Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Three seasonal story sketches for Cliff Richard's title song for the direct-to-video special "It's a Boy", released this Christmas. I haven't seen the film. Know idea what's it's like, or if these sketches ever made it to the final product, but I enjoyed working on them! The very best Christmas cheer to everyone. Happy Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

"Vernic" down under

I've just discovered "Vernic" played in the Melbourne International Animation Festival in June this year in the student film category! Bournemouth University forgot to tell me, which was nice of them. This is what the festival had to say about the student entry's this year:

"The vibrancy and rule-breaking abandon of student animation bursts onto the big screen for the 'festival-within-a-festival'. Raw energy, wild ideas and the kind of films that can only be made with people who have at least one foot firmly planted in the future are what these screenings are all about. We receive submissions from more than 50 tertiary level schools all over the world and this tiny sample of the very best tells us that creative animation is going to be around for a long time yet."

You can see the full animation line-up at:

Don't forget, you can watch "Vernic" as well as write a review and cast a vote on the Super Shorts Film Festival online. (On the film links)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Which Witch?

A couple of designs for a witch for the poster. We've using the eccentric one on the bottom.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I'm currently illustrating a poster for Harrogate Theatre on a fairy tale theme and thought it would be fun to post some of the evolution. Here's an early conceptual sketch, guiding the style.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How To Cope With Death

Check out this fantastic short film which I was lucky enough to work on as an effects animator. Ignacio Ferrara’s hilarious film, made at Tandem Films for Channel 4 television and has won numerous international animation awards. How To Cope With Death is showing alongside Riffs of Rage and Vernic in the Super Shorts Film Festival.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Vote for Riffs of Rage!

Riffs of Rage is now available for viewing online as part of the Super Shorts Films Festival. Just click the film link. You can also vote for it! Go on!! You know you want too!!

Vote for Vernic!

Vernic is now available for viewing online as part of the Super Shorts Films Festival. Just click the Vernic film link. You can also vote for it! Go on!! You know you want too!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Northern Lights

I've just got some photographs developed from bonfire night. I went to York, home of Guy Folks. I expected a great firework display and street entertainment. What took my breath away was York Minister, bathed in coloured light by lighting artist Patrice Warrener who has won awards for his work in painting buildings with light in the French cities of Lyon and Marseille, combined with the sound of all the churches ringing their bells in unison. As you can see, it looks staggering.


It was the Bradford animation festival this week and I managed to make it up on Saturday. Fantastically, they had a touring display of models and sketches from Tim Burtons "Corpse Bride". Equally great, I caught up with some good friends over animation and curry, including my good friend Matt Stephenson who gave a talk on doing animation on the Wallace and Grommet computer game. Of course the shooting of the police officers so close to the venue dampened the weekend. It reminds you there are things more important than animation.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Being remembrance Sunday yesterday I found myself looking through some of the animation artwork we did for the short film "Wilfred" for Duchy Parade Films, based on Wilfred Owens poem 'strange meeting'. I made it back in 1999 for my graduation film at Ballyfermot Senior College in Dublin so it's old work and a little strange to look at. The smoke billowing around the soldier looks crude now, but it's an interesting film I'm still proud of. The beautiful colour keys are the work of Irish artist Michael McGraw, based on my storyboards. His artwork really helped to give the animation its look. You can see further information about the film on my film links.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shooting Hoops

I thought I'd put some stills up from this basketball animation by the brilliant Jonathan Davies (JD) who worked on Vernic with me. In exchange, I provided storyboards, did the edit, provided some character concepts and did the camera animation for Shooting Hoops. JD did everything else. We were keen to make the camera angles dynamic and reflect popular street culture.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Microscopic Milton

Microscopic Milton is so small he lives in a clock on the mantelpiece in Mrs Witherspoon's house and only his friend Douglas, a shaggy dog, knows that he is there. I fell in love with Tony Garth's quintessential English children’s series and spent some time at the production company Splash working on creating a TV special for Microscopic Milton. Despite showing excellent potential and some wonderful early work on the premise, it sadly never made it into production. These story pre-production story sketches show some early gag ideas with a parrot… and a curious crab that’s spotted Milton inside a bottle.


