The marvellous Millie Ross of Jotta met with Tom Mortimer of 12foot6 and we’d thought you’d enjoy a little extract from her enlightening interview :

Animation is great because it allows you to do things that aren’t real, so don’t look that gift horse in the mouth.”  Tom.

Find out what other nuggets of wisdom Tom Mortimer of 12foot6 – creators of the BAFTA-nominated The Sensibles, Modern Toss and other irreverent delights – has to reveal on his techniques when writing for animation:

Jotta: Who are 12foot6? Where did the name come from?
Tom Mortimer: Dave Anderson and myself, Tom Mortimer - we started it. We’re both 6 foot 3 so it was the sum of us standing on top of each other. As more people joined we realised our maths might be challenged a bit, so we stuck there.

How did you get into animation?
Dave wrote comics, and I wrote in advertising and for comedy. I started lecturing at the dawn of Flash at the end of last century and we quickly realised that making cartoons would be better than working.

Did you have a mentor when you were starting out?
I worked with some great illustrators when i started. We shared a building with the Central Illustration Agency and so met and listened to a few of them. Brian Grimwood,Simon Spilsbury, Robert Shadbolt, Geoff Grandfield. At the time illustration was being battered a bit because everything was going digital. But as we always say - good art will always find a way.

What’s your process for writing a treatment?
We like to try new things whenever we can, so it’s about getting the idea and pushing to see what we can do with it. And we like to get something drawn or made or modelled quite quickly. One piece of art will always inspire you to the next step we find.

Pencil & Paper or iPad ?
it’s a bit hard to send an email with a pencil and pen. But i know what you mean. We find there is a pretty simple rule in animation, in fact with any work I think - you get out what you put in. Put good art in and you stand a good chance of coming out with something you’ll be happy with. Use whatever tools you like, as long as it works.

When writing for animation what are the main elements to keep in mind for story development?
I know it’s been said a million times before but, make sure there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. We all need that, from 30 second commercials to 60 minute films. Also for us, something that’s funny too, but that’s probably just us, a bit of humor keeps you going day to day.

Read more at www.Jotta.com,  in the meantime here is a charming animation the team created for children’s charity BookStart, we love it!:



She graduated in theatre design from Central St Martin’s and has been working as an illustrator since. She is easily diverted from her lino cutting by floristry and the garden outside the workroom window in south west Scotland. She’s illustrated the 40 covers of the Penguin Shakespeare as well as the latest edition of the entire Harry Potter canon.

Just a little preview of her work I found on her website- http://www.centralillustration.com/illustrators/clare-melinsky

A very unique and interesting lino cut illustrator, who I wanted to look at as inspiration and as a guide towards any experimental illustration work I approach. 

Harriet Russell- Queen of Quirky

Hells bells, it’s been like Picadilly circus at CIA towers this week, we’ve enjoyed visits from several of our amazing artists including Her Royal Highness Harriet Russell, Queen of all things Quirky.

Witty word-play  features in many of her delightful illustrations, Harriet is exceptionally gifted at reinventing familiar objects, using well worn phrases and spinning tired traditions to her artistic advantage.

Here’s a perfect example of Harriet at her finest from our Alternative Games 2012 Calendar. And what a brilliant idea! Ditch the gym, skip to the laundry basket, brandish a hot iron and start steaming your ski pants. Bingo wings will be but a distant memory….

Golf just got Glamourous

We’re looking forward to a visit from Chris Kasch this afternoon, one of our talented Kingston graduates. His pop culture paintings inspired by artwork from the 60’s & 70’s have (unsurprisingly) attracted attention from the likes of Sony Music, Rolling Stone and Vogue magazine.

Luckily for us Chris found time to create a piece of sporting eye candy for our CIA Calender! Here’s one very glamorous golfer strutting her babarella stuff across the putting green. 

Try spotting Ken’s head.

(Here’s a clue -  he told her bum did look big in the mini skirt and she was really reallyupset.) 

Spiral Studio’s Album Cover Design

Multi media artist Darren Hopes of Spiral Studios has just finished the album cover for ‘The Edge of Different’ by electro indie band 'The Budda Cakes’ .

The guys describe their sound as : ’ vintage future ala Jules Verne meets Electro- Accordian and 1984-Walkman.’  Righto then, nice, simple brief….

Thank goodness Darren is an artistic wizard and responded to their ambient beats with this fantastic graphic design;

'the music is kind of happy and melancholic at the same time so I wanted to create a reflective scene scattered with motifs inspired by the song’s lyrics’ .

Darren blended photography with acrylic paints and digital tools to create his atmospheric interpretation. We think he’s managed the impossible, it really is 'happy and sad’ all at once -  respect!