Balloon modeling is easy!
And the little doggy embodies the very basics of balloon sculpture!
So it made perfect sense for Môssieur Ballon to choose this iconic model for this first video tutorial, to teach you a few basic concepts of balloon twisting!
For example, it's essential to learn how to inflate a balloon properly and control air pressure throughout the making of the balloon sculpture (or else it might burst, or conversely, undo itself).
And of course, you will learn how to make the very first basic shape in balloon modeling: the bubble (and its elongated variant, the "sausage").
To start out, a simplified version of the balloon dog will enable you to take your first steps without too much difficulty. Then, after getting the chance to practice alongside Môssieur Ballon (pausing the video if necessary), an improved version of the balloon dog will enable you to perfect your new skills.
(Video in French, with English subtitles.)
Video transcript: Initiation to Balloon Modeling 1 - The Dog
Well, a promise made is a promise kept!
Môssieur Ballon has decided to share his secrets with you.
We will of course start with the basics of balloon modeling, learning how to make a little dog.
So, first things first... we're going to inflate this balloon, but not all the way!
You see, I'm leaving about... Say, four fingers in width!
Four fingers... ok, I can even deflate it a little and tie my knot.
And... So, don't worry, I'm going to go quite fast.
I'm going to go quite fast, but we'll look over all this again from scratch.
(Môssieur Ballon makes the little balloon dog)
And what we have... is the little dog!
So while I'm starting over with the little dog. I'd like to remind you to inflate a balloon, and leave about four fingers deflated!
So, we're going to make one sausage... two sausages... three sausages... while making sure that the last two sausages are the same size.
So, if they're not the same size, at this point it's not too late to start over.
Put them side by side to check, press at their base and twist the last two sausages together several times.
And there, you'll see the dog's head and its two ears take shape.
Now, for the neck... it'll be a little bubble, that's it!
So, to make our sausages, if you're wondering, all you need to do is press... press the balloon, and twist it at the same time, and that's it!
Now, to make sure that the two legs are the same size, I press and twist them side by side so I'm sure they're the same size.
From time to time I press on the balloon, to push air towards the reserve.
A little stomach... one hind leg... two hind legs... straighten all this out... and here's the puppy dog!
How could we improve this little dog?
Well first, we could give it slightly more rounded shapes, because it's a balloon after all, but everything is totally stiff!
So, look... if I do this little thing (handles the balloon)... I'm going to give a slightly curved shape to my dog's tail!
Next, for the stomach, same thing... all you need to do is press a little like this, and you can see it gives it a cute-looking little tummy!
(Môssieur Ballon is now going to make an alternative head for the dog)
Like we did with the first version of the little dog, you press between the ears, and turn!
But here, instead of leaving the ears on top, that's the style... let's say... of a German Shepherd, we're going to make this one Cocker style, with its ears drooping down.
So we're going to use the knot, which we're going to stretch out, and wedge at the base of the ears!
Then, we're going to wedge this part by twisting the ears and pulling them apart.
Now this makes it a bit more complicated, but you can see it gives us a dog's head that's slightly different.
So that we recognize it better, we're going to draw on its nose, its eyes... there!
So, back to work, now I'll make one at my normal speed, and you'll try to make it alongside me.
If you can do it... well, that means you're very close to a professional level, and you should maybe consider not just doing this for fun, but making a job of it!
Normally, it takes a little under a minute, at most, to make a dog like this, maybe even a few seconds.
So you'll see, as I go along I'm controlling the air that's inside the balloon.
And that's really what makes the difference between a beginner and someone who's more used to this: controlling the air pressure in your balloons.
If you don't control it, one of two things can happen...
And here's the doggy!
If you don't control the air in your balloon, one of two things may happen: either the balloon will be too inflated and will burst, or the opposite will happen, it won't stay together and will get undone.
What have we learned making the little dog?
Well, we've learned several things.
First we've learned that you must never inflate the balloon all the way. You need to always leave a little reserve for the air.
As you go along handling the balloon and tying knots, the air will fill the room left for it at the far end of the balloon.
Secondly, we've learned to make balloon "sausages". To make a sausage, all you need to do is press the balloon and twist!
Thirdly, we've learned that you only need to hold the beginning and end of the balloon, and not worry about the middle, which allows you to make a whole string of sausages without it ever getting undone.
No need to go this way, or go like that... It's very complicated like this, isn't it? There's no need, you only need to hold the beginning, and the end!
What else have we learned? We've learned to make little bubbles. This is going to be very important for the end.
Little bubbles are like sausages, only smaller. Like little cocktail sausages!
Then, one last thing, a word of advice, control the air pressure well!
The issue beginners come across is that often, the beginning of the balloon will be so inflated it's bursting at the seams, and at the other end, there's still room for air.
What you need to do is, as you go along, press the balloon, just like this!
See, when I press the balloon, the reserve fills up... Look!
So, gradually, you make a sausage, a second sausage, a third sausage... and there, you press the balloon a little, to make sure the pressure is balanced all along the balloon sculpture.
Make sure to practice, and see you soon! For our next lesson... with Môssieur Ballon!
Basic balloon twisting techniques used in this tutorial:
- How to tie a balloon knot
- How to make a string of balloon bubbles without them getting undone
- How to give a curved shape to a segment of modeling balloon
- How to manage air pressure in a balloon sculpture
Feel free to go over these techniques again, as one day you'll have to master them perfectly. Practice regularly... And who knows, maybe some day your balloon sculptures will end up in an exhibit at the Palace of Versailles?
Other interesting resources:
Balloon modeling and several basic concepts: