Puppet lab…..

I started two days before,sorry to update my blog. You need much patients to create a puppet to its final stage .ant way i am right now in a struggling stage.i should say its little bit hard to full fill our own needs while handling new materials which you haven’t ever worked with.some on the materials which am using right now for the puppet creation is different from those which i have worked before.A good puppet maker should have knowledge of a vast verity of materials available in market for puppet creation, as well he have to know materials available around all over near to your house hold. Observing and relating the craps lying all around in garbage bin,make use of them by relating it with some or any thing which might be useful in puppet making. i will thank those books available at internet for the making of puppets. References do help you a lot.

The character 

model sheet 1

A character take birth with the character sketches. Its a real struggle to come up with a character which you have in your mind yo a piece of paper . After lots and lots of doodling the end result what i got was like this.many times the character sketches which came out wasn’t apt for the story many time it was abrupt.

when creating a character you need to know the person inside out, because you are the creator you need to know what kind of person he is , why is he is so,whats his likes and dislikes, his fears strength every thing, you need to know what his back story is. Basically when you are creating a character  you are not only making a visual appeal you are creating a creature what ever it looks like with its own personality with reason.the look and feel how he is.

Look and Feel : Style 

Keeping the personality of character in mind the other core aspect one need to be particular is the visual feel it gives in the screen. The look and feel,here all those aspects do plays an important role for example the skin color,texture ,The cloths he is wearing decides where he is from the climate etc. and the entire visual need to go with the other aspects of movie such as theme , story,place , the color scheme etc.

How it derived …From realistic to the final…


We always relate our own character with the one we create.because we are familiar with our characteristic features.The initial concept art with the character sketch was too realistic to go with the story. i wanted to look him more comic and toon like one.

conc 1

The  sketch was much colorful which doesn’t go with the story , the characters were too much related to those we have seen a lot in many TV shows . it was much detailed and realistic too.i wanted more simplified with a cute face.I didn’t wanted him to look like a Disney stuff.

model sheet 1

I wanted other formula ,some thing so fresh ,not so western nor Indian .then i decided to make him no where from places where i know .lets say, he is from no where , so he doesn’t have a nationality which we know , he doesn’t follow a dress code we have seen, n nor he have a language we know….so the entire scenario of the story changed with the character itself.

The Scale 

Deciding up on the scale is tricky. it depends on how much detailed animation you are going to do, and how much money you are spending for production, and how ambitious you are. the ease of animating with the puppet will be more when you increase the size of the puppet, but it too requires more detailing n raw-materials to create them. the other worse part regarding a bigger puppet is that you need to invest a lot of time and money for building up a set appropriate to it. so it do require machinery ,manpower, a bigger space and off-course the luxury of time…

Here the size of protagonist which i have taken is 10 inches.

char sheet 1

Once the scale is decided, the redrawing of model sheet according to scale is done in a graph paper which will give a better idea about body parts individual measurements according to the scale.We could say its the blue print of the puppet .


This blue print is very useful through out the puppet construction, its the guide line for the entire process of making the puppet , after every parts of the puppet is made it will be better to check it comparing it with the blue print to ensure every thing is going with the scale.

The Armature:

After deciding the scale and making the scaled character sheet, the first step to start up constructing the puppet is to figure out the skeleton structure that can hold the puppet through out the animation process. After studying the wide verities of armatures , i ended up on choosing the armature which my  seniors used for their puppet animation. They relay helped me in providing samples for the same. after experimenting with it a lot and doing some more improvisations i came up with a modified armature for my puppet.


Some of the armature models used in the animation industry.


As it was much expensive in the market,and much tougher to make it my own  i decided to experiment my luck with the armature made of  laser cut MDF for ball holders and beads instead of metal balls to make a similar one like the traditional ball and socket joint armature.

IMG_4487 IMG_4491


For animating the facial expression i have chosen the mask replacement method.Its simply changing masks of different expressions according to the character act.So the challenge was to make expression masks which should be identical in shape and size and finish so that i should be looking alike except the expressions.

For that i first sculpted a face model in a  wax block to find out the measurement and symmetry later doing the same thing in a foam,scope out some more foam from the face part leaving some crust for some hold the en carvings which it make will be better to place magnets which helps to hold the face masks with iron nuts fixed on it made later .


Once we get a well calculated carved face model in foam we are ready to coat it with a hard material which can hold the shape even applying pressure.

model mk

Coat and sculpt it with M- seal to get a thick mask.This was the master mask for the reference of shape and size.Handling wet M-seal is tough. I used talcum powder to avoid sticking to hand while handling it.Water can be sprayed to the surface of M-seal, while smoothing the surface to get a smoothly n glossy look.

face mdl

When the mask gets dried after 90 minutes smooth en the surface with sand paper.grind off the excess unwanted bulging to get the exact shaped mask.i divided the face part into two , the upper eyebrow part of face including the nose and the lower law with chins so that the eyebrow part once attached to face it the joints will never be shown in the camera, the two joint lines on the side portion of face can be hidden by hair later.


Once we get the masks and the seal to make it is much easy to make a mold,


Natural sculpt clay was used to make a temporary mold to make the final respective molds for the jaw part and eyebrow part .


when the three molds are ready ,it was all set to go making the final masks.


I used Sculpt Dry terracotta for making the masks.It good to handle as it is not so sticky. one thing need to take care is to kneed it well before use otherwise there is a chance of breakage once it is dry. before applying it to the mold grease the mold with oil so that it not stick to the mold. i used a layer of aluminium foil layer in the bottom mold so it will avoid sticking to the mold as well it can hold the shape even though we remove the sculpted terracotta .

images (1)

A hair drier was used to speed up drying the molded masks. it relay helped in saving the precious time.


Initially i made five  sets of masks including different eyebrow structures for different expressions,once the remaining head part is made {the holder part}, the final alignment and polishing can be done.i kept it for drying well. The master masks should be kept safe for reference.


It should be always better to store the molded masks in a cardboard box with sponge bed to avoid breakage as it is fragile.later it can be painted for further finishing touches. Eyes, eye bros, mouths for expressions are sculpted separate and fixed accordingly.


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