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The Foam Book

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by fishbone, Jun 3, 2002.

  1. scottabrown2001

    scottabrown2001 New Member

    in regards to buying a tape in pal or ntsc, i moved to the uk from th usa, and i have found that a most of my vhs tapes and a lot of my dvd's will play on my dvd players, now i am not sure if it is my telly that allows them to be played or my players that automatically converts it. but this is not an uncommon occurence as my sister has two vcrs and two dvd players that play the ntsc and pal. and they were cheap players. if your wanna get an ntsc tape just buy it. you more then likely be able to pick up a player on the cheap that will play the tapes.
    i hope this is of some use. ciao scotty.
  2. TommyTheMad

    TommyTheMad New Member

    I got my copy of the book today from Amazon. Not a bad book for $20.00 with shipping. I'm looking forward to reading through it.
  3. TommyTheMad

    TommyTheMad New Member

    I read the whole thing, and found that there was very little in it I didn't already know. A bit of a disappointment, but the things I didn't know made me think that it was a worthwhile investment.
  4. staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca Member

    Everyone should buy it from the Puppeteers of America shop...

    Just a little plug, there.

    When Drew actually did the demo for us, it was a lot more helpful. I'd say my 2nd or 3rd generation of making puppets (am I on generation 15 now?) was using the foam book method...i think it was a good starting point & really helpful then, but I know a lot more now & burn my fingers a lot less than I did when I was doing nip-tuck.
  5. na3

    na3 New Member

    Blinking eyes for muppets

    Hi guys,

    I've done blinking eyes for a muppet-type (I used The Foam Book to learn how to make the muppet, but did the eyes on my own). I don't have a step-by-step tutorial at the moment, but you can see the process here:

    http://thepromptcopy.com/pip/index.php?title=blinking_eyes

    If anyone wants help working out how to do it, I'll be happy to answer questions or provide more info on how I did it. Additionally, you should check out Puppet Building.com, which has some great instructions on a range of blinking eye mechanisms.

    Cheers,

    Na3
  6. Patience

    Patience New Member

    I thought about buying The Foam Book, but would like opinions first, which would be more useful: The Foam Book or a Pattern from Project Puppet?

    Thanks in advance,
    Patience
  7. SesameKermie

    SesameKermie Member

    Patience, they both have their uses. I've bought both. The Foam Book approaches puppet design from a more 'artistic'/improvisational standpoint, IMHO. They start with a basic puppet mouthplate, and then design the head shape around that, experimenting with placement and widths of darts to create different shapes.

    The Project Puppet pattern has already worked out the darting necessary to create certain head shapes, and gives you a pattern to use as a jumping off point--to which you can then add features to create a character.

    Hope this helps clarify things.
  8. na3

    na3 New Member

    It depends on how you work best. I haven't bought any patterns from Puppet Project, but they are probably better than The Foam Book for first timers. With instructions and patterns, it's hard to go wrong, plus there's also a lot of creativity which allows you to make something unique. On the other hand, I never made muppet puppets before, and used The Foam Book, and found it incredibly valuable. It's much less straight-forward if you've never made a puppet before, since the book doesn't provide patterns, just basic building techniques and guidelines. If you prefer working without a pattern and want more experimentation, you might want the book.

    If you want to see how my first muppets came out, check out the video linked here in my blog:

    http://puppetsinmelbourne.com.au/index.php/2007/09/03/what_have_i_been_up_to_part_two

    If your budget is up to it, why not do both? I go back to my book time and again, at $US20-30 it's not a bad purchase. I think if I'd have also invested in a pattern from Project Puppet, I think I would have been just as happy.
  9. Teenager's

    Teenager's Member

    I personally thing Project Puppet is more useful. The foam book is nice to look at.....but I've never used the techniques it shows because it's not what I'm going for. It's a nice idea book though.

    but project puppet is much more worthwhile. & you could probably find the foam book at a library.
  10. Nojoy

    Nojoy New Member

    I use both, and while the Foam Book is great reference material, it really is more of a fly by the seat of your pants approach. If you've never built a puppet (muppet-style) then Project Puppet is where I would recommend starting. Working with those patterns can go a long way towards teaching you basic techniques that you can apply to building your own designs later on.
  11. Conor IX

    Conor IX New Member

    Patience, I have both the foam book and a bunch of patterns from project puppet. I would definitely recommend project puppet for a first time, mainly because the results are very professional from the get go, and it's a great confidence booster to know that you can craft something to a high standard. The foam book is ok, but to be honest, i don't like the aesthetics of the puppets, the diagrams are really just rough drawings. It's very loose ended, and that can be a double edged sword, on one hand it's not spoonfeeding you ideas, which is nurturing for the imagination, but it might leave you with too much of a blank canvas. The project puppet patterns are a good spring board and starting point, and the patterns are great.

