Friday, December 22, 2006

Tis the season of goodwill......

I go out of my way to correct folks who miscredit me for my work on BOB THE BUILDER - I'm quick to let folks know that I'm officially NOT "the creator" of Bob, although I am the man who designed the show from scratch, from a blank canvas, with no influence or input from anyone else. The originator of the show, however, would appear to have no such compunction in misleading the public as to his own involvement:

"If you want some psychology from Chapman then he readily explains that, to succeed, a character must “touch a child’s heart, bond with them emotionally so they can’t do without it”. Deliberately, he drew Bob with a big head and a small body because that’s how pre-schoolers look. Although he still receives handsome royalties, he sold the creative rights for Bob to Hit Entertainment to have the financial freedom to set up his own company. But you get the impression that he is rather wistful about that now."
This time round a Guardian article:
"This time around, however, Mr Chapman is doing things on his own terms. "I don't want to criticise HIT - they made Bob the Builder a major success. But I was only involved in the development of my property up to when it began on television," he said. "

Another glaring misconception. The creative team who took Bob the Builder through development to the BBC consisted of myself, Kate Fawkes @ HIT and producer Jackie Cockle @ HOT Animation. It was our collective work that got BOB THE BUILDER commissioned, and for that I'm immensely proud. There was nobody else involved.

What a great shame that, even with millions that my designs helped to garner, some people are incapable of letting folk know the truth. I'm not really that bitter, guys, it just hacks me off when I read rubbish like that. Looking forward to setting the record straight when we start promoting FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT next year. The preschool knitted mittens are definitely OFF! :-D

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all @ BADA BLING! x

Monday, December 18, 2006

Buuuuuub the Builder!

Inspired by the lovely Nik Holmes of Zombiedollars fame, here's BUB THE BUILDER, a preschool homage to one of my favourite zombie movies, DAY OF THE DEAD. Anyone who's seen the movie should get the play-on-words.

Had a lovely time signing at Borders in Middlesbrough yesterday - must have signed and shifted about fifty or sixty books. Was much surprised to be accosted by my first customer who said my stuff looked "rubbish". I smiled in a slightly surprised manner. He looked like a goth loving Derren Brown lookie-likie in a black beanie. I actually spied the "Qurios Entertainment" logo peeking out from inside his jacket and his ruse was scuppered. Yes, Gordon Fraser, COME ON DOWN! :-D Thanks for calling by sir and picking up a SKELETON book. Hope the kids dig it and you get your chance to read it soonly.

Was also asked by one well-meaning young man, in the case of BOB THE BUILDER, if when designing I "put myself inside the characters". I said no, and that I was pretty surre it was illegal in the UK and most states of America. He didn't seem to get the joke, but the gathered public seemed to judging by the titters!

The BUB drawing was doodled while I was between signings yesterday. Thanks again to all the staff @ Borders Teesside Park.


Was saddened to hear the news this morning of the passing of one of Animation's most enduring animators and producers. Hanna Barbera have produced over 100 shows over the course of half a century (I'm sure they don't need listing as we all know the usual suspects there). I for one fondly remember breakfast cereal boxes of the 1970's and the HB transfer kits of your favourite and obscure characters that you'd get on the backs of them - Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Trixie and Dixie etc, the really early HB characters.

I did a little spot on BBC Five Live this morning (Tuesday) with Nicky Campbell, giving my thoughts on Joe and his legacy. Inspiring man and an inspiring studio. God bless him.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

NOT my handiwork.......

Go on. Admit it. This picture excited you, doesn't it, in ways that are wrong on so many levels. Don't be embarassed. You're only human. Who could resist the appeal of a naked preschool builder with a strategically placed hammer to hide is toolbox?

I tumbled across this painting online by a lady named Suzanne Ozolins. I can safely say that I never envisaged that use of a toolbelt when Bob was designed, and I certainly never imagined him to have any nipples, strange, innocent, androgenous and sexless beast that he is :-D Thanks for Bob De Milo Suzanne!

