'Tis the season to be festive, so here's my bit of gingerbread architecture!
Gingerbread and icing, and boiled sweets melted down for the windows. The roofs lift off to allow lights to be placed in each of the four turrets. There's no balsa wood or dowelling in this foodstuff, unlike those cheating so-called-cake-decorators on TV.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Just some simple new photos for my book.

First time attempt at cotton felting, and a brain slug from material scraps.

Quill pen made from a buzzard feather.

Quill pen made from a Pheasant feather

An older print from a bit of acid engraving. I'd love to have another go at this.

Another puppet done, this one will be going up for sale on Etsy as a bit of an experiment.
Think of him as Ratman #2

A simple planter made of a lightbulb and wire

Festive rag rug wreath for the coming Crimbo.

And a bit of rough sculpting and testing: Fester Fish and some spider-head-thing.

A little bit of photography for some lovely illustrative work by Georgia Gloss

A little more experimenting with resin whilst doing other bits and bobs. I wanted to see how it reacts to sculpey after I'd tried plasticine, so figured I'd remake my plaster hand moulds in something a bit more sturdy. It turned out reasonably well, but I'm having some problem with the latex setting in the moulds, but that could be any number of things, so we'll see how that goes for now. 

Plasticine Maquette (left) of one of Graham Annable's (Grickle) illustrations of "The Hidden People" and a digitally coloured version of it (right).

My own take on Frankenstein's Monster, in plasticine.

Exactly what it says on the tin.

Well hello there stranger.

After a bit of a hiatus from blogging I'm back. Had a bit of a grotty cold over the last few weeks which has slowed me down, but other than that there's been good news in the form of receiving the Emma Jesse Phipps Bequest from University, which was a wonderful surprise. Also a nice trip down to Bristol  when I got to see some great Aardman props from Pirates! in the M-shed, including the huge ship used in the film. And my blog has just ticked over onto 20k views, huzzah!

I'll leave you with a bad quality photo of what I'm currently working on: my own take on Frankenstein's monster. Some better photos to follow soon as well as a couple of other sculpts I've been doing.

Wrapping up my final week at University, I finished with a satisfying First Class Honours, which has made the work seem worthwhile.

On top of that, I won the Trevor Beattie (TA2) Award for Stop-Motion, presented by Ian Mackinnon (of Mackinnon and Saunders) for my film "Being Dead". The other nominees were brilliant, and fully deserved it as well, so go check them out: Gareth Hirst, Claire Hanson.

Onwards and Upwards!


I'm selling the last few copies of the first batch of the book "Being Dead" off on folksy, so head on over if you fancy one!

Well, here it is, the final completed film!
If you go to Vimeo, you can watch it in HD.
Thank-you to everyone who helped in one way or another,
hope you all like it, let me know what you think!


For this project, I had set myself the personal learning outcomes of developing a substantial and well-rounded piece of work, that would stand well on it’s own as a piece. Also, that it should be based around the topics I feel strongly about; humanism/empiricism and education.

I wanted to achieve this using what I had learnt in Specialist Study One, that being the use of texture and leaving the ‘hand of the artist’ visible in the aesthetic of the work, and making it a feature.

I planned to achieve these aims through the continuation of study of stop-motion and fabrication, the implementation of mini-projects and creative concepts to achieve a high quality of completed work. Some of the new ideas and techniques I wanted to introduce myself to during the making of this project were that of getting a book printed up and ready to sell, trying out new illustrative concepts, and working with puppets and/or props that were produced by outside sources.

Scheduling the production pipeline for this project was done in a couple of different ways. The use of planning on a calendar for the various sections (fabrication, shooting, editing, e.t.c.) that needed completing in certain timeframes was helpful, but the implementation of using spreadsheets to produce dynamic Gantt charts to show the progress of the project, along with the time remaining was even more of a help to myself. I find it much easier to process information when in more visual forms.

The actual fabrication side of this project involved several sets and puppets and had to be well planned to a given scale as well as time-frame for shooting etc. Putting the production of one of the puppets into the hands of another person (Michael Price) helped achieve me aim of working with resources produced by outside sources, as well as working with other people to a strict design template and deadline.

