Friday, 11 February 2011

Punch and Judy

The Punch and Judy style head is created using a base of carved polystyrene.  First draw the profile of the head.  If the puppet is to have an enourmous nose and chin only draw to the base of these and add more polystyrene to create the length.  Carve the rough outine out.

 Draw the guidelines for the facial features on the front, narrower side of the block.  Roughly carve the shape creating the contours of the face. 

 Rough shape completed I am ready to stick on the additional pieces for the nose and chin.  When sticking polystyrene together you have to be very careful which glue to use, I used Bostic general purpose adhesive which is a contact adhesive.  Smear a thin coat onto one side and rub the two pieces together to transfer the glue, allow to air dry for a minute before pressing together.

The glue forms a strong bond but if additional strength is required you can use dowelling rods in the centre of the join.

Nose and chin are carved and I have decided to use the same method for ears.  Initially I stuck the ears on as blocks however I soon had to remove them to carve them properly and restuck them on afterwards.
All the carving is now done and the head needs further strengthening by coating it with papier mache.  As the polystyrene will remain in the core I am only applying two layers, one of newspaper and one of thicker brown paper.  An extremely lightweight head can be created by removing the core once several layers of papier mache have been applied (minimum of four) allowing mechanisms for movement to be placed inside. 

The papier mache was agonisingly slow to complete each layer taking two hours, this was mainly due to the protruding contours of the face .

The brown paper layer was marginally quicker as the PVA and water mixture had not completely dried from the first.  However a quicker method might have been to use pregummed brown tape (shown in the bottom right of the photo) which I used  to seal any gaps on the head once it had dried .

 Once the head was completely dry ( I left it overnight ) the paint can be applied.  All the paints I have used are water based acrylics.  First a base coat of white was put over the entire head and then I slowly built up shadowed and highlighted areas.
 Once the shading is complete her eyes and mouth are drawn then painted on.

Adding white highlights to the eye makes it come to life. 

 It was at this point while mulling on who my Judy would be that a character suggested itself to me based on her name.  Judy is a The Ramones. 

She immediately had to have safety pins through her nose and ear!!!!!!  The search for the perfect hair began.

This was a strip of purple fake fur.........a good colour but not feminine enough.

This was a remnant of sheep's hide an absolutely perfect hair effect but not Punk enough
 I created this mohican out of blue felting wool which looked excellent but a bit stark, more Punch than Judy.  I decided to go for the best of both and wrap a strip of hide around the mohican to give a two tone effect.

 Attaching the hair to the scalp without a glue gun proved very awkward.  The blue centre section was attached with a strip of double sided sticky tape, I then sewed the hide through this and secured the edged of that with a combination of more tape and a few strategically placed dressmakers pins.
 The finished head.........................................Judy is a Punk!!!!

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