Further to Suzanne's erotic Bob stylings, how I WISH I'd had one of these pinatas on the bleakest blackest days of Bob production. There weren't that many to be fair, but occasionally work on the show (like any job) could get one down. How much relief would I have experienced with a handy cricket bat and one of these babies??? :-D

Talking of all things Bob, I went to their Xmas party on Thursday night, and a most pleasant time I had indeed, catching up with all my old chums from the studio. Interestingly my producer from there is leaving and setting up shop at a different possibly more famous puppet animation studio in the UK to head up their development. Suffice to say I'll be pitching some projects her way when she's settled in.

Some of the production animation has started coming through from Kayenta and Quatre 21 studios in Paris for Frankenstein's Cat. Have to say I'm now more excited than ever by the show and it's look, as we've moved on such a long way from the work we did on the pilot teaser episode, ageing the whole show up with a more sophisticated design look and animation style. The stuff they're turning out is beautiful and has taken mine and Mackinnon & Saunders' breath away - they've done SO much more than we could have imagined. I look forward to the chance to post production artwork on here but I have to wait on permission from broadcasters for that call.

I know my artwork posts have been thin on the ground but hopefully I'll be able to start posting a few pieces again on the blog, starting with Bob Solo and Chewbobba...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Frankenfun aplenty!


Been very busy once more hence absence of posts! Lots of designwork for FC has been turning up in my inbox so that's been my priority of late. This week and last week I've made visits to London, one trip being for a Voice Record for FC. Was delighted to meet the wonderful voice talent, including Jimmy Hibbert (playing FIFI, BIG TOP and THE MAYOR), who as well as being an actor is a writer for animation who I've worked with back in the day on Bob The Builder. There's also the hilarious Keith Wickham (DR FRANKENSTEIN, MR CRUMBLE and PIPSQUAWK) sweetheart Alex Kelly (providing LOTTIE our heroine with a wonderful voice) and the sound stylings of Teresa Gallagher (SWEENY, IGORA and LOTTIE'S MUM) who is a whizz with hungry Brain impersonations... hard to explain but when the show kicks off that'll make sense. Also got to meet Joe Pasquale who is the voice of NINE, Frankenstein's Cat, and a thoroughly loveable fellow he also proved to be. He nearly fell off his perch when my new chum Kirsten O'Brien turned up as a surprise guest at the record, as he and she used to present a show on BBC some time ago! So yes, was grand to see the work that went into the record, and also see just how much the actors are putting into this. It's all tremendously exciting to witness and be a part of. HUGE thanks to Dave Peacock for looking after us all. The picture above is the original cast of children I had illustrated for the picture book, but they've changed along the way...


Met up with the publishing house Bloomsbury on Thursday to talk texts. They're the publishers responsible for a little known book featuring a wizard school, Barry Potter or summatorother... Anyhoo, all went splendidly and there's interest there in a novel series I'm currently working on (INJun you know the one). Can't say much more than that as I'm waiting for their feedback but the meeting was surprisingly productive. It's nice to get such positive interest in my writing, especially as it's one thing I love to do about as much if not more than anything else. Everything's crossed for feedback next week!


Anyone who enjoyed SHAUN OF THE DEAD and SPACED should check out the trailer for those clever fellows' new movie, HOT FUZZ, on You Tube. It looks like a thing of great, great beauty. Hooray!

Bada Bling!

Friday, November 24, 2006


To celebrate my 100th post on badablingthing I've managed to dig out the painting that kickstarted my whole Biteneck Beatniks project. This was done about 2 years ago, acrylics on board, and probably measures in the region of 20" by 30". The moody young lady has sadly savaged her cuddly rabbit in said painting. It's been buried in the eaves of the house for so long I'd almost forgotten I had it. It's certainly interesting to compare it to the paintings that followed (which are all featured in the earliest posts in the archives of this blog).

Been busy this week hence the lack of postings. Got back from a trip to London yesterday evening where I met up with some lovely folk from Nickelodeon and Orchard/Hodder Books. Bizarrely, one of my earliest train journeys to London and Hodder resulted in me thinking up Frankenstein's Cat. Well, I thought of another story this time round on my way down and blow me but it appears that the same editor may want to commission it. Just gotta get it written up now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006



Beginning of the week saw me at Darlington Football Club on monday and tuesday, inspiring teenagers and school leavers (hopefully) to work in creative industries. The event's key note speaker was "TV'S KIRSTEN O'BRIEN" as she is known in the showbiz world. Smashing job she did too and as you can see she's returned to the BBC as a bonafide fan of the patchwork cat.


