Sunday, February 22, 2009

Goblin Wood: The Goblins

Here's a little photo session showing, in some detail, how the goblin puppets for "Goblin Wood" were made. This is the way I make just about all of my puppets.

The heads of the goblins start off as sculptures in Chavant clay. The head to the right is actually the second attempt at "finding" the right character. Plaster molds were made for each head. Head no 2 had a two-part mold.

This is the head of one of the goblins cast as a loose latex skin. The latex was tinted before pouring it into the plaster mold. Red beads have been added for the eyes.

This is the insides of the latex skin and it might be a bit hard to see, but the red beads are attached to the latex using the thermo plastic Friendly Plastic.

The armature for the goblin head you've just seen the skin of. The "skull" is made out of Friendly Plastic. All jointed parts -brow, ears, jaw, upper lip and cheeks- are aluminum or copper wire covered with a string wrapping. The brow is also padded with thin foam rubber.

This is how the joints for low-budget stop-motion armatures are made. You stick two or three lenghts of aluminum wire together in a power drill and hold the other ends of the wires with a pair of pliers. Gently turn the drill and you've got instant braided aluminum wire. Braided because it will hold up much better under stress and it won't be as springy or wobbly.

The braided aluminum wire is has been covered with Friendly Plastic, working as skeleton bones. The fingers are made out of plastic-covered copper wire. As you perhaps can see, the left goblin has another head than the one shown as a sculpture earlier. This is the first, discarded attempt.

Goblin no 1 has been covered with a wrapping of soft wire, and then some foam rubber and latex. Eventually I removed the wire from the arms and put some cotton/latex muscles there instead.

The goblin has been covered with a skin of latex, also acting as a pair of trousers and a pair of (so far) very floppy shoes.

Goblin no 2 has had his arms and legs attached to his armour. This fish bowl-like chest and back piece was made out of a big acrylic ball (intended as a home-made Christmas decoration). It's been patched-up and had details added using Apoxie.

The head has been added along with some latex spikes and a covering of latex skin on the arms and legs. A studded band made as a Chavant sculpture and cast in latex has been attached along the middle of the armour. As you can see it's been painted a matte black as well. It's pretty much ready for the final paint job now. A small hat and some shoes were also added.

Armour and other details (such as leather straps) for goblin no 1 were sculpted in Chavant and cast in SmoothCast 325 plastic from silicone molds.

The boys are finally finished and ready for animation. They are a mixture of my own concepts and influences from other artists, primarily Arthur Rackham and Brian Froud. It's hard to escape your favourites. They work their way into your subconscious and usually does not make themselves apparent until the work is finished.