Friday, 31 December 2010

PROs and CONs of 2010

CON: Unemployed for personal best of 8 months.

PRO: Learned Dreamweaver + redesigned my website (leading to working on two other sites).

PRO/CON: Turned 24.

PRO: Returned to Norwich for the first time since graduating in 2008.

PRO: Reconnected with old friends from NSAD and my Foundation Degree.

PRO: Met new people and became a barista for 2 weeks with The Princes Trust and Costa.
CON: Didn't get kept on by Costa but (PRO) they did really like me and offered me a position later in the year (by which point I had another job).

PRO: Got a job at Sunnyside Rural Trust.
CON: Minimum wage and only 25hrs a week.

PRO: Found out I was part of an Art Foundation course's homework study, in Chelmsford.

PRO: My Sunnyside chicken designs were printed on t-shirts.
CON: They looked rubbish.

PRO: Coloured for a visually stunning music-video, an MA film and made new studio contacts.
CON: Still putting the free into freelance.

PRO: Created an animated presentation and earned a proper wage for it.

PRO: Met Tom Gauld, showed him my animated version of his comic and got approval to keep working on it, now working with James on foley and finishing off the last bits of animation.

PRO: Went to an interesting talk by Professor Brian Cox about his Wonders of the Solar System series.

PRO: Saw Flight Of The Conchords live at Wembley Arena!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Sunnyside Xmas Cards

Just before Christmas I designed a couple of animated banners for the Sunnyside Rural Trust site and used parts of them to come up with these two card designs, which were then sent out with the 2011 Calendar (+ Annual Report) that I also created in time for the holidays, pictures of the calendar soon!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Christmas Chickens

Sunnyside Rural Trust's Christmas themed banners for their website featuring the chickens having fun in the snow.

The calendar/annual report that I designed for them is going to print as the proof looks great, I've got to wait until next week to see it myself as I've been off this week.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Toasting Chickens

Short looping animation used on the Sunnyside Rural Trust website as a header gif from the start of November.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Beware the Chickens!

Animation made for Sunnyside Rural Trust (in Flash).
[View in fullscreen for all the little details!]

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Ood Party

The [dancing-moustache-wearing-tophatted] Ood (from Doctor Who).
Illustrated in Flash.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Let Go - Japanese Popstars

This is the latest music video for Japanese Popstars, directed by David Wilson, featuring some mind-boggling animation which I was lucky enough to help colour in parts of last week for David and the rest of the team working on it at Colonel Blimp, thanks to Toby Jackman (who did some of the animation along with several others, including Elena Pomares) for putting my name forward to the producer, always nice to be involved in something different.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Jam Process

Here's a part of the 5m30 video that I finished a few weeks ago and was screened at the 20th anniversary party of Sunnyside Rural Trust, it was the first part of the film I completed and it let me play with text masks as well as being a good reminder of how AfterEffects works!
More will be coming soon, just forgot about that pesky title-safe area for burning the film to DVD!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

They're here...

The chickens have landed!

After a bit of a wait, some delays and mix-ups, the t-shirts I had previously shown have been printed!
There are two designs; Tree (wrap around image, black on white) and Grid (four colour image), which will be on sale soon, only 75 were printed in this first run and we'll see how they sell before reprinting.

Tree (on Medium)

Grid (on Large Youth)
[click t-shirts to view larger images]

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Gentlemen Broncos

Recently I saw 'Gentlemen Broncos' - a strange film from the director of Napoleon Dynamite, I have to say that it wasn't all that great which was a shame as it had some decent parts, but they just didn't seem to really come together to make a great piece.
An awkward home-schooled boy goes to a writing workshop where his hero (a writer of absurd science fiction struggling to come up with his next bestseller, played with a bizarre drawling accent by Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame) is giving a talk and announces a competition for the best new sci-fi novel to which the boy enters his latest work only to be ripped off and taken advantage of by some odd, local filmmakers.

There were some extra shorts created as part of a viral marketing campaign, with Jermaine Clement giving talks in character as the aforementioned famous writer, but the best thing that I saw, many months before the film is this animation with a great style, both in the colouring and the use of hand-drawn characters with digital/photographic backgrounds and wonderful voiceover too.

Some of the best bits of the film were not part of the main story, but live-action sequences from the boy's book as he imagines it would be as a film. In these the main character of the book is played by Sam Rockwell, an actor used to sci-fi; already having starred in Moon (very realistic and serious) and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (as Zaphod Beeblebrox, being much more ridiculous) using a total deadpan expression despite the ludicrous nature of the boy's story (involving the pictured rocket-launcher deer and cyclops guards).

