Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nice on my eyeballs

Wilkins and Wontkins
from the 1957 commercials for Wilkins coffee that Henson did. I love the way these guys look, they are so clean and simple and still in excellent shape after half a century (we saw them in person at the muppet exhibit at the Michener Museum). I call them "the clean guys". Kev tells me I like them because I'm German and we love to be perfect and neat and tidy. After seeing his sketching style it's clear to me he is decidedly Un-Deutsch, I love watching him draw though.

Puppet Heap's video "Ye Ballade of Ivan Petrofsky Skevar". I love their dark settings and music paired with vibrant characters who all have a kind of gnarled, surreal quality to them that reminds me of the Indonesian shadow puppets. This video was made using a different kind of light play however, using transparent characters and a projector.The also brings to mind my next inspiration;
The Triplets of Belleville

It has this incredible darkness that I would have to have watched the movie more recently to describe better, but I am drawn to everything that has a similar feeling. Something about the dull colors and extreme caricature of everyone, I don't know. Smacks of Edward Gorey without falling into the "mall goth" Nightmare Before Christmas. I'm getting so off topic here...

Hand Carved Wooden Puppets

The two above are from Puppet Heap's Facebook and are perfect examples of what I love about this style of puppets. I have no idea if they are actually wood or some other sculpted material but the dark, slighty worn appearance is something you can never get with foam and bright fleeces. It's easy to get stuck in some kind of "artsy" rut when you use these kinds of guys though; start making shorts with creepy plinking circus music and weird angles and leave everyone wondering if they have just watched some weird puppet snuff-film. Maybe not, I don't know.

Kev Kelly's Comics
I know, one letter away from grown men wearing bedsheets and burning crosses, but I'm just not the kind of girl who can spell "komics" with a "K" and look myself in the eye afterward. Without getting too drippy about how great friends are for inspiration I'll tell you that this comic and its fine feathered fowl is what got me wanting to make puppets. I wanted to bring these guys to life, don't they just look like they'd be so much fun to throw around? You can't make a good puppet without a great character sketch to base it off, and lord knows I wouldn't be writing this right now without 15 years of marriage and a whole lot of bubbles.

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