Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You've got a friend

At least that's what I'm hoping the refrain will be after my newest full-size figure finds a home. He's my "Jackie" figure, this time with upper teeth added to his look.  Look for him on Ebay soon. (He still needs a body).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What the heck happened to him?

Yeah, I know he doesn't look too healthy.

Actually, this is a new product from Braylu Creations.  It's a generic, featureless 2T head designed to serve as an armature for sculpting a new character.  I have trimmed away even more from the head.  I intend to sculpt a new Cheeky Boy figure.

First I will set in an eye tray with eyes. Then I will install a free-swinging jaw frame.  Once they are in place, I'll begin sculpting.

I haven't decided whether to use Klean Klay or PaperClay.  I know PaperClay will dry in 2-3 days, but it may not want to stick to the head.  Klean Klay won't ever really dry, but sculptor Bill Nelson suggested that 2 or 3 coats of varnish (plus beaucoup packing material) would protect the head from damage during shipping to the mold maker.

I have a vague idea what I want him look like.  I'll let my fingers do some thinking, too.  Hopefully the muses will take over and lead me to a funny face..

Monday, February 27, 2012

Out in the cold

Again, apologies for the sparse posting.  My cold is better, but it has slowed everything down, including my dummy makin'.  So I have less to write about.  But there is a new Facebook site started by figure maker Mike Palma called Ventriloquist Workshop.  It's an open site, so anyone can join and post. Several figure makers and ventriloquists have jumped in already.  Take a look. It's fun!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No more Elmore

My last Elmore figure will be entertaining audiences in Ecuador.  As I mentioned earlier, the mold has finally given out.  I have one more Elmore head, but he'll probably be made into another moonshiner.  So... adios muchacho.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gold finger... nails

You may recall that I'm building a little green man from outer space.  It's fun letting my imagination run wild.  I decided my petite spaceman would have gold fingernails, so I bought some metallic-gold acrylic paint at the craft store.  Now I'm looking around for other things to paint gold. drawer handles... picture frames.  It's probably a good thing my wife has said "no" to all of it.  (Now the dogs can come out from hiding).  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Put some teeth in it

Something has bothered me about my Jackie figure... and I've "figured" out what.  He needs some upper teeth.  So I've added the uppers to this second rendering of my first full-size figure design. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking down in the mouth

Using the new Braylu slotted synchro bar, I use a mirror to center the irises.  Kind of an interesting photo, I thought.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On the ledge

I've been trying to post every day, but I've been down with a bad cold.  Though I'm still not 100%, I think I might get some work done today. 

The photo shows one of the steps I take to mount eye trays inside the head.  I used to just sink the wood tray into globs of Magic-Sculpt on each side of the head.  It worked, but the ledges were not always as neat and clean as I'd like. Now I rub some Vaseline on the edges of the eye tray, then form some neat ledges at either end of the eye tray with Magic-Sculpt.  After the Magic-Sculpt dries, I'll sink that into globs of Magic-Sculpt on either side of the head.  I don't have to be so precise because I've already formed the precision ledge.  After the globs of Magic-Sculpt dry, it's easy to pull the eye tray out (thus the Vaseline), leaving nicely formed ledges.  That way I can pull the eye tray in and out very easily. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

At the Mic

Ryan Bomgardner

With his entourage of characters in tow, ventriloquist Ryan Bomgardner tours extensively, both nationally and internationally.  He accepts about 130 bookings a year from the more than 500 invitations he receives to perform at churches and corporate gatherings.  

He was awarded the prestigious title "Artist in Residence" at the Christian retreat Sandy Cove Conference Center and also hosts a regional weekly TV show, "Ryan and Friends".  His shows are family-friendly with his character Jeffrey, a precocious 8-year-old, in the starring role.

To learn more about Ryan, go to his website  There you'll find photos and videos of his performances.  You can also find out how to join Ryan on an upcoming Caribbean cruise.

By the way Ryan Bomgardner is a Maher School of Ventriloquism graduate.

