A challenge

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A challenge

Postby CvdC » 10 Sep 2008, 07:53

I do some daft things in life and here is yet another:
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Well the local television came round to film me carving so I started carving this.
It is 6" high and about 3 1/4" diameter. I think I'll hollow it out. The noticable thing about the Roselia Punch and Judy is they are carved quite deeply. When you carve a puppet you have different radii, one for the forehead and cheeks , another for the eyes and then a smaller one for the mouth and then the neck. The depth of the mouth defines the cheeks either side of the mouth. This puppet has very distinct lines either side of the mouth that then curve gracefully into the chin. The chin doesn't seem to be an add on. It doesn't so much jut out as such but rather protrudes because the mouth is so much deeper.
I'll try to get it as close as I can and then tackle the costume.
Last edited by CvdC on 11 Sep 2008, 02:03, edited 3 times in total.
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oh and another thing

Postby CvdC » 10 Sep 2008, 09:40

Chris years ago you criticised my puppets in that the eyes were not in correct anatomical position.
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Postby Chris » 10 Sep 2008, 21:17

So?
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Postby CvdC » 10 Sep 2008, 21:51

I would think the best carved Punch set known, and surely the most famous.
They look good in photographs but believe me they are better in the flesh(?)



ergo ...
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Postby Chris » 10 Sep 2008, 22:02

When you can carve like a master I promise I won't criticise.
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Postby CvdC » 10 Sep 2008, 22:18

Here's a little quandary. Here is a still from a Japanese video:


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and here is another:



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Spot the difference.

Yes Judy's dress is no longer red. David do you think her costume was originally red and has faded over time or is this just some problem with colour in the image and never was red?
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Postby CvdC » 11 Sep 2008, 00:52

Learning from the master.
You take a block of Lime (Linden) or similar that is 6" and 3 1/2" square
and draw the profile at a slight angle so as to give yourself the maximum room for the chin.
Cut out the profile(minus the nose) and the front shape.
Cut out the nose from a separate piece so that the grain runs along the nose. Glue and dowel the nose to the head.
Round the neck first and then the back of the head and forehead. Look down the length of your wood to ensure you have a symmetrical shape that is like a squashed circle flattened front and back.
Round off the wood either side of the nose and carve the chin to shape.
The shape of the chin as seen from above or below is an important part of getting the character to look right.
Mark out the eyes. Ensure they are in the correct position in relation to the nose. Mark out the eye brows. The distance between the eye and the eyebrow is also an important consideration.

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On this puppet the eye shape is larger than the white of the eye as there is a slight ridge where the eye lashes are.(See close up) The eyes are quite deep. The depth you chisel in for the eye will make the cheeks stand out more. And on this puppet they are quite chubby. The cheeks actually finish before they reach the nose. Look carefully at the shape around the nostril.
The nose is rounded off. THere is an indentation running along the nose to define the area around the nostril. The actual nostril are carved in and are quite long.

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The carving in around the ends of the mouth are very deep. To get character and loose a lot of wood, and therefore weight, this head has very deep carved mouth. In the Judy this is even more so.
The smile is one of the most important aspects of a Punch puppet. A lot of the head's personality is in the curvature of the smile.

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You can see in the photo below just how much the mouth has been carved into the puppet making the lines around it quite deep. This creates a very distinct line around the mouth and under the cheeks.
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Now when you look at the puppet you need to correlate the head from the front and the side. So here is a side view:


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In this view you will see that line either side of the mouth. The curve it makes is very important. It is a feature of this puppet and one that even
William Hogarth would have approved of.

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Here is the 1:1 scale drawing I came up with.


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Last edited by CvdC on 16 Sep 2008, 00:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby David Wilde » 15 Sep 2008, 01:35

The dress was more a dusty lavender colour,the red is just reflected some how onto her dress!
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Postby Richard Coombs » 15 Sep 2008, 09:00

Lovely stuff Chris , I bet you had fun doing that.

Are you going to match the style of the hands too?

It was good to see Davids Roselia figures at the Mayfayre.
I was quite pleased to see the size of them..lovely large puppets - shouldnt have been suprised though , as I used to see those puppets every day when they were behind glass , and I worked at Polka Childrens Theatre.

The hands are large and quite detailed ..the closest Ive seen to the way I do mine ( or vice versa )


Anyhow have fun finishing him off , he will be quite something to see when you have completed him.

All the best Richard
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Postby CvdC » 15 Sep 2008, 10:33

Thanks David, I'll track some down fabric of that colour.
Meanwhile I am collecting the materials for the costume. Here is the painted head about to have its hat made.

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I'm still trying to find the yellow for the ruff. Perhaps a duster would be the thing to buy?

As it happens Richard I took careful note of the hands. When we filmed the puppets for the youtube video you could see that the flapping of the hands was a big feature with these puppets. But the Punch looks different. He looks like he's got some sort of stiffening in his arms.
Do you remember what sort of hat Judy has? All the images I have show her from the front only.

