Sunday, 9 January 2011

The unbearable lightness of seeing

Ok, I'm back- some sort of evil flu had struck me down for the last 7 days, so normal service resumes now, apologies if you missed me, and welcome to all those who've dropped by thus far- including at least Dean and Nick Hilligoss - bredren!

Still bringing you up to date, today's post will be about my quest for better, and lighter, heads.
 I started with a whole ping pong ball, then cut about a third of the ball away with an x-acto knife.
 fill the ping pong ball cavity with foam core discs cut to size, or polystyrene. Cut the golf tees down to about half length, poke holes in the  foam and push them into position.

You've also got to think about how you'll connect these heads to the armatures, in this case I started the head with a loop of florists wire inside the head, then added the foam.

I've experimented with ping pong ball heads this year, with pivot cup eye sockets made from cut down golf tees- these have worked ok so far...
Golf tees in place, glue drying...I used PVA here, but that was a bad choice- it took far too long to dry. I guess an epoxy or the glue from a glue gun would be better- I've bought a few glue guns, but haven't had much luck using them yet...
The head when dried- 2 simple bead eyes in place- these heads are primarily intended for use with Plasticine puppets. They ARE light, but will gain significant weight when covered in plasticine.
A simple covering of flesh plasticine, and the character begins to emerge already. The eyes here were two beads with a really attractive Jade texture. I dipped them into white acrylic paint, leaving just the iris space. This head would be intended to be used with replacement mouths.
So, following this build I find myself wondering whether the ping pong balls were neccessary at all, or whether pure polystyrene bases are not just as good- this is the direction in which more recent experiments have moved- but for a specifically spherical shape to heads, I think it is a useful technique. The draw back to this design is the extra weight the plasticine brings- the puppet would need to be either a ball and socket skeleton, or have a fairly heavy duty wire armature to support it.

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