Thursday, March 30, 2006


First bit of production art for MY DADDY was the painting that you see on yesterday's post (aside from the book that had obviously come out and is available from all good book sellers- just ask for it by name!) Ahead of this though I had to come up with some character designs for our leads.

The three girls who appeared in the book were aimed at a younger audience, whereas this film is aimed squarely at a family audience. My manuscript for the book had to be edited quite heavily from my original text, which, at the time, was deemed to be a bit too bonkers for a picture book. The script we're working with for the film is based on said bonkers script...

Three girls changed into two girls and a boy. While the two girls, HAMBEL and HELGA, trade verbal blows, young HUGO sits innocently nearby, oblivious to the battle of wills and simply content to play with his toy rocket.

So what's the deal with Hambel?

If anything, Hambel is the more conniving of the two girls, with a darker edge. There’s a cruel mind hidden away behind those gap teeth and jam-jar spectacles. She knows she can be cute and uses this to try and get away with misdemeanors. Unfortunately for her, Helga is immune to her charms.

Today's been a busy one as I had a script come through for a project I'm developing for (hopeful) broadcast. As we move forewards, again I'll post images from the show on the site. Well, we've got two writers from Newcastle working on the pilot, Andrews Mitchell and Smith, and I can safely say I laughed my proverbial pants off upon reading the script. We meet up tomorrow in Newcastle for a writers meeting, which promises to be a hooty toot time. I'll leave today's entry with my favourite line from the script:

"Ride like a bike for me, pig!"

Bada Bling!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


My Daddy is a short film based upon a book I had published with Harper Collins last year. It's a cautionary tale of one-upmanship, revolving around what happens when you fib about what your parents do for a living! It features Hambel, Helga and Hugo (pictured) and I'm hoping it comes in at about 3-4 minutes in length.

Animation is being done by those lovely boys at Seed Animation. Storyboarding, co-direction, additional animation, music score and knee cymbals are all provided by that one man animation band that goes by the name of Ian Culbard. have I missed anything off there, Ian???

Voices are provided by Kate Harbour (lovely lady, and Wendy from Bob The Builder amongst other infamous childrens TV alter egos) and Tanya Rich (punk rock loving Wolverhampton lass, the voice of "Joe Rigatoni's" with a penchant for sausages and the dubbing of foreign films...). And mighty mighty fine they are too. Animation is supposed to start today, after some delays in production. We had originally envisaged the film being completed in time for the Red Stick Animation Festival in Louisiana next month (follow link) but that aint gonna happen. instead, we'll finish this when we finish this.

I'll update development work on here as we trundle giddily through production. Morgan (Seed) and I did the long road from the North East to the South West yesterday, from Middlesbrough to Somerset to capture our characters' voices. We found them frollicking merrily down a country lane on the outskirts of Bath. I suspect they'd been drinking fizzy booze as they were quite easy to catch in our butterfly nets...

Bada Bling!

Monday, March 27, 2006

LOST: One Fat Wallet....

That's right, ladies. Cry for me. Cry for poor poor Curtis.

Sad to say that Sunday was a pretty poop day, as had the great misfortune of losing my wallet outside Borders, Leeds. I know exactly where I dropped it and ran back a matter of minutes later - gone. No sign of it at Borders or the store next door. Which basically means some opportunistic toerag has my wallet.

It's not the cash that was in there. It's not the inconvenience of having to stop and re-order my cards. It's the fact that my kids' pictures were in there that ticks me off most of all. Fool.

Off to Bath tomorrow to record a couple of fine voice artists for the MY DADDY film. Shall update y'all on our progress, and the film itself, on my return. Off to scrape together some pennies out of the back of the sofa now....

Bada Bling!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sketchbook 1 - Creature Features

Hopefully through the course of the Blog I'll be able to put a few images on here from my sketchbook. These, for example, were the precursors of the BITENECK BEATNIKS, a group of kids with the collective title CREATURE FEATURES, the whole concept revolving around Universal Studios Monster Movies.

The first trio of drawings were originally going to be a trio of Victorian sleuths but by the second set of illustrations the idea had transformed...

