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Preview: Toon Asylum Studios

Toon Asylum Studios

"Where ties and straight jackets are required"

Updated: 2018-03-06T09:51:39.785-05:00


ToonAsylum - Backstage Video


Hey gang -
I just posted a new "behind-the-scenes" video I threw together with my fancy new HD video camera. I had to compress it quite a bit to get it to a reasonable file size just to be able to upload. It's a quick look at a few of my latest characters. You can check it out here

Website update


Hey everyone...
I just wanted to let you know I updated the website today. I wasn't able to do the videos quite the way I had planned, but I got it close enough without stressing too much..LOL Head on over and check it out. Be sure to let me know if you have any problems accessing any of the videos.

Thanks !


Latest Character


Hi everybody, Just wanted to post a few pics of the newest character I've been working on. Its a spider character, he has posable hands and the lower set of arms are also posable. The upper set of arms are operated with removable arm rods. I'm gonna post him on EBay here in a few days once I get a few finishing touches completed on him, so keep your eyes open for that!!







NEW website


Well, I've been busy whilst on my vacation. (does anybody actually use the word whilst anymore?!) I got the NEW ToonAsylum website up and running last night. I am still working out some of the kinks, but go over and check it out if you get a chance
I've found HTML code is driving me crazy. I know there are a lot of programs out there that make web design a snap. But I have this idea of how I want my videos page to work and look and it's driving me crazy trying to figure out all this coding... Arrrgggg!!! If there is anyone out there who is proficient in web design mainly embedding videos and video players into a web page, drop me an email maybe you can help me out.

New Set Design


(image) Hello everyone... I've been busy working on my new set design for my puppet videos. For now, I'm just going to try to use, as a backdrop, a 48" x 60" artist canvas. I had designed my set originally using 3 of these canvases to simulate a 3-sides room(one back and two sides). But the canvases were kinda expensive, so I thought I would just get one now and try it out before I spent a lot of money. I laid out my sunburst design and painted it as shown here. The colors in the pic seem to be a bit muted, but the lighting was bad. They are actually pretty bright in person.(this pic was taken with my camera phone.)

(image) Here is a finished pic of a picture frame that I painted and cut out of 1/2" thick foam board. I wanted it to be light weight so I can attach it to the canvas wall. Now here is where my creativity starts to get all these crazy ideas. What I thought I would do was mount this mock picture frame to the canvas, then cutting an opening in the canvas to fit the opening in the frame to make kinda a "window". Why would I do such a crazy thing?? Wellllllll I plan on creating a sliding picture frame. Whereas I can have one of my characters be behind the opening when I slide the picture down behind the canvas. They could appear , make a comment , or what-have-you and slide the picture back in place. Like a hidden trap "door" window.

(image) Here you can see I propped up the picture frame to show approximately where the hidden sliding window would be located. I'm adding some 1 x 2 bracing behind the canvas opening of the picture frame for extra support. When I'm finished I plan on attaching some type of stand to elevate them off the ground at the desired height to film along side my characters. I'll add more pics as I get further along.

Puppet Build step 5.0


Well he's finally complete...well aside from picking out the seams more. Viktor was probably my longest build (maybe a close second to Fang). This is the first attempt to build a "human" character. I find them a bit more challenging to do. You have more liberties with other creatures. We all know what a human character is supposed to look like, so for me it limits how far you can push the envelope. I mean with monsters or animals I feel you can stretch your creativity further. Who knows...maybe it's just me...LOL

Here is a couple of pics of Viktor finished.

(image) (image)

These pics don't show it, but he has a neat feature to his right eye. When I came up with this character in the initial design process, I had sketched him with a wall-eyed look. So, I designed his one eye on an axis so I can move it around while operating's kinda neat. I'll have to post a quick video showing this feature.

Puppet build step 4.0


Well, as you can see it's been over a month since my previous post. The holidays got me in a bit of a rush and I didn't have much time to work on my build. But fear not, I'm back on track and looking forward to finishing this character before the next holiday!!

So, with the head nearly completed, I moved on to the body. I cut and glued his torso together and found an infants gray t-shirt which I modified to get the sleeveless shirt look from my original sketch design. I spot glued the shirt in a few places to keep it in the shape I was wanting. I noticed his body would be showing through the underside of the armholes when they were raised. I cut a few swatches of flesh fabric and attached them to cover the foam beneath.

From there I moved on to the arms. I wanted him to have these big, heavy, beefy arms with chubby little fingers, so I sketched out a rough pattern that I thought would work. I then cut and sewn a "test" arm out of scrap fabric I had laying around. I was pretty pleased with the over all look and tweaked it a bit, then cut/sewn the actually arms from the Muppet fleece. I created a wire armature for the posable fingers, then poly filled the entire arm to the desired fullness. I wasn't sure how I wanted to attach the arms to the body. So I decided to use the "doll-joint" method (you can see the doll-joint stem in the above photo). Now here is where we divide the professionals and the amateurs. In my haste to get this build completed, I neglected to plan for my arm rod in the one finished arm. (I never really considered myself in the pro category anyhow...)

