Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Whole Lottie Love!

Launch of the Jeanette Crizzle Trust went splendidly well on Monday. It was well attended by the press, politicians and public, so here's now hoping that the momentum continues and the Government push forward with their awareness/education programme on organ, blood and bone marrow donations. It occured to me on the day that as Patron of the Trust there was an even bigger synergy between this worthy cause and the thing I do that passes for a day job - Frankenstein's Cat, made of various body parts, and charities championing organ donation. A match made in heaven. If you can call by the website and give just a couple of minutes of your time to fill in the questionairre (quite painless and the information you give will certainly lead to helping saving lives) I and the Trust would really appreciate it.
In order to make FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT appeal to as wide a demographic as possible, we cleverly (at least I think we cleverly) introduced a female lead into the show, Lottie, the only girl in the village. If that sounds a little Little Britain then thats just fine, if a little parochial! So, while Nine doesn't fit in with the other Frankenpets (pictured below) because they're female, Lottie doesn't fit in with all the other kids at school because they're boys. It just so happens that she's better at all "boy activities" than the boys, but lack of that pesky all important "Y" chromosome means she's never going to be accepted.
So, in a very light and cartoony way we're touching upon bigotry with the show, albeit in an unnoticeable sublmininal knockabout comedy way. Hopefully.
The Frankenpets you see below are the original "male" version, Hyde the Hamster and Igor the Budgerigar. With the sex change came a name change - Heidi and Egora, which both work just fine for the show, still in keeping with Oddsburg.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oddsburg, home to Frankenstein's Cat

Oddsburg, the setting for the in-production-and-soon-to-be-on-the-telly Frankenstein's Cat. The artwork you see here is early development work for when we were working on the initial pitch document and bible, two years ago now. This particular painting was reinterpreted by the rather splendidly clever Ian Culbard for the original teaser trailer we did for the Cat, which went on to be screened at MIPcom and was well received. Previous to that it was used at Kidscreen Summit in New York where we first revealed the stinky moggie. That event really got the ball rolling, helped in no small part by the stunning maquette that Mackinnon & Saunders made as well.

Jackie Edwards, series producer, has been a star throughout development and now production. It's a pleasure to find a likeminded creative soul when working on a project and in Jackie I'm working with a producer who is 100% behind the project. Added to that she's the cow's udders at her job, as they say in the northeast...
Talking of the North East, the RTS Awards night was very enjoyable, and my handing out of a gong on the stage went through as smoothly as an eel through a jar of pickles. Accidentally brushed my hand against Robson Greene's buttocks but if he did notice I don't think he'd complain. My hands are very sensual lumps of flesh, if slightly hairy...
I'm going to be attending the launch of the Jeanette Crizzle Trust on Monday next week. Those of you who are regular readers of the blog will now about Jeanette as the lady who has been an inspiration to my work over the last few years. Our paths crossed when I did talks at her school in Bedford and we stayed in touch from thereon. Sadly she passed away last year to leaukemia, having been unable to find a suitable bone marrow donor. The Trust is set up to monitor and promote more blood, organ and bone donations across the UK, with implications for overseas as well. I've agreed to be patron of the Trust, which is really the least I could do after knowing Jeanette and her family. The launch was even mentioned in Prime Ministers Questions this week when Phillip Hollobone MP directed a question to Mr Blair, asking if an awareness campaign might be launched. Wish us luck for Monday!
To close this post, with visiting schools up an down the country I get to see quite a mixed range of artistic abilities in children. This can be prevalent in any one school and any one class. As the following illustrations from two children in a reception class prove:
Charles here has clearly drawn a, yes, you guessed it, it's a pig isn't it? Note the curly tale and alluring eyelashes, plus the striking and instantly recognisable round nose. I reckon Charles might have a future in illustration, he's one to watch.

And this is Adam's picture of a Cow. As you can see, the differences in ability are pretty wide-ranging. That said, I have no reference as to how good Adam's drawings of cows were before I visited so this might be better than his previous efforts. That's the most enjoyable thing about visiting the schools - you don't know what's going to happen each day!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The snow is on it's way...

And a Happy New Year to you all :-)

Apologies for my absence from the blog. It's been a tremendously hectic holiday period here which we're only just recovering from, not least the high mucous quotient that my family seems to have endured with the winter colds. Yes, Winter is here once more. I spent a good hour this morning chopping logs to chuck into the stove (yes, very provincial life I lead, I know!)

The image above is from a comic strip that I started called "Snowbored", featuring a sociopathic polar bear and an infuriatingly optimistic penguin. Would still like to get back to this if time allows but... time doesn't allow. I like the characters, and I think this initial strip perfectly captured their personas and where the strip might head to. And yes, I know they're from opposite poles but there's a reason to that particular madness.

Spent this evening scanning loads of my paintings from my originals portfolio for my Bada Bling website (which should be going online sometime soon). Result of that is there's more original artwork now for me to start putting up on the blog so WOO and indeed HOO!

I have some big events coming up in the diary over the next month. This Saturday I'm going to be attending a Royal Television Society dinner and awards night in Newcastle, where I'll be presenting the Best Student Animation Award. And at the beginning of February I'm going to be appearing at the Animex festival in Middlesbrough, UK, where I'll be holding character design workshops and doing a talk on getting projects pitched and commissioned. Well, at least I'll be talking from my own experience. If you can come along I'd heartily recommend it, it's a terrific festival. Details available on their website.

Bada Bling!