Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Seasons Greetings!

A Sleigh Ride in the Snow

I have been involved in a few Wallace and Gromit campagins that coincide with the premiere of "A Matter of Life and Death". Here are a few of the pieces I storyboarded. They were directed by Merlin and animated by the likes of Will Becher and Andy Sym. Keep your eyes open this Christmas . . .


A Wallace and Gromit Christmas

A Selection Box of BBC Christmas Interstitials


Sunday, 9 November 2008

Forever blowing bubbles

The Director wanted the character to have lots of potential and little quirks. The blowing of bubbles threw up lots of possibilities on the website, clicking on bubbles for example to lead thru to new menus. I loved this guys spindly legs and could really imagine how nervously he would move around . . .


Lots of Green men!

Of course when you start of on a project like this you have no real idea what the director sees in his or hers head, especially when the character is an alien, who knows what the heack is out there! Sarah was happy to look at anything so I gave her lots of options. From there we zeroed in on a few likely candidates . . .

Little Green Men

Holy Cow! So busy at work at the mo - Shauns steamrolling ahead at breakneck speed, this week I'll start my fourth episode! I've also been working on some Wallace and Gromit storyboards for some secret projects that will accompany the screening of their new film "A Matter of Loaf and Death" this Christmas on BBC1.

Needless to say not much in the way of sketchbook work happening, I've uploaded a design project from a few months ago. I was approached by the brilliant Sarah Ball, director of Bob the Builder, to design a character and logo for her new business "Extraordinary Alien". The brief was exactly what it says on the tin, an extraordinary little fella, cheeky and eyecatching. I'll upload the development from time to time and then the final design. Hopefully you can enjoy the journey as much as I did!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Niven #2

Getting there. Although I broke the nib on this one . . .

Niven and Parky

The sketches are taken from an interview with Parky - due to his age hs face has that really mercurial quality. But in truth the sketches vary so much because it's been a while since I used pen an ink!The top left one looks more like Vincent Price

Enjoy the clip and the joke . . .

Studies of David Niven

I'm currently developing an Animatic for a personal film. I've realised the pressure of a deadline is crucial to picking up momentum!

My main character is a gentleman, very dignified and elegant. In the film he gets himself into a bit of a scrape, but always maintains that stiff upper lip. I figured that if it was live action I'd get David Niven to play the part (if he was still alive)So I've been watching lots of his films and was really impressed by his physical presence. A little Buster Keaton mixed with Cary Grant.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Another Story Adventure

Ala Kazam!

That's another fine mess . . .

The new series of Shaun is the perfect project for a board artist. The script outlines are very open and you're encouraged to add gags, character moments and even huge chunks of plot. Can't say too much about a series in development but fans will not be disappointed. The Laurel and Hardy box set arrived in the office yesterday for reference. I'm sure it will be devoured in the name of funny.

Where we're going we don't need roads

Having come across the below photo it made me think about the transition to a digital cintiq. They make the story process much more organic, like having a gigantic photocopier strapped to your light desk. I started on the new series of Shaun the Sheep in late July and the whole system is digital which is kind of strange. Sure we keep bits of paper around for old times sake and I'll always thumb and pitch on paper. It's not the Wil E Coyote "Acme Storyboarder 5000" you've still got to draw on the thing. There isn't a button you press and the boards spew out, believe me I've looked.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Old School and Bafta Corks

This is me on "Chop Socky Chooks" just over a year ago. Back then we were still using pencil and paper and a bunch of really neat animation desks. We worked at Wetherell Place which is a small barn like studio in Clifton, Bristol. It is where Aardman first began and where they shot "A Grand Day Out". In fact there's a champagne cork still in the roof, it says next to it "Nick Park Bafta 94".

Chop Socky Chooks is out there!

Sometimes you work on a project at the story stage and there's a long gap between when you leave that production and the rest of the world sees it. It can be a little like sending a message in a bottle and waiting for the reply. Well a few weeks ago one of those bottles lapped up on the shore of Cartoon Network and it's looking great.

I started to look back over some of the storyboards I did and it struck me how ambitious and fun those episodes were. I'm proud to say I worked on it and look forward to tuning in each night at 5pm to see a new bottle, I mean episode . . .


Car Chases are fun!

