It seems that I have less and less time to build for other clients. I really like building puppets for clients that indend to use them for film and video purposes. Here is Bobo. A puppet I built for a client here in the Greater Toronto Area.
Here are some pictures of how Bobo came to life. He is very comfy, and easy to puppeteer.
I cut out a sewed the fabric for the body.
Hand sewed details on to the face.
Finally, I added deatails to the whole puppet.
I am happy with the final results and so is the client.
As my time becomes less and less available, I find myself doing less and less custom building. In fact I am now in a position where I take on only a very limited amount of custom work. When good friend and fellow puppeteer Jay Williams asked me to build him an old guy puppet I could not refuse.
He asked for a older guy puppet that could be used as a vent type puppet (opening at the back), as well being able to use it as a traditional puppet (botoom opening). Here is what we came up with. An older guy, who is pretty “knowledgeable” about the world and likable.
He has a blinking eye mech (internal), and removeable arm rods as well as removable legs.
I have wanted to talk about this for a while. Over the years my puppet building has had me trying to improve my craft. I would say, up to this point, the focus of what I have done has been to make each puppet as comfortable as possible. But that is shifting, as I feel that I have mastered that part.
I am now looking at the “puppeteer-ability” of my puppets. I want puppeteers to have the maximun amount of control. One thing that I have noticed is that to achieve that my puppets have become smaller, which makes sense. The better a puppet fits to the hand, the better the control a puppeteer would have.
Just something to think about. Most people imagine that all of the “Muppets” they see on t.v. are huge. They are actually not. Many are smaller and allow for really good control. So why not try to make a puppet that is easier to control?
Here is my challenge. Try to take an old puppet of yours and see if you can rebuild it to fit snugly to your hand. My bet is that you will end up with a better performance puppet.
Well, I am honoured to have had my puppet chosen one of the top ten in the most recent Project Puppet Contest entitled “A Space Odyssey”. The contest will have their voting open until December 7th, 2008.
I wanted to share a little about my puppet entry because I am very proud of it. The contest for me was for a few personal reasons. One of those reasons was the inclusion of special guest judge Ed Christie.
For those of you who do no know who he is, Ed Christie is a puppet designer and builder that have been working with Sesame Street and the Muppets for over fifteen years. Needless to say I highly respect him professionally and wanted to enter the contest just to get any feedback I could.The other judges are not too shabby either with the ever talented likes of Terry Angus, Jarrod Boutcher, Phil Fletcher and James Wojtal.
The feedback I received from Ed alone was enough to accomplish what I had wanted from the contest. Here is some of what he wrote about my puppet (please note that the entries are anonymous so the judges have no idea who has built the puppet they are commenting on.)
“My top favorite! Overall shape & proportions are very appealing. Colors very friendly & appropriate to his “world” and “mission”. He looks so vulnerable & sweet – definitely a “reject” from his otherwise warrior class…You want to give him a hug. And, although I usually prefer a white eye with a black pupil (my Muppet training), the eye treatment is beautifully mysterious. I love the muzzle concept. It’s a moustache at first glance, but also an appropriate appendage for his water world…Great background story too. I also think this little guy could be easily marketable as a toy.”
Now for me, that was worth the entry. The other judges had great things to say as well which means so much coming from people as talented as these.Here is my puppet Gimbul. I wanted to add a bit more information about Gimbul. I decide to enter the contest to prove that I can create great characters as well as puppeteer and build.
For years I have enjoyed building from other people’s designs, I still do, but I wanted to show the world that does not mean I cannot design a great character. So I created Gimbul. I hand sewed the entire puppet, which I am very happy about. I also added removable arm rods, because I intend on using this puppet in the future.
I met Steve Swanson from MuppetCast last year at the Puppets Up! festival in Almonte, Ontario. I was hoping to meet up with him this year, but he was not able to make it up do to a schedule conflict. So Jamie Douglas and I sent him a quick video message with the help of Tom Stewart.
Having a nice space to work is essential to me and my creativity. I am glad that I too some time to spruce up my basement workshop and update my spray /glue booth.
As you can see I’ve added lots of cupboard storage and work areas. All of my fabric and foam are now easy to access and see in these vertical storage units.
My main work table has a white projection screen up behind it. Now I can take quite pictures of the puppets I am working on for my clients on a nice white background.
I upgraded my vent fan and made sure that it is air tight along the corners. I just have to add a shower curtain and the front to minimize vapor leakage and I am golden. It works amazingly well as it is (even with the opening at the front).
The system is vented directly outside, so I can glue easily even in the middle of the winter.
I am happy with the set up and I am looking forward to adding a computer to my future editing area, for my own puppet videos. fun, fun, fun.
I’ve been trying to get a new online show off the ground ever since Chimp TV went into development. Here is my replacement. The show is called HOGS and as the logo suggests, it is a spoof on COPS. There are three main characters who have all been designed and are currently under construction. I will post more as the summer progresses. Stay tuned.
Well, I am very happy to announce that the new company website is now up and running. My hope is that I will be able to share more of my work with people through the company site as well as this blog. Posting can be difficult for me since I am very busy with work and family life, but I will try.
Well, I know it is a tad long for a post title, but it works so well; I think. At any rate I am happy to announce that my blog is now up and running and my new website is not far behind. I have been doing many things as of late, but I have not posted in a long time.
Some things to overview, is that I have made some cool puppets, I am doing some fun puppeteering and I am currently developing a new online show, all of which I will be posting about in the not too distant future.