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The crocodile is interesting as it has feet and a long tail. Also its jaws shut completely as the top row of teeth sit outside the bottom row.

So far if I have learnt one lesson it is to carve the mouth in deep. Bring the shadows into play so that when the head moves about it looks like all the features are moving.
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Postby lesclarke » 15 Sep 2008, 22:12

It's very interesting to see the unpainted head as it's easier to appreciate the shapes without the distraction of the paint. Also interesting to see the drawings you worked from.

Some video frames viewed on domestic equipment don't seem to have or display the full colour information on every frame.
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Postby CvdC » 16 Sep 2008, 00:58

Yes that is a point. I should have photographed it while it was primed.

I have updated the drawings. They now include the legs and hands. The hands are two inches long. They are quite large. As I said above I think they are designed to flap about and so add more movement to the puppets.
The drawings are aligned so that I can cross check the measurements of the front and side views. This is called orthographic projection.
I am going through this process in some detail so that you can see how the process works. From the careful analysis of the puppet right through to the finished puppet.
The way the drawings are used is:
I trace the profile form a side on photo on the computer but you could use photocopies and tracing paper. I then ensure that the profile fits the size I want. This often tends to be 6" from the bottom of the neck to the top of the head.
A lot of fiddling about is done to ensure nice curves and that the head will be balanced, which basically means there is enough wood on the back of the head to balance the weight of the chin and nose.

The profile, minus the nose, is then cut out of the wood, which is 3 1/4" square or in my case I use three laminated pieces that are easier on the band saw I use.
Then I trace out the shape of the front shape and cut that out of the wood.
This should give me a square neck and reasonably square top of the head. The head is then rounded. The neck is made circular but the head has a flattened circle. The back of the head can be round or quite flat. The Judy puppet in this set has virtually no back of the head; she is all face.

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It is quite important that the front of the face is flat so that the eyes face forward and you have a flat spot for the nose. I usually glue and dowel the nose and chin in place before the rounding.
Once the basic form of the head is carved you then use the front view of the drawings to mark out the eyes and the mouth. That line around the mouth (Does it have a name?) is very important. You can then check these with the side drawing.

The eyes must face forward. If the wood was rounded too much the eyes will face out at 45 degrees and from the side look like an egyptian painting. From the side you should not be able to the white of the eye on the other side of the iris. So this should be drawn as well. I use a dark soft pencil so I get clear lines on the wood.

The smile is a product of both the front and side views. It is a very important feature of any Punch puppet. There are many different smiles. Kasper puppets from Germany smile differently from British Punch puppets. Some smirk others grimace.
So it very important at this stage to ensure that you have just the smile you want.

At this point you have finished with the drawing. If I am making a replica I use angled photos (as above) while carving. If I am making an original puppet I hold the puppet at arms length and imagine the character. I drill the finger hole and at times have it move about as if it were performing. It looks stupid but it is all part of the process of ensuring that the puppet is gaining its character. This is the animism of puppetry.
It is why you do it.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Postby CvdC » 28 Sep 2008, 09:02

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This is the puppet complete. Well almost. I think I may have to do some alterations. What ric rac was to Tickner, yellow tape, all hand sewn into place, was the decoration of choice for Tom Rose.
I have had real trouble determining the method used to make the collar and will have another try at that. Also I think I got the hat wrong. So I'll redo that. In the photos I notice there is some stitching around the hat that seems to indicate that the original maker also altered the hat to give it more flair on the brim.
The hands I had to remake as they were a little large. I know the puppets I have seen have large flappy hands but I think I may have over done it. So I had to trim them down. Overly large hands can be a bit or a problem with puppets that need to hold things.
Also this puppet has quite narrow arms. Narrow arms are good in that it makes the arm gestures more distinct for the audience but it means that the performer can only use one finger in each arm. And it can also make putting your hand in the puppet a bit awkward. I always assumed a good glove puppet is a nice balance of easy to slip on and not too loose and baggy.
Anyway I will tweak it and make a start on Judy and the baby.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Postby CvdC » 08 Oct 2008, 00:06

Here is the drawing for Judy.
Image

An interesting thing is that it is quite possible that the shape of the head on both of these puppets has been aligned at an angle on the timber. This gives you more depth and the grain follows the nose and chin.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Postby CvdC » 22 Oct 2008, 22:26

Well the carving of the Judy was fairly straight forward.
It is surprising just how far you need to chisel in to get this puppet right.
The head is basically rounded in the front and the eyes are chiseled in quite deep either side of the nose to get them to face forwards.
The radius of the mouth is considerably smaller than that of the cheeks and forehead. The back of the head is almost non existent.
When you drill the hole for the finger there is not much wood left. So for the size of the puppet head you end up with very little weight.
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As you will see I had trouble getting some raw sheep wool for the hair.
I will eventually track some down and add to my collection of furs and wools I use for puppet hair.
I took some time out to make a small Punch for my son Willem who is an avid Punch performer at the age of five (and a half). His show is heavily influenced by Mark Poulton's for some reason.


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It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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