puppets

Show Us Your Ugly Things: Theatre Prop Edition

* There is a bonus Death By Puppets trailer at the end of the post.

Recently I was asked to make three “large hell hound head” type puppets for a production of The Tempest my son was in. I’ve made a fair number of puppets, but rarely work large, and haven’t delved too deeply into animal shapes, so this wasn’t exactly within my wheelhouse.

I started off with a small mock-up out of foam.
Mock Wolf

While I was happy with the small version, I really didn’t have a great plan to scale it up, and also realized that two half finished puppet heads I’d picked up from a friend (for a lizard and a hog) would probably work as the basis for hounds if I simply added on a skull.

Hog to Dog

Lizard to wolf

With a bit of work those two became two very different styles of dogs.
Hog to Rotty?

Lizard to a road runner hunting coyote?

Lizard to a road runner hunting coyote?

The main commentary I got on the earliest versions of those two was that they both looked too nice… so I added some angry eyebrows and dirtied them up a bit.
Angry Eyes

Very Large Mean Dog

The final one I had to start from scratch, and use my mock-up as a model, with the hopes that I’d learned enough with the first two to make one final wolf/dog/hound thing and come away from the project having learned something.

Always start with the mouth I've been told

Always start with the mouth I’ve been told

My what large teeth you have

My what large teeth you have

I added more foam-core to these skulls than I've ever done before.

I added more foam-core to these skulls than I’ve ever done before.

I was pretty happy with how this last one came out, though there are still some things about his ears and eyes that need revision.
Mellow Wolf

Once you've accepted that you're going to be the sort of person who sews up wolf heads while sitting in the bleachers at the YMCA pool you can really have a lot of fun with it.

Once you’ve accepted that you’re going to be the sort of person who sews up wolf heads while sitting in the bleachers at the YMCA pool you can really have a lot of fun with it.

I learned a bit more about how to handle the larger shapes, and regained the respect I already had for a well practiced pattern (building on the fly like this stresses me out, even when I like the results). All in all it was a good experience and I’m planning on mounting the largest dog head on a pike on my front porch… as you do.

Added Bonus: Teaser for the next Death By Puppets video in the Tim Vortex Series

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CharlesP

CharlesP

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