Puppet Challenge… Weaselly Wolves and other unfinished creations

Weasely Ones

Weaselly Wolves – painted in 2013 for ‘One Word One Day’

Finding myself trying to make Greyfur too anatomically kangarooish was making my puppeting challenge hard. Indeed, my son asked me if the incomplete Greyfur face was a dog or a deer.

Other subjects I’d earlier considered making for the Puppet Challenge had included the following. All have been covered by other puppet challengers as it turns out.

The Big Bad Wolf

The Big Bad Wolf is a favourite topic of mine, as I’ve been a fan of Angela Carter’s writing for many years, but he’s not a local myth like Greyfur. I also find wolves pretty easy to draw because along with their doggishness is the fact that the BBW is now such an icon, that he is recognisable in any kind of shorthand format and is way above any kind of need for anatomical realism.

young wolf young wolves 10167981_483105751790707_574541033_n

Wolfish types (above), bearing little resemblance to Canis Lupus.

Puss in Boots

Puss is also not a local tradition. Angela Carter does a fabulous rendition of this fairy tale too. And as I seem to be obsessed with Cornish Rex cats at the moment, my Puss in Boots sketches were distinctly Cornish in flavour; black, big-eyed, big-eared, narrow-framed.

This one was for the 52-week Illustration challenge, but I was thinking about Puss in Boots for the puppet challenge at the time.

This one was for the 52-week Illustration challenge, but I was thinking about Puss in Boots for the puppet challenge at the time.

first sketch, always too naturalistic, but he almost captures the devil-may-care nonchalant cat personality I was going for.

first sketch, always too naturalistic, but he almost captures the devil-may-care nonchalant cat personality I was going for.

shadow puppet perhaps? I like the idea of the sail-like ears being semi-transparent and the rest being solid black card.

shadow puppet perhaps? I liked the idea of the sail-like ears being semi-transparent and the rest being solid black card.

a further attempt to get whole figure on the page!

a further attempt to get whole figure on the page!

marionette?

marionette? With Yarn body and wooden boots?

black yarn knitted or crocheted body?

black yarn knitted or crocheted body?

puss in boots 6

Back to the shadow puppet idea. I drew the shadow puppet ogre and the mouse that he turns into, foolish fellow. I also drew the king and had a couple of goes at the lad.

puss in boots 7

 

puss in boots 8

Troll with Billy Goats Gruff

We live by a creek with a bridge so this had some local relevance. And this was the first one that I considered using the crumpled paper for. I had it in my mind that the curling horns of the goats would look great if made out of crumpled and twisted paper. And I was intrigued about the challenge of making three goat characters and capturing the varying ages and personalities of the three (a theme I had a lot of fun with in The Middle Sheep by Frances Watts.)

Three goat siblings I drew for 'The Middle Sheep' by Frances Watts

Three goat siblings I drew for ‘The Middle Sheep’ by Frances Watts

I seem to have misplaced my puppet goat sketches. They’ll turn up somewhere unlikely one day…

Greyfur the Kangaroo

A couple more sketches I found while I was looking for the goats!

greyfur study 1lores greyfur study lores

 

So anyway… I went back to the wolves in the picture at the top of this post! These two rather weaselly looking wolves are plotting mischief together. Below are some photos of the fun and messy creative process the other night on my kitchen floor. The boys were having a fantastic time for much of the evening, playing with a sack full of puppets that I had tipped out onto the floor. Puppets really do inspire all sorts of creative play.

Two (Big, Bad) Wolf Brothers

starting point

starting point

eyeballs

eyeballs

one weaselly nose and some fingers with claws drying in front of the fan heater

one weaselly nose and some fingers with claws drying in front of the fan heater

three toes before strapping together to make a hand. I was careful this time to make the outside and inside fingers the right length.

three toes before strapping together to make a hand. I was careful this time to make the outside and inside fingers the right length.

strapping together to make a hand

strapping together to make a hand

adding a thumb

adding a thumb

two hands, one with a wrist

two hands, one with a wrist

two hands with wrists

two hands with wrists

positioning some eyeballs!

positioning some eyeballs!

adding eyelids

adding eyelids (with rough dots for pupils)

time for some teeth after the lower jaw added

time for some teeth after the lower jaw added

teeth side close2

I wanted the teeth to be very crooked and uneven

I wanted the teeth to be very crooked and uneven

both with eyes and with ears under way

both with eyes and with ears under way

All ears connected.

