For rod puppets, you have to pay attention to the placement of the rod, the length of the rod, and the angle of the rod while the puppet is in motion. If you are adding any special mechanisms (nodding head, head movement side-to-side, eye movement, etc...), then that adds another layer of complexity. Prototypes are my solution to working out the kinks.
|Mouse prototype for Little by Little |
in its upright position.
Today, I worked on a simple mouse proto-puppet. I have some paper plates and cups at the studio (leftover from one of my girls' birthday parties). I used one cup, part of a plate that I folded, some duct tape, and a chopstick to work out the design specs for the little mouse in our story.
|Mouse in scamper position.|
|Figuring out the rod insertion point/size|
I have no idea if any other puppeteers do this, but I love to build prototypes from inexpensive -- or just leftover scrap -- materials. I build all kinds of puppets (hand, shadow, rod, etc...), but my favorite type of puppets are rod puppets. Building a prototype helps to work out design kinks/mechanics, improve movement, work on proportions, and develop your character in a fearless fashion. Paper plates, duct tape, cardboard boxes, string, rope, and staples are all you need to get started.
Working in this way, I don't worry about messing up, which is very freeing. Then when I get ready to make the "real" puppet, I also know exactly what I am doing. (Or I can come pretty darn close!)
|Hmmm...looking at this reminds me that |
I will need a tail in the finished piece!