The Sailor and The seagull: puppet creation process

I started to develop this puppet before I discovered the field of stop-motion, so it should be different if it had to be animated. However, this is an example project to show my artistic skills and the desire to improve, learn and in the future work on creative projects for companies that integrate both the traditional craftsmanship with digital skills.

1. Character development based on my illustrations.





2. Modelling the head and limbs with polymer clay. The eyes are made of stone beads, I am not sure exactly of which type. It is important to make sure that they don’t melt when you place the head in the oven. The skin tone is achieved using pastel powder applied with a brush.



3. The hair is done with cross stitch thread, glue and lots of patience.



In the process of making the hair we must separate the strands forming the main thread and afterwards, when everything is dry, become a barber and cut his hair and beard so that the endings of the threads don’t look the same, this way it won’t look as if they are all forming a straight line but rather giving it a more natural style.


4. Creating the wire skeleton and assembling the limbs.

5. Filling the body with sponge and covering it with cotton that I grabbed from t-shirts.




6. Developing the clothing.

The t-shirt is made with White cotton cloth and fabric paint.


I’m afraid I forgot to take a photo of how I made the t-shirt blush

The trousers are made with an old cloth from a real pair of trousers, it’s always important to keep things that might end up having a second use. I saw a link on how to make doll pants and I adapt it to my needs.

To give it an appearance of a used pair of trousers and to match it to the style of the doll, I cut, frayed and burnt the fabric.



The Coat was the hardest thing to do as I have never made one before. I based myself of the character illustration, but then I realized that the coat would not match the type of coat that a sailor would wear, so I did my research on the internet to look for references and to be able to develop a pattern. The fabric I used was a dark blue felt. It is an easy to handle fabric and it gave a good consistency to the garment. The buttons had to have the same style so they were custom made with polymer clay.

The Hat. One has its limitations and lack of time. I didn’t have the time to learn to knit my own red cap so I decided to order it to Ginger Twist Studio.


7. The Seagull, the inseparable friend of our sailor. It was modelled with white polymer clay and then painted with acrylics.


8. Seagull 's Nest . By using wire and creating a spiral, we have the basis on which we can stick moss, this is a special type of moss used for models. We sew the nest to the cap and after that we glue the Seagull to the nest.


9. Here is the result!


Finally we have a doll of 33cm high without taking into account the hat, and 36cm high including her friend the seagull. I don’t think this would be standard measures for stop-motion dolls, as in the book "Cracking Animation. The Aardman book of 3D animation" by Peter Lord and Brian Sibley it mentions that the measurements for a human doll would range from 20 to 25cm, as they us a 1:6 scale.


These are the first illustrations of this character and his friend. I think I have been faithful to the drawings.