    The foam book authors should get a designer in to revamp the look and feel of the book. The paper and everything isn't up to standard with other books out at the moment.
  12. Patience

    Patience New Member

    books

    ConorIX

    Thanks for the reply! Do you have other suggestions for books and/or patterns?

    I have a PP Pattern. I wasn't as excited or impressed as many others here have been. The directions are lacking! I had to have the pattern and the directions in front of me (which takes up a lot of work space). in order to put the thing together. The hole is way too small! I could go on, but that wouldn't be nice.

    I took 2 years of Fashion Design (you may think one has nothing to do with the other, but the details are much the same), so I know plenty about Pattern Drafting and Construction, (just not to do with puppets). But my skills as a Dress Designer/Maker are very transferable. If I had the time, I could do my own pattern drafting (now that I know they all start off like a glorified ball).

    Patience
  13. bezalel

    bezalel New Member

    For the benefit of others who may come across this thread, I feel obligated to address the hole that is "way too small". I'm assuming it is the neck hole (the hole in the puppet's head that the puppeteer puts his hand through to reach and operate the mouth) that is being referred to. The neck hole is 3 inches in diameter in the Forma Series Patterns. Generally, a hole of this size is enough for an adult size human hand to fit through. It is meant to be a snug fit. Remember, the more closely a puppet hugs the puppeteer's hand and arm, the easier it is for movement to be transferred. This makes for less difficult puppeteering and a better performance.

    Of course, there are exceptions. Some puppeteers have larger hands and the Project Puppet patterns are designed to be easily altered. The Forma head patterns do not incorporate the neck hole. The hole is cut after the head is assembled. We designed the patterns this way to allow for flexibility. The hole can be cut larger. The hole can be moved forward or backward, affecting the "posture" of the puppet. It's entirely up to the builder and the demands of the character.

    Hope that clarifies things for future readers of this thread.
  14. na3

    na3 New Member

    If anyone's interested, I have a pattern for sale at my website that is an ideal complement to The Foam Book - it's for people who wish the book came with patterns and need a little more paint-by-numbers assistance.

    Comes with patterns for the mouth, head (three piece method), neck, body and arms. You learn everything from building with foam, covering the foam, decorating the head with features, making detachable rods (the way Henson did it!) and there's heaps of photos to help you along the way.

    The pattern can be found here.
  15. AEaston

    AEaston New Member

    I feel like I need to stand up for the Foam Book. I have never used a puppet project (even though they look great!) and started building with the foam book as my only resource. I certainly made mistakes in the beginning, but I learned so much from them very quickly. I also have never had to think in terms of the patterns I have. When someone asks me to build something I have never built before, it's really easy because, as the book tells you, you just think about the basic shapes and go from there! I agree with those who have pointed out that the style of their puppets is....different, but mine have a cleaner more "muppety" look to them-with my own style of course. And I feel like the book was vague enough to let me develop that.

    In short, the foam book allows you to bring your artistry to the craft from day one. If you are comfortable with learning by experimentation then the book is great! If having a pattern will motivate you to get started..then that works too. The important part to realize is that you just have to start doing it, have fun with the first one and know that it probably won't be the most beautiful puppet you build, but will be the most fun or at least memorable one you build :)
  16. ATRIDA

    ATRIDA New Member

    Hi everybody, I´m new around here. I´m a beginner pupetter trying to make my own muppet-like puppets for the first time. The most difficult problem I have is to built the mouth mechanism. Could you help me? Thanks
  17. Bumblebeez

    Bumblebeez New Member

    Which one, which one...

    I am thinking about buying either The Foam Book or Puppet Mania and I was wondering which one I should buy first to get an insight into how to make puppet patterns. I have already designed some puppets on paper but I don't know how I should go about forming it in the third dimension.

    P.S. Is the book Puppet Planet worth looking into?
  18. staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca Member

    Honestly I don't know how much either one will help you as far as developing patterns.

    Puppet Planet is more different projects & styles of puppets you can make. Anywhere from sock puppets to a carved foam head.
    From what I gathered, The Foam Book teaches more of an improvised way of making puppets. Or, rather that's how it left me making puppets. I stopped using the nip-tuck method after probably 2 shows-worth of puppets about 5/6 years ago.

    I think both books are worth owning.

    Try checking them out from a local library, too.
  19. Bumblebeez

    Bumblebeez New Member

    Thanks for the insight I'll check into it
  20. MuppetLabsBoy

    MuppetLabsBoy Member

    The Foam Book will teach you a lot of good techniques and expose you to new materials. Puppet Planet has more direct projects, but they are easy to modify and can be turned into so many different characters.;)


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