Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Card designs

Just another quick update, this is the other Christmas card design I have produced to go with my Christmas Robin. I am now just waiting for them to be printed as cards. My boyfriend works with prints so he has very kindly offered to sort them for me. With a bit of luck he will do them for a reasonable price! :D... or else!

"Merry Kiss-mas seals"
© Chloe Howley 2012

"Pissed up Robin"
© Chloe Howley 2012

These were quite fun to do, I feel card design could be another sting to add to my bow!

Friday, 30 November 2012

My visit to Mackinnon and Saunders

As I mentioned in my last post, I met Ian Mackinnon of Mackinnon and Saunders at the Bradford animation festival which took place two weeks ago.

Ian very kindly invited me to come and have a look around the studio so that I might have an insight into the puppet making profession. It was a wonderful experience, Ian took me around each department and introduced me to some very talented individuals. These people are amazing! It was over whelming seeing the sheer amount of dedication and attention to detail. Many of the puppets and maquettes were familiar to me. As soon as I walked through the door I was came face to face with a life size model of the martian from Mars Attacks! 

I really enjoyed just being able to look around and chat with Ian and the other members of the team. Everyone was friendly and offered me words of wisdom! Having external feedback on my work always helps me focus on the key areas I need to concentrate on, so that I may continue to improve. Though I am really happy with some of the complimentary remarks I received.

My latest character "Frank"

This is the maquette Ian commented on saying that he liked that I had managed to make a simple character yet give it plenty of appeal and a strong form. He explained that often drawings and models can be made over complicated and detailed and mask the fact that underneath the form is off.

Again as I mentioned in my last post about Valerie Kausen (granddaughter of Chuck Jones) liking my quicker sketches. Ian said the same thing. He really liked the raw pencil lines in my life drawing sketches. He said that I should not be afraid to show more of my rougher sketches as I can draw and understand forms. This as you can imagine was a good confidence boost.

I know that I and many of my friends miss being at university, and this seems to be a common topic in recent blog posts. But even though I have left higher education I am still learning. Even in the few hours I spent at Mackinnon and Saunders I feel I have gained even more knowledge and experience that should inevitably help me on my journey to making my way into the animation industry.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Life and Animation related updates: Bradford animation festival... and I'm going to be an aunty

It has been a very busy and hectic time of late, hence why I have not posted anything in a while. In my ordinary everyday life I have had some good news and some not so good.
In October I lost my grandma to her terminal illness. She was such an inspiration, she taught me that you can do anything you set your mind to and enjoy the journey life takes you on. She was very supportive of my love of art and animation and she always encouraged me to go the distance. She will be missed very much.

Not to sound too cliché but as life goes on we are met with many ups and downs. On a happier note I am very excited to say that I am going to become an aunty for the first time, my brother Harry and his partner Rachel are due to have a baby in May!

My work and experiences are slowly growing, I have now sold a few more prints. Here is a piece commissioned for a lady at work. I was asked to sketch her niece and great nephew in the style of some of my more recent illustrations.

My commission for Lyn

And this is an addition to my portfolio for the Bradford animation festival.


I attended the Bradford animation festival (BAF) last week with my old university chum Elodie Markwell. We enjoyed a brilliant few days at the festival going to many interesting talks and screenings. It was fantastic for me to be around animation lovers once again! It was a well needed break from office life. 

Elodie and I had chance to network with some wonderful people in the animation industry, some we had met before. Mr Ian Mackinnon from Mackinnon and Saunders, I had met Ian previously when I was a student at a networking event at Staffordshire university. When I was at the BAFestival I recognised him and was able to re-introduce myself. I was able to speak with him a couple of times during my time at the festival and was lucky enough to be invited by Ian to go and have a tour of the studio! I will be posting about my visit there next week.

Another familiar face for me was Mark Shapiro (above) from the US studio LAIKA, creators of Coraline and ParaNorman

I met Mark earlier this year at the FMX festival in Stuttgart, it was great to have the opportunity to attend his talk and speak with him again. Thankfully he remembered me and I was lucky enough to enjoy talking with him and Ian over a nice cold beer. They both gave me plenty of advice and useful tips on what I can do to try and break my way into the industry.