Wednesday and Thursday I was in Bradford doing workshop on character design. Many thanks to all the lovely guys and gals who attended the workshop - I can only apologise if I at any time wandered off topic, as I'd only had three hours sleep with a crying Scarlett the night before. Got to hold portfolio reviews afterwards which ended up lasting longer than the 2 1/2 hour workshop, but I didn't mind as the whole thing was great. Got to meet some lovely people including the divine Joanna Quinn, whose Oscar nominated films and Charmin ads from th telly are always a delight. I'm also possibly going to be doing some appearances at NEWI college in Wales (hi Jim!). Also a big hello to the lovely Kerry from Aardman! And thanks to all those other folk who stopped or hunted me down (Fin, I'm looking at you) to chat :-)


Saddened to see that OFCOM have banned certain foodstuffs being advertised within childrens TV in the UK. Whereas they SHOULD be going after the government to clamp down on fast food companies and what they're putting in their products, instead they're victimising us, tv programme producers. The result of this lost revenue means that homegrown British programming will disappear from commercial TV stations in the UK, and instead the channels will be swamped with imported foreign shows. In my opinion this will lead to poorer quality television for kids in the UK, a great shame when you consider British Children's TV History.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


OK, so this wee fella is possibly the last (for now) from the Bobified HELLBOY Universe. Everybody's favourite shellfish inspired wartime superhero, Lobster Johnson, brought onto the pages of this ere blog. Not sure who/what to do next but have a list of requests to rifle through - keep 'em coming! Also, if you do have a BPRD character that you think will work, lemme know. Am sure there are some folk who check in on this blog who haven't a clue as to who Hellboy or the other characters are (in fact, if that's the case, may I direct you to your nearest purveyor of fine comics and towards the collected works of Mike Mignola and Guy Davis... you will not be disappointed.)

Busy week ahead of me as Wednesday/Thursday I'm speaking and holding workshops as the UK's Bradford Animation Festival. Sounds like it's going to be a hoot so am looking forward to it, having not been to this particular festival before now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


As promised, and possibly by popular demand, here is everyone's favourite fishman immortalised in Bobified glory, known to fans of Hellboy as Abe Sapien. See how I've cunningly changed his name via the magic of almost pre-school-esque play-on-words? I scare myself sometimes.......

Hope you all like him, and that includes any shadowy figures from the realm of Dark Horse who may be popping by for a looksee!

Bada Bling!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Following on from the Bob-A-Fett sketch, here's the next in what'll probably end up being a series of drawings I'll post on here. Hellboy has always been one of my favourite comics - like Walking Dead it's something I collect semi-religiously. Great stories accompanied by super artwork. Not that I'm claiming there's anything especially super in this doodle but hopefully it'll raise a snigger or two.

Mike Mignola. Jeeeeeeee-nee-us!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Dang right, he can! Still my favourite character from Star Wars, and also the coolest ever action figure, it was only a matter of time until I "Bob the Buildered" him. I've posted this in response to comments in the past both on here and on the blogs of Paul, Nik and Andy. I did mention that at one time I was often asked to do comic/film characters in the style of Bob - this first began at signings at festivals, and soon spread to bookstore and school appearances. I'll dig out the character doodles I've done of other infamous Bobified folk as and when, so they'll turn up on here intermittently.

Work back on track now after Lottie's arrival. Frankenstein's Cat designs come thick and fast, am opening my laptop for a bit of novel writing again tonight (have had a two month break from the book and am itching to get back to it, it's conclusion now resolved) and have also secured the services of Ian Culbard to co-write and animate a bonafide Biteneck Beatniks pilot episode/trailer.

Bada Bling!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More press for Frankenstein's Cat

Article in THE SUN

Just stumbled across this article online which I figure was in today's Sun newspaper. Not a newspaper I'd ordinarily get but might have to ask the newsagent if he can dig out a copy of it tomorrow as I've missed it now. Nice to see the Cat still getting column centimetres! :-D

I've been absent from the blog due to fresh fatherhood once more. Yes, restless nights all over again as we take it in shifts to be deprived of sleep. Wouldn't change it for a thing, mind you. Has been lovely this weekend to have all my kids at home with me, AJ, Evie and Lottie. A happier chap you'd struggle to find.

