the video he is a bit choppy and puppety looking. I wasn't trying to fool anyone! He is a puppet!

Just to be clear again!....This is but a miniature model of the actual fullsize, lifesize puppet I am building. The final puppet is still emerging.  As well, how I will puppeteer him continues to evolve. I may be completely hidden under/inside him or he may suddenly become a Bunraku style puppet where I am outside him puppeteering him. no telling yet. we shall see!

Standing next to the miniature model of Twig Theatre...more coming soon!!
Oh yes and a little puppet trick from Jim Henson...feathers! ...those little light long downy ones move like something alive...strategically placed on puppet give it life movement(hair, eyebrows etc) . Well, I had originally wanted to put some "moss" hanging from his antlers. Because he is so small everything looked stiff...nothing really " hung" I tried the feathers on his antlers. hmmm. they added that something I needed. you will have to wait to see the video on this one!