How to Change a Puppet’s Character by Pupil Size

The previous blog showed how to place the pupils. This blog will touch on the size of the pupils and how they change the character of the puppet.

Let’s Have Fun Playing with Pupil Sizes

Bird Number 1

Here is the bird I was working with in the last post about placement of pupils. I like where the eye is positioned and the pupil size. Let’s play around a little with using different sizes of pupils so you can get an idea of how different the “personality” of the puppet is depending on pupil size.

Bird Number 2

I cut these pupils as small as I could hold in my fingers. I haven’t changed the white of the eyes at all. The pupils are still positioned at the lower inside curve of the eye so he looking straight at the camera. What do you “feel” when you look at this puppet? What do you think his personality is? What age do you think he is depending on the size of the pupil?

Bird Number 3

This photo is interesting because I only cut the pupils just a tiny bit larger than in the previous photo. In comparing the pictures they look like they were cut much larger. Just a fraction of a size makes a huge difference when cutting pupils. What do you think about this bird’s personality? To me, this puppet looks a bit more approachable.

Bird Number 4

Does this bird look familiar? This is the bird that I ended up liking from the post about placement of eyes. This is the same bird from Photo 1. What do you “feel” about this one? Does he look a little more happier or friendlier than the previous birds?

Bird Number 5

How about this guy? Again, I cut the pupils just a tiny bit bigger than the bird in the previous photo. Do you like the pupils larger? What do you think about the age of the bird? In cartoons and animation (and puppets) the artist uses eye size to depict the age of the character. The younger the character, the larger the eye and/or pupil.

Bird Number 6

What about this bird? Do you think he is really young, or maybe spaced out? Personally, I think he got into some fermented fruit.

How About Something Really Different

Just for fun let’s look at a puppet with different size pupils.

Kind of crazy looking, right? Sometimes you may want your “character” to be a little crazy eyed. This is a character from our retired Pirate Show. We wanted the effect of uneven eyes to match the personality of the character. He fell over board and never quite recovered.

When you are making your puppets’ eyes, think about what kind of character you’d like it to be. Then you’ve got a clue as to how you’d like for their eyes to look. Have fun and play around with the position of the eyes and pupils to get the effect that you want for your puppets. If at first you don’t succeed, then try again. That’s why I hand sew everything and not use a glue gun.