As things are settling back into order now it's back to work for me this week as the Cat production rolls on, namely with me churning out the designs for episode number 2. All fun stuff.

On a much sadder note, I'm sorry to report that my good friend and mentor Jeanette Crizzle lost her battle against Leukemia on Friday in the early hours. I first met Jeanette when I turned up to do creative writing and illustration workshops with her class of boys at Bedford prep school and her unfailing dedication to her pupils, literature and most significantly her family took my breath away. I've been back to Bedford frequently in the last few years, Jeanette principally being the draw. She leaves behind Adam and her two children, Emily and Nicky. I've agreed to become a patron of the Jeanette Crizzle Trust, hopefully helping to spotlight and raise the profile on the criminally ignored subject of bone marrow donation.

Following on from this awful news, I'd like to direct anyone who hasn't read it to "Harry" by Rosemary Timperley, in my opinion one of the greatest short ghost stories ever written, certainly the saddest. It's there alongside "The Monkey's Paw" for mine. Jeanette directed me to it when we first met and it had a profound effect upon me. Please try and pick it up if you're a fan of chillers/horrors. It can be found in various collections, most notably the Roald Dahl Book of Short Ghost Stories.

"Such ordinary things make me afraid. White roses. Sunlight. Sharp shadows on grass..."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Scarlett Victoria born 10/10/06

Proud dad and daughter here! Emma and "Lottie" are both well after a pretty traumatic birth. Lottie weighed in at 9lb 1oz which is pretty blooming big. This should explain my absence from posts and whatnots in the last week though.

Below we're joined by Evie, the doting big sister, and Nanny, my mum. Evie can't stop kissing her, bless, and kicks up a right fuss if she doesn't get to. Lottie bears an uncanny resemblance to Evie, as Evie had a full shock of black hair when she was born also (although she obviously "blonded up" at a later date!) Facial features are spookily similar though (and no, I don't just mean that they both have eyes, a nose and ears and the like!)

She's beautiful and I can only thank my wonderful wife for gifting me another darling daughter. AJ gets to meet her next weekend so that's the next thing we have to look forward to :-)

Illustration posts are obviously to a minimum at the moment but I'll be back on the pony before you know it, I promise!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Mr Zombie Presents......"

Big meeting tomorrow in Newcastle with Northern Film & Media. NFM have funded various projects I've worked on in the past and they're a wonderful organisation, a regional division of the old UK Film Council. I'm hoping they may be able to come on board as I develop a new series of short animations for mobile phones, titled above.

As a viewer, you are invited into the world of Mr Zombie, your erstwhile guide to life (or un-life as the case may be) via the magic of 2D digital animation! In shorts of various lengths (and I don’t mean leg-wear) Mr Zombie provides a quick insight into all manner of pursuits, from the mundane to the magnificent. Sadly for our titular host, each of these lessons results in injury, dismemberment, and body parts falling from his forsaken body…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Can he fix it? Crikey, he can!

Occasionally my work on Bob the Builder turns up an interesting and unusual design request, more often than not when we have a new character making a cameo in the show. This design was done for an episode recently and featured a cheeky, chirpy Antipodean adventurer who bore than a passing resemblance to the late great danger-seeker, Mr Steve Irwin. I know it's a little late in the day after Steve's passing but felt obliged to put it on the blog for all to see, having stumbled across it in my sketchbook. Watched his memorial service last week. Truly top bloke and bless his little daughter for her brave speech.

R.I.P Stevo

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Question for Americans!

Hullo all!

And your question is: In the US, do you have the popular children's nursery rhyme, OLD MACDONALD'S FARM? It's a standard over here in the UK, but am not sure whether it's something that's ever "crossed over". There's a bit in the chorus where we have an "EE AYE EE AYE OH", which in any world would be a regional English dialect. If you can let me know what you know of said rhyme in the States it'd be much appreciated as I'm working on a book proposal that could potentially be published in the US. Obviously, the audience knowing the original rhyme is quite pivotal.

Cheers m'dears!


