Odin’s concept and paper trials.

Here’s the rough design concept for the Odin puppet for the Stages Repertory Theater production of Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants.

Odin was surprisingly difficult to design in this aesthetic and have him not look either cute or like Sam the Eagle. Really, I was annoyed by how hard this was.  You can see one of my failures in the upper part of the page.

What I finally came up with is a very stripped down bird.  Among other decisions, I’ve decided to simplify the body. I basically gutted the body so that Odin is a head, wings with only a reference to a tail.

Where the wings meet gives the impression of body, but there’s not actually anything there.

I also stuck him on a stick, which I think will work nicely.

The concept is that he’ll be on top of a staff which the puppeteer can treat as though Odin has alighted on a tree.  Odin’s neutral position will be in flight mode, so perpendicular to the staff.

When the puppeteer is performing him, he’ll use a rod on the back of Odin’s head to hold the puppet in an upright position and look around.  When Odin flies, the puppeteer will let go of the head rod and use the length of the staff to get the entire figure way up in the air.

Here’s my trial of the head in paper. I’m still not totally happy with this but it’s good enough to put something together for a rehearsal puppet while I continue to tweak the design.

I have one thing on here that I doubt I can do with the wood veneer.  That hard crease at the beak? Yeah… It’s likely that it will crack when I try to do the fold. But it has such nice depth from the front that I’m going to give it a try anyway. I’ll probably have to build that as two separate pieces.

There’s a saying in theater that if you can’t fix it, feature it. So I’ll probably feature this by using a different color of veneer for the beak.

And this is the blind side of Odin.  Incidentally, I was going to give a soft impression of eyes, instead of a strong focus.  Odin’s missing eye is the the reason that all the puppets will have eyes. You can’t show that an eye is missing on one character if no one has them.

Next up: Full scale drawings.

Series Navigation<< Demo of Loki puppet for auditionsOdin assembly: Photos from Odd and the Frost Giants >>
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7 Responses

  1. Julia

    I like that he is on a stick. Many years ago in another lifetime, I volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary and one of my challenges was to work with the former education bird of prey and see if he could be worked back to his former level. A sparrow hawk, I always felt like I broke my arm holding him high, high, high above my head (I was also the tallest of anyone there; another reason I was given him) the way he wanted and needed to be.* Birds of prey always need to be the highest. They need to look down on everyone and see everything. I’m glad that Odin will be able to.

    *Have you ever seen a one-winged tethered bird of prey throw a tantrum? It is, at once, the funniest and the most pitiful thing you’ve ever seen. Also the sharpest, so there’s nothing to do but wait til the bird is done and then ask it if it would like to get back up on your glove.

  2. Rob

    These look great.

    Auditions went well yesterday. I’m very glad that I took my crude Loki mock-up. Playing around with the “follow the fox sequence” was definitely useful.

    Looking forward to seeing you and the Gods this weekend.

  3. Jim Crider

    Mary, I hadn’t realized until JUST NOW that these puppets will be used here in Houston. Proceeding on the assumption you may be at least visiting them during their time here, you welcome to a cheap place to stay and at least one large meal/fine beverage on me when you do pay us a visit.

    The AC works great in my house. And my truck. 🙂 Yes, by then it’ll be necessary. 🙂


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