17 Mar 2014

Making Shadow Masks

Shadow Masks : : :

1. Using stiff cardboard, Draw and Cut out a shape in profile larger than your own head

2. Make a headband with cardboard and elastic to fit snugly

Before attaching headband to the mask, try the mask in the shadows. Stand facing the screen and hold mask behind head fitting your silhouette inside.  Mindfully take time keeping the mask parallel with the screen. 

3. Attach the mask to the side of the headband in a spot that is comfortable
4. Add textures and coloured plastic bits for hair and features. Place colour in the eyes and any other cutout spots for extra emphasis

5. Practice using the mask: watch your own shadow wearing the flat part of the mask on the back or side of your head keeping eyes on the screen.
Try different angles finding what fits, while keeping the light source at your back and eyes up. 
Slowly practice simple moves like nodding, looking up, looking down. 
Discover comfortable postures/signature poses standing still with mask on.

The best advice for getting familiar using a new shadow mask is to ALWAYS KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE SCREEN :)))

Shadow Puppet Crafting Tips

Shadow Puppet Crafting  (for the Overhead Projector)

Tools : : :
-exacto blades & mats to cut on 

-pencils & pens 
-needle­nose pliers & wire cutters

Materials (mostly found in the recycling): : : :

-cardboard (cereal boxes for small puppets & corrugated for larger) colorful translucent plastics (plastic bags, fruit holders, theatre gels, transparencies etc...)

-material for textures (fluff, scrap fabrics, rubber bands, twigs from the forest etc...)

-clear tape !!! (
use clear tape, not scotch. also, we don’t like to use wet glue for puppets on the overhead projector (it takes too long to dry) or glue gun (it leaves smudges on the projector).    

-wire (steel or copper)

-clear plastic sheets 

Here’s a few ideas for crafting shadow puppets. 

FYI,  None of these is “the right way” to make a puppet, we encourage people to experiment!!! and come up with their own ideas.

Basic Shadow Puppet Design:
1. Draw something on cardboard (can be any size~ 1⁄2 an inch to 4 feet long) 2. Cut it out (exacto on a mat)
3. Attach a wire (bend both ends of the wire into small spirals before attaching) For larger puppets you can use a chopstick or dowel instead of a wire.
Add color and interesting textures! 

Moving Parts:
You can use a small piece of wire to make a joint by spiraling one end, poking it through, then spiraling the other end. Flatten both spiralled ends of the wire against the puppet. You can also make a joint with thread or floss, knotted at the front and back. To make the movement work best, you need one fixed handle (wire, stick or cardboard) attached to the body of the puppet, and one movable handle (wire or a strip of clear plastic) attached to the moving part.
You can also experiment with flexible materials to create moving parts. Cloth, rubber bands and shredded plastic all have interesting movement possibilities. 

1. Use a piece of cardboard slightly larger than the projector surface 2. Cut out an empty space of any shape you want with an exacto Frames let the screen have a different shape ­ think outside the box!

1. Get a 4 inch wide strip of cardboard, at least as long as the projector surface (or longer) 2. Decorate it with whatever landscape you’d like
The landscape can sit at the bottom of the image for puppets to walk along, and you can experiment with pulling it up to see underground, turning it over when gravity stops working, etc... 

You can use photocopies of images, or you can make marks on a sheet of clear plastic. You can use overhead projector pens, ink, paint or whatever you want to try. Most paint and some ink

appears grayish or black no matter what color it is. Paint or draw something while projecting! Scratch or wipe it away! Good times!
You can also attach colours a transparent sheet to create settings with more depth and texture. 

Messy Stuff:
Try a glass pan with materials in it on the projector for different effects. Careful not to spill! Some of the materials we have tried: water, soap, molasses, food coloring, thinly sliced fruit, sand, flour, etc... 

Special Effects:
Some things reflect light in an interesting way. Experiment with sequins, shiny materials, etc... 

16 Mar 2014

Storyboarding Basics

Storyboarding  is a way to get your ideas out on paper. It’s useful as a reference when crafting and when you need to remember what moves and sounds to make for your show. Most storyboards look similar to a comic strip. 

To make a storyboard, you need to figure out the following:
  • ●  Setting(s)
  • ●  Character(s)
  • ●  Movements
  • ●  Sounds, Narration and/or Dialogue 
  • ●  Title 

Also think about: is your piece more about experimenting with the visuals, or does it have a clear storyline?  Both are okay to try. If it has a narrative storyline, what is the dramatic tension or problem that needs to be solved? How does the piece end?

  • Take a sheet of paper and divide it into squares (like a comic). 6 or 8 squares per sheet works well. Put the title of your piece in the first square. The second square is a good place to introduce the setting. Draw out the shadowplay roughly as you imagine it in the rest of the squares. Use arrows to show movement and write out any sounds & dialogue for each square. It’s not necessary to spend too much time on the drawings, you just want to get an idea of what your piece looks and sounds like.
    After you’ve got an idea of the sequence you want to create, get another sheet of paper and make a list of all the things you need to craft.
    Look at the list and see how many items there are. If there are a lot of complicated things to craft, is there any way that you can combine several things into one just by using it in a different way? Think about the different ways that you could portray each thing ­ for example, instead of crafting a puppet of a person, someone might use their silhouette. Do you want any special effects in your piece, such as holding a pan of water above the projector, layering the visuals with a flashlight, live drawing, or something else?

12 Mar 2014


This beautiful 3D sign outside of the Lion's Hall on Saltspring was just asking to be brought to life! :) We were very happy to use the Lion's Hall for the whole four days of workshops on Saltspring last week.

Mind Mapping Dreams

Working with the theme of dreams is wide open. and yes that's snow outside in March on Saltspring. anything can happen.