The puppet challenge: storyboard with puppets

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Hooves on hips

The reason for my starting to do a blog is drawing to a close, The Puppet Challenge Online Exhibition is due to be on show some time in June, on Clive’s artlog. I will keep you posted on that. I have found it to be a good way of showing family and friends what I ( and sometimes Graham) am working on, so I think I will continue with it. Summer is a busy time for us, what with running the gîte and the B&B, and then there are my art exhibitions and any other work that comes up. It won’t always be of interest, so there will be times when I won’t blog, but then maybe I have got a taste for it, and I will bore everyone to death anyway!

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Although the storyboard for the legend of L’Ebérou is not finished, ( it runs up to the same point at which I stopped doing the original sketches), it achieved it’s purpose by getting me suitably motivated into creating the puppet itself, which was my aim.  ( I did, however, manage to finish writing the synopsis. ) I am indeed my own worst enemy, in that I got so involved with writing and illustrating the piece, I spent far more time on that than I ever intended. This was partly from frantic fear at making a puppet, when so many professional puppet-makers will be contributing to the exhibition. But then, as Clive says, this is not an exam, it’s meant to be fun; and I have had fun doing it. So here is the storyboard again, only this time, with the puppets themselves taking part.

Ehbeh asleep.1asleep copy2

Ehbeh dreaming, he dreams of bells and goats.


A stream of moonlight falls upon his sleeping face, waking him.






He sits up in alarm to see the curtains beckoning him.




Overcome by an urge to seek the nearest source of water he dashes downstairs and rushes from the house, with the strongest compulsion to see the fountain that lies deep in the enchanted forest. He stumbles down the moonlit hill…..




Fighting his way through the undergrowth, he reaches the water source. Away up the hill it gushes from the mouth of the old moss covered fountain. 




He quickly wades in to the chilly swirling waters and strips off his nightshirt…..




He tosses it aside.




 In the cold blue light of the moon, EhBeh, now naked, scrambles over the slippery wet rocks, up to opening.  This ancient moss-covered fountain regurgitates these weirdly watery words which glisten and bubble as they gush from the gaping black hole …….




He reads the watery words, stands up and with his hands on hips, tosses his head in disdainful disbelief, but as he does so it feels top-heavy and cumbersome. His hands reach up only to feel 2 unfamiliar shapes, and hear the clop of hoof on horn. 




When he lowers his limbs,  he perceives his cloven hooves with horror, and slumps unwittingly on to all fours. Unable to rise back up onto his legs, he lets out a  prolonged enfeebled bleat. Then, gazing into the black waters gushing from the fountain, he beholds the reflection of a wild long-haired goat.


goat reflect


So , what to do? He realises that he only has a few dark hours in which to fulfil  the conditions of these words, or he will be cursed forever, he sets off…….


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…………..after fighting his way through forest undergrowth he reaches a moonlit clearing, from which, at last, he can see the dark brooding silhouette of St Georges de Montclar. 


13-st georges2


 He has reached his first destination. In the square, the church tower looms high above, the 3 great iron bells hang soundless, silently watching, moonlight glinting on metal. He canters through the narrow sleepy  streets,




A dark shadowy figure  appears out of the gloom , it threateningly blocks his way…




The figure grabs him as he tries to slide past, there is a scuffle, he scrambles to his feet,  bucking and kicking, and somehow manages to break free…..




And that’s the end of the first series of drawings, and completes my offering to the Online Exhibition.  I will carry on with these  ideas in  any spare moments I find and finish it at a later date, but the deadline for the Puppet Challenge is met ( ish) at last.

14 thoughts on “The puppet challenge: storyboard with puppets

  1. This is just wonderful. So lively and charming. I love the puppets and the way you’ve incorporated them into the nighttime storyboard environment. I read that you intend to make some paintings of EhBeh as man and goat. I do hope that you find the time to do that, because I know they’ll be gorgeous. You hit the ground running with this project, my friend, and results are a spectacular delight!

    • Thanks Clive, you have been a marvellous support! The phrase you used “hit the ground running” was most unfortunate as I did exactly that yesterday, I was careering up our stone steps, tripped and literally did that!! After laying there dazed for a while, I got up and everything felt as though it’s pointing the wrong way, including my jaw, luckily nothing broken, ( I was convinced I had lost some teeth) but I’m left with a huge bump on the head, and am very sore all over, so… off to the chiropractor tomorrow, and get those bones put back into place! I get so cross when I do stupid things like that…grrr. Back to the subject of paintings, yes, as I had such fun playing theatre with the puppets, I know it would be great to paint them in different poses. And to play with the lighting, oooo I am rubbing my hands in anticipation!xL

  2. I have revisited this post today because there is too much to take in at one, first look. Liz, you simply must continue to blog about your work. The puppet challenge may have been the first impetus, but your creative adventures are so interesting… we all wish to continue to be inspired by seeing and reading about your projects. And your environs, too, for that matter! xo AM

    • Ah, nice of you to say so, Anita. It is true that if I am at a loss for posting anything interesting about our lives, all I have to do is take a pic of the world outside! Anyway I think I am hooked !xL

  3. Hi Liz,

    Just looked through this blog. I’m very impressed! I love the style you’ve chosen for the storyboard — so different from the work of yours that I’ve seen before…fascinating to see the way you can switch from one genre to another. The images are at the heart of the blog of course but your descriptions are also very evocative and delightfully fluent. Did you think them in French first or English? The storyboard images seem very French to me (not quite sure why but the atmosphere is definitely continental). What’s the next step in the overall gestation of the idea? It would be great to see it continue.

    XX from deepest Surrey. John

    • Hi John , it’s good to hear from you! I am glad you like the blog. I wish I could say that I wrote in French first, but sadly , even after all these years, although sometimes I do think in French, I certainly could not think up a tale other than in my mother tongue! I’m glad the atmosphere is continental, for the legend is a local one, and,( I’m not sure if you read my blurb at the beginning) , any story I found was extremely disjointed and needed dismembering then reconstruction. The main theme was that the creature could be scary, a wolf, a sheep, or a goat, and that seemed to be it . It was not clear why , where or how it manifested itself, who was involved, or what it was meant to signify. Hence the rewriting; however, as I wrote the storyboard, the original tale of horror dissipated, and the character of EhBeh became more benign. Curiously enough, the description took over from the visual because it was quicker to write than to draw, and I had to have the story completed before I could embark on the puppet construction!
      I will finish the storyboard eventually, but probably not before the winter. I am itching to make the fountain puppet as well; I suppose it’s better having too many ideas and not enough time….. it’s frustrating though!

  4. ‘This is not an exam, it’s meant to be fun’. Ha ha! Many of us have got ourselves into a twist over this, it seems 🙂 Perhaps it’s something to do with the standard of Clive’s work! Your puppets and storyboard are just fantastic. Well done Liz. And please keep blogging. I’ve just subscribed so you mustn’t disappoint 🙂

    • Hi Judy, yes you are right about getting in a twist over this, that’s why it took me so long to get round to making the puppet, I was prevaricating when inventing the storyboard and ended up giving myself a whole heap of work! And yes, Clive takes a lot of living up to, especially as he is hosting the exhibition. Thanks for subscribing, that makes 2 followers from down under!

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