Sunday, 22 August 2010


A little something for my cousin's son, based on an idea I'd had for my graduation film, animated in Flash in a evening.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Type of Jam

I have recently been working on a short film for Sunnyside Rural Trust, and have finished off a bit about their jam making process. Mostly using live-action footage, with simple hand-held panning shots of the allotments, I included text interacting with the environment with several key-framed masks (using Wes Anderson's font of choice; Futura). Once it's all done for the 20th Anniversary Celebrations in September it will most likely go up on their website and I shall link it from here too.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Breakfast from the Past.

Cornflake Bowl, 2005

(Taken as part of a first year photography "Product Shot" project that I was totally unprepared for; no ideas/concepts, no materials/props and being the last in the alphabet I was alone unlike everyone else working in pairs. After a quick sketch session I got approval for the cornflake bowl idea, rushed to the shops and hunted for a bowl, spoon, cornflakes and table cloth material - specifically a blue and white checkered pattern. I recall a vast amount of the rest of that day was spent with the brand new bowl, plenty of spray glue and a lot of cornflakes being stuck to my fingers. Then we set up the shot, which was simple enough, except for getting the stripes of the cloth lined up. Despite the lack of planning and being a tad rushed in the morning I really enjoyed this project and am always rather proud of how the shot turned out, and the cornflake bowl was a delightfully surreal prop in itself.)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hypothetical Clothing

Sunnyside Rural Trust are celebrating their 20th anniversary, and so with that to come in September we thought that simply selling vegetables, eggs and apple juice we should create something that would be available all year round.

Everyone had liked my sketches of the different sites and the illustrated vegetables too, so now that we've sourced some blank t-shirts and screen-printing facilities I got the task of coming up with some designs. Using a handy t-shirt template pack I found online, I created a couple of different potential shirt designs, including a 20th Anniversary logo on the back of the neck, since a huge logo isn't that appealing personally. We'll also be looking into making tote bags with similar designs, particularly using the vegetables, maybe colouring a few of them in too, but for now we're focusing on the shirts.

At the Northchurch site we have about 200 chickens who live in the orchard where we source our apples for the juice we sell, not to mention their eggs, and occasionally they like to roost in the branches which led me to this idea…

In addition to this I'm working on an LED lighting website, a short film about the history of the charity (including some animation) and utilising my illustrations in several different projects.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Studio 4ºC

I've been meaning to write something about the wonderful animation company in Japan called Studio 4ºC ever since I saw Tekkonkinkreet last month. They are responsible for many animated shorts that I have enjoyed greatly over the past few years.

When the Matrix sequels came out an accompanying series of animations set in the universe of the films, imaginatively titled The Animatrix, was released on DVD. Several different studios with varying styles created and told stories that ranged from being tied to the plot of the films, to the history of the Matrix, or even just showing what happens when there's a bit of glitch.
In Beyond, one of Studio 4ºC's segments, a woman loses her cat in a crowded shanty town and stumbles across some kids playing in what they deem to be a haunted house, but is in fact a glitchy area of the Matrix. Gravity isn't obeying the laws of physics, time slows down and even more obscure things happen within the grounds of this house, it's a fun piece with a thin storyline but has very beautiful and textured visuals.

Another sequel and another tie-in animated DVD, this time around it was The Dark Knight in the cinemas and Gotham Knight at home, a collection of tales set in the Batman universe though not strictly in that of Christian Bale/Christopher Nolan's reinterpretation.
Here Studio 4ºC contributed two tales; the first "Have I Got A Story For You" being my favourite, possibly of the whole set, and shows some kids telling each other stories of their encounters with Batman and what they reckon him to be; a smoke creature, a robot or even a really large bat!

They have since also worked on a similar DVD release based on the Xbox's Halo series of games, however I have not played these a great deal and haven't been too interested in their story.

Tekkonkinkreet was a feature film based on a manga called Black and White, and follows two kids in a sprawling Japanese city who try to act as guardians when gangsters and strange ninja creatures come to town. I had been meaning to watch it for quite a while after hearing about it some time last year and then I'd spotted it and recognised the title after the local library held a Japan/Manga promotion with the usual Studio Ghibli fare. The backgrounds are unbelievable and show a staggering amount of detail, in contrast to the simple and fairly flat colours of the characters that help them to pop out of the scene, especially when they are moving about at speed performing swift parkour moves through the city.

