Friday, 20 April 2012


I'm going to the Czech Republic! Czech me out....

Off to Teplice for Anifest 2012. This year is the 100th anniversary of Jiri Trnka so the main theme for the festival is puppets. I'm so excited! Barry Purves will be there amongst others...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

fish embryos

Found this a while ago when I looking at the similarities between human and fish gestation. 

Time lapse image of a zebra fish embryo  

Fin-tastic / Nipples

God I'm so 'punny'...

I've been making some fins for the mermaid. I tried plasticine but it just looked rubbish so I made them out of wire and masking tape. I'm tempted to make the final ones like this as they are translucent and the wire will mean it can be animated. However- the masking tape does crease so that wouldn't look very good.

The spiney dorsal fin and tail fin

Pelvic fin

Pectoral fins, pelvic fins and anal fins

I've been studying the fish bodies I got from work and diagrams of fish anatomy. I tried to boil up the fish heads and a sea bass to get all the remaining flesh off so I was left with just the skeleton, but I boiled them for too long and they fell apart. I tried to get the flesh off the brill but I realised that fish bones are mainly held together by tissue and i wouldn't have the skeleton as a whole. I don't think i can make a cast of them as I had hoped for. 

But for studies they have been pretty useful. 

I made a video of how a fish mouth works- the mechanics are so fascinating.

Gurnard heads- I'm gutted that these fell to pieces.

Also she has now got nipples. Possibly the most fiddley things to make.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Bladderwrack, how bout that?

I've tried out what she would look like if she had hair. I thought hair that looked like seaweed would be more interesting than normal hair. Mermaids with normally hair tend to be a bit la-de-da.
I haven't done a whole head of 'hair' yet as I'm not entirely sure I want her to have any.

I was thinking I could cast the hair- so I can have a few different strands and repeat them to save time. The only problem is I don't know how I would attach the hair to the head....

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Busy Little Fingers

This is rest of my time lapse video from the last few days. I've been enjoying looking back on it. I have edited it down though because there were parts when i just left for a while to make a cup of tea or put music on. I went for a couple of long breaks with the dog.

Sarah Wright from  Little Angel puppet theatre gave me some very invaluable advice which was "if you are working on some thing small and up close, take frequent breaks and go out side if you can and focus on something far, far off in the distance."
This stops your eyes from straining too much one way. So I went up in to the fields and, luckily for me I live on the coast so i could look out across the bay and focus on the headland on the other side.

Any way, here's that video...

Mermaid Sculpt

I've started my initial sculpt for my mermaid character. Its going well, I've adapted it slightly from the drawing- mostly just the face- because it looked odd in 3D and what I've changed looks more fish like.

Getting started...

Twisting wire using a drill

I made the armature so it had a rig to sup end the model from
its back rather than secure it to the base at the feet.
(Doesn't have any feet, got a tail...)

Building up the body. I started on joints to make them strong before
working on the rest. I'm using Tiranti modelling  clay,
which is Plasticine with wax and gives you
a nice smooth finish and good detail.

I've used masking tape to bulk out larger parts and to save

I've altered the face from my initial drawing. I've taken the neck
in a lot and shortened the 'nose' and back of the head.
I tend to draw quite flat so I find I get abetter idea
of things if I sculpt them. 3D sketching.

I've just used newspaper and masking tape wrapped
really tightly round the tail wire. I have to make
sure it is tight so it doesn't move
around when I add the Plascticne.

I've been using tiny amount of turps to smoothen the clay.
Wear your hair up when use do this, I keep dipping the ends of my
hair in it by accident...and then using the stove...

 So half-ish way there... been working on it for 2 and a half days. There's still much to be done- hands, tail (which i also need to finish designing), fins, hair.

I've made a time-lapse video of me working....

The quality isn't very good. This is only a bit of it. Will up load full...

It's so nice to finally be getting started. I've been so unmotivated for ages. Once I've done this I plan to make one with sculpy head and hands and look more at the tail armature. Then when I have a good armature, I'll make a puppet with foam body and a latex cast head.

Watch This Space.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Solipsist by Andrew Huang

I was browsing through Short of the Week the other day and came across this film. The effects are amazing! I must find out more about it. I thought, in particular reference to my project- the second section of the film has these jelly fish like puppet creatures. I love the way they move, so ethereal. the puppets were made from fish bait, tackle, feathers and sculpy and performed on rods.
Anyway i can't really put into words how i feel about this film...yet...I will work on it.

Watch it...


And while your at it, you should watch the making of. I think its a great combination of practical techniques and computer techniques.