“CREATURE FEATURES” follows the exploits of a small group of children who solve weird, other-worldly and downright wacky mysteries in between school, comic-books and general adolescence. Combining all the key freaky elements of Universal Studios monster movies, The Twilight Zone, The X-Files and 50’s sci-fi movies, with a large dose of juvenile fun, the stories revolve around milkshakes and Martians, pinball and pod-people, B movies and killer bees! Our kids aren’t ordinary kids though. They’re… umm, different. They wear masks…

Via a fancy dress Halloween party that goes bad, our heroes are changed forever into the creatures that they were dressed up as- a werewolf, a vampire, a mummy, the monster etc. Their lives, irrevocably changed. We have the Jack Russell character in his earliest incarnation. Accompanying him is Violet Hampshire (Vampshire), the coolest beat girl from school. Then there's Eugene Sankey, the Frankenstinian creation, and Jacqueline Hyde- the unwitting lab-rat of her insane father, Jacqueline has the unfortunate habit of transforming into a rampaging monster!

It's still a concept that I'd like to develop, so if it piques your preverbial gimme a shout. Oh, it's a game idea as well. So, I'll try and get sketchbook pages on here is the long and the short of it.

Bada Bling!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I N J Culbard (or "Ian" to me)

Now and again you might find yourself in the fortunate situation where you meet someone, both professionally and socially, who you click with. Someone who to most intents and purposes thinks about things as you do, shares the same passion for work as you do, and even, as in this case, matches you for sheer hirsuteness. I was lucky enough to meet one such fellow way back at Art College in Middlesbrough and I count myself very fortunate that he's still my collaborator, confidante and (most importantly) friend to this day.

Ian Culbard is an animation director and comic book creator, and a better draughtsman I''ve yet to meet. Admittedly, upon his arrival at art college and his single-handed success in alienating himself from his fellow students like a proper cockney, we didn't really hit it off. That came with time. And man-cuddles. But a cursory flick through his sketchbooks back then was enough of a sign that he was going to make it, in whatever area of the Arts he turned his (hairy) hands to.

Between us we have many projects in development, and I like to think we're the first port of call for one another when we have ideas we want to bounce around and kick about. In talk with students I can never stress enough the value in someone who can be utterly honest with you, who can give you a straight and constructive critique of where you've gone wrong and how you can improve. Like gold dust, they are, and they have the moxy to say when something quite simply isn't good enough. Helps you raise your game, not settle for something which, be it story or design, isn't the best it can be. The big man has always been that for me.

A wee example is the case of Cheeky Monkey, my latest picture book with Oxford University Press. I was stuck for an ending until I chatted with Ian. He was more than happy to provide it and for that I'm eternally grateful.

If you follow the link from this blog you'll be transported magically via the wonder that is the internet to Ian's own blogsite, which is dedicated to his production work in comic books (and other stuff). He's recently had his first stories published by Dark Horse Comics (as featured here, Wild Talents: The God Machine) to much critical acclaim. His star, hairy as it is, is in ascendency so watch that blog. Hopefully, if he reads this, he'll start adding some goodies for us to look at too. Like I said, as an artist he's a class act, and as a mate he's pretty damn fine too.

Bada Bling!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Shake, Rattle & Roll

Busy busy day working on project pitches/development, including sorting out a new pitch document for the BITENECK BEATNIKS. All looking very nice but need to make sure it starts getting seen by folk such as broadcasters. If anyone would like to see the proposal, do drop me a line and I'll whizz it over. Am still on the lookout for a wealthy lunatic to come on board and fund the thing. Best go and look on

Two other projects, DINOSAURS AFTER DARK and another (unnamed) had to be prepared and sent off to Red Vision. We have a broadcaster to present them to very shortly but obviously the presentation needs to be right. Which I hope it is. I hope.

Also have a couple of other projects rolling towards pitch stage, specifically with two lovely monkeymen in Newcastle who have been known to post on here. Artwork is all there but I'm looking to get a new script approach cracked with the help of Andrews Mitchell and Smith. Can't wait to see what they've done, as the project is a really rather painfully funny one. As soon as we move onwards it'll start to get mentioned in the blog.

