I must admit, for a while here on tour, it seemed that Kyle and I were lugging around huge suitcases filled with puppet supplies for nothing...
As we've stated before, building on the road can become very difficult without sufficient time and room to spread things out. It often depends on how long we're in a city, what time commitments we have for the show, and a big one...if there is a place to use contact cement since we have to use it outside.
The past couple weeks though, we're feeling good! Despite an abundance of storms here in Florida, the rain has stopped at all the right gluing moments. We've also had a couple full weeks in large rooms, and Kyle came back with a big boost of creative energy after the O'Neil...all of this in time for a few custom builds.
I took on this one:
I call her Pearl...originally I thought she was a Lolli, but I take it back.
And this is Brutus...originally Brutus. Both fish are for excellent magician and friend, Jason Hudy who has recently decided to incorporate puppetry into his work.
You can see I went for a more raw, fish-scaly look with the combination of reticulated foam and acrylic paint.
Right before I had left for tour I built a fish in the same style, very similar to the same basic shape as Brutus here. I really loved the bright colors I could find in the acrylic paint and had always wanted to give this method a shot. The original fish turned out well, but I learned back then what I should do for the next time...
See, I had tried to paint the foam after the main shapes were completely glued, which is not really the best way to get the paint on evenly. Now in my defense, I was using a head that had been made over a year prior to it's last minute conversion into the body of a fish, but I learned. This time around, I cut the foam shapes out, but before contact cementing I took the paint and went at it like a kindergarten art class project...skipping the paint brush and just pressing it into the foam with my hands, essentially dying it with the paint. By painting before gluing, I cut the build time by AT LEAST half...pumping these two puppets out faster than I've ever created any ONE puppet (at least that I've liked).
Dyeing, you say? So why not dye the foam to begin with, with actual rit dye?
Well to answer the question I'm pretending that you just asked: Because we don't want the room charges for staining the hotel bathtubs. And because the colors really pop with some of the acrylic paints I've found. Rit dye is definitely a future venture for us, but I'm glad to have tried it this way too.
Note: If it's something you plan to do yourself in the future, just keep in mind, there will be a stiffness to your puppet that you wont have with rit dye. It actually adds a certain solidity to the character if you use it to your advantage.