So, currently I have the entire ToonAsylum staff in an emergency meeting to determine how I'm going to solve this dilemma with as little re-working as possible... Stay Toon'd for more hilarity puppet building techniques and blunders!!

Puppet build step 3.0


Well, after I got the foam foundation down I decided to try my hand at dying the fleece and covering the head. This is a fairly easy process but for those who have never dyed fleece before like myself it was a bit confusing. I ordered my lite flesh-colored colored mix from Billy at SSpuppetFactory a great place to get all your puppet supplies (a little plug there for ya Billy). I added the dye pack to the water dropped in the fleece, agitated it for 30 minutes(poking it, making fun of, calling it names and so forth - haha-). When I removed the dyed fleece it was TAN?!? not light flesh color as expected. I'm thinking , great I just ruined 2+ yards of Muppet antron fleece that's now colored medium oak?!? Well, as you veterans already know, as I allowed the fleece to dry overnight, when I checked it in the morning it had lightened up considerably. And now actually looks like a light flesh color as required. So with flesh colored fleece, not Pinocchio wood colored, I began to cover the head/neck. This went well without any hitches. Then I created a template out of old material, for covering the nose and cut that out of the fleece. Then I sewn by hand the nose pattern around the carved foam nose I had made earlier. Let me stop a minute and say here..... I'm not that sold on the seam hiding properties of this antron fleece. I'm using the Henson stitch (aka baseball stitch) but I'm not getting the results I'd expected. Even after picking out the seams as you can see in the pics, the seams are quite visible. What to do? Maybe I'm not doing something right.Would like to hear your opinion/suggestions regarding this. After I had the nose completely covered I cut out the eye openings in the head, and an opening for the nose(I wanted the nose to sit back into the head a bit). Stitched the nose in place. I added the eyes in (temporarily) just to see what the finished head might look like. With some scrap flesh-colored fleece left over from the head pattern, I sewn two small ears and pinned them in place. I had a tongue carved out of foam I did for another puppet but never used and stuck it in there. So, the head is pretty much completed. I need to get some darker flesh color material and create the circles around the eyes as shown in the sketch. I'm not sure how I am going to get his 5:00 shadow look in his lower jaw, still debating that. In the pic below you can see his eye placement is all jacked up, well I was going for that Marty Feldman look. His left eye will be in a fixed position, while his right eye has a wire on an axis that runs thru the center of the eye and into the foam. This will allow me to rotate that eye and have him "look" around while performing!Check back for the next installment, building the foam body and arms....[...]

News Flash!!


Dateline Deerfield Township, Ohio USA........I just wanted to tell everyone, They posted an article I submitted about the latest news at the ToonAsylum studios on our local community website. Check it out here.

Thanks -

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog.....

Puppet build step 2.0


Okay, had some time today to work on the foam head shape. I'm trying out the ProjectPuppet Rotondo pattern for the first time. It seems to be a good shape so far.

The photo above shows the head with a few "ears" that I pinned on just to see if I was going in the right direction.

I then carved out a rough shape for his big nose out of 3" thick block foam I had and pinned that in place. Starting to look like a human now huh?

Next I dropped in a couple of ping pong eyeballs. And now he looks kinda like the Jeep from Popeye the sailor cartoons...I'm hoping this will change once I get the flesh colored fleece over the foam.

Puppet build step 1.0



OK, time for a new puppet build. This is going to be a series of blogs walking you through the steps that I take when I build a new character.

Step 1.

I always start with a drawing or sketch on paper of what the character I want is going to look like. This way I always have a reference to guild me during the build and make sure I stay on track. The character I've decided on is Viktor. He is a shortorder cook from the former Czechloslovakia. He speaks with broken english with a strong Czech accent. Oh and he's also an HUGE fan of David Hasselhoff....LOL

I like to flesh out my characters background too, his personality , his likes and dislikes...I know it's strange but it's what I do. So, here is my initial drawing of Viktor.

CafePress custom merchandise


Here are a few Toon Asylum cast member pictures I created for my CafePress account. It's a website that you can design custom printed items t-shirts, mugs, clocks, cards, etc. I'll be posting a link as soon as I get my shop up and running.


Coming soon the ALL NEW ToonAsylum website...

ToonAsylum becomes a blogger


Hey everyone, this is Ran from the ToonAsylum studios. I've finally jumped onboard the blogger express with my very first entry. I really never thought I was much of a blog person(I guess we'll find out soon enough). Since I'm kinda new to this ....what exactly is a "blog" anywhy???

Well Wikipedia states " A blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or videos. " Ok, so here's to hoping I can make this an exciting place to tell everyone the latest news and to keep up on what my fellow bloggers are up to.