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!


I love creating drawn special effects. You can get a sense of design that unifies the overall art direction that you just can't achieve any other way. Everything but the lightening is computer generated for this shot in Riffs of Rage. I created these effects elements one very late night in Bournemouth between other scenes. There was no room on the schedule!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Riffs of Rage cocept art

Riffs of Rage was a short film I made at Bournemouth University with Duncan Gaman and Nathan Walster. We all love and grew up watching Warner Brothers animated shorts and wanted to create a homage to Chuck Jones and the other great Warner directors. The film won the 2004 Softimage Student Animation Contest. See the page link to the Softimage site and also the Super Shorts Film Festival, were it received its UK premiere.

Vernic progression

I thought it would be fun to show a scene from storyboard to final render. I love the process of slowly evolving a story sketch to what you finally see on screen. Inevitably my story sketches get rougher as the deadline looms (this is one of the rougher ones) but I always try to keep them fresh and enjoyable to look at, no matter how rough. Jonathan Davies (JD) created a lot of the set pieces, helped create the lighting as well as being an incredible support for everything technical. He is a true computer wiz kid - now working at Mill TV.

Vernic model

This is the CGI model of Vernic’s head. It was interesting translating the design into three dimensions from the deliberately flat concept design. It was also my first major model I built in 3D. Getting my head around the software took a lot of sweating, but I now like modelling and animation in CGI.

Some more Vernic designs

Some more character designs for “Vernic”. The story started life as a sit-com by my friend, screenwriter J Blakeson. I thought it was perfect for animation and drew these designs based on his character descriptions. Vernic is the realisation of all this work boiled down to less than 90 seconds of screen time. Although you never see half the characters, I think all this work helped to create a richer sense of design in the film.

Palmer and Nosebleed

K. Nosebleed (above) and Vernic’s seemingly-sane right-hand man Palmer (below). In the film, Palmer acts but says nothing and, well Nosebleed isn't there at all. Originally they both said a lot. Les Dennis kindly lent his voice for Nosebleed and John Duttine provided the voice of Pamler. They were both superb, immensely generous and a pleasure to work with. Sadly I was forced to cut the film due to a tight schedule. Sorry! I have about 10 minuets of wonderful voice tracks from both of them. Maybe one day I will find a fitting use for them.


I've just come back from the premiere of "Vernic" at the Super Shorts Film Festival in London so I thought it would be fitting to start this blog with a few character designs for the film. Vernic was my graduation film at Bournemouth University and this sketch helped to persuade Christopher Cazenove to do the voice for me. For what it's worth I think his performance made the film. It certainly inspired the animation. You can check out the animation on the film festivals web site. The film goes live in October.