The picture above is Shake, Rattle & Roll. These villains are a trio of bank robbing skiffle skeletons, voiced in hapless Scouse accents a la the Beatles. I'm currently working on three seperate canvases, individually called Shake, Rattle and Roll, that go concurrently Blue, Green and Red. They should be available for sale as a triptych when complete.

Bada Bling!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Not EVERY book gets published...

Was trawling through my files earlier today and dug out the following images from a book I worked on that never saw the light of day. Very few people will have seen this. It was a collaboration between myself and wonderful Wallasey wordsmith (and lover of dodgy glam metal) Ian Carney. Ian's written for loads of animated shows, but is probably best known as the writer of many groovy comics, including SUGAR BUZZ and PANTS ANT.

POCKET DOG featured the adventures of the world's smallest dog, and how with the help of his rather ingenious girl owner, he conquered his size-related obstacles. Text was funny and bouncy, there was a sweet twist in the tail, and the pictures seemed to accompany the words well enough. Advanced reviews from our publisher, Hodder (who also published FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT) were good.

But it never happened. They changed their mind. And we were never really told why. I reasoned that maybe it was too close to Clifford, the Big Red Dog, but we'll never know I guess. The book concept also worked really well as a show, preferably a puppet/muppet type one. Hensons were interested for a while too.

Them's the breaks. Just a cautionary tale to say that even if an idea feels good, strong and right to you, doesn't neccessarily mean it's gonna fly. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and move on to the next thing.

Bada Bling!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Back from New York now, and terrific time was had. Got to meet up with some rather lovely folk while there, too. First off, had a nice meeting with Doug Hoffman @ Kid Robot. For those who don't know, Kid Robot is one of NY's premier vinyl toy retailers, and whenever I've been I've always paid a visit. Doug also did a Circus Punk for the Toy Tokyo show, something I had participated in with BB originals (I'll dig my pictures of those up for yall soon). Anyway, hope you're reading this Doug, and hope we can meet up on an art show sometime soon.

Also popped into the Animazing Gallery, which I last visited on honeymoon when they premiered the Dr Seuss art show. Hopefully be able to get something up and running there where my more kid-centric paintings might get the chance to meet an audience.

This is FLYING MONKEES ATTACK!!!, one of the BB paintings that I was most happy with and certainly the most ambitious from the art show. It's about 5ft long and on canvas. The villains are (hopefully obviously) the flying monkeys from Oz crossed with the Monkees band. Their power source comes from boy band music. Apologies to Micky Dolenz for the big-chinned, helmet-wigged, snaggle-toothed monstrosity that made it's way into my painting!

Bada Bling!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

So good they named it twice...

New York proving decidedly lovely/chilly/familiar. Got to the Tribeca Grand Hotel last night and managed to muster up enough energy to go out and have a meal at a proper family run Trattoria round the corner on the edge of Soho. Emma's choice was fishy fayre- squid, octopus, shrimp and other deep sea insects. Bleeurgh!

Off to visit some galleries and Toy Tokyo today. Woo and indeed hoo! I'd like to say that I'm on a mission from God, too, but I'm not, it's from Ian Culbard. Ian is working on me developing the BB's so he's asked me to snaffle as many pictures of New York street scenes/atypical props and sights as possible- street signs, traffic lights etc. All in the name of research, you understand.....

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Thought I'd make a wee break from the BB's ahead of the weekend as you're probably all beatnikked out if you've been following the Job-Blog. Normal programming shall resume shortly.

This, for the uninformed, is CURIOUS COW. Potted history consists of the fact that some 5/6 years ago I approached Nickelodeon with the concept for a series of interstitial animations (30 seconders) for them to drop amongst their programming. The idea they liked was this one. With the help of Mackinnon & Saunders we produced 6 shorts featuring the many bizarre deaths of this dimwitted bovine, superbly animated by the wonderful Stuart Sutcliffe.