I also met Valerie Kausen (above), granddaughter to the legendary Chuck Jones, having grown up watching the old Warner bros cartoons I really enjoyed the talk she gave. It was really interesting and inspiring hearing about Chuck Jones from someone who was so close to him. 
Valerie and Mark were staying in the same hotel as Elodie and I so I was able to have drinks with them at the hotel bar. Valerie was kind enough to look though my portfolio and gave her personal comments on my work. I was over the moon when she made a comment on one of my life drawing pieces, saying that Chuck would have loved it. It was such a compliment and really lifted my confidence. 

Free wine at networking event: Drinkies in the Ladies loo Elodie!!

Happy to be at the festival in the cold!

So...To sum up, even after leaving university, being thrown into a full time job, having bills to pay and coping with the ups and downs of being in the adult world.... I am still just as motivated as ever before. I may not have reached my dream goal of working in the animation industry just yet, however I am learning to enjoy the journey! 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

...and theres more.

"A Sunday ride out"
"Unicorn and the beautiflys"

This style is becoming quite adictive for me. I really enjoy doing them and they don't take that long to do. I awoke this morning at 6:45 (I know, not right on a Sunday) bright eyed and bushy tailed and got on with colouring these two. All I need to do now is get them printed and framed. If any body is interested in having a fully framed print please let me know. These will be going for about £10 (when framed) and £5 (unframed).

Anywho I shall be keeping thee posted about how I get on with them. :) Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Some new illustrations

"The Foxy Gentleman"
"Lady Bird"

Just a mini update to show that I am still doing some arty bits here and there whilst working full time. These two will be framed to be sold. I was aiming to target little tea shops. I have bought some little white frames with a lovely old style border around an oval frame. York has many lovely little victorian style tea rooms and with a bit of luck some nice little place will want to purchase one of these beauties.

I shall be posting more soon... just need to colour the others. I will also post photos of these in their frames ready to be sold :)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

"Domhain Aisling" Coloured

My strange dream world is now fully coloured and looking a bit prettier, it took about 5 hours... The title of the piece "Domhain Aisling" is irish for dream land... or something to that effect.
It has been a while since I have updated about my progress within the working world and also my quest to find work related to my chosen career. Unfortunately it is still apply, apply, apply and rejection, rejection, rejection. But I have a feeling it could be this way for a good few years. One day!

Anywho, I feel like my colouring skills are improving. When I did art at school I used to get so fed up with colouring because of how long it took. I am learning to be patient with longer pieces and I confess I am starting to enjoy doing it.

Without further ado here is my latest addition to my illustrative portfolio.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Ink sketch...

It has been a real challenge trying to keep on top of my animation and illustrative work as well as holding onto a full time job. I have applied to many illustration agencies for represenation, unfortunatley I have not been lucky at this time. I am trying to stay positive. It is hard to believe it has been a whole month since graduation, feels like a lifetime ago already. My weekends have become my creative days! This is what I knocked out over last weekend.

I am in the process of adding colour to this one. It is based on a very strange dream I had, it was a shame to wake up really, pleanty of flying around the place!

Onwards and upwards... I hope.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Granny's Gun Lip sync test

Well well well.... long time no post. I graduated from Staffordshire University on Friday 13th of July then promptly started a job the following Monday. I am greatful to be working even if it is not animation related. Money is Money. But because my new job is full time and long hours it has been a challenge to find the energy to stay creative. Weekends are just about the only time I have to persue my animation and illustration work. This weekend I was inspired by an elderly woman I saw on the bus on my way to work. She was very small and very softly spoken. I could not imagine her hurting a fly. So I came up with this piece of showing a sweet granny dealing with hooligans! It is a bit rough as I only have the basic tools to create minimations... literally paper, pen, lightbox, scanner, premiere. What more does one need. Anyway it has been a while, just needed to warm up the old animating muscles.


Granny's Gun from Chloe Howley on Vimeo.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Serenading the man from the BBC

The Water is wide cover from Chloe Howley on Vimeo.