All ears connected. The Brains (left) has narrower eyes to make him look more sly. Brawn will have the lolling tongue.

Indian ink on crumpled paper. A very satisfying process

Indian ink on crumpled paper. A very satisfying process

Would you buy a used car from these two?

Black paint on. I may add more later.

This guy is just asking for a tongue now.

This guy is just asking for a tongue now.

would you buy a car from these two-2

tongue and teeth with some white added

tongue ready to attach. Teeth and eyes with some white added. Brains will have moving hands. Brawn will have a moving mouth. (This is probably rather counter-intuitive but there ya go!)

with tongue, painted mouth, bloodshot eyes and Granny's bonnet.

with tongue, painted mouth, bloodshot eyes and Granny’s bonnet.

Would you buy a used car from these two?

Would you buy a used car from these two?

This is where I had to stop. If I have time Brawn (Actually, I think his name is Willy) will get a nightdress slightly stained with blood on the front, and lacy sleeves from which will protrude his long, black claws over the bed clothes.

Brains (Hmmm… Ernest, perhaps, because he’s anything but earnest) will have working arms, but I’m not really happy with the high attachment I’ve started here. I think he’d be more impressive without such a distorted scale. I might give him long arms and move them with rods instead so that they can creep in from the side in a lurking sort of way. I think these two should look rather long and rangy like their original drawing, rather than dwarfed versions of themselves.

Weasely Ones

I’d love to add whiskers, but not sure where to get those twirly feathers from that people use on puppets. I could modify some of my chickens’ feathers I guess…  But I’ll have to leave these rascals for now.

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Puppet Challenge… Weaselly Wolves and other unfinished creations

  1. lizkingsangster

    Hi Judy, I have missed a load of your blogs and am just catching up on a few. Your puppets are great, and seeing them evolve is almost like settling down and reading a book. You are so prolific in all that you do, tell me , do you actually get some sleep?!! I have really enjoyed these , I must subscribe to your blogs again as I don’t think it worked first time. Bravo !! (Actually, here , in France, they say ‘Chapeau’ too!)

    Reply
    1. Judy Watson Post author

      Hi Liz, Thanks so much! That’s really lovely that you enjoyed looking at the process of making the puppets. It makes a big difference when people take the time to make a comment doesn’t it? You feel as though you have some company as you go along :-) And yes, I am a big sleeper. I need at least 8 hours a night, often more. And I am a fanatical reader of children’s fiction, (always formulating ideas about the way it’s done so that I can one day get something out myself) so time in each day is spent with at least a bit of that. Hence much of my artwork is done in quick bursts of impulsive self-expression or experimentation; very little at the moment is carefully considered, serious, finished work apart from my book illustration work, but I hope to change that somewhat when I finish with my current book. I hope your subscription works. There should be a ‘FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL’ button at the top of the blog, if it’s working… Or else the ‘follow’ button just sends posts to your WordPress Reader and you don’t get them in your email.

      Reply
      1. lizkingsangster

        It works! I was down as a follower, but there must have been a glitch. You will see that I have received and commented on your latest blog. Now I will settle down to some archives, yum, yum. I understand that quick bursts-of-expression-thing, (when working in theatre and opera, that was exactly what I had to do, except they were never so complete as yours..That is why your works are so invigorating, it’s the spontaneity that gives them life. You have reminded me I must return to that way of working, I spend far too much time finishing and fussing, and then lose the life of the thing.

  2. Pingback: Lost Puppet Sketches | endpapers

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