A hollow head, moving eyes, pose-able hair and clothing, magnetic eyebrows, replacement mouths, custom-milled kinetic armatures, and built-in connection points for rigging. These are “Matilda‘s secrets,” a behind-the-scenes look at how Barcelona-based animator Edu Puertas makes stop-motion puppets.
Matilda is the title character in a 2019 award-winning short by Citoplasmas stop-motion animation company. The film was directed by Puertas and Irene Iborra, two of the company’s three founders. He writes:
“Puppets must perform a wide range of movements and emotions, so at the end it is a piece of technology, craft, and art to enable animators make them alive.”
In the video below, Puertas demonstrates how to make armatures from twisted wires and epoxy putty. This DIY approach is less expensive and much easier to make than machined steel and brass versions.
Then watch these related stop-motion videos:
• Laika’s Head of Puppetry explains how stop-motion puppets are made
• Stop-motion animation goes high tech at Laika
• Behind-the-scenes with Aardman Animation’s stop-motion team
• Isle of Dogs’ stop-motion sushi-making scene
• Balance (1989), an Academy Award-winning stop-motion short
• The Story Of King Midas, a stop-motion classic by Ray Harryhausen (1953)