Friday, 20 December 2013

Figgy Podding
It's very nearly Christmas, so before I leave you beautiful people in the very capable hands of my good buddy Prescheduled Posting I'll point you in the direction of our last Skwigly Podcast of 2013. Unlike last year the topics discussed aren't especially seasonal but I whipped up another one our adorably cringey li'l plays at the start regardless. We're incorrigible.
In this episode we have Steve's interview with master puppetsmen Mackinnon and Saunders, I chat with Jerry Beck, the most proactive man in the animation historian biz, while Skwigly contributor and animation author Stephen Cavalier gets the skinny on Disney's Frozen from the directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck. Especially nice is that we get to pull out an earlier interview with one of animation's greatest living masters Richard Williams, the man behind The Animator's Survival Kit and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The plan was to have this up for our Encounters coverage but that, for reasons I'm still not really clear on, wasn't to be. At any rate he makes for a great end-of-year get, so special thanks to Kieran and Jude from Encounters for their help getting it sorted. As ever you can subscribe, download for keepsies or stream below:
Also today I was able to put up a video featuring my recent, informal live BAF interview with Joanna Quinn discussing the making of her festival ident. Some nifty exclusive footage included in this one, so give it a watch if you fancy a glimpse into this fantastic woman's process:

Sunday, 15 December 2013

As with last year we at Skwigly have been implementing our online advent calendar where we showcase a particularly impressive animator/illustrator each day in the lead up to the 25th. They're all smashing so head on over to the front page of the site and check them out. Here are a smattering of what's gone up so far to whet your whettable bits:
Will Anderson

Jurate Gecaite

Bianca Ansems

Can't Be Bothered Man

Brothers McLeod

Leah-Ellen Heming
We've also joined forces with Corrie Francis Parks who's brought her own Advent Animation Showcase to Skwigly this year, shining a spotlight on a different seasonal short each day (and having the good manners to pimp my own holiday short so I don't have to a fourth year in a row...oh wait, I guess I just did).
Interestingly enough, this year has seen a surge in similar online advent ventures, one of which being Jonti Picking (aka Weebl)'s calendar which I've done a couple of mini-animations for:

These were knocked out in roughly a day each, so as with the HuHa shorts the animation was super-simple and a lot of fun to design. Although the kid in the second one is doubtless plagued by the ennui of being designed by a grown man who's watched way too much Powerpuff Girls and South Park:

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Steve Henderson and I - sharp young men
I've returned from Bradford - a magical land where everyone wears running clothes, yet nobody runs - and I have to say that BAF was a big win. For a relatively modest event, the caliber of guests was blisteringly high with some exceptional work screened. Skwigly was a strong presence at this year's edition, by which I mean we scurried about the place irritating everyone like a skin rash. As well as a laid-back, repeat showing of our Skwigly Showcase (prepared for the Encounters fringe programme back in August) I joined Steve for what's now become the BAF/Skwigly Quiz.
With Joanna Quinn
We were also able to get a heap of interviews with some brilliant talents, including MacKinnon and Saunders, Michaela Pavlátová and Dave McKean, while I was privileged enough to both finally meet and live-interview longtime Skwigly supporter and all-around fabulous lady Joanna Quinn.
Laura-Beth Cowley, Adam Elliot and myself
The last day was particularly exciting as I got to both meet and interview Adam Elliot, who I spoke of in the last entry. In spit of jetlag and emergency dental surgery he was incredibly upbeat and entertaining, his onstage discussion with the UK's own stop-motion hero Barry Purves the undeniable highlight of the week. As I had hoped, I (with the help of Skwigly contributors Tom and Laura-Beth) was able to record and release a series of daily podcast minisodes while over there. Head on over to Skwigly to hear exclusive interview excerpts with Dave McKean, Joanna Quinn, Michaela Pavlátová and Adam Elliot, or you can stream the entire set below: Next on the Skwigly agenda is an extended trip to my homeland Quebec where I'll be covering the latest developments over at the NFB as well as Montreal's 12th Sommets du cinéma d’animation! Quite the busy beaver, am I.

