Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Puppet Heads

Walter and Edna now have heads! No bodies yet, but that will come soon.
Here are the finished heads, made using the latex build up technique and working from James' designs. It is not a quick method by any means, but it does give good results. They look slightly sinister because they don't have mouths or eyebrows yet as these will be replaceable, allowing a greater range of expressions. They also have blank eyeballs in at the moment, but they will be replaced with more realistic ones. Edna is also bald, but I will be making her a rather elaborate hairpiece.

Here is how they were made. I took photos throughout the process, but I didn't photograph every layer of latex I applied as that would mean literally hundreds of photos. They took about two weeks to build, but most of this time was spent waiting for latex to dry! I should also say thanks to Nick Hilligoss, animator extraordinare, as it was by studying photos of his latex build-up puppets that I worked out how to build these.

Here is the original Walter prototype head that I made to experiment with the technique. I learned a lot, but wasn't happy with the eyes, and his ears are too small.

Materials for step one - aluminium foil, aluminium armature wire, polymer clay and sculpting tools.

Aluminium foil was used for the core of the heads to make them lighter than solid clay.

Sculpting a basic head shape using polymer clay over the ball of foil.

Heads ready to be baked.

Baked heads after a priming coat of plain liquid latex (Copydex).

During application of the first coat of dark coloured latex. The latex is tinted by adding a small amount of high pigment, low viscosity paint. I use Games Workshop model paint which works brilliantly. For thinner coats you can use a paint brush, but use cheap ones (but not so cheap that they lose bristles) because the brushes will be permanently ruined. Never use a brush that already has dried latex on it - it will ruin your work. Always test the colour and opacity of your latex mix by putting some on a light coloured piece of plastic and allowing to dry - it will be a very different colour than in its liquid state.

Thread wrapped around the neck, to thicken it.

After a few more coats of latex to give a thick latex base before the details are added.

Temporary eyeballs (white plastic beads) are added, and I began to build up eyelids and other details by dabbing latex onto the head using wooden cocktail sticks. Use a fresh stick as soon as the latex begins to dry out on it, or it will stick to the head.

Building up more details.

The first lighter coloured details added.

After a few coats of thinner, semi transparent liquid latex to smooth out the surface and even up the colour. Latex can be thinned with water - where I live the tap water works well, but if you have hard-water in your area, I'd use distilled water instead.

Lots more layers of latex added and details built up, using different shades of latex to give more depth.

Adding Edna's eyelashes by building up tiny dots of black latex at the edges of her eyelids. Also beginning to use many watered down coats of latex to create the skin-tones. Edna is much paler than Walter. She is in James' words, 'a glamour nana,' so I whilst applying her 'make-up' I tried to imagine a rather gothic looking version of Barbara Cartland - lots of white powder, and slightly too much blusher! The puppets also have 'panda eyes' as shown in James' designs.

Adding superficial details with watered tinted latex.

The finished heads after a light dusting of talc (I use baby powder, as it has no added ingredients) using a soft make-up brush. This stops the latex sticking to things quite so much, and also makes it 'fleshy' looking, as opposed to shiny.

A few of the many pots of different colours and thicknesses of tinted liquid latex I used on the puppet heads.

All the used wooden cocktail sticks and just some of the ruined brushes that were used during the process.

So there you go - how to make a latex build-up puppet head. It's just like painting in 3D, only stickier!

Coming soon: Making eyeballs, puppet bodies and latex build up hands.

Thursday, October 8, 2009



It has been some time since the last post regarding the progress on "Walter Gloom"

I have been working quite abit lately, to save for my new PC which will be the first installment in the eventual Studio Set up I will create.

Though more on that as it unfolds.

For now here is a sketch of Walter I drew this morning at 1am as I was having trouble sleeping.

Hope you enjoy.

And keep your eyes held open, as this page is about to get very, very active.



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update! Concept Sketches

"Costume Design"

Walter Gloom"


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Walter Gloom Original Short Story

Greetings all,

I have just made my new personal blog page.

and as a special treat posted the original story for Walter Gloom,

So please drop in take a look, follow the blog, and read the story.

hope everyone is doing well.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

(Instruments of Walter Gloom)

Sneak Peak

"You may recognize this song, from another rather well known stop motion picture"


Tuesday, May 19, 2009





Saturday, April 18, 2009




Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet the Cast

"We could be so good together"

Introducing the awkwardly charming Walter Gloom, and Delightfully Voluptuous Edna Thorn

Walter Gloom (aka. Walt)

Each morning at 11am Walter Gloom would sit inside of the Charcoal Café Drinking his Double shot espresso and watching as the world and its people passed him by. A man of many years and many stories Walter never managed to find true love. And anytime he got close to a lady he found himself incredibly shy and nervous, the ladies at the time must have thought him to be rather odd indeed, never being able to finish a full sentence and often very clumsy. After awhile Walter just began to give up hope that he would ever find a woman to share his love, and life with.

