Setting the scene

I've been working recently for a company producing this cool table-top theatre toy - hearkening back to the days when families could have a nice wholesome evening entertaining each other by the fireside. I'm doing the character design for the marionettes, the decorative panels for the theatre itself, and the illustration for the pop-up scenery boards. Each set is based on a traditional fairytale. The theatre, scenery boards and marionette prototypes travelled to the Nuremburg and New York toy trade fairs at the beginning of the year, and were apparently a big hit, with lots of distributors keen to stock them, so that's really nice.

So how does it work? The boards are produced in pop-up book form, and they slot behind the table-top theatre toy. The cover of the book is the title-page for the play, and then when the book is opened, the pages form the backdrop and floor, and the pop-up elements are the props. To change scenes, you just turn the page. Clever, huh? I've been having a lot of fun doing these. Oh, and if you click on the second scene with the pumpkin carriage, you'll be able to see how it transforms from pumpkin to coach when a panel is slid aside... I think. If it works.

And here are some of the character designs I've done for the marionettes. They look a bit odd because they need to have big heads and features and long arms to work as puppets... These guys are in the process of being sculpted and are going into production in China this month. Here's Cinderella in both her aliases, and her horrid step-family.