Monday, 18 November 2013

End Times

For the benefit of all of you who've been eagerly awaiting the continued adventures of the Fantasy Office team and their doomhole dilemma, rub your wanting eyes over this:
As it essentially served as an extension of the previous short, there wasn't a lot of new design work for this one. But who doesn't enjoy a nice, old-fashioned pile of dead clowns?
Also, in a hastily-conceived limited-animation run cycle I wound up with a boob bounce that would make both Richard Williams and whoever directed those old Confused Dot Com ads blush:
If I ever bump into the chap who designed this woman I really should ask what the hell happened to her head.
I'm not sure at this point but the writing on the wall appears to indicate that this is the last outing for Fantasy Office. Shame, as we never met the Doris from the end credits theme. I guess she was kinda like Diane from Twin Peaks. Ta-ra, gang - it's been fun!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


I'm gearing up to head to Bradford - or, as it's doubtless known, 'the Other Happiest Place on Earth' - later this week, so here's a quickie podcast update before I get back to me preparations.
In this month's episode (which, as always, you can stream or download) Steve chats to the directors of both Monsters University (now out to buy) and the sure-to-be-a-smash Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, while I dust off a now two-year-old interview with my favourite stop-motion storyteller Adam Elliot.
This was originally recorded just for an article but it came out quite clear, so I've had it in the wings waiting for an excuse to bung it in an episode pretty much since we started. Said excuse ties in with my aforementioned Bradford jaunt, as I'll be there for BAF at which Mr. Elliot will be attending, so knock wood I'll get to do a follow-up interview, this time in person. I've spoken of the man's work as a key influence of mine (especially with Throat) but for a quick refresher course he made the Oscar-winning Harvie Krumpet and the brilliant feature film Mary and Max.
We're working on the particulars of our festival coverage but one strand we'll hopefully manage to get done will be daily mini-podcasts, so keep your eyes on Skwigly over the course of the fest.

Monday, 11 November 2013


It's been aggravatingly-delayed but book two of the Throat graphic novel trilogy is now out. Huzzah!
Granted, the whole story has been self-published for over a year now, but these editions are the ones that actually make it in stores and on Amazon so I've been a little worked-up waiting for things to sort themselves out. Anyway, the log jam has finally cleared and it's available to buy now, so please do grab your sexy selves a copy!
As with book one, this volume comes in both a colour (right) and, for the cautious spenders amongst you, black and white (left) edition, both with extra, exclusive material. In this case it goes into the production of the animated trailer, which I've finally put up to mark the book's release:

Most of the animation for this was done nearly a year ago with some fine folks pitching in, particularly my wonderful friend Luca. It was an interesting way to work with these characters that for so long just existed as still drawings - seeing them move is still a little odd for me. The idea is for it to function as a 'teaser' trailer, with the hope that it intrigues potential buyers.
For absolute clarification, this book isn't a sequel to Throat. It's highly doubtful there'll ever be a sequel as the story was a complete one-off. This is the second part of the three-part, serialised version of Throat (in other words, the middle bit), following on from Throat: Coping Is Coping which came out last year. If you have the original, independently-released version of Throat then you have the whole story already, though by all means if you fancy buying these version too that'd be mighty divine of you. They make great Christmas presents, I hear. In case you were struggling for ideas for people. Just saying...  
Buy Throat: Manageable Unease (colour edition)
Buy Throat: Manageable Unease (black and white edition)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Crustaceans and Cephalopods

It's been a little while since the last Channel Flip round-up, so why not treat yourself to some animated frivolity to break up the drudgery of your day, drudgeypants? The latest Wobble Box features some anxious octopi of mine in a skit that comes in around 1:26. Why, that's just enough time for a...

Elsewhere in the HuHa-niverse, a thoughtful tale of office diplomacy, doom holes and crab people. As best I'm aware the red button reveal at the end isn't a Bobby Yeah reference, but I like to pretend it is.
This one largely dealt with pre-existing character designs I didn't come up with, so aside from cobbling it together I'd say my proudest contributions are the mutated, chitinous crab legs. I wanted them to be unsettling in an understated way so elected to have the characters performs squats when standing. Watch, forever:

As with most of my recent HuHa commissions these ones were mainly put together in Toon Boom with a soupçon of After Effects. For the doom hole at the end I revisited an estranged-though-not-forgotten friend, Cinema 4D.

If you're lucky there may even be a sequel. Man alive, what a tease I am.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tender Lumplings

Happy Hallowmaween my friends, fairweather friends and frenemies alike. May it be creepy, cooky, mysterious, spoo- alright, you get the idea.
Halloween, by sinister coincidence, tends to occur the same week as my birthday practically every year - thas'sum scary shiznit, yo. Typically I like to meld the two into one week-long alcolohol'n'sugar fest, and this week I've been particularly spoiled.
Midst my hedonism I found some time to throw together a piece on one of my favourite UK animators, stop-motion nightmare-weaver and fellow Pattonophile Robert Morgan. After a lengthy podcast interview last year in which we discussed his BAFTA-nominated Bobby Yeah - a Lynchian, Svankmajerian and Quay-ier-ieran stream-of-consciousness masterwork - he's produced another new film Invocation for this year's Random Acts scheme. Combining live-action with his fittingly gruesome signature style, the short is set to debut tonight so tune in to Channel 4 at 00:30.
To find out more you can read the article and watch my exclusive video interview from when we caught up in Annecy earlier this year:
The full interview will be included as part of an upcoming Skwigly video special, so watch this space for more on that before the end of the year.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Squeezing All The Goodness In