On Wednesday I attended "Top club" with my dad in Doncaster. It is owned by Madeline and Mark Smith, mother and father of actress Sheridan Smith. My dad regularly plays at their open mic night, I went to the evening to meet my dad's friend Howard who has done work for the BBC. He had heard that I am graduating this year and said he would meet me, he was kind enough to give me some tips on how to break into the industry. He shall be forwarding me some useful contacts soon which should be helpful.
After chatting about how difficult it is to get into the media industry, I was asked to perform a song. I was really nervous as it has been a long while since I have sang anything. But I managed to give it a go after a couple of G and T's! The video above is a cover of the song I did "The Water is Wide".
At the moment it's pretty much just pestering and making contacts with as many relevant people as I can. On a side note I may have some work experience in my good friend Lee Hutchinson's recording studio (BH media). Maybe he will auto tune some of my songs and make them better!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Tutor Character illustrations

Here are the mini illustrations I did of my University tutors as a thank you (I also gave them some choccies too! Incase they didn't like my interpretation of them). I can not believe how fast the last three years have gone. And sorry if this sounds soppy... but I will miss everyone, I have met some fantastic people and made some incredible friends. It is almost my time to venture out into the big, scary wide world!

 Daryl giving me a good telling off! I know he doesn't really mind me doing 2D in my final year!
 Laura Weston...The lady who introduced me to blogging. Thanks to her I now plaster my work all over this blog. Thanks for all the advice Laura, your wisdom shall be ringing in my ears for years to come!
And finally dear Adrian with a lovely set of wings! You mad man you!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

"Feeble's Attempt" Finished Edit

It has been a year since I came up with the initial idea for my final uni animation, and it has taken 5 months to put together. I am happy to introduce my first hand drawn animation. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Feeble's attempt poster

Coming soon!

Here is my poster for my final film...

The animation is nearly completed, just need to edit it all together. Only one week left!!!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

FMX Festival 2012 Stuttgart: Coraline

FMX 2012... woo!

Another great visit to the FMX festival! This event does mainly focus on 3D animation and VFX, but it was still a fantastic experience for me (even though I am a tradtional animator). I was lucky enough to attend talks about the latest stop motion films such as Aardman's 'Pirates'. It really is amazing how much work and dedication goes into every frame. I was lucky enough to attend a talk with one of Aardman's talented model makers, Amanda Darby back in November last year. We were able to hold one of the puppets from Pirates, and also look at a sample of the replacment mouths that were used. Laika, the studio that made 'Coraline' was the first studio to use rapid prototyping to create over a million replacement mouths for their puppets. After the Aardman talk, Mark Shapiro from Liaka, did a presenation on Coraline and gave us a gilms behind the scenes of Coraline. They create the mouth movements in Maya and then use 3D printers to digitally sculpt each mouth shape, Mark said that overall they had over a million replacement mouths for the procuction.

Just a small selection of Coraline's replacement mouths, I think Mark said that there were 1000's of mouth shapes just for Coraline. They created a library stystem that would help the animators know which mouths they needed, this is the system Aardman adopted for Pirates. For their new film 'ParaNorman' (in cinemas in August 2012) they have developed colour 3D printing. The sculpts come out of the printer as a white chalky colour and then it is placed in a liquid (I can't remember the chemical name) that brings out the different colour and tones for the skin.

A faceless Coraline... eek! The mouths are easliy clipped on with magnets on the back of the replacements.
This speeds up the animation process as the animators don't have to keep sculpting through as they animate.

A rather shiney me with Coraline puppet, I was scared of dropping her. But we were told a lot of the time the animators would end up breaking parts of the puppets by pushing the movements to the maximum in order to get the very best performance. Many repairs, they must have had a mini puppet hospital.

This is one of the armetures for Coraline, beautifully made so she could move well enough to give a smooth and fluid performance. I would not even want to attempt making one of these, far too fiddley!

Myself and the very talented Lynda Barnes with 'the other father' puppet. His mouth was one of the few puppets without replacement mouths (Mechanical animation). Lynda was just sorting his hair out.

Stuttgart is such a lovely city, so we managed to chill out and enjoy our surroundings in the evenings.

Such a fantastic week, now back to work!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Colouring at 3am....

I had only intended to have a power nap at 9pm so that I could carry on working into the evening... Instead I fell asleep until 3am. Oh well! But I managed to catch up on some animating for Elodie, then after I had done that I got on with colouring these illustrations I posted the other week.

I think they came out well considering the time of day it was.

