Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Black Bird Wing Singing

Finished black crow wing held up to nearly finished Tarn puppet in a bag for size check.
Top Row: Plugged tubing into fitted socket built into crow half of puppet. Folded it to rest comfortably against the crow's body. Spread it out, added multi-strand wire supports and padded out the main arch with tape wraps. Filled in the spaces with masking tape pieces on both sides, like a membrane. (Bonus peek upper left; puppet's finished last long hair strands being held in place with pins until fixative matte medium dries. Successful hair is successful!)

Middle Row: painted black, the expandable wing armature is checked for fit. Using a foam core board, I pinned the fully opened wing down and began adding rows of feathers with glue (and pins until dry.)  I was careful to choose the sides of feathers that corresponded to the side of the wing I was covering, top side for outside and under side for inside. As the course of feathers had to become smaller toward the top edge, I began to get comfortable with shaping and trimming down real feathers without them falling apart.

Bottom Row: On and on the feathers were applied course by course, from bottom edge to top, letting glue dry on each row before removing the pins and beginning the next row. This was done to both sides of the wing until all feathers were glued firmly in place and all pins were removed.

The finished wing can be opened all the way and folded up, as if at rest, next to the body. There will never be a sequence where this character will use her wing to fly but it will be nice to have the option of her kind of rustling herself enough to express an emotional response to the action. And when she's unconscious, it'll be a nice option for her wing to spread open on the ground, if it looks good in the moment.

I was utterly surprised at how natural and life-like the wing moved and looked when done. It was pure pleasure making it this way.


  1. Shelley, I wish you made this puppet before when I was working on my film so I could have followed the way you made the wings :) I love it. Wings look so amazing and easy to animate.

    1. HI ya, Yazzle Dazzle! Thanks so much!

      I don't know about animating it. I think animation is the most challenging thing to attempt in stop mo, especially the way you did it, with anatomically correct jointing, etc. Hats off to you!

      I'm not going to try to move these pupps much at all. Hopefully just the amount I'll need to get the effect of the moment I'll be after. (I'm no Justin Rasch so not even going to try to be accomplished at it.) Just enough to do what I'm after.

      Thanks so much for all the great comments! Love the automata artworks you are making as well.


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