It's been many moons since I last updated my showreel, being distracted by the very employment it led to. Deep, eh?
I may have also been distracted by Breaking Bad a little bit. And, far more alarmingly, Catfish. But I'm all out of episodes for both, so unless I overcome my violent aversion to the voice of the narrator and fall into a destructive spiral of Come Dine With Me reruns, my time has freed up a bit.
The last few years I've updated the same reel by swapping old, ropey footage for new, swanky footage, keeping the main structure intact. Having been assured by many previous and prospective employers alike that it was overlong by at least a minute, this time around I redid the entire reel from scratch to get a concentrated 90 seconds of my absolute favourite shots:
Consequently I had to be pretty ruthless, and a lot of the earlier films of mine - House Guest, Ground Running, The Naughty List and my ode to Opie & Anthony Chicken Chokes You - have been whittled down to a few seconds of footage each - ol' zombie duck barely gets a look-in nowadays. After a hideous commission that started the year off (represented above only with a fleeting, modified shot of a cat running - nothing else from that doomed project need ever see the light of day) I've had a pretty good year of short commercial projects as well as the ongoing HuHa webisodes which, coupled with my love affair with Toon Boom, have been a great shot in the arm and give the reel a lot more stylistic range. Other projects thrown in the mix include work for Channel 4, Slurpy Studios, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and New Impulse Media. I'm still holding back on the Bullies footage as, even though it's all animated and awaiting a distribution plan of action, for the time being I want to keep it under wraps until the final version's been seen in full at least a couple of times. Some HuHa clips represent the same animation style so it'd be somewhat superfluous anyway.
I also wrote the music specifically for the reel, I wanted something quite punchy with a simple enough 4/4 to make effectively editing the clips a bit easier. At the moment the piece is merely titled "Hire Me Already" and features some nods to a certain band I may have professed to admiring once or twice.
For no other reason than I have a YouTube channel, it's also up on my YouTube channel. So if, for whatever reason, your machine or device or doodad doesn't like Vimeo you can watch it there instead:

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Yam Handed

You look down in the dumps, old friend. As well you should, if things are so dreary that you've come here of all places for distraction. How about a heapin' helpin' o' HuHa to perk you up, misery-tits?
Episode 9 of Wobble Box went up earlier this week, my wee contributions to which being the deoderant (1:01 in) and escalator (2:09 in) skits.
The former was an entirely Toon Boom affair, including the backgrounds which I kept loose'n'colourful'n'simple.
As per there was a lot of fun design work coupled with minimal animation. Get some sketches down ya:

That last one is for the escalator bit, the assets for which were also done in Toon Boom. I wanted to do something less identifiable as my style and so went with something more cartoon-modern.
The colour approach was thought up on the fly - rather than solid colours I scribbled them in on their own layers on a boil, exporting them separately from the character animation before compositing both with textures in After Effects.
Over in Skwigly land we have a new podcast after yet another unexpected hiatus. There was one scheduled for September but we hit our first genuine snafu when our lead guest inexplicably rescinded permission to be included. First time for everything, I suppose.
Far better sports are Chris Landreth - the Oscar-winning NFB director known for Ryan, The Spine and now Subconscious Password, a wonderfully-relatable tale of a man's inner turmoil as he struggles to recall the name of an old acquaintance he's bumped into at a party - and Chris Shepherd, the chap behind the much-loved shorts Dad's Dead and Who I Am and What I Want among others. Shepherd has recently been involved with 12foot6, Random Acts and Autour de Minuit, the latter for his new live-action/rotoscoped short The Ringer, a genuinely touching father-son tale and one of my favourites from this year's Encounters.
Thrown in the mix are musings on shows like The Simpsons outstaying their welcome, general Encounters chitchat and my usual sanctimonious pontifications on filmmaking. You can do the streaming/subscribing/downloading thang at your leisure and discretion. Whichever option suits you best. There are no judgements here.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

For the Arthouse Crowd

I'm chin-deep in Encounters festival coverage this week, so here's a special cultural treat for you - the entire series of Wobble Box (so far and with the odd exception of episode 5) en français! 
Mais oui!
Eez it not très belle?

