Category Archives: a little bit on the side

Bristol Animated Encounters – best week of my life!!


This week I had the privilege of volunteering for Bristol animated encounters festival here is my day by day account of everything that went on!


This was Tuesday 15th November , the day before the festival really got started. So today was really about setting things up and getting stuff ready for the week ahead. My day started at 9 o clock at the watershed where I met two other volunteers waiting near the bar. ( You might think typical but its more of a cafe/bar and it is right next to the room we were meant to meet at but was shut ). We were shortly met by the volunteer co-ordinaters and given our first tasks of the day. My first task was to go and collect 14 gold frames from wilko’s ( wilkinsons ) which entailed me going to all the wilko’s in Bristol!. This task was quite tiring but also quite fun. I felt like a runner for a big animation company which was pretty cool- yes I am a bit of a geek – an animation geek and proud!. From my little trip I also gained:

1) the number of wilkinson’s on union street ( although might of lost it now , but it still counts! )

2) the knowledge of the where abouts of all 3 wilkos in Bristol

3) you have to be 21 to buy scissors from wilkinsons

For the next hour or so I helped distribute t – shirts , tidy up unnecessary items and set out the tables with lots of flyers and magazines ready for the delegate goody bags. At two we had two production lines of bag packing going on and got 600 bags packed in about an hour !! The rest of the day was filled with transporting the bags and various other items from the watershed to the Arnolfini and making ticket passes

DAY 2 –  Wednesday 16th November

Started at 9 o clock at the Arnolfini , My job for the day was ushering which included handing out voting slips , telling people where the screening was ( which was the door I was sitting/standing in front of ) , Sitting in on a few of the screenings and running between the Arnolfini and watershed with various items. Oh yeah and the highlight of the festival I got the chance to sit with John K – creator of Ren and Stimpy to make sure no one bothered him with autographs ect. a 5ft body guard if you will! which then led to the well known roll of the body guard to casually COLOUR IN SOME OF HIS DRAWINGS  he was working on – It was soo coool !!!! he also took a picture of me colouring to put on his blog here is he picture

and the link to his blog is here for the proof loll! you may however have to scroll down a lot as he does update his blog alot! This was a GREAT day and a GREAT story to tell over and over again to my old uni mates and tutors when I met up with them later for a drink. To be fair it is my official claim to fame ! I finished at 3 and managed to catch a few more screenings before meeting up with my old class mates – I have made very good use of my free pass this week!

DAY 3- Thursday 17th November

Today I didn’t need to be at the festival until 3, so naturally I was there at 9 to queue for an attempt of gaining access to the Aardman workshop, which unfortunately I didn’t get into. I did however turn out to be standing next to Donna Spencer from studio AKA ( she was queueing for some different tickets ) so I got chatting to her , casually slipped her a business card which she said she would pass onto Phil Warner. Donna also recognized me from the the photo on John k’s blog post which she showed me on her phone – well worth getting up for ! Although I missed out on Aardman, I got to the box office and picked up tickets for the 10 o clock screening and also a John K event at 2. So with half an hour to spare I chatted  with some previous corse mates and got to play with and I pad which actually makes a lot of sense at a networking event such as this. As long as you have access to the internet , then you have access to all your online work. My friends went of to Aardman and I went of to the 10 o clock screening which contained some really great films ( film reviews are coming separately soon ).  I then had a little break for lunch before going into John K seminar which was great basically lots of his old awesome cartoons were shown ! I had to leave a little early to start my ushering shift but what I saw was awesome . Ushering was fairly similar to how I described it to be earlier , showing people where to go taking stuff to and from the watershed – this might sound somewhat dull but it really wasn’t I really enjoyed every part of my volunteering  , you were ether busy with customers or were able to chat with the other staff , It was really interesting talking to people in all sorts of different walks of life. At the end of my shift I managed to sneak into the second John K seminar in which he was talking all about his inspirations and what makes a really good animation. Which of corse was not only invaluable advise but also really interesting.

