Last may, i was in Prague for a Puppet Animation Workshop.
I discovered this workshop through the internet and it is the most interesting workshop i've attended so far. it was perfectly organized with great instructors who provided unique knowledge and an amazing experience ! i definitely recommend this workshop for puppet animation and stop motion lovers.
For ten years, Mirek Trejtnar and Leah Gaffen have been organizing puppet workshops for students from around the world. Mirek heads the workshops - he is a puppet-maker himself and also a designer of toys, sculpture and much more with a special background in wood. Leah is an American who takes care of the organizational side of the workshops. Together Leah and Mirek bring together a team of leading Czech artists - woodcarvers, puppet designers, puppeteers, film animators, etc.- who bring the students into the world of puppetry in Prague.
i was lucky to be one of the eight participants in this workshop and i tried to document for you as much as i can from what happened during the 10 days.
the first day, we met in the KID studio where we worked most of the time surrounded by puppets ,wood and toys. and this is where i met the other lovely participants.
the first two days, we were asked to come up with a short story and do the storyboard. we also had to animate the movie in "stop motion" technique using a selection of professional finished puppets and in two different sets in Hafan Studio. we succeeded in accomplishing the mission with the help of one of the best czech animators, Lenka Krizova.
the participants left some illustrations on the walls of the Hafan Studio
after we finished the movie, it was time to create our own puppets supervised by Mirek Trejtnar and Zdar Storm, the specialist on building puppets for animated film. and here are the sketches i did for my character "Bahman". you can see as well the technical drawings for the same puppet.
cutting the basic shape of wood cubes for the head, chest and pelvis based on the technical drawing.
everyone modeling the hands of their puppets. the latex was added later over the metal base so the hand can contain wires for animation.
back to the KID studio to finish the puppet by connecting all the wooden parts with metal wires and covering the armature with foam.
the nice thing about this workshop is that, we were given lectures by several film directors, producers, photographers, puppet builders and animators who are experts in their field.
one of the most interesting lectures was with Michaela Pavlatova, a czech director and artist who taught us how to create a film step by step. she also showed us the original illustrations she used in her animations.
visiting different animation studios in Prague was very exciting; we saw the way they made things possible. they showed us how they animate the puppets, the original designs, how they build the sets, how they film and edit, everything !
the people you see in the pictures below are the best animators, illustrators and most importantly, the best of friends.
check other photos here