If all the above awesomeness is too much to handle here are a couple of bits I animated on their lonesome:

Monday, 16 September 2013


With this year barreling by at a scrotum-tighteningly terrifying speed, I keep falling behind with the whole blogging thang. Currently my existence is an impenetrable soup of what's happened/what hasn't, what's online/what's not, what's public/what's private etc, so it can all get away from me a bit. I'm gonna be 30 in a few seconds so give me a break.
There've been a few HuHa! updates in the last couple months worth rounding up. Firstly the plucky Assassinen Babies (as they're known in Germany) make an appearance on their own in a standalone version of their debut skit. Those who speak the language will gather from the comments that its whimsical subtlety didn't play quite as well to the German YouTube crowd.

There's also the French version, Bébés Assassins. Good god, it's like Muzzy up in here.

To an altogether more positive reception here on their home turf, the English Assassin Babies made their thrilling return to Wobble Box in episode 6. Who knows what peril and adventure they'll face this time around? Find out below (around 2:13 in)!

Here are a few yummy mummies I sketched for it. These are all loosely based on some real-life new mothers I know. From what little time I've spend with their respective young'uns I expect they're just as effective in a combat situation.
 Two more skits I did the visuals for show up in episode 8 which went up today. Starting with High Seas which is a fun, concentrated 15 seconds of swashbuckling that was a joy to design.
I liked how this one came out so much I took the assets and made an illustration piece out of it. What an onanistic delight I am:
Secondly is High Winds. That's wordplay humour, son, let it wash over you. Like the pirate one, this was quite simplistically animated with some special sauce courtesy of After Effects.
The skits show up at 0:36 and 1:53 respectively, but why not go ahead and watch the whole ep? It's only wee, sure it is.

There's also a more recent episode of Fantasy Office, which saw me charged with designing some 'Salesman D-bags'. The main antagonist was loosely modeled on Michael Douglas in Wall Street.
Check out the full episode here:

Also, as I don't want to leave what I'm certain is a monstrously high percentage of this blog's readers who live in France hanging, you can watch the French translation L'Office de la Fantaisie episodes 2 and 3 below:


Monday, 2 September 2013


I don't usually post commercial work up on here but I'm rather fond of the way this recent one came out. Put together by the lovely folks over at Slurpy Studios, it was designed and composited by Katie Steed with character animation by yours truly.

I can't speak for the the service the company being advertised provide but I'm sure they're fine, upstanding chaps and chapettes. I mean, they work in insurance so they'd have to be, right?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Community Spirit

"Down in front!"
I'm very pleased to report that the Skwigly/Encounters Showcase evening was, by all accounts, a resounding success. As it turned out demand exceeded supply as far as available seating went so a lot of folks had to prop themselves up at the bar, but to everyone's credit they stuck around and the films themselves got a brilliant response, which is the main thing. The venue was great, with screening facilities that really did the films justice and pint glasses of popcorn that seemingly appeared out of nowhere for the audience's nourishment.
Pic via @EncountersSFF on Twitter
As well as the amazing friends of mine who came by, some of the filmmakers themselves were also in attendance and it was great to chinwag with some new folks from the Bristol animation scene. Due to work and distance constraints myself and a couple of writers were the sole Skwigly-ites there, but the Looking Glass staff and Encounters Fringe Events organiser Steve Presence were very helpful. After the screenings wrapped I quickly devolved into a babbling, local-ale-fueled drunken degenerate as a reward to myself (putting on a facade of competent professionalism really takes it outta me) and had a brilliant evening overall.
 You can check out a full list of the evening's selection over at Skwigly. Thanks so much to Lee Daniels, Oli Putland, Linda McCarthy, Ant Blades, Špela Čadež, Will Adams, Emma Bell, Rumpus, Animade, Yonni Aroussi, Ben Genislaw, Paul Hill, Craig Knowles, David Ridges, Ross Butter, Isabel Peppard, Will Anderson, Sam Morrison, Darren Robbie, Jamie Smart, Jane Davies, Philippe Vaucher, Jon Dunleavy, Georgia Yorke, Barry Purves, Dan Ojari and Mikey Please for letting us screen their work!
The subsequent phone/email/social media feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and while there are no immediate plans to have these types of events be a regular Skwigly thing, as a trial run to cut our teeth I can't imagine it having gone better.
Now to catch up on a week's worth of snoozage. I am plumb-tuckered out.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Skwigly Showcase - Wednesday Flier

