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!