James Wojtal is a talented puppet designer and builder. During his career he has worked on projects like Avenue Q, Bear in the Big Blue House, Crank Yankers, Saturday Night Live, Sesame Street (the American and various internationl versions), Mop-a-Top's Shop, Kermit's Swamp Years, Animal Jam, and more. In this interview I asked him to share his thoughts about puppet building.
SJ: On Telling Stories with Tommie DePola, the puppets were built based on Tommie DePola's designs. How do you go about transforming flat watercolor pictures that were not meant to be 3-D, into successful three-dimensional puppets.
JW: I think a lot of that was the costumes that were designed. As I Remember, Jason Weber created the dying method used to make the costumes look like water color come to life - it was the puppet build and then the amazing costumes made from a kind of blanket.
The puppet build was actually pretty straight forward. Rollie Krewson was project manager on that one, and she certainly guided how things evolved from mock up to final. Most of the heads were carved foam, and Goat was patterned foam with carved horns and hoofs.