Our Skwigly Showcase event is tonight at the Looking Glass in Bristol! If you're free, come by around 7:30, say hello and watch some free toonage of an evenin'! More info on Facebook.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Skwigly Showcase - Tuesday Flier

Hopefully see some of you sexy folks there tomorrow!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Fringe Inducing

This year Skwigly's media partnership with the Bristol Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival is a little more involved and has extended to its Fringe Events programme. To that end I was approached a little while back to put together a screening of short films on behalf of the magazine, which was a lot of fun and made fine use of our recently-launched Skwigly Showcase.
If you're not aware of it, the showcase on the website is basically a means to get any animation work someone has already posted online to the Skwigly audience. It's gotten a lot of great feedback so far and been a wonderful insight into how talented our readership is. For the showcase evening we've picked some of our personal favourites and I've also reached out to a few filmmakers whose work, while not available to the general public as of yet, has really bowled me over.
I think it'll be a fun night, so if anyone's around Bristol this Wednesday (28th), swing by the Looking Glass just next to St. Nick's Market, around 7:30-8ish. You can find out more info on the event at Skwigly or on Facebook. It's also totally free, so don't say I never treat ya right!
Here's an e-flier to whet your whettable bits:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Miss Us?

You've probably all noticed that the sun is shining brighter and food is tasting sweeter today. That's of course because it's NEW PODCAST DAY!
Alright, alright. Contain yourselves.
After a not-especially-intentional summer break, we've come back with some pretty great guests on offer. Steve interviews Eric Goldberg and Lauren MacMullen from the Disney camp on their new Mickey Mouse short Get A Horse; Laura-Beth talks to Saschka Unseld, the director of the Pixar short Blue Umbrella that's been accompanying Monsters University; and swarthy Bieber-alike Tom chats to Teri Hatcher on her voiceover roles in Planes and Coraline. That's Teri Hatcher as in Lois & Clark and Desperate Housewives, which is pretty damn surreal. We also have a more Planes-centric video of the interview which should help explain the 'swarthy Bieber-alike' comment:

As well as all this we chat with director and fellow podcaster Aiden McAteer on the Annecy film selections and read out some listener stories of freelance nightmare commissions.
Good, wholesome content all round. As always you can listen below, subscribe on iTunes and/or direct download!

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Here's the cover art for the second book of the trilogised "Throat" series. The proposed title is "Manageable Unease".
As I mentioned here when Book 1 was released, the hope was for this to have come out back in February, but now it's looking more like October/November. I'm not even going to begin to speculate when Book 3 will be released - as they say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Except in this case replace 'God' with 'subsidiary distributor with own, inscrutable marketing agenda'.

Monday, 15 July 2013

"Coffee please, Doris..."

At the end of last week the fine folks at HuHa discreetly put up "Fantasy Office" episode 3, following on from episode 2 back in May. While I did the animation for both, this one features a few characters from episode 1 which was designed by another chap, so I've attempted to bring the two styles together.

This one was written by Joel Jessup (apparently the credits at the end are wrong) and got some nice feedback over the weekend. Personally I found it quite satisfying as lip-sync on a skeleton is a f***ing breeze. Here are a couple of new character sketches:

As always I was up against it so the backgrounds were a bit rushed, that being said I'm quite happy with the crypt one:
Okay, that'll do for now. Frankly I've spoiled you enough as it is.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


First off, respect where it's due. RIP Mr. James Gandolfini. I've been in the midst of a massive Sopranos DVD rewatch, boring everyone with how amazingly it still holds up, and truth be told I'm a little shellshocked with this whole business. I'm not an actor but his performances taught me a lot about the power of how to carry oneself, that it's possible to be suave and overweight at the same time; What little game I had in secondary school I owe to my blatant imitations of his onscreen persona. Not only that, he was fucking hilarious. To pick one Sopranos scene that epitomised what he brought to the table would frankly be daft, so instead here's a clip from my favourite of his feature roles opposite Peter Capaldi in Armando Ianucci's In The Loop:
In the spirit of sentiments voiced during the show's multitudinous funeral scenes: "Waddayagonnado?"
On the HuHa! front, here are some sketches for a quick skit that I managed to crowbar in before I left for Annecy:
There really was hardly any time to knock this one out, so the animation's possibly even more limited than usual. That being said, the script gave me a chance to have some fun with the designs and I'm pretty happy with the end result. The only thing I'd maybe have done differently had there been time would be making the 'imagination' backgrounds a little more crazy/detailed.
The full Wobble Box episode it's featured in (second-to-last skit, around 3'35" in) went up this afternoon. Overall I'd say it's one of my favourites: