Here is a story about Larry the Lizard.
One day back in 2005 or so it came to me in a dream. I wanted to make puppets. I don’t know where or why this inclination crept upon me but it did and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Like anyone learning something new, I started with the basics. Found myself an online forum to participate in (Puppets And Stuff) and then found a book to purchase to learn the basics. The Foam Book: An Easy Guide to Building Polyfoam Puppets was considered one of the best books out there to get started to I ordered my copy while researching supplies. It’s still within arms reach of my desk today.
You gotta start somewhere!
Don’t be fooled people. If you want to build foam based puppets with or without a fleece layer there are a lot of materials you are going to collect. A lot of it I just went out to the craft stores and tried to pay fast before my wife noticed 🙂 You surely can build on a dime if you want, but I have a bad habit of going all-in when I start up something new and puppet building was no exception. I filled a closet of supplies while learning the basics. From rolls of foam to yards and yards of fleece and fur. Scissors and assorted tools, a sewing machine, a zillion different kinds of glue and adhesives, and then all the random “parts” to make your characters unique. Enough to currently have my basement filled to the gills.
Larry the Lizard, love at first bite.
But lets talk more about Larry the Lizard. I’ve been a reptile enthusiast for years and wanted to build a creature that I can relate with and a lizard was the perfect ay to start. I didn’t have a gameplan really, I drew up nothing. Just started making a mouth plate and built my character around it. It’s a hot mess, but it’s MY first puppet so who the hell cares. I never even finished Larry, he is just a head. I would love to pull him out of storage one day, rip him apart and rebuild him with the last decade of knowledge I have obtained from all the subsequent builds.
What would I change tomorrow?
Larry is by no stretch a technical marvel but he has stayed in one piece a decade later so I guess that says something about my desire to at least build it for the long haul. The eyes are my favorite feature and something I would keep very similar in a rebuild. If anything I might just use this version of Larry the Lizard as the BASIS for the next incarnation to fully realize the original idea of Larry without destroying the original. I don’t know if I could cut into him after all these years; and I’m not sure I even should!!
** If you are interested in getting a copy of The Foam Book you can get it here from Amazon.com **