Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bug Puppet Characters

I fell in love with these comic character puppets, so I wanted to paint them to better understand their design and construction. (Direct link to YouTube video) Collector Mel Birnkrant helped me set them up in front of the sketch easel, and he made them dance for us.

Bil Baird Bug Marionettes, casein, 5 x 8 inches
I drew them first in watercolor pencil, then painted them in casein, which is a lot like gouache, a water-based opaque paint.

Jeanette sat next to me and sketched them too, using pen and watercolor. We were both so impressed with the designs: the smiling mouths, bulging eyes, big cartoony hands and the round-toed shoes.

They were built and performed by Bil Baird (1904-1987), the puppeteer best known for his work in the "Lonely Goatherd" sequence of The Sound of Music.

Read about Bil Baird and his puppets (including Miss Bubbles) at Mel Birnkrant's website.
Baird wrote a classic book about the The Art of the Puppet
I'm using casein over watercolor pencils in a watercolor journal


HNK said...

These figures are amazing, it is a luxury to see such figures still available and to paint them. I loved the final results from you and Jeanette! What is that metal box in the outro part? Thank you for your posts.

Susan Krzywicki said...

Thank you for sharing. I especially loved seeing you painting that eye. Your hand movements were fascinating.

BTW, the closing sequence for the video was also super-attractive.