This year it was announced that the studio has been tasked with bringing back the cult-loved Thundercats series for 2011, for now though I shall leave you with my attempt from the end of last month of emulating Studio 4ºC's style with a depiction of the Eleventh Doctor... hmm, a Doctor Who animation DVD, now that could work.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

North by Northchurch

Northchurch Site, Berkhamsted
(Black Fineliner)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Sketch From Above

Sunnyside Activity Centre, Berkhamsted
(Black Fineliner)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

About time...

Well, it had to happen eventually, bound to if you think about it long enough really... I have a job again.
Despite my best job-hunting efforts, all it took in the end was the secret list in the job centre's vaults of positions that were local and suitable. So for the foreseeable (read: 6 months) future I shall be working as a graphic/web designer, it's like a less Heat-worthy model/actress career.

And who was this company that willingly took me on board, well that would be Sunnyside Rural Trust, a mid-sized charity based in Berkhamsted (home of the UK's busiest Costa Coffee) who help adults with learning disabilities get out and about, working on the allotments and several acres of land they own as well as selling fresh produce in their shop and summer market stall.

At the moment I'm working on a website that is a side project/collaboration of the charity as well as trying to promote their eight-trained up PAT-testers by designing an interesting postcard (above) full of information on the back, not to mention a couple of hand-drawn plans depicting the two sites; to improve upon the simple coloured squares of Word it is currently made from.

So that's great that I get to work on several mini projects all as part of my job, and for the time being I'll mostly be working from home but they will be getting me my own laptop for when I come in to the office and as I'm doing just 25 hours a week I can still work on my own things as well as being available for other projects if needed.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Now in Monochrome!

Lucca, Italy


Three-wheeler, tree and alleyway.

(Quick sketches using black fineliner).

Vampires from Lucca.

Brown Paper + Fineliner.
Illustrated in Lucca, Italy.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Cracked 11th

Eleventh Doctor.
Illustrated in Flash.

Inspired by Jesus 2000

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Personal Logo

Having had my new website up for a while now I figured my blog needed a new header and so I'm going to try and put up a different variation on my name or the blog title (livingsketchbook) each week, or more frequently if I find myself with more ideas and I'll add them all into this post for preservation.

1. Jurassic Chris
2. Alien Chris
3. Doctor Chris
4. AT-AT Chris5. Chicken Chris

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Flesh and Stone

Initially my plan was to draw Amy alone in the forest from tonight's episode 'Flesh And Stone' but I ended up sketching out several little ideas that came to me as I went along, scanned the page in and coloured it digitally for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

CV: The New & Improved Edition

Yes, despite not actually having too much to add to it I have updated and redesigned my CV to now include a personal statement, clearer and more direct information as well as my newly gained qualification in Food Hygiene.

Find the CV and download it HERE!

Next week I start at either a Costa or Starbucks in the Milton Keynes area for a fortnight of work placement, having been taking part in the Prince's Trust's 'Get into coffee' course.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

I am the Doctor.

(Doctor Who/Audio is Copyright BBC; taken from Victory of the Daleks)

Monday, 19 April 2010

Eleventh Doctors

Sketching using Flash,
now I just need to learn Illustrator
to become a Master of the Creative Suite!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Island Folk





A short prequel - "Tale of the Space Snake".

The Further Adventures of Island Folk - CLICK

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Benefits

...of being an out-of-work animator I can borrow CDs from the local library for 50p each, and so recently I got David Bowie/Changesbowie, The White Stripes/Elephant and Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut album, which led to me trying to do something but quite frankly I don't know what I was going for really.

Thanks to my showreel has now been viewed nearly 300 times in just two months, this is possibly slightly skewed data though as each time someone visits my reelroulette page it autoplays the reel and counts as a view, nonetheless, I'm sure many more people have seen it than would have without such a site.

Last week I helped Jane out with a site for the tile shop she works for in High Wycombe, putting it together in Dreamweaver using the pieces that she'd designed prior to me getting involved, you can see it HERE.

I finally got round to reading both volumes of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (having noticed the library only stocked the second, who wants to start half way through a story!!?).
I also had the library buy in the first of the Scott Pilgrim books which was a very amusing read and now I want to get the rest of them - if you've not heard of it it's about a boy who has to defeat his new girlfriend's 7 evil exes in order to date her.

Edgar "Shaun of the Dead" Wright is directing a film adaptation of it with Michael "Juno" Cera playing Pilgrim, click here for epic epicness.