Friday, 27 May 2011

Elle Puppet Finished

 Sorry I haven't posted any updates in a while. Both me and Josh have been busy shooting scenes for our film and I haven't had much spare time. What we've shot so far is looking very nice.

Elle Puppet Finished

I've been working on this character for a long time now and I'm happy to show you the finished puppet.
Below are some turn around photos I took. I posed the puppet to match my original Marquette. I feel that has become for signature stance.

In the pictures above you can see the small tie down hole in the shoe. The puppet was only anchored on one foot, but she balanced and held her weight fine. This was the first time I had posed the character in any extreme way to help preserve the life of the wire armature.

Below are some different expressions I photographed. I wanted to experiment with the various facial combinations and display the puppets range of emotions. These pictures will be used on posters that appear in our film and used for promotion.( more on that later ).

In my previous post I explained the process of painting the final details onto the face and hair. Since then I have also added a few more decorative components such as earrings and a necklace as well as practical elements like eyebrows and eyelids.

Eyebrows and Eyelids
The eyebrows on this puppet are separate from the replacement brows. This will allow me to have small brow movements in between the more dramatic brow changes. The eyebrows pictured above are sculpted in Bake-n-Bend Sculpey. I chose this material because the eyebrows are very thin, and using a more solid material like regular Sculpey or Milliput would make them brittle and at risk of snapping. Another advantage of using bendy Sculpey was that I could pre-mix the clay to the right colour. In the past I've had trouble with paint scratching off eyebrows during animation. The eyebrows are stuck to the face using Tacky Wax. This is a translucent white wax and as the name suggests, its tacky. Its really good at holding the brows in place and unlike blue tack, it doesn't leave greasy marks. The wax allows the eyebrows to be pushed around the surface of the brow, sliding up and down without falling off.


I've made a selection of differently shaped eyelids to help create different expressions and blinks. Creating eyelids for Elle was a bit more complicated than usual as she constantly has a set of black lashes visible. The set of lashes seen in the picture above are made from Bake-n-Bend Sculpey in the same way as the eyebrows. When Elle needs to blink, the lashes are removed and replaced with eyelids. Each set of eyelids has a new set of lashes sculpted onto them. To make the eyelids I covered a spare set of eyeballs with a thin layer of Milliput. I applied Vaseline between the two to stop them from sticking together. Once the Milliput had set I removed it from the ball and was left with a thin shell that fitted over the eyeball and matched the shape. I cut and shaped these shells to fit the puppets face and into a range of different sizes (fully closed, 1/2 closed, 1/4 closed etc.). So that I didn't get them mixed up I labeled the back of each eyelid with an arrow to tell me which way up they go and with an L or an R to indicate the left or right eye. Once I was happy with the shapes I added lashes to the edge of the eyelids, making sure they were all the same size, shape and length. I painted each eyelid using acrylic paints and added chalk pastel to give a green eye shadow effect. The eyelids stick to the eye balls with a small amount of Tacky Wax.

The jewellery was very simple to make. The diamond earrings are small Swarovski crystals that my sister sourced for me. (my sister makes custom jewellery
The necklace and hair clip are made from Milliput that I carved and sanded into shape. I painted them with a metallic silver spray. The chain for the necklace is made from thin silver wire.

 Finally ,above is an 'Ultimate Image' That I created as part of my Uni course. It's intended to be used to help promote the University, as well as me and my work.

That's all for today. Next I will give an update on the Theatre Usher and will be showing how I made his uniform. Thanks for reading.


  1. Outstanding puppet. Elle's looking very glamorous, and the variable faces and poses work brilliantly. I'm so looking forward to seeing how this turns out. You guys own your destiny!

  2. Fantastic stuff! I wish someone would collect all of you and your brothers post into a PDF, it would make a fabulous how to guide. I don't suppose you guys kept a production blog on your beautiful klingon project?

  3. Your Elle puppet came out excellent Nathan! The body language and facial expressions look wonderful.



  5. Thanks for the comments guys.

    Alonso - We didn't make a blog for the Klingon animation. We had a very tight deadline and the whole thing was made in about 3 weeks. Sadly no development pictures were taken