Friday, 31 December 2010

Research into Marionettes

After a quick search on the internet for marionette style puppets I found this great little website. To brothers Jan and Martin Ruzicka based in Czech Republic still make traditional wood carved marionettes and have a vast collection of different puppet characters you can buy.

I love how these marionettes are not sanded down to a fine smooth finish like most of the others i've looked at and you can still see nearly all of the tool marks made in the wood. I prefer this finish to the sanded because it gives the puppet a nice texture and retains all the original cuts and marks you've made.

For example on the marionette above the tool marks on the knight work perfectly to represent the hammer marks just like on a real piece of armour that's been hammered into shape. On the monkey tool marks work well to show skin textures or muscle tone. I think if something is sanded to a perfect finish then its expected to be accurate and in proportion like the real thing. With a more ruff cut the eye fills in and smooths over the form.

I like this puppet because it shows that you can carve a modern character but still retain the traditional style. I think what's intriguing about this puppet is that they could have sanded back the head to make it look more realistic but the risk is it can become too doll like. The more hand crafted style brings together a greater mix of modern and traditional in its character and the way its carved. Hopefully my marionette will turn out in a similar style as I want to sculpt myself.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Visual analysis cont.

Sanded Finish
Another Pinocchio marionette in the 1940 Walt Disney style. An important point I hadn't realized until looking at this series of progress photos is that I will have to cut all the marionette parts out together and then first cut the joints before shaping each individual limb. This will make sure that the entire puppet can go together and move properly instead of trying to cut a square joint after shaping.

As you can see this marionette is sanded to a finish which works well with this Walt Disney version of Pinocchio but I think I prefer the more rustic traditional finish of the tool marks on the puppet i'll show in the next post. The smooth sanded finish adds to the realism and I guess it depends on the character if it is needed. I think sometimes it can make the puppet look too doll like especially when its painted.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Quick visual analysis on Marionettes

Here is a quick selection of images on the different kind of interesting styles of marionettes that have caught my eye.Marionette made from Lime Wood, which seems to be the preferred choice for hand carving and sculpting puppets. This is a good example of what I want the hands to be like as his fingers are carved separated compared to the skeleton below.
The skeleton here shows good puppet joints, which are normally covered by clothes.With the time scale I have I don't think I will have time to create the clothes as well, which is fine because the main learning outcome is the wood carving skill and it will be nice to see the work in the puppet joints. This marionette has dowel and hinge joints as well as looped screw joints, these are just a couple of the ways I can create my puppet to move need to research further.

Film stills from 1996 version 'The Adventures of Pinocchio'. Animatronic puppet created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The head is a moulded latex skin painted in a wood grain effect and controlled by electronics and mechanisms to bring the face to life.

I love everything about this puppet! Even though the wood grain is painted on I love how it follows the contours of the face, I know this would be impossible to replicate with a real piece of wood but I like how the grain is highlighted. I could give the marionette a wash of colour with a wax or polish but I no I definitely don't want to cover the wood entirely with paints. Pine might work better because of it's a light colour and stronger grain lines.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thursday 16th December 2010

Research Blog!!!
In this Commercial Expolration unit I will be carving a fully working stringed marionette using only tradition materials and tools. I will use this blog to evidence research into certain areas of puppetry so that I can develop the best possible design outcome within the weeks set out.

Along with this blog I will also be producing a journal either on this blog page or seperate, recording a workexperience or visit to industry professionals of puppetry and marionette making. A sketchbook will hold my design development work and other technical drawings and a project management folder will accompany it setting out my work for the weeks ahead.