Making a dancing bear’s head

20090510194436.jpg I needed to make two puppets, a “dancing bear” and a blind man, for a show that Jodi Eichelberger and I are doing at the Puppet Playlist.  To begin with, I did a drawing to get relative scale of the things I was building. I’ll usually be a lot tighter with drawings than this, but since we’re only performing this show twice, I’m working fairly loose through the whole process.

20090510200836.jpg I’m using the same paperfolding technique that I used when I made the Coraline dolls. The process involves folding the paper and taping it as I figure out the shape. You can see here that it’s too large and I don’t have the angles quite right.

20090510201245.jpg I marked the areas that I wanted to change, then cut the face apart to make a flat pattern. Each V cut out of the pattern represents a dart in the paper.  I cut the pattern in half so that when I trace it I can flip it to get a more symmetrical shape on the next round.  I saved the side that was closest to what I want the final to look like.

20090510222709.jpg My next draft is closer, but still off. Again I mark the areas I want to change.

20090510223235.jpg Cut it apart into a pattern and try again.

20090511011802.jpg The third draft is close enough that I decide to glue it together as my “final.” If I were doing this for a client, I’d probably continue tweaking it to match the drawing more closely since the drawing is what the client would be expecting. Since it’s just me, I’m calling it good enough.

20090511244628.jpg On the interior of the head, I paste paper bandages across each of the seams so that it takes on a fairly smooth exterior.

20090511011820.jpg And here’s what my bear looks like from the front. I’ll post photos of the finished critter later.

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