Monday, September 18, 2006

WARNING: Fat Man on Trampoline alert

So, Emma and I were asked to join the North East's leading animation studio's director's for dinner over the weekend, Niel and Dianne Bushnell of Qurios Entertainment.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered it was just a ruse by Mr Bushnell to get me to leap for his amusement on his (not his children's) trampoline. If anyone is interested in cutting edge computer animation in the North East of England, concept development in gaming, or has even a passing interest in watching a grown man leap around on a trampoline doing "snake hip" twists while wearing a pink leotard, might I direct you to contact Mr Bushnell directly and he'll take care of all your animation, gaming and girlie needs.

Thanks to Mr Bushnell for the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Funny Farm




These paintings were done as part of an art show some time ago, my first individual one as I recall in Sam's Place Coffee House in Middlesbrough, UK. My favourite is still probably PIG PILE, the middle piece. They're all pretty big pieces and you might be able to see a peculiar texture to the artwork. This is derived from the fact that they are all painted on roofing felt, a surface that I love to paint on as it lends itself well to my drybrush technique when I'm working in layers. I used to do a heck of a lot of work on sheets of sandpaper, getting the same look, but I was limited to the scale I could work to. Roofing felt took that obstacle away. Plus I have the funkiest looking garden shed in Christendom now!

Dug these pieces out as they make me think of the kids. Not that my kids look like farmyard animals, you understand. But these paintings are pretty kid friendly, unlike some of my others. Emma and I are off to see the consultant tomorrow to find out what our next pesky baby is playing at in Mummy's tummy. Due date 8th October. Woohah!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just call me Groundhog Jobling!

This keeps on happening...

Sunday Times Article

Article appeared in this weekend's Sunday Times. Once more I'm credited as being the "creator" of Bob. I wouldn't mind but this time I even phoned up the journalist beforehand asking if I could proof read the story and ensure I wasn't being named as "the creator" - I was told not to worry that it was all in order. I wasn't allowed to read it though. Ah well, I've tried correcting people and it doesn't work. I'm resigned to the fact that these things are out of my hands now, certainly not going to lose any sleep over disgruntled "creators" out there who may feel I've nicked their title. Nice piece though, and the journalist Paul was a lovely chap. Just hope it helps towards our selling of the house.

Further to last posting, yep, we're looking to set up an official Frankenstein's Cat production blog, edited and approved by myself, Mackinnon & Saunders and the BBC. Things need to be checked first re: what we can talk about, but it should be pretty groovy and hopefully insightful.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Le Chat de Frankenstein

Off to Paris this week to team up with the nice folk at Kayenta studios, the co-producers of Frankenstein's Cat. Since we started actual preproduction at last a fortnight ago things feel like they have a real momentum, which is terrific. I'm particularly enjoying the feeling of freedom at getting stuck into designing the world of Nine & Co. In fact, it sends me back to those early designs I did on Bob The Builder (or Bob le Bricoleur as he is en Francais!) That's the point in animation where as a designer you really feel as close to God as you can get, outside of going to church, anyway...

If I had the time I'd be spending it producing large scale mood piece paintings depicting the "world" of the show, but I shall hopefully fit those in as time allows. I do intend to get some paintings done during production. Should provide a colourful production diary if nothing else, but should hopefully be a springboard to inspire the background artists.

Fly out on Wednesday morning but shall be checking in on blog while away.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

WYRDWOOD - "Chapter One" and "An unwelcome interruption"

Next passage up on Tales From The Wyrdwood

If you're following the story, please don't be confused. "Chapter One" is the opening chapter of the 'book within a book' that Emily is reading, and before long she's interrupted anyway. Should make perfect sense upon reading. I hope.

Many thanks to the kind folks who've been following and commenting on the story, including Ian Culbard, Justin Parpan and Larry to name a few. Don't feel put off by the length of it if you haven't been following it, just jump on board - the chapters are quite manageable I promise!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mr Mayo's radio show / The Hoovers

For those who might be interested, I'll be appearing on Simon Mayo's BBC Radio Five Live show tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon at 2:30 pm, 909/693 MW. Probably be talking children's books, animation, Bob the Builder, Frankenstein's Cat and all other fun stuff I hope. Either that or he'll ask me if I'm as hairy as people say I am...

