Monday, May 31, 2010

Initial reaction

Buzz James of Braylu Creations and I commiserate on custom items from time to time. He is always keen to design and build custom components for vent figures. In the photo, notice the plastic eye synchronizer.

Buzz and I were discussing parts ideas when I showed him the balsa wood eye synchronizer I was using. (We communicate visually via Skype so we can show each other stuff). He asked for the measurements which I gladly shared. A few days later, he sent me a prototype of the synchronizer you now see. Now when I place an order for parts, I buy the synchronizers, too. If you look closely, you can see that Buzz even stamps them with my initials "KC".

Wow. That was nice of him.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's Al Good

Ventriloquist Central's Facebook posting featured Al Good Products, so I thought I'd pass along the referral. Al Good makes performance stands for ventriloquists and magicians. He has several models available that are both compact and durable. They look good, too. His website presents photos and even demonstration videos. Here's the website address:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wiggin' out

I usually use curly furry fleece for wigs. I made a pattern (which I posted a while back), I cut out the material and hand sew the darts. But a client recently requested a standard hair wig. I've steered away from them for a couple reasons. First of all, I have to drastically cut them down. After that, I have to give them a haircut. I'm not a barber or cosmetologist, so I fear I'll give my little fella a bad hair day for the rest of his life. And there isn't enough margin to afford taking the figure to a hair stylist.

The second reason I opt for furry fleece is I don't always have the wig color and style requested on hand.

But I acquiesced to my client's request and used a long hair brown wig I had in the back room. All in all, I think he turned out okay, though I left enough length after my hacking away for my customer to take him to a stylist for some touch-up work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Up to my neck

The beauty of working on my first full-sized figure model is that I have no idea what I'm doing. But as they say, ignorance is bliss. I've sculpted the face of the figure over a Styrofoam mannequin head. The back half of the head has yet to be touched.

Now I'm building a neck using a Styrofoam cylinder mounted atop a Braylu Creations headstick. As you can see, I've covered the lower portion with Magic-Sculpt. I'll let it harden overnight and add the rest tomorrow (or sometime soon). The marker line at the top is the contour of the underside of the jaw.

Think I need to take a break and watch some TV.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hy sal 'n oorbel dra

You can't see it from this photo, but my Stanley conversion figure has a pierced ear. It was a special request from his new partner in South Africa. (The posting title is Afrikaans for "He will wear an earring").

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fits to a T

Thanks, Dan. Love my new T-shirt. My little friend Chester the Fireman likes it, too!

Hey, folks! Order yours today!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Since I've been making and selling vent figures, I've been sending many of my little fellas to faraway lands. They include France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Australia, the Philippines and even the United Arab Emirates. Many of the buyers communicate in English, but I like to respond to them in their native tongues. So I use iGoogle's translation service. Here's how it works.

I indicate which language I want to translate (in my case, English), and then I choose which language I want to translate to. Then I type the phrase I want translated and iGoogle pops out the translation almost instantly. I cut and paste the translation into my email.

Often the recipient of my email will respond in their language. So I use iGoogle to translate their email into English. Try it sometime. It's so easy and fun!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Tee time

As my wife Joyce will attest, I am a little overboard when it comes to logo T-shirts. I have two dresser drawers stuffed full of logo T-shirts. I'd have more than that, but she advises me on occasion to part with the ones with holes in them. I do so reluctantly. After all, I don't really need nine In-N-Out Burger T-shirts, do I? (Yes, I do). So I was delighted to read that Dan Willinger, impresario of the Ventriloquist Central website, blog, forum and Facebook page, re-stocked Ventriloquist Central T-shirts. I just forked over my $15.95 plus shipping to acquire mine. The downside? I'll have to get rid of at least one old T-shirt to fit the new one in the dresser.

Let's see... will it be the moth-eaten old Oregon Duck tee? (No, not that one!) Okay, how 'bout the Tour de Fronds (sic) Bike Ride? After all, I didn't actually ride in the race. (Okay, maybe. But it's such a nice color.)

See my problem?
Note to Dan: Hey, Dan. Please order some long-sleeve T-shirts, too. It gets cold up here on the Oregon Coast. :-)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Whattcha up to?

I'm on the home stretch on a "Stanley" conversion figure I'm building for a client in South Africa. I'm just starting another for a client in Brooklyn. Three other figures are moving forward. The closest to completion are an "Uncle Earl" and an "Elmore", neither of whom are spoken for. Hope to find homes for the little fellows after they're completed. Rather than offer them on Ebay, I'm considering placing them on the Marketplace at Ventriloquist Central.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A makeover

This guy really took a tumble. His name is Louie. He's a "Stanley" conversion figure of mine. His owner sent him back after he fell off a table. He must have hit the floor pretty hard. He cracked his eyebrow, loosened his eyebrow mechanics, unseated his eyes, and broke his jaw pulley system. Quite a mess. He also got a little scratched up. As you can see in the photo, he's getting a new eyebrow.

Don't they do reality shows about makeovers?

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Paul Zerdin's "Baby" voice is amazing. And they are SO funny!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Into it up to my chin

When I started I only had an inkling of what he might look like in the end. Now he's actually become someone. Whether he makes it all the way to "dummy-dom" remains to be seen. The neck is the next thing I've gotta figure out.

Guess I'll stare at him for awhile until some bright idea comes to me.

Color blind

Yep. That's me. I see color, but my red-green color blindness makes subtle color sensing a challenge. Luckily, my wife checks my stuff before it goes out. And when she catches a mistake, I get sooooo mad (not at her... at me).

Such is the case with my current project, an African-American conversion figure. My client wanted the skin color to be darker than the photos of a previous black dummy. So I mixed some Caucasian tone (white with burnt siena and a touch of naples yellow), then darkened it with raw umber. I thought it looked right. So after painting a few coats, my wife took a look.

Her verdict? Gun metal gray. (Ah, @#$%!)

She's going to help me remix some paint today.