Friday, September 25, 2009

Costume dept. has been working overtime

Fully Dressed Cast

They're all dressed now, aside from a few accessories here and there (plus hands and feet for the littlest one Cindy Lou). As I went they just kept getting brighter and more colorful. Shelley, you might recognize some of the fabric I used on the last 2 puppets... you sent it to me.

I'm developing puppet personalities for them, and complex relationships/dysfunctions, as well as working on a lighting technique that minimizes the slight shininess of the heads and makes the faces fully visible in spite of the extremes of light and dark on them all. Looks like my best bet will be a pretty diffused "cartoon" lighting setup, mostly reflected light.

... Here's a pictorial tutorial on how I've been making the clothes lately....
First I cut the cloth to size and tape it to something for spray adhesive treatment. Note the blue Nitrile glove. Give it a pretty heavy coat of spray adhesive. I do this part outside.

Here I'm pressing Cindy Lou against the back part of her costume.

And pressing the front part into place. Care is essential. I press tightly all around the puppet, trying to get the seam line as tight as possible. I do this for a while, hoping the adhesive will do its work well. If anything comes apart later I can always fix it up with some Fabri-Tac though.

Here she is well into the trimming process. I found this velvet stuff very hard to cut. It also doesn't stretch, so it's pretty unforgiving stuff to work with. Note how I handled the collar... I made sure to put a wrinkle in the right place so it ended up looking like a mock turtleneck. It still needs more trimming though, and I'm not sure I can get as close as I want to. Maybe the dremel with a sanding drum.... ?

Cindy Lou is a little older than in her former star turn (in How the Grinch Stole Christmas)... she's turned in her pink sleeper for a red jumper and gone Goth.

What I'm learning is that puppet clothes don't need to look realistic... in fact it's best if they're not. Stylization suits them well.


Mike Letendre said...

I can already see loads of character and life in them the way you have them set up in the first pic - very cool!

Shelley Noble said...

Fantastic, Mike! Mike L's right, they really do have loads of life happening already! You really hit upon a body and clothing style that complements the fine art character heads. Just the right amount of distortion and caring detail.

Rock it!

Shelley Noble said...

oh, and if you need any other specific fabric, it would be my pleasure to look for what you might additionally need, right scale, color, texture, etc.

StopmoNick said...

I thought from the photo that maybe the smallest one was Captain Eyelet, long lost daughter of Capt. Hook...
Good to see them all in a lineup!

Yaz said...

Mike, blue cap looks great! It goes well with the other brighter colored puppets too. Another lighting trick here :) Using mostly reflected lights to minimize the slight shininess, if needed.

barkod said...

really amazing thanks a lot

Erica-Rose said...

I can't get enough of your puppets. They are so good!

faunhaert said...

I just found you today!
O love your little people.
and you're right about the clothing.

stretch velour is what you're needing-
its a interlock knit so it doesn't unravel
and has give ....but you'll want to experiment with pulling it you'll find it stretches better sideways than up and down-
that's how you know straight of grain

one trick to woven fabrics
is to put it on the diagonal
so the selvage is at a 45"angle
its called being on the bias..
it becomes stretchy.
its used along to make silky or satin woven fabrics flow better.

invest in a good pair of scissors
and keep them for fabric only( flag em)
and the velvet will cut like butter...
i'd go with a small fiskars for trimming.
once they scissors cut paper their edge is trashed.

i've found the best source for fabric are used clothing shops or garages sales- round the bag sale time . evil grin! but Shelly has a great stash i see.