Truthfully, really looking forward to it as it's a show that i listen to all the while when I'm working. Only wish I'd been able to make it onto the show on a Friday for the film slot where Mark Kermode turns up to review movies, bearpit that it is.

I meant to post these pictures a little sooner from the KNOCK! KNOCK! BOO! SCARE! project that I was working on with Ian Culbard. These were mood pieces done during the time that I was out of work, post Mars Attacks before commencing designing Bob The Builder. It was a period where I spent time developing my style and painting technique into something that vaguely resembled a more professional look. Hopefully it worked. As mentioned previously in the blog it certainly helped me secure the job on "Bob" as the little boy in the paintings isn't a million miles away from the yellow helmeted one.

Below is another painting from the KNOCK! KNOCK! BOO! SCARE series of stories, in particular from The Hoovers, a tale about a vacuum cleaner that comes to life and devours a family. Any similarity to actual vacuum cleaner brand names is purely coincidental. Honest. The manuscript for this, my first ever story written in ryhme, is below. Hope you enjoy.


On a cold dark night while the moon is bright
We spy a sleepy street
Behind each curtain one cannot be certain
Who or what we’ll meet

Take this one with the lights all on
A warm and peaceful sight
You’d never guess the horrible mess
That took place there one night

As Dad watched the news Mum had a snooze
Jim drank a strawberry shake
Jess sat by the cat on the colourful mat
Chomping chocolate cake

“Goodness Jess, what a mess
You’re such a mucky pup.
Crumbs here and there and everywhere
We’d better tidy up!”

There was a roll of thunder as Dad looked under
The stairs to find the broom
But the broom was broken so he pinned his hopes on
A battered and bent vacuum

With the lightning flashing, the thunder crashing
The rain had filled the gutter
Dad flicked a switch and without a hitch
The machine began to splutter

As the storm wailed the power failed
And the lights began to flicker
The vacuum cleaner looked a little meaner
And let out a sinister snicker

With a mischievous moan and a life of it’s own
It crunched up the crumbs from the cake
Revealing a grin it flew to the bin
Sucking up dust in its wake

An old worn out shoe, a used tub of glue
Yesterday’s cold fish and chips
Some fluff and some string, a limp onion ring
Finished off with fresh apple pips

Swallowing everything, gulping down anything
Eating as much as it pleased
First soup and a roll then a meat casserole
Followed by French wine and cheese

Though the wine was fine, the cheese divine
It wanted a tastier dish
With a growl and a grumble and a deep tummy rumble
It moved onto bigger fish

It grunted a groan and devoured the phone
Before swiping Dad’s jacket and hat
On it’s rambling rampage it gobbled the birdcage
Then sucked up the cat and the mat

As Dad stood perplexed it swallowed him next
With a snigger and slobbering slurp
Mum went after him followed swiftly by Jim
And it belched out a terrible burp

The mechanical lout then spun about
Heaving it’s sack through the air
Jess faced the fat beast all ballooned from it’s feast
And threw it a challenging glare

Without a sound she stood her ground
And faced the greedy thug
As it charged at her it didn’t matter
She simply pulled the plug

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Skeleton in the Closet

Taken this opportunity to post some scans from "The Skeleton in the Closet", a picture book written by the wonderful Alice Schertle that we did for Harper Collins US. Never got picked up as a co-edition with a UK publisher, which is a shame, as I'm often asked for a copy of it at book signings. The story follows a little boy who wakes in the night when he hears something knocking at the door. The first half of the book is quite creepy as the skeleton stalks up the stairs, saying his coming for "skeleton clothes" which the boy assumes means skin. By the time a goggle-eyed skeleton steps into the room, it's clear he's here to raid the closet, and sets about donning all manner of garment.

I loved illustrating this book as Alice's text was awesome, the most wonderful rhyme a child could wish for.

I mention this now as I'm doing a book signing this weekend at Borders Teesside Park, Stockton. I shall be in the store from lunchtime onwards on Saturday and will have copies of Skeleton with me for signature. Do come along if you're in the area.

Bada Bling!

Monday, August 21, 2006

We apologise for the interruption to your regular broadcasting

How do, all. Yup, been away in wet Wales with the family Bling on holiday. A lovely time was had by all as even the land of the leek and it's torrential downpours couldn't dampen our giddy spirits and happy hearts. Much unwinding was done, indeed I managed to not turn on my laptop to do any writing once, having been cold turkey on the novel writing for over 10 days now. Back to the task tonight though.