Gathering feedback from people involved in the project (Michael, Ashton, Faye) as well as people outside of the project (friends, tutors, family) was all very helpful in steering the piece in the right direction, be it from using the right wording in the poem, the right font in the book or the way the puppets act in certain scenes.

Looking back at the project, now that it has come to an end, I can say I’ve fully achieved what I set out to, even if not to the full quality I’d have liked. A few minor setbacks with things like lighting and flash rendering held the quality back in certain areas. However, the areas I was more focussed on, those of stop-motion fabrication and visual aesthetic, I was more than happy. I managed to keep the ‘hand of the artist’ in the piece, keeping it tactile and textural while the practicality and usability of the puppets was excellent and they are holding up much longer than any previous efforts. I put this down to good time management and planning, as well as having learnt from all of the mini-projects and previous experiments with the medium. On the subject of mini-projects, the book turned out well, and rounded off the entire project nicely, with plenty to show for the industry show that I’ll be proud to have viewed.


Here are a collection of a few of the things that've inspired me throughout the project, be it for the visual aesthetic, such as the ones above, or for the narrative structure like the ones below. SunGuy heavily influenced my flash animation part of the piece, with the hand crafted textures in a digital medium. Bottle also has some lovely textural elements going on, as well as a lovely narratively told simply and beautifully.

During the filming of the piece, I wanted to incorporate a few different shots and angles, but had decided against using the MILO for two reasons:

1) After seeing some of the other students having used it, it was incredibly smooth, and after deciding to go with a purposefully hand-made feel to the piece, it didn't seem right. A little shake is all about keeping the 'hand of the artist' in the piece, which as you should know by now, I'm mad about.

2) It'd take too much control away from me for my piece. Using the MILO means having to put my shots in the hands of someone else, which, while they may have much better professional training than myself, may not fully understand what it is I want from the piece.

So with a few markers and a bit of basic maths I managed to pull off the shot's I wanted myself, and kept them within the visual aesthetic I was going for.

Job done.

After giving my printed book a bit of a pass around, Steve reminded me of something that hadn't crossed my mind, but is actually perfect for this book. The writing font wasn't quite right so he suggest doing it hand-written. This would suit everything about the book, as the hand-made aesthetic that I'm going for is all about leaving the imperfections in, and there's no better practice of this than hand writing. Plus I find that using a larger brush to do it with keeps the writing 'soft' and friendly, and a little bit lighter for the kid's book.

My handwriting isn't the best, but that's the point!

This being the first time getting any of my work printed into a book, it was all untrodden territory, but after reading a few reviews I decided to go with self-publishing website Lulu.com. It seemed to have a good range of options available for getting your book printed and the most reasonable prices I'd seen so far too! 

This did cause a little concern that the quality wouldn't be up to much, but thankfully my fears we allayed yesterday when the first copes showed up on my doorstep. I only ordered a couple just to see what the quality was like, and to get some feedback on (and spot any mistakes) before sending off for a more substantial batch for the show. I went for the cheapest of the options (standard paper, paperback, saddle-stitched) but with a nice 8"x8" square format for the pages, as almost all kid's books I'd read before were square for some reason.

The quality is really nice as far as I can tell (not that I know a whole lot about paper types and printing). A thicker glossy cover with nice matt pages, and just the right size in the hand. Anyway, enough gushing over how nice it is to have it all printed up in a nice book, Lulu I'd definitely recommend, and might go for a hardcover something next time.

Remember I was getting Mike to build one of the puppets for me?

Well here he is, in all his glory! He's a great little chap, and moves really nicely and sturdily too, couldn't have asked for anything better! All I need to add to him is the various mouths for animating, and some plasticine eyelids for the blinks.

Mike was  a pleasure to work with, keeping me informed throughout, hope we can collaborate on more things in the future!

Lighting the church set was a little more complex than previously, so a real collection of different lamps was brought in to make up the angles, anything I could scavenge really. Overall though, pleased with how it turned out, as I wanted to keep the scene pretty dark, even with a mostly white background, and without loosing any detail on Mike's puppet.

My only regret is the scene being fairly short so I don't get to use this wonderful puppet more!