These effects shots for the Thunderbirds title sequence show the integration of my drawn effects elements with the computer animation. As production got busier at Nexus Productions and computer workstations multiplied, fellow effects animator Graham Bebbington and myself found our portable drawing boards frequently relocated to spare corners around the studio as the studio! Nexus directors Smith & Foulkes are a directing tour de force who challenged all of us to do our best work. They deservedly picked up an array of awards for this title sequence.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Riffs of Rage flies to Lithuania

"Riffs of Rage" is in Lithuania again this week, this time playing in competition at the Tindirindis international animation festival. Nathan, Duncan and myself had a huge amount of fun making this homage to Warner Bros cartoon shorts and its great when you see an audience share in that. Lithuania, as you can see, is a beautiful country. I must put some more stills up sometime from my trip earilier this year.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Turner Prize

The shortlisted artists for the 2005 Turner Prize have just been announced and Gillian Carnegie's sumptuous and sculptural paintings have been seized on by the tabloids for her apparently shocking 'bum paintings', described as experiments in composition, light, colour and technique. So I thought this is was a good opportunity to show some of my 'bum drawings' which incidentally claim to be none of the above!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

60 second Shakespeare

I had a lot of fun taking a couple of workshops in Hull for the BBC to aid school children to make 60 second films in one day and bring the bard to life. You can take a look at the school challenge below. I regard it as some of the best and most rewarding work I've ever done.

Friday, October 07, 2005

My 8mm Animations

This one's for Henry. I've been looking though the first animations I made when I got an super 8mm camera when I was 9 in preparation for a talk I'm giving for the BBC next week. These stills are from the very first animations I made as soon as I got the camera. The first was about a tyrannical king who controlled his subjects by fighter planes! Now I really can't remember if the next film was about a board housewife who fantasised about having romantic affairs with milkmen and a guy with a yacht, or if she simply imagined she and her husband to have more exciting lives. All the men look the same! Hum. Then I made a film in which a flying saucer (which looks suspiciously like a painted paper plate) terrorized a town. Having known me as a flatmate last year I think Henry will not be too surprised with the slightly strange themes. Of course I should say that naturally everything ended happily ever after!


Zoetropes are so cool. I made one and showed it in an infant class yesterday. The were spellbound by it! I dug up this beautiful deign made in the nineteenth century in Covent Gardens and thought I'd show it here. There are so many ornate patterns, all of which have interesting and imaginative animated movements.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Wide Eye

Another post-it note board, this time for the CBBC pilot Wide Eye made at King Rollo Films. Little Hoot wants to fly, but is scared of heights! I also worked on some of the character deigns, trying to find a balance between the animation designs and the original children's book illustrations.

Riffs of Rage storyboard

I like working up story ideas fast with post-it notes. In this page for Riffs of Rage the customer wants to go to the top floor and the bell-boy can't reach the button. This incident was later adapted but I think it's a funny situation!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


My evenings are proving very exciting these days... I just found myself babysitting one of my friends dogs. Eve is a big daft dog and a complete softy. Apparently she gets nervous if no-one is in the house. I sat and drew her and she was as happy as could be.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I have a psychopathic love for animating explosions! Working on Thunderbirds only fed this compulsion. This design isn't made for animation, but it's not far off.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stick men

I'm giving a presentation to a group of junior schools this week so I've been digging through the old animated films I made as a child. I got a Super 8mm cine-camera when I was 9 and this is a drawing from my first ever drawn animation. You can see the pegs at the top. I did a small series about a family of Stick men going on adventures. There were no books available to tell me the errors of top pegging but as you can see by the copyright mark, I knew everything about intellectual property rights when I was 9!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Riffs of Rage doodles

These sketches are very rough, but they show the process I went though in developing Riffs of Rage. The character in the blue bobble hat never made it passed that sketch! I had a lot of fun coming up with crazy signs for the bell boy in the lift. We decided to base our character designs on very simple geometric shapes that you might associate with early computer graphics.

Caspar and Nicole

I have two wonderful cats who eat far too much. They also enjoy sleeping. It can be hard working from home when you have cats sun-bathing in the warm summer sun all day long. The hens are not mine! I drew them down a wooded lane in Harrogate. My cats probably dream of chasing them.


Flash frames are a whole area of special effects you can have a lot of fun with. You don't necessarily see these frames, but subconsciously the design adds a sense of richness to the shot. No matter how short, its important the elements complement the overall film design, which in this instance was created by directors Smith & Foulkes at Nexus Productions. Naturally they also created the colour palettes for the effects. There were so many explosive elements in the Thunderbirds title sequence that Graham Bebbington, my fellow effects animator began to call me sparky!