As such, I have a bunch of work deadlines to crunch through but shall be back to more regular posts as soon as time allows.

Thank y'all!

Bada Bling

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Crackin' train journey, Gromit!"

Yesterday I spent 7 and a half hours on the train lines of Great Britain, thanks mainly to having been invited down to meet with the lovely people at Aardman, in Bristol. Imagine the joy that burst forth from my chest when getting onto the train at York I found myself sat next to a shaven headed oik with the tinniest R'n'B pumping (or should I say crackling) out of his ipod into his jug ears. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I could have danced. Thankfully, he got off in the Midlands, hopefully to go and submit the good folk of Derby to his not-so-unique brand of poopy music. The rest of journey was an uninterrupted pleasure, there and back, as I was able to crack on with my writing, turning in about 7,000 words.

Big thanks to Dean @ Aards Features for giving me the "special tour", which I was assured was a rarity. The last person he'd done the tour for was some time ago, and happened to be Mike Hodges, director of such wideranging classics as Get Carter and Flash Gordon! So felt suitably VIPped up :-) Got to see some of the rushes from the new Creature Comforts USA series which possibly looks even better than the UK stuff. There's a wealth of loony voices for them to play with there, and they have a crew of something like 30 animators working on it, unbelievable.

Twas a splendid trip (thanks Cath!)

I've attached the picture from A CLOSE SHAVE up top as the soap box is my first ever job in animation. Nick asked me to make a Daz-esque box of soap powder called Sud-U-Like. That felt like a heck of a lot of responisbility for a work experience grunt, but I rushed down to the supermarket and stood there in the detergent aisle, garnering strange looks and looking like a proper plum as I sketched washing powder boxes!

I was made up when the Soap Box featured on one of the official postcards from the film.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Oink x 2

Just trawling through the back catalogue of "a freelance designers pitch portfolio" and dug up these two charming wee porcine fellows, who you can no doubt guess the names of. I was asked to pitch in my take on the characters, keeping the retro feel that they wanted. Sadly, the production company went with big emotive eyes in then end, whereas I felt that beady eyes were (and should have remained) synonymous with the piggy fellows. Ah well, you don't always get them all.

Very busy week doing lots of writing, plus things are really kicking off with Frankenstein's Cat. Am waiting for the nice fat juicy workload to wing it's way to me at present :-)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WYRDWOOD - "Grandfather knows best"

Next chapter up for those who are following the tale of Emily Feylock and the Skinny Twig Man.

On the subject of writing, cracking on at quite a pace with the latest story. Since the weekend I've been managing to get 3,000 to 5,000 words down a day, some achievement for me. That's something like a chapter, a chapter and a bit, a day. Sitting currently around 43,000 words.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ray Harryhausen Exhibition @ National Museum of Photography

Emma, Evie and I drove over to Bradford yesterday to visit the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television for the first time. I'd wanted to visit for ages as had heard so many good things about the place, with it being the largest archive of film, animation and television memorobilia in the UK. I wasn't disappointed.

There's a terrific Animation Gallery there, a whole floor dedicated to it complete with an Animator In Residence much like the Museum of Moving Image used to run in London. Didn't know until visiting but my old mate Chris Shepherd from Slinky Pictures, director of "Dad's Dead", was the resident animator there a while back. There are even some of my original Bob the Builder design sheets framed there, donated to the gallery by HOT Animation some time ago. Plus there's everything to do with British Animation from Dangermouse, Wind In The Willows, extensive Aardman features, Monkey Dust, Animal Farm, the list goes on.

Highlight for me was a wonderful extensive Harryhausen exhibition entitled Myths & Visions If you can I heartily recommend you check it out (I know RH fans like Justin P will be kicking their heels at this).

It's no secret that Mr H is "The Guv'nor" to me, indeed Jason & The Argonauts contains my favourite ever special effects scene, namely the skeleton attack. Can't think of anything that fired my imagination as a kid as much as that, not even the first appearance of the Star Destroyer in Star Wars. What differed about this exhibition to mostt other RH ones was the extensive amount of his original drawings, as well as Willis O'Brien ones too. Tons of good stuff including the skeleton sketches pictured here, from Jason as well as Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.

