A documentary on wild life in Africa brought this:
I am going to make a wire puppet out of him.
I have a few materials that I think will work on simpler wire puppets and this is a good chance to try them out.
Trace outline for planning on tracing paper. The outline drawing is less cluttered and I can plan my armature on it. Also protects the original concept art.
Select the size of the aluminum wire:
I am using 2mm for thick and 0.5mm for wrapping
pipe cleaner wire for hands, ears and tail, with fuzz trimmed.
delrin balls 7mm
eye drilling vise
drilling vise and bits
aluminum tube 9mm
pipe cleaners wire
mini scale for magic sculpt
small sharp scissors
household cotton balls
3. Drill with a small 1mm drill bit (it is just easier to start with a thin one first)
4. Drill with a 2mm drill bit to make hole a bit larger
Cut 2 small pieces of 9mm aluminum tube. Cutter pushes the tube walls in, creating this (the tube on the right).
7mm ball fits into 9mm tube precisely, that small lip created by the cutter prevents it from falling out.
I file that lip down a little bit, so that it sits snugly in the tube, but I can pop the eye out with some effort.
I was not quite sure where to put the eyes, so I just started “sculpting” the head out of cotton and stretch foam with fabritac glue, hoping to get a better idea where to put the eyes as I go along.
Indeed, as I started to fill up the shape of the head, it was easier to position the eyes, with the help of magic sculpt. Should have made the skull out of UltraLight polymer clay, as magic skull is a bit heavy. Once again I see the wisdom of making a maquette before making the actual puppet, but as this is an experimental puppet, it would have to do.
I was getting lost in the head shape, so finally I stripped all padding from the head and googled for “red river hog skull” and made a hard skull out of magic sculpt.
I just painted the wires with the silicone and left it to cure on the glass. Note to myself – next time make ears detachable.
The ears got a nice translucency and they are poseable, adding a layer of facial expressions. Love this.
Decided to redo the hands – to include magnets. Also finally bothered to look at pigs’ feet and discovered that they have 4 “fingers”. So added one more “finger”.
Oil paint. I tried both acrylic and oil, oil paint works better. This is Genesis Heat set oil paint (Genesis Burnt Umber), so I set it by heating. However, keep in mind that magnets lose the magnetism if heated – live and learn, had to dig them out and replace. So either install magnets after the paint is set, or allow oil paint dry naturally.
Thin felt can be stretched – gently and patiently – to cover the bulges. Here it is stretched over the ball.
to be continued….