Foam Puppet Artist
Puppet maker crafts successful career with special creations.
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For over 30 years, Pat Brymer has been a puppeteer and puppet craftsman. In that time, he has worked for just about every well-known puppet creation company in the country. He now works for himself, designing, creating and operating puppets for all kinds of clients and shows. One character that is tons of fun and has a lively personality is his "lil surfer dude," a rambunctious youngster with a mop of hair and an attitude to match.
Although Pat begins with a rough pencil sketch as a guideline, much of the design will happen as the work happens. Flat foam pieces are cut in sections used to create the structure of the body and face. Then the pieces are glued together with glue specially created for use with foam.
To understand how the sections are pieced together, imagine a beach ball — the sections are joined to create a shape. This is very similar to how Pat works; joining several sections and then joining the larger sections until the form is complete. This leaves an entirely hollow foam skeleton for the boy.
Then Pat dyes the low-nap fleece he uses to cover the foam to create the skin tone he wants. He uses his washer room for dyeing, where he has many samples to use as reference to make sure he mixes the dye properly. Once the fleece is the proper color and dried, it's cut and attached to the body and face with glue. Features like the nose and ears will be added at this point. A paint airbrush is used to create shading and cheek color, making the face more lifelike.
Eyes are constructed from cut ping-pong balls, and small-colored discs are attached with toupee tape for the pupils. This allows the pupils to be moved for expression or the eye color changed.
The surfer dude needs a few extras to be complete. A shaggy blond wig is sewn on and trimmed. Final touches like the tongue and eyelids are also added. Then Pat's assistant, who has been working on the costuming, provides the clothes they have decided on and created specially for the boy. Once he's dressed, he's ready to hit the surf.
Create the look of an eerie cemetery in your front yard using foam, paint and inspiration from the real thing.