These will be going in my portfolio for FMX at Stuttgart...

Monday, 30 April 2012


Colour version of one of my previous illustrations for the Mini Print exihbition.

Looks a bit nicer now :)

I think the title should be 'Uh-Oh'

If I were a lady of the 18th Century

This is an ink illustration I did last year, I have only just managed to scan it in. I don't think I would have fit in with the lady like customs of the 18th Century...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Possible Cartoon illustrations for Mini Print Exhibition

It has been a while since I have posted, but here are a few cartoon illustrations I have been doing in my limited spare time. Things have been ever so busy as I have been animating most of my time. Deadlines are fast approaching... I have almost completed the animating stage of 'Feeble's Attempt'. Pleanty of inking, colouring and putting together left to do. All updates are posted on my other blog

My illustrations

Some of these still need to be coloured but I shall select three of these illustrations to be put on sale at Staffordshire Universitys Mini Print Exhibition in June. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Inking for John K.

As I said in my last post I have contacted John Kricfalusi to see if I was able to do any ink work for him. I was lucky enough to get a reply from him. He said he would be happy to give me some frames from his new storyboard to ink. He would then give me a critique to help me understand how to better my new skill.

Here are the first attempts I did for him. These images are from the storyboard of a new commercial he is doing staring his own characters. This image features 'Donald Bastard' the duck beating up 'Slab'.

These are the first inked versions I sent to him. John said in his e-mail

hi Chloe, the lines are nice and clean

  • you could work on the thick and thins

  • the hierarchy

  • and making the forms more distinct-like Slab's squinty eyes in the first drawing

  • It was great to get some feedback off him, he recommended that I look at the 'inking' section of his blog to help me understand what he wanted changing. I redid the eyes squinting from the first image to try and give it more weight and form.

    He has told me to practice with his characters and read through the construction of some of the characters. I realise that inking is not just about tracing an image, but rather about being able to select the right lines and emphasise what is already there. The pencil image acts as a guide.

    Here are the before and afters

    Johns sketch before

    My attempts after.

    I was nervous of contacting John but he was really friendly and I really enjoyed doing this for him. It was a good experience and I shall hopefully continue improving.

    External Brief...Many many jobs done

    It has been a while since I have posted anything, but I have been so busy with animation work. I have been pushing myself to work even harder this semester as it won't be long until my time at Staffordshire University comes to an end. I am well on with my 2d animation now, if you want to see the new updates for 'Feebles attempt animation, please have a look at the blog.

    This week I have taught myself at last how to digitally ink line art. I was happy to assist with the 'Don't do the Dodo project'. Fellow animation student Lauren Dorling was kind enough to let me exercise my new skill and gave me some animation frames to ink.

    Strange to see me happy on a computer isn't it?

    I have been working on other external briefs, though I don't think I am allowed to blog about them just yet.

    I have also been very fortunate to do some digital inking for Ren and Stimpy Creator John Kricfalusi... I was brave enough to bother him with an e-mail asking if there was any ink work I could do for him.

    He has agreed to critique some of the shots I have inked from his storyboard for his new commercial.

    I shall put up a new post on how that is going.

    Monday, 6 February 2012

    Updates to Feeble's attempt production blog- Maquettes

    I have finally put up the images of the maquettes for both Feeble and Clucky.

    As they have their own blog there is no point in publishing it twice, so for those of you that wish to have a sneaky peak... go onto their personal blog. Ooh how posh!

    More things coming very soon!

    Ta-ta f' now.

    Thursday, 26 January 2012

    Clucky line test 'sweeping'

    This is just a line test for the shot where clucky will be sweeping. I think it just needs a few more frames and then the timing should be right...

    Tuesday, 17 January 2012

    Mini Feeble test

    I was just testing the first shot of my animation. It is simple, but I thought it was a good warm up. I shall be posting more interesting shots soon. I just hope my line tests will be good enough to convince my tutors I can have a go at making a traditional 2d animation instead of stop motion... we shall see.

    Friday, 6 January 2012

    Meet Feeble and Clucky

    This is the final character designs for my final film at uni. Feeble is the fox and Clucky the chicken.... I hope to create a 2d animation about their relationship.

    This sketch is one of the earlier designs of my characters...

    There is more to come!!