Category Archives: Events

Seattle’s first ever Pencil’s are Drawsome festival

Tony White sent us this press release about the Drawtastic aninmation festival to be held in West Seattle, USA.


Definitely pencil this one into your diary folks! DRAWTASTIC is West Seattle’s new and exciting festival of drawing & animation.

This festival is entirely unique as it pays special homage to the ‘humble pencil’ in our modern digital world. So much focus is given to today’s new technology that the poor old pencil has become undervalued, forgotten and even dismissed. However, those who know how our modern creative industries work, realize that most foundation work invariably begins with a pencil drawing – and sometimes throughout the whole process too!

West Seattle's new and exciting festival of drawing & animation

The organizers feel its time to put the pencil back on a pedestal where it belongs! To start this process, Artists, Animators and Vendors are working side-by-side with Workshop Presenters & Top Industry Professionals to share their love of the pencil with art, illustration and animation fans everywhere. Add that to the 62 amazing animated films from around the world that they will be showing on the day and you’ll see that this amounts to a pretty incredible event that totally defines ‘Pencil Power’ at its best!

The best news of all is that everything is entirely FREE – except for a small charge for their Speaker Presentations that will help cover the costs of it all. (And even those are cheaper if you buy your tickets online before the day – especially if you go for the ‘Events Pass’, that will effectively give you 5 discounted events for the price of 4!)

So why not join them for this day of art & animation magic? Bring the family too! Additional FREE fun events will include learning how to draw caricatures, or how to make animated flipbooks – as well as other spontaneous happenings! Last but not least, at the end of the day in the theater, the best animated films will be presented with their respected ‘Golden Pencil Awards’ after which, everyone will be able to chill out at their last ‘Meet ‘n Greet’ event of the day (purchased ticket required) where Artists, Animators, Presenters and Fans can hang out together and share their pencil stories!

Click Here To Select Your Free Stitching Cards Pattern

‘33’ A celebration of SCRATCH

This is a guest post by Paul Thomas.

‘33’ years have passed since SCRATCH first appeared on a blank sheet of paper. Now is the time to celebrate and bring together his history in one place in Devon, the Totnes Library.

Scratch 33 poster

It’s another world since his first film for TAKE HART was broadcast on the 23rd of March 1983. It had been made at BBC TV Centre, a dream factory in West London. Once the selection from a vast archive of material was made I realised this would be the first time ever the collection would be seen. It was overwhelming to see the story of SCRATCH on display hoping to enchant the public.



The exhibition opens with ROOBARB. He appears as I began my career aged eighteen at Bob Godfrey Films in London. Bob’s most memorable character was a star by the time I arrived. It was while at this studio I received my breakthrough commission from the BBC.

Paul Thomas introduces the exhibition.

Paul Thomas introduces the exhibition.

The exhibition celebrates too the creative process of the animated film from idea to transmission print. Included are letters from the BBC. A storyboard and script. Production cels. The strip cartoons with over two hundred published in the Totnes Times and the life size cut out of SCRATCH in his Yellow Dustbin.

With such a time span of thirty three years the process and the TV show are history. They are also educational and my audience after the exhibition was opened by the Mayor of Totnes was St John’s C of E Infant School in Totnes. I enjoyed the many questions and was very pleased with the attention the children paid to my story. It was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Tony Hart, Bob Godfrey and make a reference to Kate Bush.

A recent image of SCRATCH as a comet has been very inspirational. I set up a project for the children to design the comet tail following the head I painted on A3 paper. It will be a long piece of work and have its place on the library wall for a while before being put up at the St John’s school.

Scratch 33 exhibition

It’s been quite a journey from an alley behind BBC TV Centre to Totnes high street yet after three decades and more SCRATCH has remained vibrant and full of fun.

He and I hope you enjoy his past, present and future.

Aardman create new film for Imperial War Museums

Aardman and ad agency Johnny Fearless have created a new film and campaign to promote IWM London and the new First World War Galleries (opening 19 July) and to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

Flight of the Stories 4
Flight of the Stories 1
Flight of the Stories 2
Flight of the Stories 3

The 90-second film, “Flight of the Stories”, depicts the journey of personal stories and letters written by those who never left the fields of Northern France during the First World War.

In the film, ‘quotation mark’ characters symbolising these stories emerge as lines are read from letters and diaries entrusted to the museum by relatives during and at the end of the First World War. As the voices gather, the bird-like characters join to form a flock, taking flight across Northern France and the English Channel, over London, and finally resting at IWM London.

Paul Domenet, Executive Creative Director, Johnny Fearless, said:
“ We wanted to bring people to IWM London to see and hear the words of those who lived and died through the war for themselves and encourage them to reappraise the First World War in a way, which is different to the stereotypical mud and blood imagery. “

Aardman combined 2D illustrations and 3D CGI animation techniques to create a hybrid effect, bringing to life the bold landscapes and muted palettes of war artists from the era.

