The art of The Highway Rat.

I've been privileged to work with two concept artists at the top of their game on The Highway Rat; Aurelien Predal and Caroline Vos. Aurelien has been a longtime collaborator on Magic Light productions, since The Gruffalo in 2009. He helped out in the early stages of production with colour mood boards and initial set design, whilst I was still adapting the story. Aurelien's sense of colour is captivating. He has the ability to create an atmosphere with colour, something we tend to hang on to during the latter stages of production, like lighting and compositing. Caroline was the production designer at Triggerfish Animation, her work is sumptuous and detailed... and boy is she fast! She created many varied set designs and in her last few days on the job, managed to paint them all (see photo). Her work has been invaluable to the texture and modeling team, raising the production value of this film significantly. Please check out their work, it will be a treat. Aurelien Predal & Caroline Vos.

NUA conference

I was a guest speaker at Norwich University of the Arts, for their first animation conference. The day was filled with talks from people in the animation industry, ranging from recent graduates to established studios. I talked about the stages in my career and went into depth how The Highway Rat found its way from page to screen. It was very enjoyable to browse through all the concept art and many stages of production again: a good reminder how much love and passion was given to this project, and the amount of work that gets put into a single frame before it reaches an audience. Much kudos to John Dunleavy and Helen Piercy who organised the event...it seemed very popular. The jump from studying animation to turning it into a career is filled with certain obstacles, so trying to bridge that gap at university level is very commendable.

The Highway Rat nominated at Annecy

The festival season has begun and I am delighted to announce The Highway Rat is nominated at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, in the TV Film category. Annecy is one of my favourite festivals, as it brings back many happy memories (I've been going there on and off for the last 20 years). After visiting I always feel proud to be part of the animation industry. It's the third time I've been nominated in the TV Film category, with Bing in 2015 and winning the Crystal for Best TV Production with Stick Man in 2016. After last year's hiatus, being ankle deep in animating The Highway Rat, I look forward to return to Annecy this June, seeing old friends and hopefully making a few new ones. Here is the list of other nominees in the TV Film category.

First award for The Highway Rat

Exciting news from across the Atlantic; The Highway Rat has won the Audience Award (age 3-6) at the New York International Children Film Festival. Our first recognition! It's a huge honour to be chosen out of a mix of strong international film content. This festival is quite an ambitious one; it runs for 4 weeks and welcomes over 25,000 visitors through the doors of various New York venues. The aim is to present them with a mix of the best new animation, live action and documentary from all over the world. It's very rewarding to receive an Audience Award, as it means the film is enjoyed by those who it was aimed for. It's still a mystery to figure out how to hold a child's attention, so it's nice to know that our naughty Rat has managed it! Here are the other winners.

The Highway Rat TV advert from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

The Highway Rat DVD sale went off with a bang this month; we entered the UK DVD chart at number 6, the highest ranking animation that week. Here is a TV advert that coincided with the release. Nice to see some clips that didn't feature in the BBC trailers. It saves me from doing a little edit myself.

Kilkenny Animated 2018

I'll be at the Kilkenny Animated Festival, to screen The Highway Rat and talk about the making of the film. The festival runs from 23 to 25 February, and promises to be a fun event with emphasis, not just on animation, but on visual storytelling. I'm looking forward to show a lot of the artwork that has been part of the visual development of The Highway Rat. Pre production is always an exciting phase of the animation process. I love how the many paintings, sketches and sculpts create the tone and the look of a film early on, and aid the storytelling. The craft and the artistry at this stage is always of high quality, but as their task is to inspire the CG production, they don't often see the light of day. So it will be nice to redress that balance. For more info about the festival and my talk, click here.

The Highway Rat on DVD

It's amazing how fast 6 weeks can go by, but The Highway Rat is out on DVD already! So for those and their kids who'd love a bit of repeat viewing, the time is now. Apart from the film there are some nice extras to enjoy. If you're interested in the artistry behind an animation production, there is a 20 minute 'making-of' documentary navigating through the many stages of the creative process, and an artwork gallery with colour keys and mood boards from the film. For the little ones there is a school stage play of The Highway Rat, performed by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Julia's husband Malcolm, the original Scottish Rat! And if you happen to think that DVDs are a thing of the past, no worries, you can access the same film and extras on Amazon Prime...everybody happy! I hope our naughty Rat Thief can steal your heart again, a second time round.