Joe squares off with an Iron Buttmonk

I spy Dr Wasabi up to no good

Smelly Undies and Lazer shooting Robots!

The evil Dr Wasabi and Bubba in the flesh

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Flying Jellyfish and other wind creatures

Watching the Skies

Bristol Kite Festival 2008

Blue sky and colourful kites called for watercolours. But I need more practice and people really need to wait for the paint to dry before vanishing . . .

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Bill Melendez 1916-2008

When Bill Melendez animated the Peanuts cartoons, he was always told his job was the easiest in the world, drawing Charlie Brown is a synch! His response was to hand them a piece of paper and pencil and say "here, you draw Charlie Brown". Silence would follow. Simplicity is simply not that simple.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Doodles and Noodles

I spotted this gent across the road whilst at a noodle bar. He had a great look about him and was completely calm while a gaggle of people frantically tried calling him a cab. It took a while but once inside he was whisked off, perhaps to perform open heart surgery or conduct an orchestra, or diffuse a nuclear bomb, I wish I knew where he was going, I hope he got there.

Before and After

Hubba Bubba Jellyfish


Before and After

Hubba Bubba/Kung Fu Panda

. . . and here is the finished result

Monday, 18 August 2008

Lucky Gardener


This is the same life model as below. The great thing about the lifedrawing they run at Aardman is that they get a real life actress. This one was particularly good at getting into character, so with this the attempt is to capture the pose but at the same time capture the caricature. Unlike the one above which is closer to her actual appearance. This was one assassin I wouldn't mind coming across . . .

Snooty Business Women

The life drawing sessions were geared towards telling a story quickly. The sketches below were taken from 10 second poses, which is a pretty healthy time, just enough to get the essence and not get too fiddly . . .

Sunday, 17 August 2008


Not sure what I can and can't show from the course due to Aardman Studio policy. So until I figure that one out, bring on the entertainment . . .

My Pen Loves Wrinkles

I was making notes on David Mamets "On Directing Film" and took a sketch break. These old women were sad that day, maybe I should have tried to cheer them up, but their frowns were very appealing to the eye.

Mamet has pretty strong views on films, some of them I struggle with. He's all for telling the story thru the cuts, not a fan of fancy angles and floating camera moves, like his writing he's pretty minimal. It's tough to not want to stick in the camera move or the flashy editing on a job, but I always have a tiny Mamet on my shoulder shouting "Nice shot smart ass, but is it helping the fucking story!!" Of course there's a tiny Welles on the other shoulder . . .

"Just Design it well, a film is a design" - David Mamet

King Crustoid

Frank's background was stop-motion so he really got a buzz at Aardman, but equally it was great to hear his 2D tales of Shrek and Lion King, of life in the big Hollywood studios and his take on what makes a good Story Artist. His love for films is infectious and we started everyday of the course by watching a scene from a classic movie, although didn't get a whole lot done the day we watched the shower scene from Psycho . . .

Every film has progress and regress, good things happen then not so good etc. Frank enjoyed a Birthday whilst on the course, pretty good!

"Class of 08"

Back in April Frank Gladstone came to Aardman and ran a class on Feature Storyboarding. It was 8 weeks of pure bliss and a lot of drawing! We boarded on a cintiq, studied lots of films and even had improv classes, so needless to say where all pretty funny now, look how funny we are . . .

From Left to right, Dave B, Dave P, Jess, Theresa, Big Ols, Frank (aka,teech, aka The American), Ashley, Gabriel, Jimmy, Yours Truly, Helen and the wonderful Katie who made sure nothing bad happened.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

What does my wife dream about?

A doodle over a William Morris print I came across just happened to be side by side a sketch of the missis asleep. Perhaps he's the Sultan of her dreams. Perhaps I should be worried . . .

"Indiana Jones and The Search for the Missing Stickers"

Alright I could say that I started this Indy stickerbook as a way of helping with my storyboard staging. I could say I got it to study as Harrison Ford put it Spielbergs "master mechanics of filmmaking", something done perfectly in Temples Raiders posts . . .


This is a great seq that just about lives upto the other openers in the series. Indy evades nuclear death . . . in a fridge and that framing of Indy against the mushroom cloud, very Spielberg. Lets just say I started it and now with a mild hint of OCD it must be finished. Anyone out there got any swops?

Tuesday, 29 January 2008