The first balloon design you learned is? The balloon dog.
The first balloon animal, any performer, learns to twist is the balloon dog. The balloon dog has become so popular that kids demonstrate to me how they can make a balloon dog, which makes me think about how the simple balloon dog has developed over the seven decades of my life.
In the early 1950s, balloon animals were limited in color and size. The balloon dog was simple, quick, and required four balloons.
In the 1960s, the balloon dog was transformed into a one balloon figure. This picture is how many people envision the balloon dog today. The balloon manufacturers were not designing the pencil balloon to be twisted, but for decoration. Because of this, many entertainers found reduced twists prevented breaking. Thus the three-twist balloon dog was created.
In the 1970s, trick shops ready sold pencil balloons, and manufacturers were improving upon the quality of the balloon. The improved quality allowed entertainers to transform the three-twist balloon dog into what we now recognize and still make.
Big hair, puffy shoulder pads, and Yuppies were ruling the world in the 1980s, and the balloon dog transformed into a poodle. I remember impressing clients with all the different size bubbles and how the bubble at the tail would finish off the process of making the poodle.
In the 1990s, balloon entertainers started networking in chat boards, and newsgroups and the discussion focused around markers and drawing techniques. Leaving the neon colors of the 1980’s behind, Balloon Artists found white paint markers. From then on, you could see the whites of a dog’s eye.
Y2K, the internet, cell phones, the 2000s were about accessories. The balloon dog had feet, collar, tongue, eyebrows, and a bone to chew. No longer did the balloon dog need to stand; sitting was the grand pose of 2000.
Presently, its about HD, capturing the moment and sharing it with the world. The balloon dog has transformed into a realistic-looking dog. Balloon manufacturers now produce an array of colors. Balloon Artists are working diligently to capture realistic dogs. The once simple balloon dog has transformed over the decades to be a multiple balloon sculpture.
Over the years, I have had to learn each balloon dog. I am not sure what balloon dogs will look like in the future, but I am willing to bet that it will have more detail, colors, and will be more spectacular in the decades to come.