Once you’ve figured out how to place the eyes on your puppet, now it’s time to place the pupils. This will determine where the puppet is looking.
It might make sense to place the pupils in the center of the eye. It’s uniform and that’s what most doll and animal safety eyes look like.
The puppet above has center pupils. It looks a bit off at this angle, but not too bad.
However, when you stand back and look at the puppet, it appears to be looking in all different directions.
Here the pupils are placed as close to the center and bottom edge as possible. Up close, the eyes look cross eyed as well.
However, when you step back and look at the puppet now, it appears to look straight at you now.
Tah dah! That was the look I was looking for!
Another Example of Pupil Placement
In this pic of two triceratops the yellow one’s eyes are closer together and closer to the nose than the green one’s. But the eyes are looking off to the side of the camera because of the position of the pupils. Notice that the pupils are in the center of the eye. The green one looks like each eye is off looking in a different direction. That is because the eyes are further apart and further from the nose than the yellow puppet. Again, notice that the pupils are in the center of the eye. On the yellow triceratops, the pupils are a little closer to the lower inside corner of the eye but they still could be moved even closer.
For the green triceratops I moved the eyes closer together and closer to the nose following the “magic triangle” rule from Jim Henson and Don Sahlin. I also sewed the pupils closer to the lower inside corners of the white of the eye which made him look more cross eyed. This gives the illusion of the puppet looking at you.
Compare the eyes of the blue bird and the green triceratops in the above photos. You’ll notice that the pupils on the bird are larger than the ones on the triceratops in relation to the size of the white of the eye. Each of the sizes gives the puppet a different “feel.” In the next blog article I’ll talk about what effect the pupil size has on the character of your puppet.