Thursday, 31 March 2011


This is a major headache for me. Trying to work backwards to pin down all the things that make me who I am as an artist and an animator and why I'm going where I'm going with this film, along with why I make the kind of jokes I make, all along with references and links and critical analysis sounds pretty close to all the things I hate about essay writing. But hey, I do what I'm told, and I was told to do this.

To start I'm going to list some artists who inspire me stylistically and I'll talk a little about what I like about them and what I'm taking on board.

Okay, let's begin with Chris Riddell since a couple of people have told me my drawings kind of remind them of him. I think he was a bit of an influence on me before I even knew what an influence was. He's an illustrator for children's books amongst other things, and that's how I discovered him, while reading the Edge Chronicle books. He's got a lovely way of catching a lot of realism while still turning the drawing into an illustrative caricature. Wide set eyes are something of a trademark of his, which is something I've picked up in my own art and he just makes his characters so interesting to look at, without making them ugly, a skill that is actually pretty hard to achieve.

As cheesy as it no doubt is, I'd like to list my team mates as inspirations. I think one of the best things about being here in the animation department is being constantly surrounded by other creative minds. Aside from their beautiful personal work, they also are a veritable gateway into the artistic world, introducing me to hundreds of other artists, a lot of whom I plan on listing here.

Here we have some of Lynsey's doodles. I was in Lynsey's group in the first semester of first year and even though I never spoke to her due to being completely socially redundant, I did marvel enviously at her sense of construction and ability to subtly caricature the models in life drawing. It is pretty much due to looking through Lynsey's blog and sketchbooks that I learned how to draw girls, and just improved my use of construction shapes in general.

Kat has a tremendous skill with colour and composition that comes through very strongly in her work. She uses these talents to artfully bring out emotion in her work, and coupled with her beautifully vivid imagination, to really instil a sense of back story to the art. She's great with a graphics tablet and pretty much my go to gal when I have to do some digital work. Like Lynsey, she has an enviable sense of construction, and a wonderfully fluid style of drawing. The only remotely critical thing I would say about her work is that sometimes it feels like she rushes her drawings.
I wanted to link to Suzanne's animation rather than her illustrations because I think that's where her talent shines through best. She's got a great sense of timing and composition as you will see if you watch the video on the other side of the above link. She also works really hard, which is inspiring in a different way, and she's great at drawing animals, something I really need to work on.

Tom's sketchbooks are proper works of art. His delicate use ofline is just beautiful, and he really utilises colour to it's full potential. Everything he draws has so much character to it, you can really see his sense of humour coming through, and every time you look at his drawings you notice something new that is guaranteed to make you smile. On top of all that, he's great at drawing fabrics, smoke and other visual effects, animals, and he's a really strong animator to boot. To be honest, I don't know if I could pinpoint specifically everything about Tom's work that appeals to me, I just know that I frequently find myself wishing my own work looked more like it.

Going back to people I don't actually know, here are some of Stephen Silver's sketches. I discovered Silver because Tom had borrowed one of his books from the library and it was sitting in the studio. I took a look through one morning and was utterly blown away by the man. It would be unfair to him to say that I like his style, because he doesn't limit himself to one. Silver seems to change styles constantly and they all look amazing. Looking through I found myself thinking things like, "That's a cool way to draw noses," then copying it in my sketchbook. Aside from new ideas like that, I also picked up a handy tip about drawing faces based around figure of eight shapes which has come in pretty handy.

Stephen Silver isn't the only person to have his work plagiarised by yours truly. There are quite a large number of artists who I've stumbled across or been linked to who have inspired me to draw things a little differently. Instead of going through every single one, I'm just going to take a handful and put up wee examples of their work.

Bobby Pontillas

Emily Carroll



I'd like to speak briefly about Kate Beaton, who's work is on the left there before moving on, because I'm going to use her as a convenient crux. This is because, not only do I reference her comic, Hark A Vagrant as inspiration for her drawing style, I also love her humour. See what I did there? We've moved on to a different type of influence. Kate Beaton's style of humour is excellent. The jokes are slightly surreal and always totally unexpected. She manages to do this however while remaining to be incredibly insightful and observant, and just down right clever.

I'm strongly of the opinion that life is generally too short to be taken seriously, and comedy is probably my favourite kind of entertainment. The following (In no particular order) are all comedies that are maybe a little surreal in places, witty, observant and just generally funny for all those reasons that are impossible to pin down. By no means are these all my influences when it comes to humour, but it's a start:
Monty Python
Black Books
Laurel and Hardy
Fry and Laurie
Tom Lehrer
Flanders and Swann
Ivor Cutler
The Big Lebowski
Tom and Jerry
Scott Pilgrim
Terry Pratchett
Green Wing
Rock Profiles
Kung Fu Hustle

The list goes on. That last one, Kung Fu Hustle, is quite relevant to our fourth year film, Eat Your Greens, because it is very fast paced and very silly with a lot of physical comedy, something we're hoping to achieve.

Okay, so let's look at some animations that I find particularly inspiring, then we can all go home and have a nice lie down in a dark room.

First up we have SuperGo, an 8 minute epic by Alex Butera. The plot is bizarre but very funny in places, the characters are, admittedly, all very similar and fiendishly simple (although their proportions are quite realistic). The animation is my favourite bit though. Everything moves so fluidly and naturally. There is some pretty extreme foreshortening and perspective in some shots and some of the movements and actions are pretty complicated. Everything has a beautiful sense of weight, etc. It's awesome

Next is Burning Safari, a Gobelins film It's 3D but the way the character's move is so fast and cartoony and wonderfully silly. It's exactly the sort of over the top action we're hoping to replicate in our film.

Another Gobelins film, Le Royaume Also very silly. I love the crazy character designs in this, and the fact the animation itself has been left kind of rough which gives it a slightly manic edge. Possibly what I love best about it though is the totally over the top, extravagantly cinematic camera shots. Some wonderful direction all in all.

And finally, here's a scene from Gurren Lagann, a Japanese anime that also sums up that whole "Taking itself so seriously it can't take itself seriously any more" vibe that I love so much. The whole program is pretty ridiculous, in a wonderful way, but some of these crazy action scenes really take the cake. Sends shivers up my spine. I also like the few split seconds where the animation is really nice but really unclean, and you have this wonderful scribbly moment of madness. I'm fairly certain that style is demonstrated better in another scene in the series, but since I've been unable to find it you'll have to settle for this one.

So that's it for now. I've spent more hours than I dare to count trying to amass all my inspirations and I've probably missed out an awful lot too. Hopefully I've met the brief, and hopefully there's something in there to inspire you too.

Chris Riddell's Edge Chronicles work:
Kate Beaton's Hark A Vagrant webcomic:
The Goeblins Youtube channel:

Blogs and Deviantarts:


  1. Ahhh I'm all mushy now! Thankyou! :D and you're right, I shall slow down a little bit when drawing :)

  2. You have found some wonderful inspirations here :)
    If you look on the right hand side of my blog, further down the page you will find a huuuuge list of people who influence me :)
    They maybe some interest to you too :P