Though one morning as he prepared to order his usual double shot espresso a new waitress he had never seen before approached him at his table in the corner of the café. Suddenly the warmth in his heart that had been hidden in the darkness like an abandoned factory, powered back up. All the bats turned to Butterflies, Cobwebs to Flowers.

Edna Thorn

When Edna was at school she was constantly bullied about being big.Since then she has always been very self conscious about her weight and as a result has spent most of her life alone within the walls of her lake side cottage reading books about romance that she thought she would never experience for herself.

Well after many months in isolation Edna decided to have one last shot at the world and took a job at a local coffee shop, and on her very first day she came across a shy, yet charming old man who never once seemed to pass judgment, he would later confess to Edna's disbelief that he thought her to be the most beautiful Enchantress he had ever seen, So much so that she made his coffee sweater just by serving it.

This man was Walter Gloom.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Edna's Cottage

Above is a rough sketch of Edna's Cottage.

Since the beginning of this production Edna's Cottage has gone through many evolutionary steps. And as the weeks go by it seems to become more and more alive and fleshed out. Adding little things here and there I'm having a lot of fun watching it come together in front of my eyes. To give you an idea of the overall feeling I was going for when designing Edna's Cottage. It would be something improbable yet believable with twisted and bent angles, with an eerie yet cozy quality to it.

I will put some more sketches up in the following weeks. And a lot more info on all the things good, bad and other that have been taking place during these early stages of the film.Take care.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Animator

I am Ceri Watling, the other half of the team making Walter Gloom. I'm the person who takes all James' ideas, storyboards and drawings and turns them into stop-motion animation. I've just come back from London where James and I finally met up after weeks of discussing the film by email.

I'm 27 and I live in Bolton, near Manchester and I've been making stop-motion animations for just over a year. I discovered my calling in life a little late after many years of being rather lost. One day I hope to make my living producing independent animations, but for now I spend most of my time in my spare-bedroom/studio making animations just for the love of it.

My plan for this short film is to try to bring James' vision for Walter Gloom to life exactly as he has imagined, and challenge myself by making a film very different to the ones I usually make.

This blog will show our progress in making this film, and also provide a place for James and I to exchange ideas and pictures. Hope you all enjoy watching our progress!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Director

"The Beginning"

Hello & Welcome!

My name is James Geard, I am 1 half of the team for the up and coming "Walter Gloom" Micro-short.

In this introduction I will let you know a little bit about myself, where I have come from, what my role on the film will be, and where I'd like to go in the future.

First off I'm 21 years of age;

I was born in Kent/England though left for Australia when I was just 6weeks of age. This is where I have lived the past 21 years of my life and it has been an absolute pleasure.
(I give Australia a lot of lip, mainly due to the extreme heat and bright sun on my pale skin, and frail eyeballs) But I love it there. Even if the small town community where I lived could sometimes feel a bit close minded and constrictive. Though this is just my personal view of the place. I'm sure it's quite lovely and all, I'm just a bit cynical and unfortunately haven't ever been too good at going along with something because it's what everyone else expects of you. This is very much appreciated in a smaller community.

I suppose in some ways for me it's like trying to blend Art with Commerciality.

Be yourself! Be Artistic!, but do it in a way that doesn't go outside of the lines.

I am now living in England once more, at a place called Guildford in Surry. I adore it here, it is close enough for me to get into London when I need, though far enough out that I can have my own peace and quite to think and work, it's very inspiring for me to have that.

So my roll on Walter Gloom is as the Director, Concept Artist, basically most things to do with look and feel of the movie, I also wrote the script originally 13minutes long (which I have now cut down into a 1minute piece) Which I would like to complete at a later date. I'm sure that there a few other thing's here and there that I'm doing but the ones I mentioned are the main things.

As for where Id like to go in the future, at this point in time I like to think my aspirations are quite modest. First and foremost complete Walter Gloom to the best of my ability, and find work within the film or television industry. I'm not phased where I start but in the long term at this point in time I would Love to Direct Films for a living.

So anyways thank you ever so much for dropping in.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks and months as there shall be plenty of updates regarding the films production.