Important rules for first drawings
Have you and the director made the basic decisions about the puppet's technology - strings vs. wire, the number and the size of the puppets, the color and the style of the costume? Then it is time to draw your first desings. Draw many versions and leave them for some time. What you like today might not fit into the whole concept tomorrow. Think about the desings from the point of view of the price, the difficulty and time which you have to make them.
How to draw the puppet designs
It is most important for drawing design, that you know, that you will make a marionette on a wire (the most traditional Czech way) or one that is only hung with strings. Wire puppet has head and neck in one pcs, puppet on string has head separated from neck.
This is mostly to get your idea down on paper, and it should NOT be real size. These first drawings can be smaller than the actual size of the future puppet.
It isn't important to focus on the technology, but to draw the puppet so that it will really be possible to make it.
You need to draw the puppet from several perspectives - at least from the front (en face) and from the side (profile).
For more complicated puppets, you should draw them from a 3/4 perspective. To see details better, you can also draw them separately - e.g. draw the head from several different angles.
Including colors on your designs
If the color of the puppet is an important part of its character, you should draw several painted versions of the design and include the costume.
Later, when making a technical drawing, you can draw the costume as a silhouette with one simple line.
To prepare the costume better you can include some scraps of material that will be used for the costume on the drawing. Then you can test the costume material with the overall color of the puppet.
Simple is best
When designing puppets avoid complicated technical effects. Overly complicated constructions can give you a puppet that is very difficult to manipulate on stage.
Wood is the best material to use because of its weight and strength. I do not recommend adding other materials onto the puppet. Do not use plaster, metal, wires, branches, etc unless it is absolutely necessary.
Try to keep the shape of the head and body compact so that things sticking out won't get caught in the strings (e.g. hair, long fingers, etc).
If you are planning to paint the puppet, it is good to draw several colored variations. If the puppet will have a costume, draw the whole puppet with the costume including its color. You can also staple a small piece of material that will later be used for the costume onto the color design. This method allows you to test the color of the material with the overall color of the puppet. Later, when making a technical drawing with a costume, you just draw its silhouette.
Final designs should be the same size and should like exactly like the future puppet. Draw the puppet from two angles - from the front and the profile. The design should be precise and include the correct proportions, but without technical details.
You should draw the character with the costume.
You need to draw the character in en face AND in profile (draw them next to one another).
Draw picture of your puppet that is the actual size of the puppet (it can help to really lie an actual marionette on your paper so you have a sense of what a certain size puppet will look like and how heavy it will be). You should draw the character in costume and include any props in the picture.