Monthly Archives: August 2011

Amazing Aardman Antics


My regular followers may recall a post a few days ago about the puppet place animation festival happening this week in and around the tobacco factory in Bristol. So far this festival has been absolutely brilliant and its on for the rest of the week , so still plenty of time to go and see whats going on. On Saturday they had open doors event at the puppet place hq , giving you a chance to see professionals at work. The place was full to the brim with fantastic animatronics , puppets , robots , an interactive screen , cakes and much much more. I then went along to the tobacco factory where they had a fantastic exhibition called morph vs madussa , a very exciting collection of early Aardman and Ray Harryhausen puppets, these included a bronze statue of madusa , he big dragon , puppets of a king from one of harryhousens fairy tales complete with replacement heads, of course good old Wallace and Grommit also had an appearence along with a few creature comfort pals.

This was all very exciting but nothing compared to Monday. On Monday me and a few friends paid to go to the Aardman model making workshop which was run by one of Aardmans lead model makers Jim Parkyn. we learned so much on this day , we made creature comfort mouths out of plasticine from the actual moulds used for the show!  I made part of a beaver mouth and also Ricky the alligator ( kind of had to really after my own crocodile film I did for uni )


(above is me with the farmer and pig from shaun the sheep )

In the afternoon we had a go with different hand armature styles and sculpted plasticine around them. we tried doing some free hand , wire hand armature making , and then Jim bought out this nifty little template device which helped get really good hand shapes out of wire which worked really well for such a simple idea. We all also went home with some materiel goods such as plastazote , wire , plasticine and bits and bobs all in all it was A GRAND DAY OUT 😉


The crab leg solution!


I have managed to find this puppet which I made in uni. And after a bit of consideration I decided to extract the armature inside so I could use the joints for my crab legs as they are the only thing that would create the perfect movement. I’m now very glad I did as my armature contains 12 of these joints , exactly the number I need for my crab’s legs – ok so I might have to replace 1 or two due to a lot foam latex in a few of the joints but its still going to be a lot cheaper for me in the long run. I’m not really regretting the taking part of the puppet as 1, I have managed to do it fairly discretely – discrete from the front anyway( ok so its not the tidiest job in the world but I think I would be able to place a standard wire armature in there and get it to work fairly well. 2, the puppet didn’t have a huge about of mobility to begin with ( despite all its lovely joints ) because of the mass and bouncyness of the foam it is made from. Below is a picture of the back of the puppet where I extracted the armature from.

I am also currently working on more character designs which will be up in a future post  once I have a few more images to show.

on a completely un-related subject  BEADS hobby craft now have a pic n mix beed section which is very cool you hand pic your own beads out of thousands and fill up a little pot for £3.95 ( I think ) at first it seems like a small pot but you can actually get quite a lot in there ( I did anyway ) see below my beads and bracelets I made with some of my beads!!! ( I’m quite excited about this as you can probably tell ! )

Last but not least another thing I am very excited about is Bristol’s festival of puppetry !! that starts tomorrow !! This is going to be a great festival packed with stop motiony goodness, lots of films being shown , work from Aardman ( naturally ) and world famous Ray Harryhausen . A chance to go behind the scenes at puppet place HQ  and lots lots more including a puppet making workshop with Aardman which I have booked myself into and am super excited about. The festival is going on for just over a week so I will be taking lots of photo’s and telling you all how amazing it is , if your around this week ( certainly if your in Bristol ) you have to come and check this out its going to be great!

Back from my adventures


Unfortunately this lovely camper van isn’t mine, but I did take this picture whilst I’ve been away. alltogether I was gone just over a week maybe. First with a very mini trip to the land of stoke-on-trent to visit a few friends, the trip to the lakes was the spontanious idea of my parents – not that I minded of course . So that is why my blog went very quiet for a while.

So today was the first real day I’ve had a chance to get back to work. I have decided for now to mainly work on my animation project “Bristol Safari” , Merlin hasn’t been forgotten but as its animation I’m hoping to go into I have decided to focus more on that. I have now set myself a deadline to have my first 4 episodes of “Bristol Safari” to be completely done and finished by Jan 2012 whoop. Any way enough of my yapping here are some pretty pictures of what I’ve been up to today.


Here is some gear I have purchased for Safron to rock. ( just as a quick reminder Safron is my wildlife presenter who will be played by a live actor , the bits that star Safron will be completely live action.








Below is some pages from my sketchbook.








These pages are getting a feel of possible shapes and colour schemes.








