Friday, July 13, 2007

What's My Name? BIG MANE!

Oh yes! Big Mane is in the house. He is one of the stars of Chimp TV, my online puppetshow that I have been working on for too long. His character was designed by awesome artist and fellow puppet builder Pasha Romanowski.

When I built Big Mane I stayed pretty close to the overall feeling of the design, but it ended up taking on a life of it's own. There are differences in proportions (head length, eye size, belly, etc.) and details like eyebrows that have been left out. But the essence I think is still there.

I believe in something fellow builder Matt Ficner told me about his puppets. He noted that there is a certain element of realism when things are not perefctly symetrical. You'll notice that is the case with this puppet. I acutally opted not to do measuring at all during construction and instead did a lot of "eyeballing".

I had started off with a rough mock-up of the puppet to get a sense of his look.

After I was happy, I started to build the puppet using reticulated foam.

This puppet has a cable control for the eyebrows that uses a basic system here. The only different is that I used a bike cable in a thin hose tube to push the lever instead of my finger.

Next I started to add a fabric covering to the body. You'll notice that I try to outline where elements of the puppet should go by using a marker on the foam.

I then did the same thing for the head and continued to workon the body. You'll notice that I used both antron fleece and fur on this particular puppet.

This puppet is also a human arm or live hand puppet. I made these arms to look pretty big and powerful. These gloves are really very comfy.

Here are the arms attached and the head ready to be attached as well. You'll noctice a giant sleeve coming out of the hack or Big Mane's neck. This is to help guide the hand when putting on the puppet.

This is a final shot of the puppet. I really like how he feels as a character. He is a gentle soul with more strenght than he knows what to do with.

I decided that his pectoral muscles were too small so I modified the puppet and here are the results. A bigger chest. He still has his little white chin beard but it was tucked away in this shot (sorry).

I hope you enjoyed this project. I will continue to build a few more puppets (and I have some other talented builders helping me out too). The goal is to get as much shooting done this summer, so that I can start editing stuff over the fall and winter. Stay tuned for some more Chimp TV news.


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