*No endorsement of Kenny Croes Dummy Store is implied by featured performer

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Backwoods boy

Otis has finally found a hideout from the "Revenuers". He's on his way to Alabama to partner up with someone who'll keep an eye on him.  Gonna miss the goofy moonshiner.

Friday, February 10, 2012

More vents the better

I don't know how often you peruse the list of ventriloquists in the column on the left. The reason I bring it up is because I added several new names to the list today.  The names include Andy Gross, Anthony Thomas, Buddy Big Mountain, Chet Dickenson, Cindy Speck, Dana Perkins, Daryl Trowbridge, David Malmberg, David Pendleton, Del Burkholder, Deputy Bob Walsh, Gary Wick, Jacki Manna, James Wedgwood , Jerry Breeden, Joe Gandelman, Justin Ver Burg, Linda Holliday, Lynn Trefzger, Mike Mann, Mike Niehaus, Patty Davidson, Rey Ortega, Ron Johnson, Ryan Bomgardner, Sandi Sylver, Steve Brogan, Val Hilliker, Willie Brown and (long overdue) Willie Tyler. 

Some are touring vents, others are more local.  A few do magic as well as ventriloquism shows.  One is a professional party planner, of which her vent act is a part.  There are Christian vents and convention entertainers.  Some are with talent agents, others book their own shows.  All have websites that tell about their shows, figures, performance dates and more. 

As a new feature, I thought I'd blog about a vent on the list, include some photos and/or video with a brief description.  Maybe do it weekly. 

What do you think?  (Of course, I'll check with them first).

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Get back, Jack

I'm building my second "Jackie" figure.  He's the full-size feller I built awhile back.  I'm taking what I learned building the first one and making improvements and changes in the second one.  Things are going smoother this time.  I've also thought of a couple small alterations that could change the look slightly, but offer a complete new take on the character.  Next time...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Space suit

This started out to be a child's Ninja costume.  I found it on Ebay.  It originally had a fabric panel with a gold dragon insignia hanging from the waist, and a Ninja insignia on the left breast pocket area.  I cut off the dragon panel.  Then I did a little Photoshop magic and designed an alien badge.  I velcro-ed it over the Ninja insignia, and viola... a space suit.

I just love the wings on the shoulders. They give the space suit a real Flash Gordon look.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


No, not flutes.  These are my new PVC controllers.  I'm getting away from buying the neck transitions.  Instead I'm installing PVC controllers on the rounded ball knobs of the castings.  Prior to this, I sawed off the ball knob and replaced it with the neck transition sold by Braylu. 

I have my PVC controller prep down to a science.  I drill 4 holes near the top (actually 2 holes pushed all the way through to the other side for the cords), plus two more holes at the bottom (again... 1 hole pushed all the way through to the other side) to attached a rubber band to secure the head to the base of the body's interior. 

I also add an eyehook near the top for jaw spring attachment. 

I'll use a Dremel to taper and smooth the edges of the cord holes (inside and out) to reduce friction and cord wear.  Later I will mark and drill the trigger holes.  I save that step 'til later because not every figure will need the same number of triggers.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Patriots fan?

Mr. Winkle is now available  on Ebay.  He's a grouchy gus.  He must have been rooting for New England in the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

What's Wong with this picture?

Sum Ting Wong, the name given to my Asian figure by his new partner, is now in good company.    Looks like he's got a girlfriend already.  Fast work, Mr. Wong.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Spaced out

I suppose it's because I get bored easily, so I'm off on a new tangent.  I've been a sci-fi fan ever since I can remember.  It was only a matter of time before I made an alien-from-outer-space figure.  I've used a 2T cheeky boy head as my armature.  There's one more thing I want to do to the forehead, then it's on to painting and mechanics.  I'll likely keep the jaw as is, although I've misplaced it somewhere in the workshop. 

Spaced out?  I guess so.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Back on the block

Otis is back on the auction block.  For a closer look, check him out on Ebay.  The first auction ended with the winning bidder deciding not to pay or even answer an email. (I hate that.).  So my little moonshiner is still looking for a partner in crime.