I’ve always loved making images. Most of them start as pencil drawings on paper but usually end up digital at some stage. Some of them start digitally in a camera and often I combine both approaches.
I used to spend most of my time making these images move, but I now spend more time illustrating and am happy to let the images stand still. Years of making cut-out animations for children’s TV, using both traditional and computer techniques, has given me a preference for assembling collaged illustrations from component parts.
Recently, I’ve been tackling more grown up imagery that still retains an element of story telling and frivolity. A legacy of making stuff for children.
Being born in the industrial West Midlands I thought I might be a draughtsman in the steel works, but it didn’t work out that way. My early work included being an animator/designer on children’s TV series such as – Bod, The Flumps, Pigeon Street and Rub-a-Dub-Dub.
Pigeon Street saw the start of my long-term partnership with animator Peter Lang. We went on to form the Cut-Out Animation Company; specialising in making mostly children’s animations using the cut-out technique. Though we started working traditionally with paper cut-outs, we inevitably migrated to computer.
Preferring to work as a small unit meant that in addition to animating, we turned our hands to all aspects of film making, including writing, storyboarding, editing, directing and even fund raising. Generally, I created the artwork and Peter animated. We took turns or worked together on all the other film-making processes. We made hundreds of interstitials for BBC and Channel 4 educational programmes. We also made our own independent animations, commercials and inserts for TV series such as Ragdoll’s – Rosie and Jim. We wrote and animated the series – Bonny, Banana and Mo for the CBeebies studio-based programme – Tikkabilla.
Making animations meant that I was always involved in creating any additional merchandising such as story books, colouring books, comic strips, jig-saw puzzles etc. This inevitably led to me writing and/or illustrating my own children’s books such as Little Giants. In addition I have always done photography, general graphic design, book design, CD/DVD covers, general illustration, educational illustration, apps….. anything really!
It’s all such a long way from the steelworks. Which is just as well since it’s now a shopping centre!