Friday, December 09, 2005

Designing a Character

For me learning to build puppets has been an evolution of professional maturity. I like to think that looking back at my work I have seen my work evolve in a personally satisfying way.

At first, I just focused on the external asthetic of the puppet. If it looked good to me then it was a great puppet. Over time I have learned to see much more in my puppets. Someone once told me that a great puppet is one that you can look at and know the character without even seeing it performed.

I like to think that I take a good amount of time developing or understanding a character before I build the puppet.

When I first started building puppets I would just build. Sometimes without any idea of what I would get. There is alot of fun in that, however, to truly develop into a better builder I needed to be able to have a clear vision and then translate that into a three dimensional design.

That is when I started sketching my characters first. This troll puppet was an attempt I had at designing and then building a puppet from those designs. The first thing that I accept is that there are some things that were off with the final design. I also accept that this was just a step in my evolution. Let's face it I am not a professional illustrator and I still captured the essence of what I wanted.

The plan was to eventually have enough funds to hire artists to develop the quick sketches that I came up with until I had a polished character design from which to work with.

Sooner or later I would find someone whose art I respected and admired enough to hire for those illustrations. Until then I acknowledged that even Jim Henson did little sketches to get the essence of his characters. They even published a book about his doodles. When I look back at my sketches I realize that I actually like the look of them, and they really aren't that bad at all.


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