Darren Dubicki, Director, Aardman, adds: “We took an idea that was to create a powerful piece of imagery that is suggestive of the paintings from the era coming to life, and therefore a stunning promotional piece for the Museum’s commemoration plans.”

“Flight of the Stories” will be screened online and in cinemas from Monday 7 July as part of a multi-platform campaign supported by posters, press, radio and online ads promoting the new First World War Galleries.

The posters feature the stories of personal objects will run in Underground stations on cross-track and platform posters, tube cards and digital panels.

Johnny Fearless was appointed by the IWM in an AAR-organised pitch in April 2013.

“The film is both beautiful and poignant,” says Penny Hamilton, Head of Brand and Marketing, IWM. “I think it captures exactly what we were trying to convey – for whilst it is true that some of the people never made it back from the fighting front, their stories have, and it is our duty at IWM to ensure that they continue to be told. This what we will be doing in our new First World War Galleries.”

IWM London and the new First World War Galleries will reopen on 19 July 2014 ready to mark the official start of the Centenary commemorations.

Watch the film:

NFTS launches new animation course with Aardman

The NFTS (National Film and Television School) has launched a new animation course in partnership with the Aardman Animations to meet the growing demand for animators in the UK.

The exciting new three-month Certificate in Character Animation course will be taught by industry professionals, including main tutors Loyd Price, Head of Animation at Aardman (Nightmare before Christmas, Chicken Run, The Curse of the WereRabbit, Flushed Away and Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists) and Mathew Rees, Supervising Senior CG Animator (commercials for clients such as Serta, Chevron, British Gas, Hershey’s as well as work on Pirates!).

The Pirates! from Aardman Animations.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists from Aardman Animations.

Loyd Price said: “The UK is very much a powerhouse of animation at the moment. Our continued success at Aardman and that of others such as the NFTS means that people are travelling to the UK from all over the world to learn our style of stop frame and CG animation. We’d like to build on that success by developing home-grown talent to work in this exciting entertainment industry.”

The Bristol based studio has enjoyed continued popularity at both the box office and the Academy Awards. It has won four Oscars and had 10 Oscar nominations including the animated feature film Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film this year.

The NFTS’ stop-frame animated film Head Over Heels was nominated for Best Short Animation this year – the only film school nominated for an Oscar in 2013. The School’s stop-frame animated film Miss Todd is also a finalist in the Oscar qualifying 2013 student Academy Awards (a competition it has previously won 5 times) and its charcoal-drawn animated film Magnificent Lion Boy is the only UK film school film in Cinéfondation at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Nik Powell, NFTS Director said: “We’re looking for applicants with a real passion for animation to join this flagship course.”

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director of Curriculum and Registrar added: “This course will give participants a chance in a life-time opportunity to train with Aardman animators and gain the highest level of animation skills that can help them get jobs in this growing industry.”

The 12 –week intensive course will take place at Aardman’s Bristol headquarters and provide the core practical skills needed to become professional animators. The majority of the course is practical with participants working on animation exercises to improve their skills, knowledge and experience. This will also be supported by animation theory. It culminates in a short character animation sequence – pre-planned and boarded – to showcase the skills learnt during the course.

Don’t miss out – Apply before the Friday 21st June 2013 deadline for the Certificate in Character Animation course that starts in September 2013.

VIEW Award Contest 2012 call for entries

The VIEWFest, Digital Movie Festival is scheduled for 19 – 21 October 2012 in Turin, Italy. During the festival the VIEW Awards 2012 will take place. The contest plans to widen its scope with new themes, new subjects and include digital work from both students and non-students.

The deadline for entries is 15 September 2012. Works by students will be especially welcome, since VIEW prides itself on being the place to express and discover new digital talent. If you have completed an animated short with 3D animation and / or VFX in 2011 or will complete it in 2012 you are invited to enter.

Further details and entry forms are available on the VIEW Conference website.

Here are the winners from 2011:

Best Short:
“De Riz ou d’Arménie”
by  Hélène Marchal, Samy Barras, Romain Blondelle, Céline Seille, della scuola Supinfocom Valenciennes.

Best Design:
by Pawez Debski, FUMI Studio

Best Environment Design:
“La Détente”
by Pierre DUcos & Bertrand Bey

Best Character:
“A Morning Stroll”
by Grant Orchard, Studio AKA

Best Digital Visual Effects:
“Paths of Hate”
by Damian Nenow – Platige Image

International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2012 announced

The 14th edition, HIROSHIMA 2012 will be held from August 23rd to 27th, 2012.

The Hiroshima International Animation Festival is a biennial manifestation held in Hiroshima City in August, endorsed by Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFA). Under the spirit of LOVE & PEACE, the festival has been dedicating to the advancement of visual media art culture in general, by promoting international cross-cultural exchanges through the development of animation art.

