Art · Bizarre · Destination Unknown · Europe · Film · Gap Year · Long term travel · Prague

Puppets in Prague- Day 1

Quick Observational sketch before we came back from Lunch.

Greetings!  dobrý den!
I began my Puppets in Prague workshop today, starting out with a lecture on armature construction. Which led to me drawing lots of armatures and joints for notes, compiling into roughly three pages of notes in my sketchbook. He was really thorough, which was great because although I have experience in puppet construction, there is always more to learn!
There are twelve of us in this two week intensive puppet workshop, to my initial surprise not only were many of us from different countries (not the surprising part!), but there are more people over 35 than there are younger students! That did surprise me at first.
Some are teachers in California, and others are people who realized they enjoyed making films later in life (which is definitely NOT uncommon!).
The first day comprised mostly of the initial lecture on Armature Construction by Zdar Sorm, and then after we finished lunch we got started on our technical sketches. We each had to create a puppet sketch, both as a character (front and side view to assess volume) and as an assessment of joints/skeletal structure.
Our puppets will be constructed in a traditional format, outside of welding a full steel armature (we’re using aluminum, which is really common), we’ll be making the main support (torso, hips, and head) out of wood!
This is supposed to be in communication with how Jiří Trnka, a very prominent historical Czech Animator, made his puppets from 1936 onward till his death in 1969.

My character sketch

I was actually really happy with how my character came out proportion wise (a little off but only by a centimeter and a half! I also shouldn’t have drawn her bending *facepalm*).
But! I felt like this is much improved over this time last year when I was struggling really really hard with Character Animation.
Especially the turn arounds! Maintaing volume was beyond my grasp at that point, and I think I did a good job this time around.
Which I actually think is because i’ve been doing almost NOTHING except observational drawing for hours every few days or so (sometimes every day).
Observational drawing really does make a huge difference!
I need to finish figuring out what her outfit looks like/materials.
But I decided to challenge myself a little bit and choose a figure that requires a bit more problem solving with the foam application, painting the face, adding expressive hair AND the costume.
I’m really excited to add this to my puppet portfolio.

Tomorrow we’ll be going to see how latex hands are made (always a good refresher), and later on we’ll be doing some local studio visits and seeing Czech stop motion animators in action welding armatures.
In the end, we’ll have a fully animatable puppet, and we’re supposed to create and edit a finished animation as a group before the end of the workshop (October 26th)!
Stay tuned for more puppets and more Prague!

Till then, na shledanou (Goodbye).


2 thoughts on “Puppets in Prague- Day 1

  1. It does sound like a pretty full on course so I am not surprised a lot of people are older, definitely the sort of thing people would be more likely to undertake if they really know what they want to do!

    I hope you enjoy it and it is useful to you! It looks fascinating! I would love to do it except that my puppet would end up looking so wonky!

    1. It’s interesting because so many people are specialized in something else and rather new to animation or stop motion!
      So it’ll be exciting to find out how they want to use this experience to enhance what they already do!

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