The making of an Aurora Wolf

aurora wolf, puppet -

The making of an Aurora Wolf

A small color sketch of the original Aurora Wolf Concept

Ever accidentally sit down and start a sketch that turns into something completely unexpected? That was the start of the Aurora Wolf project.

At Convergence 2023 I was fortunate enough to sell my massive Arcanine art doll I made in 2020 (right before the pandemic hit the US, way back in the day). It was my first really big art sale on a single piece after switching careers from full time knitting pattern design. 

I had this little sketch sitting around waiting to be worked into a full digital art piece, and I realized it would make a fantastic puppet design. I could airbrush furs to make unique patterns, or... I could add in nearly four meters of lights and make a glorious light up wolf.

Shiny won out, and I started planning. 

A sculpted nose, tongue, and toe pads all set for molding

I sculpted a nose (was way too small, oops lol), tongue, and toe beans for my wolf-to-be that I named Zenith, or Zen for short. 

Foam Clay Toe Beans!

I had a bit too much fun making tons of foam paw pads.


A 3d printed skull with resin eyes inserted and a slightly too small nose

I made the decision to focus on using 3d printed skulls as the base of my larger puppets, mainly for weight control purposes. It works great, though it does add some definite creep factor to assembly.

Jeton base with foam build up on chest

The armature is entirely jeton for great poseability. The neck mechanism is connected to the body using Worbla.

The fully assembled fur pelt

I created a duct tape dummy and made a full fur pelt with custom markings. The white fur is translucent, which is important for the lighting effect.

The pelt draped on!

You can see how fur sits very nicely on the armature (and the face will remain creepy until it gets furred, hehe). 

Finally! An aurora wolf fully finished stands on a ledge at a park.

And finally! You can see the cord coming out from Zen's chest right under the "ribcage". He stands about 16 inches tall and three feet from nose to tail tip.

Zen shows off his teeth

I really wanted some extra realism so the mouth is fully moveable and the teeth and gums are pretty realistic. 

Zen in his fully lit glory in the dark

But possibly the coolest thing is how well Zen glows. The 11 hours of soldering was so worth it in the end. I'm working on a custom code so that the lights will behave like an aurora, but solid lighting is still fantastic.

Zen was a fantastic prototype, and I'm currently working on a bunch of smaller Aurora Wolves that should be up for sale in February, along with one larger one that will also be fully lit. There will be some adjustments, as happens with these things, but I'm very delighted with Zen's final form.

Zen lounges on a tree branch

If you're interested in an Aurora Wolf or want to see more of the process please check out my Patreon!