DAY 4 – Friday 18 November

Today I had the morning shift which started at 9 o clock I was ushering at the Arnolfini and I managed to get into the 10 o clock screening to “oversee” people watching the films but really it was just so I could see the films for myself. I particularly wanted to get into this screening to see Studio AKA’s film “Camera man” which was well worth watching – check it out if you haven’t seen it!!! after this was more ushering and pretending to sneak flyers to people – I say pretend to sneak flyers because they were actually free but it was fun pretending they weren’t and giving them to people. Sadly this was my last shift but it ended on a high as john k – the legend who had been working hard on caricatures all morning did a caricature of me as a thank you for helping him colour on Wednesday which was like the cherry on the top of an already fantastic week 😀   So as that was the last day for me that’s the end of my post – film reviews and updates to “Bristol Safari” coming soon but for now THAT’S ALL FOLKS!


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 😉

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.

The X Factor vs Productivity


For a good few years in a row now, I have been a die hard fan of The x Factor.  I have sat through hours of auditions and heart felt songs from people who desperately want to fulfill there dream of becoming a singer, and although the show has been a great deal of entertainment and amusement in the past years , a small thought that started off the size of a tiny seed that has now grown in to a mighty oak has been growing and that thought is “why I am I wasting my time watching this”  IT IS THE EXACT SAME SHOW year in , year out  –  only they have now got rid of all the interesting judges. So I have decided this year (better late than never) to not just not watch The X factor but to do something productive with the time I would of spent watching the show. So I have decided to start  learning welsh, I am technically quarter welsh and think the welsh language is really interesting. I’m not calling for a boycott of The X Factor here – in its own right its an entertainment program and if thats whats you enjoy then fair doos. But sometimes change is good , and swapping an old habbit for learning or developing a skill isn’t a new idea but it does make life more interesting.

Da bo ti !!!

Buisness Cards


I decided to have a bit of a break today so I could get out of the house for a bit. However  it is time I got some new business cards with my updated details , to take along to networking events and animation festivals. So I did find and design a few images for this perpose.

my scupts






I am planning on attending as many animation festivals as possible this year not to mention hopefully entering a few aswell.

I am already planning to go to puppet place which takes place at the end of august in my home town of Bristol

I have also entered and will be attending the Bristol Encounters

As yet I am still to experience these particular festivals so can’t comment on them apart from telling you I am very excited to go. I am also keen in going to Bradford animation festival , FLIP festival and also Stoke Your Fires.

If any one knows of other animation festivals particularly in UK ( watching my budget ) and also with a stop motion sector – let me know ! ether in comments or email me at



A few days ago I was emailed by a friend of a friend asking if I would be willing to have a go at doing some illustrations for the Childrens book she’s writing. Obviously I was very excited by this and said yes straight away – I’ve not really done much illustration before and in my drawing I tend to do more realistic and accurate drawing ( as much as possible unfortunately not yet in Merlin’s case ) but I think its good to stretch your skills and so that’s my challenge to you today readers ( and yes I know its cheesy ) TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT you never know you might like it!

Here is my initial drawings – Initial drawings are only really useful to make a mark on the page after that you really need to do some good research in order to develop you characters properly

First page of initial drawings

So then I had a look at an Illustrator the person I’m doing this for had mentioned his name is Gary Swift a professional childrens illustrator. Below is some examples of Gary’s work

work of Gary Swift - childrens illustrator

From looking at Garys work and a few other childrens charcters I saw that basically they where made up from simple shapes , so

my next step was drawing simple shapes from which I developed 2 characters from.

basic shapes shapes developing

shapes developinglight bulb

boy un colouredalien un coloured

boy and alien coloured



So I been trying to do a decent sculpt of the character Merlin from the BBC program Merlin to basically see if I can sculpt a recognisable  sculpt of him. I’ve come across quite a bit of difficulty due to the fact that 1. the character has a really odd shaped head and face and 2. there are only really pictures with him face on, I can’t seem to find any photo’s of him from the side view. So today I’ve literally gone back to the drawing board on this one- if i can’t draw him I’m going to find it very hard to sculpt him , from the front ways drawing I’m hoping I’ll be able to work out some side on profiles in order to use for reference in sculpting. Below is the  front ways picture of Merlin, bit hesitant to put this up as I though it looked ok before I placed the photo I was copying from beside it.





I’ll practise a bit more tomorrow – I can only get better right? also I have just found a side ways profile of Colin Morgan so this is also going to help alot , Plus my good friend Lianne Allen has just posted me some more pics on face book for me