Go see!

Bada Bling!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Writing again / The Deadheads

Been a very busy week crunching deadlines, hence the absence of posts since the weekend. That said, it's no bad thing as it gives folk a chance to post, comment and generally have a bit of banter on a subject. For that reason I'll try and keep to about two posts a week from now on, with intermittent pointers to Wyrdwood along the way.

Wyrdwood was written a couple of years ago now and I'll be the first to say I haven't aggressively promoted/marketed it anywhere, especially not with a publishing house. For me the whole process of writing that first story was an extremely steep and perilous learning curve. Especially when I thought I was done with it and my literary agent Laura told me it was 3o,ooo words too long. That's right, YOU try cutting 30,000 words out of your opus (as I thought it was when I'd first written it!) But cut it I did, and through that I realised I have a lot to learn about novel writing.

I've been putting off working on my next book for a while now, to be fair, pretty much since Evie was born. Spare time when you have children is pretty fleeting. As a friend of mine would say, "it's as rare as rocking horse poop" (edited for reasons of good taste). This week I've knuckled down though, and am getting a few pages written a night; ten one night, one and a half the next, three the following, and so on. I'm enjoying it immensely. Telling stories has always been my first love. Hopefully with the one I'm currently writing I won't need to have such a dramatic hack at it when it comes to editing. Indeed, I shan't be in a hurry at all to show it to anyone once I've finished my 1st draft, as I want to let it simmer a while as I look over it.

The journey is a heck of a lot of fun.

And for those who want purdy pictures in the posts....


These characters, Larry and Lulu, were originally developed for FLYING CAT toys, and the images here are dummy maquettes that were made for one of the New York Toy Fairs. I'll level with you when I say I don't know WHAT's become of them, as there's a breakdown of communication when dealing with the other side of the world sometime! :-D

As with (too) many of my projects, my preoccupation with all things zombie rears it's ugly, stitched-up head once more. I wanted the Deadheads range to be a series of Playmobil-esque toytown preschool skits, where all manner of "normal" citizen was turned into a ghoulie...

Bada Bling!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Too weird.

As mentioned in the Yorkshire Post article post below, I found out this weekend that my "story" regarding moving home has now made the national press, namely The Guardian. WHY??? I don't get it, can only assume that Friday was a slow news day. The most worrying thing though is the fact that once one article is printed that names you (incorrectly) as "creator" of a sh0w like BOB THE BUILDER, everyone else does without checking the facts. I don't credit myself as the creator of said yellow helmeted builder, only as the "designer" and therefore member of the creative team. Can only hope there's no fall-out from this as it's totally out of my stumpy fat hands.

Most amusing though is that I should appear in the column anyway, alongside such celebrity notaries as Rio Ferdinand and Jade "Mingin'" Goody! :-D

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Monster Mob Sketchbook

Although the Mob characters are now part of the BITENECK BEATNIKS world, they started out life as just a bunch of doodles in one of my sketchbooks, some years ago. Indeed, as these sketches show, I originally envisaged that each beastie would be based upon it's own fear/sin, that kind of thing. These are really scribbly thumbs but I thought it'd be fun to put up some more sketchbook work.

There's also one of the Monsters shifting genre into "THE GOBBLEDEEGEE!", a monster tale inspired by my dad's bedtime stories when I was a kid.

"The Gobbledeegee, came out of the sea, it ate all the people, but it didn't eat me......."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Zombies: Return of the Disco Dead!!!

Further to the fact that the previous ZOMBIES post got so much interest, these are the first two pages of artwork I did for the BITENECK BEATNIKS: DAWN OF THE DISCO DEAD comic I was working on. By the time I'd got to that 3rd page I was beginning to find my feet, albeit still a way off from "match fitness". All new to me, the comics genre, in so much as being an artist- I've been a comics fan for years but this was my first stab at actually doing one. As such, it's probably a little naive but was great fun to work on.

Almost tempted to take a fresh run at it, but there aren't currently the hours in the day. If you have any thoughts on what should be going in the caption bubbles do dive in! :-)

Bada Bling!