It is a comprehensive animation festival, featuring competition programs to choose the Grand Prix, Hiroshima Prize and other prizes out of many latest animation shorts submitted from around the world. The festival also offers many special programs including retrospectives of masters and talented filmmakers, feature animations, high quality student works, animations for peace, for children, as well as seminars, symposiums, workshops, exhibitions, and educational film market, etc.

Competition entries will be accepted from February 1st to April 1st, 2012.

Contact details; HIROSHIMA 2010 FESTIVAL OFFICE, 4-7 Kako-rnachi. NaIKa-Ku, Hiroshima 730-08 2 JAPAN.
Phone: +81 82 245 0245 Facsimile: +81 82 245 0246

IdeasTap: Short Animation Competition winners announced

IdeasTap competition winner Smile by Chloe Rodham.

The London Barbican teamed up with IdeasTap, the creative network and funding body for emerging arts talent, to launch a new competition which showcases and celebrates the best new British animators of this generation.

Assessing the Barbican Animate applications were: BAFTA-winning animator Mike Please; Jayne Pilling, the Director of the British Animation Awards; Wallpaper Art Editor Meirion Pritchard; Robert Rider, Head of Cinema at the Barbican; and Tim Webb, the animator of A is for Autism and Senior Tutor at the RCA.

The winners are:
Betty by Jessica Wainwright.
River Wolf by Helen Woolston.
Rewind by Chris Butcher.
Forget Me Not by Lottie Kingslake.
Smile by Chloe Rodham.
Refrigeration by Matt Waruszynski.

The awards will be presented on 8 September 2011 at the Barbican Art Gallery in London.

Details of the winners can be found at

The 8th London International Animation Festival August 26 – September 4

LIAF 2011 hits the screen with 10 days of the best new animation combined with diverse collection of themed, retrospective and special programmes. From August 26 – September 4 at the Barbican, the Horse Hospital and the Rio Cinema, LIAF will undoubtedly become the centre of the international animation universe. You’ll see a comprehensive line-up from award winners, outstanding industry veterans, inspiring independents, stupendous studios and those wonderful newcomers exploring their talent on screen for the very first time.

LIAF is the UK’s largest festival of its kind, bringing the best new animated films from every corner of the world to London audiences, and showcasing the whole spectrum of creative animation. This year the Festival features 280 films from over 30 countries, most of them British premieres, divided into 8 competition programmes, plus a series of satellite events.

Programme info

Booking info for the Barbican screenings

Pixar director is featured speaker at VIEW 2011 Turin, Italy

VIEW Conference is Italy’s most important event on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 3D Animation, Gaming and VFX. This year the dates are 25 – 28 Oct 2011. VIEW Conference is followed by the VIEWFest Digital Movie Festival.

Sharon Calahan, the Pixar Director of Photography who created the look of Ratatouille and has just finished work on Cars 2, will present lighting design at VIEW 2011.

Sharon Calahan

Sharon joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1994 as lighting supervisor on the studio’s first feature film, Toy Story. She then served as director of photography on A bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Cars 2. Sharon knew at the age of three that she wanted to be an artist for Disney. She went on to study graphic design, illustration and photography. Following art school, she began her career as an art director for broadcast television and video production. Prior to joining Pixar, she was a lighting director at Pacific Data Images completing commercial work, longer format television and graphics packages.

More info from:

Gulp – The World’s Largest Stop-Motion Shot With A Nokia N8

Nokia and Aardman Animations have set another Guinness World Record for the ‘World’s Largest Stop-motion Animation Set’ with their follow up short film: Gulp, shot entirely on the Nokia N8, after having set a record for the ‘Smallest Stop-motion Animated Character’ last summer with Dot.

As part of Nokia ’s on-going campaign to bring amazing, authentic uses of mobile technology to life, Nokia has partnered with Aardman Animations and Wieden + Kennedy once again to create Gulp, a new animation filmed on the Nokia N8.

The film explores the life of a little fishing boat when the tide goes out. As the sea ebbs away oilskins and nets come to life manifesting a lone fisherman, out to find the catch of the day.

When he sets off across the sea he encounters an ocean vista of waves, gulls, clouds and fish all created using giant sand animation, carved in the beach itself. As the fisherman hauls in his sandy catch he is swallowed by a huge sea monster. Trapped inside the beast’s cavernous stomach, he accidentally sets off a chain reaction and is catapulted back to the surface, too late to save his catch from escaping back into the ocean.

Shot entirely on the new Nokia N8 smartphone, Gulp showcases the smartphone’s Carl Zeiss optics and its 12-megapixel photography capabilities. Three phones elevated 36 meters above the ground on a cherry picker on a beach in South Wales, UK, shot a canvas of 42.71 meters x 24 meters creating the ‘World’s Largest Stop-motion Animation Set’. The phones were mounted in a custom built rig inside a specially designed Peli Box and operated remotely by the camera crew in order to capture the huge images.