One of my creatures is going to be based on a crab – how close it will actually be to a crab I am unsure yet as I am still developing the character but I’m quite sure it is going to walk like a crab hence why I spent the afternoon working out a crab walk cycle ( stil to be tested) see below







lastly I went and collected some sticks to draw for reference , I am going to have a play with making the Crab creature’s legs very stick like – of course what i have to remember here is as this is for a stop motion film I have to have made a physical crab that can move the way I need it too in which case stick legs ( although they don;t have to be made out of sticks just look like them ) may or may not be too tricky to do we shall have to see what unfolds farewell for now followers of my blog which at the moment I think consists of Simon , Emma and possibly Lianne 🙂

The many faces of Merlin


As you know I have been trying to draw an accurate picture of Merlin ( played by Colin Morgan )from the BBC drama program Merlin. This is so I have good reference for an accurate Merlin sculpt ( yes I’m still on this ) I have decided to try and do a drawing of Merlins face once a day when I’m at home. hopefully meaning I will get better and end up with some good references.

so you know what I’m trying to achieve here are some pictures of Merlins character

















Here is what I have achieved so far – its ok I know I have a long way to go yet !

I will be adding a picture everytime I do one to the bottom of my blog posts

Volunteering at @Bristol


atBristol is a science center , for all ages but I would say maybe aimed mostly at children and families. A museum I guess would be the easiest way to describe it but not the best. AtBristol provides the opportunity for children ( and adults alike ) to get stuck in exploring science in a fun way. This is the reason I would hesitate to call it a museum as there are no glass cabinets , no red velvet DO NOT CROSS signs it provides a very hands on creative fun way to learn about science. It also has a big animation part to it , where children can go through the different stages of the animation process , starting off at the storyboard stage all the way throgh to filming it . The children can then save there film and edit it at home if they wish meaning they will be able to take home a part of the atBristol  experience with them that they can then share with others. I may be a bit biased I guess but the animation department is my favourite part, which is why I decided to aply to volunteer there, and so on tuesday following a previous phone conversation I had with the volunteer co-ordinater there , I went for a quick tour and a kind of briefing of what the volunteers get involved with ect and was accepted onto the volunteer scheme which I am very excited about. I think volunteering is a great thing to do weather employed or un employed as it gives you the opportunity to learn try and learn more. In the past I have volunteered for farms , soup kitchens , animation festivals and have taken away a unique experience from them all and I have no doubt that the same will happen at atBristol

more creative anitics from my holiday


wow that is a cheesey cliche of a title and it doesn’t really help that this blog is about pretty much about sunset beach photo’s. I have had an interest in photography for a long time and so when on holiday in a new place its hardly surprising I ended up taking over 400 photo’s ( not all of sunsets tho ) ok so I only went to north wales , the same place Ive been every year for like the last ten years, but it really is pretty and before i never had a nice new shinney camera ( new ish I’ve had it since Feb but still I’ve never taken it too wales and also whilst at uni I didn’t have loads of opportunities to go photographing for pleasure – there were a few but not many)

So I’ll start off with showing you a few HDR shots I tried out on sun sets. I’m still experimenting with this technique – hopefully getting better. The process of HDR is basically you take 3 photo’s of the same subject, one at normal exposure , one under exposed and one over exposed , you then basically stitch the 3 photo’s together in an editing program ( I use photoshop ) This means you get all the highlights and dark spots and colours , that you saw with your eye – meaning you can create a believable photo with a natural feel – not over edited

here are some examples

so here are the 3 photo’s I took , this was just before sunset ( about 10 min ) by the way this a picture of my most favourate beach ever- newgale, there is no better beach anywhere. Anyway for that reason I particularly wanted the sky and also the sign post in making the process of HDR essential really


and here is the final image of the 3 stitched together

below are some more of my final edited images from using the same technique


For more photo’s from my holiday ( not all HDR and not all sunsets and beaches – promise ) check out my flickr

Crocodile Surf Success


If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will know, last week I was on holiday , you may also know of a previous Uni project in which i made a film starring some large styrofoam crocodiles , so natrally I decided to put the two together and take one of thse crocodiles to the beach to have a go at body boarding with them. And I have to tell you , it worked pretty damn well! ok so maybe it didnt work quite as well as a professionally made body board but I caught a good few waves and caught the interest of one of the life guards.

I am planning to make some adjustments to the croc for next time I go to the sea side to improve the croc surfing ability.

First i”d the eyes’s they create bumps at the back which makes it slightly awkward to use so I plan to flatten them and have them level with the average hight of the croc head.

Second I plan to try and sculpting the underneath ether in a curved shape to channel water underneath it better. or I will just slim the board so it is less bulky hopefully making it lighter again leading to better performance.