Recently I got back in touch with them with some new ideas, but what did they say? "MORE COW!!!" This time round, though, they wanted a different medium as opposed to the original stop motion puppet ones. So, with Seed Animation, we produced 6 more in CGI. These were so well received that we were commissioned to do two more specials in time for Christmas 2005. Do follow the link in the control panel to Seed's website to see all the COW animations.

Off to New York tomorrow with my lady wife to visit galleries, eat some nice food and hopefully have a splendid time. Ergo, if I don't manage to do any updates on the blog, please be assured it's probably because I'm nursing my swollen torso from gorging on the all-you-can-eat Brazilian Buffet at the Plataformo restaurant... Yes, pity me, please do...

Bada Bling!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Holy pixelated bongos! Animated Biteneck Beatnikkery!

STOP THE PRESS! Exciting news on the BB animation front. Well, it is for me, anyway. Ian Culbard, longtime chum, collaborator and all round top bloke, is getting his big wookie teeth into some animation tests of the band. Sent me through a wee flash loop of Bass Face plucking his guitar a la Paul McCartney this morning. Feeling quite giddy with the results, as it's fair to say the animation couldn't be in a safer (or hairier) pair of hands. Once we've got them jamming to a bit of jazz we'll have something to show folk. But you heard it here first.

Also, the BITENECK BEATNIKS art show will next be visiting Darlington Arts Centre in the North East of England, throughout May. If you're nearby, do pop along to see the originals.

This is Green Queen, guest fluortist with the band. And here we have another of Chillville's most devilish villains, the Diabolical Doctor Love. He's basically Barry White crossed with the devil, and yes, his power does indeed come from soul music, sweet soul music...

A lot of fun to design, Doctor Love's trademark chestwig is a bit of a giveaway as to his background.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

BOOGIEMAN - Dawn of the Disco Dead

Busy day in production on MY DADDY, a short film in production with Seed Animation and Ian Culbard. We're hoping to replicate the painted characters I've developed as 3D CGI puppets using computer fandangled wizardry. The challenge is in capturing that painted look on the characters- not easy. Hopes remain high though.

The character of Bass Face, as featured in the blue painting, inspired the larger piece, "BOOGIEMAN- Dawn of the Disco Dead". More than that it's inspired the development work I've started on an initial comic strip of the characters, a WHOLE new ball game compared to other projects I've done in the past. I'm quite used to wearing lots of different hats to make a living, but producing anything remotely resembling a comic book has always been something I've yet to take a stab at. So bear with me- it could be hilariously bad!

But the painting itself features one of my favourite BB villains, Boogieman, a cross between Jackson 5 era Michael and John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever white suit. Obviously, he raises the dead by the power of disco. Obviously. So this first comic will be a zomborific affair, for all those zombologists out there (and I know you number many!) If I was ever to get into comics it'd have to be an undead-centric one. Either that or something involving sausage dogs.

If I can get the first model off the ground, Bass Face will follow next. He's mute, like all good bass players by the way. He provides the brawn in the band. And a neat line in polo neck sweaters. Nice.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Control art

Late home this evening after having met up with Dave Mousley and Chris Lunt, two wonderful chaps from Manchester's Red Vision studio. They're responsible for the award winning and acclaimed effects on a great many projects, including the "Battlefield Britain", "Titanic- birth of a legend" and the magnificent "Touching the Void" movie. Looking to collaborate with them on a couple of projects in the very near future- watch this space!

Here's a look-see at the kind of control art I have to supply to Colin Batty, the uber-sculptor who worked on the Ron maquette for me. This is, in principal, the kind of art one needs to rustle up if you're trying to get your character turned around into an accurate model with as few problems as possible.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Meet my agent..."

Travelling along M62 this afternoon taking AJ back to Warrington, and stopped by at the Borders outside of Leeds for a coffee break. Little fella starts bumping his gums with the staff in the childrens book section and before you know it he's snaffled me a new gig! I'll be doing signings there in a fortnight, Mothers Day to be precise, but it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Mini Me chewing the fat!

Book signings are great fun- put you one on one with your audience, like the storytelling workshops. Too many people work in animation and the like who produce things for kids without actually ever interacting with them.

