Thanks Vic! Yeah i know what you mean - most marionettes that you see 'out there' tend to always be made the traditional way , hard bodied. Many tend to be carved from wood giving them a hard look, and they are almost always very loosely strung. This makes them a bit floppy and difficult to keep still, not to mention make them hard to control for a believable performance.
Most of the marionettes i have made over the years look more like stuffed toys or mini mascot characters on strings compared to the more traditional route. I have always gone soft...with solid foam bases. The brightly colored plush, hair, feathers, and felt give them a really nice look and livens things up. The hard foam i use inside gives them enough weight for movements, but keeps them LIGHT which is so important when it comes to manipulation and keeping up your stamina.
Here are a few photos of some of my other creations as a example. I have made my own characters as well as some famous ones....
First, a pic i think you will enjoy seeing....since everyone here is probably as big a fan of the film 'Labyrinth' as i am ..
The Firey marionette i made in 86' to coincide with the films release. He looks even better from the side in profile, as you can see his snout and smile much better then when you see him from the front as this photo shows. He is about 2 1/2 feet tall and has several animations, the most fun being his flapping ears and moving tail! I still use him, usually around Halloween, to walk around with and surprise folks with. It is cool now how many people know who he is! I also made a Sir Didymus ( 1 1/2 ft tall) but alas, i currently do not have a photo
The character next to his photo is one of my own, Doolie Dragon.I made him in 1988 when i was still in high school. He has animated eyes and a mouth, as well as moving limbs for walking and a swinging tail. He was the largest marionette i made ( 3ft) until i made 'George'.
Another photo featuring characters you may know...
Both of these i made back in the mid 80s, and both are about 1 1/2 ft tall...perfect 'Fraggle Size' i guess! Both are fully functioning marionettes, with mouth animation as well.
Now for some of my own characters.
'The Psychographic Pagodas' is a rock band consisting of several marionette characters i made, the two main bandmembers are shown here - Rock n' Roo and Taylor Koala. The instruments are made from posterboard/painted paper and Taylor's drumsticks are hand carved from dowels. Both are about 18 inches tall.
Kitrina Kittie and Donna Doggette are my two lead females singing characters. They are both about 18ins tall, and Kitirina has eyeliids that can be lifted up to express surprise or emotion when singing.
Peter and Penelope Penguin here often appeared in my annual Christmas Show offerings. Both are about 18in tall, and have a definate penguin look about them when seen in profile from the side. Almost all of the figures i made were sculpted to be viewable from every angle, and the Penguins i think look even better from the side.
Now for something really wacky...
These are crazy space creatures called 'Wackadallies' from the planet Wackadal. Original characters i created to appear in a show i was doing at the time in the early 90s. The idea was that during the show, the audience was aksed to imagine the weirdest, most colorful space aliens they could. The result was the following act featuring these two beings. The jumbled appearence of them was intentional, since i thought it would make sense as the audience imagined them.
Both are about 20 ins tall and have the most animations of any of my characters. Heads can rise ( ala E.T.), ears can flap, mouths move, tails twitch, all arms move, and the feet of course.
The blue alien ( Marsven) may look reminisant of a famous Disney character. When people see them today, they assume Marsven is Stitch as they look a lot alike! What i find interesting is i built these in 1992, 10 years BEFORE the release of Disney's animated film 'Lilo And Stitch'. So i had the design first...