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!:

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….

In the light of the rather breathtaking news that Harper Lee’s second novel ‘Go Set A Watchman’ is to be published, I’m re-posting the cover I did for the 50th Anniversary Edition of To Kill A Mockingbird, which was completed in 2009 and published in 2010.

This is the version you haven’t seen before, with Atticus, Boo and Tom Robinson silhouetted in the background (covered by the barcode on the printed cover).

It goes without saying that for whoever gets the cover art for go Set A Watchman, it’ll be a career-defining moment.