Here's HOWL Vs HORN, by the way, featuring Jack Russell, a rockabilly wolf boy getting blown away. The palette for all the BITENECK BEATNIKS paintings is, as you can probably already see, set upon bold primary colours, predominantly reds, greens and blues. Don't want anyone to think that Badablingthing is just going to be a jazz-fest, so I'll be putting up images of other works in progress, including, hopefully, some design work from FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT when appropriate.

As ever, all feedback is welcome- if I'm showing the right kind of goodies here then it's good to know. Let me know what you want to see, and so long as it doesn't breech decency laws then I'll see what I can do.

"If you don't tell me, I'll never learn!"

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beatblasting a Brainjar in 3 Easy Chords

Busy couple of days. Spent yesterday at my son's school holding animation and storytelling workshops with all the children- ended up with doodler's wrist, a condition acquired after spending many hours sketching and re-sketching BOB THE BUILDER characters for 4-11 year olds. Still, lots of smiley faces and I suspect AJ has now attained some kind of cult status amongst his peers. One bigger kid even stepped up at the end of the day to put his arm protectively around AJ while I was signing books- AJ gave him a look as if to say "Who he?"

And today I've been @ Borders in York signing copies of CHEEKY MONKEY, my new book, as well as FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT and MY DADDY. Was most amused by requests to sign 16-18 year old's body parts. Obliged just the one, a rangey looking youth who looked like he was into death metal. Have to say it doesn't get much more rock n roll than when you have a Bob the Builder tattoo emblazoned on your forearm...

Here's BEATBLASTING A BRAINJAR IN 3 EASY CHORDS, one of my favourite BB pieces. Here we see a Brainjar Alien being head-pickled by a blast on Jonny B Green's rhythm guitar. The Brainjar musical cue is Elevator Music. You've probably already noted the homage to MARS ATTACKS in the Brainjar design- a hefty nod in the direction of the Topps Trading Card Co. there! Accompanying this is the character study of Jonny, in itself a much smaller painting. The character studies are a lot of fun to do (plus I suspect they're more in most budgets as art pieces, as opposed to the larger canvases!)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ron Go Bongo

Further to yesterday's introduction to the BITENECK BEATNIKS, we can go into a little more details of one of my favourite characters, the groovylicious Ron Go Bongo. For the purposes of comic/animation, the band has been whittled down to four key members, said bongo basher being one such component. Ron is the wise cracking prankster in the group, providing the band with bongo beats and extra cool. This painting is called "Ron Go Bongo Mondo Madness", and features our one man ryhthm section facing off against one of Cthubert Crowley's tentacled minions. All the villains that the BB's face get their power from different kinds of music- in the case of the Lovecraft inspired Cthubert Crowley it's classical music.

Following on from the painting I wanted to see how this character could be realised as a maquette, and leapt at the opportunity of getting Colin Batty (Mars Attacks, The Sandman, Uglydolls vinyls) to produce a sculpt of him. The finished piece is about 4" tall and I have to say Col, as ever, didn't let me down. I'm looking to get this into production as a toy line, starting with Ron, and seeing where it goes. You digging him?

Bada Bling!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Well, these are some of the initial paintings from the show, the self titled vampire jazz band. Ron Go Bongo has also been recently sculpted by Colin Batty, the sculptor who created all the Uglydoll vinyls for those in the know. I'll get a couple of images of the maquette up soonly. Looking to get this to fly as both a comic, toy, and animation project, so if you like the look please get in touch. I'll try and add a new image from the show with each passing day. All paintings are for sale.

Bada Bling!

It lives!!!

*smashes bottle of Lambrini on side of blog* I hereby name this blog "Badablingthing"! God bless all those who post gibberish in her!

As ever, Jobling arrives late to the party. Total novice at this Blogging gubbins so shall endeavour to keep my posts clear, concise, non-rambling, devoid of fluff and padding, unblemished by wasted words, bereft of brow boggling balderdash and unnecessary phillibustering.

So I'll sign out for now and add tasty art morsels as I go along, I hope, as well as news of project/animation development and my current whereabouts.

Bada Bling!