Puppet Parts

Here’s a peek at the finished puppet!  I’m so excited this one’s almost done.  It’s been a couple months of trial and error to get to this stage:

I made my puppet in separate parts:  the head and legs are cast from 2 plaster molds, while the torso, arms and hands are built up individually.  I went pretty low-tech with the torso, building it out of armature wire, plumber’s epoxy, polyester batting, and nylon stockings.  Her clothes will eventually cover this up, anyway.  For the rest, I figured casting from molds would make the replacement process easier in case things break… and oh, sadly, they will.  The head (neck) armature won’t break as often as the legs, since the character will be walking around quite a bit… and the head takes much longer to make, so it made sense to cast them separately.

The hands will probably break too at some point.  Originally I had made tiny molds for them, but the molds were difficult to fill, and the final casts ended up looking cartoony for some reason.  Also the fingers were way too tiny to be practical.  So I ditched that idea.  I’ll eventually do a tutorial on how I made these hands… I think they turned out pretty well, considering how small they are!  Aesthetically I would have liked them to be smaller, but my sense of the practical won over.

For stability, she has magnets in her feet, as well as a bolt in her upper back.  Hopefully I won’t have to use the bolt too often (it’s removable), and the magnets will do the trick… otherwise I’ll have to deal with lots of rig removal at the end.

There’s so much to describe with all these processes, and I’d like to remember all the details, so I’ll be documenting the stages here over the next few weeks.  I’m building the back-up parts for this puppet this week, as well as starting on the 3 other characters.

This character’s named Sabela, which, according to a Google search, is the Galician version of Isabella.  A pretty name, and the one of the few names in Galician that I could pronounce and remember.

Incidentally, the puppet began coming together smoothly only after I named her… hmmmm…

5 thoughts on “Puppet Parts

  1. Shelley Noble

    I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to see a true fine artist applying hr skills to making stop motion films. Sighing with relief. I so appreciate you documenting and sharing your techniques. I learned a lot and was stimulated to solutions for some stubborn dilemmas.

    I’ll have to thank Sven in Portland for sending me to your blog!

  2. stephanie

    Shelley, that’s so kind of you to say. Wow, all your comments are making my head bigger!

    It really is amazing to have this community, and I’ve learned so much from reading people’s ideas online that it seems only fitting to give back.

    Also there are so many weird obstacles to stop motion and making puppets that I would never have thought to ask anyone specifically. Sometimes you just don’t know what the situation will be until you go through it. So I’m glad the details are helpful — I didn’t know if the writings here would be too much information, or not.

    Thanks for letting me know that I’ve helped! And please thank this Sven in Portland fellow 🙂

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