Tuesday, 7 April 2009

big, beady eyes

Finding eyes for the puppets has been a difficult search. Given that they're made from wool it would be logical to use big buttons for eyes. At any other time they would be perfect but with the release of Coraline imminent I think it best to stay away from anything buttony. I have hunted through bead shops, charity shops, markets (normal and super), diy shops, craft shops, toy shops and virtual shops. I'm sick of shops. I even checked peoples' clothing as they passed me on the street just in case I saw the perfect eyes. I don't know what I would've done if I'd found someone with the right buttons on their coat...stalked them I suppose in the hope of gathering enough evidence on their shopping habits to determine where the coat may have come from. Asking them would have been easier but I'm quite shy, plus the chance to be a spy for the day and tail a perp is too much fun to ruin by being direct.

After finding many potential eyes, most of which were smaller than I wanted but would've worked, I finally found two possibles of the right size and shape I had been seeking. Typically they were both in the same shop.
One is flat and plastic the other is rounded and metal. You can sort of see me and my living room in the metal one. Hiya. I thought the flat ones would be the more successful so I tried them first.
The roundness of the head makes them look oval straight on and in profile. I liked them but they still felt a bit too buttonish, so I primed and sprayed the metal ones to see how they looked.
I'm really pleased with them. This is Lefty finished (apart from eyelids) and I think the way the eyes catch the light helps make her look more alive. It'll be even better in the studio. I think the shape will lend itself well to the different eyelids and so help express emotion. I've attached small screws to the back of the eyes to fix them to the head, but also so that I could move them around. The eyes have no pupils so for the puppet to look around the head will have to move instead. I'm going to test the idea of moving the eyes around the face when they look around and I'm hoping it'll look cartoony and save too much head nodding.

I'm fairly happy with the finished puppets. They have larger shoulders than I planned but with the thickness of the skin it was difficult to make them much thinner. I don't get as much control over the hands as I'd hoped but the important movement is the grip and they can do that fine.

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