The Highway Rat viewing figures

Happy New year everyone! The ratings are in; The Highway Rat attracted a total of 7.7 million viewers for its TV launch! With today's TV viewing habits in mind, that's more than a respectable figure. On Christmas Day we were the 8th most watched program, with a 31% share of the TV viewing nation at that time. It's enormously gratifying that these TV specials seem to be synonymous with a contemporary family's Christmas experience now. This news has been the perfect antidote to beat January's dreaded Blue Monday...and will keep me chuffed till February, when the DVDs get released.

The Highway Rat air date revealed

It has been a fun month promoting The Highway Rat; we had a sucesful cast and crew premiere and a surprise cinema screening at the Barbican, with a very excitable young crowd. The film has also traveled the North of England to accompany the Doctor Who Christmas Special at cinema events organised by the BBC. But now it's time for its big terrestrial TV premiere. We have been awarded an incredible TV slot; The Highway Rat will be shown on Christmas Day, BBC One, 16.45 PM. That's after Cinderella and before Doctor Who, perfect for some eventful family viewing. I hope you'll all tune in, and enjoy this animated adventure, a tale of biscuits and bandits, with hopefully a warm Christmassy glow at the end. Less than a week from now, very exciting. But for those who can't wait till then, here is a teaser with some finished animation. Merry Christmas!

The Highway Rat press screening

We held the press screening for The Highway Rat at Soho House yesterday. It was an exciting moment, not only seeing all that detail on a large cinema screen, but also sharing the film for the first time with a crowd that hasn't been involved in any way or form... little bit scary. To my relief the reception was great; the audience laughed at the moments I hoped for, and I got a lot of compliments afterwards. Fingers crossed to good press reviews come Christmas. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler were also at the event and were very pleased with the film, the ultimate seal of approval. Of course, I can't share much yet, but here's at least another still to whet the appetite.

It's a wrap!

Film making never ends with a bang, but with 'that last little shot that needs that last little tweak'. Having just approved that last little shot at Goldcrest post production services, I can officially say IT'S A WRAP! How exciting it was, on my way back to the office, to spot this in Waterstone's Picadilly. The whole window has been decorated with The Highway Rat, combined with the invite that next Saturday Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler will be there to sign books and show original artwork. A life size Highway Rat mascot will be there as well to meet and greet. It's a fun reminder of the order of events; film finished, now to wet the appetite for it.

The Highway Rat Cast revealed

It's been a challenge to keep this cast a secret for almost a year. But finally I can reveal my dream team; David Tennant, Tom Hollander, Nina Sosanya, Frances de la Tour and Rob Brydon will be the key players in this year's BBC One TV Christmas special 'The Highway Rat'. It's been a delight to be in the recording studio with such talent. They have really helped to bring Julia Donaldson's and Axel Scheffler's woodland animals to life, each with their own unique personalities. We spent the last 7 months animating them at Triggerfish Animation Studios, and didn't get bored listening to the same lines over again... definitely a good sign. The combination of Tennant as a greedy Rat and Brydon as an entertaining narrator feels like a perfect match to me. At Magic Light Pictures, we are looking forward to Christmas already!

The Highway Rat near completion

This blog has been quiet for far too long. That's because 2017 has been a non-stop rollercoaster ride, getting my next film 'The Highway Rat' in shape for its Christmas release. All other commitments (in true animation production fashion) have been put on the back burner. But what's this???? The Triggerfish crew T-shirts have arrived! That means end of production should be nigh...very exciting (and a little bit daunting). Keep your eyes on this page for the first snippets of Highway Rat news to be revealed very soon.

Stick Man wins four gongs at the Kidscreen Awards

Just when I thought Stick Man's run of the festivals was finally over, we managed to become the star of the Kidscreen Awards in Miami. We won four awards; 'Best TV movie', 'Best Direction', 'Best Music' and 'Best Design'. What a lovely surprise. It's great to be singled out for best direction, but I'm even more chuffed that the amount of extra thought and detail we put into design and music have not gone unnoticed. Now everyone at Magic Light Pictures and Triggerfish are moving on with exciting new projects, it's a nice reminder we achieved something pretty together. Kidscreen prides itself in singling out the year's best work in international children TV, so it's a huge honour to be considered one of the top performers. To see the full list of award winners, click here

ANIMA 2017

This year I'll be going to ANIMA, the Brussels Animation Film Festival, which starts in early March. I've been invited as a member of the jury, deliberating the national competition. As Stick Man's run of the festivals is over now, I'm looking forward to position myself on the other side of the fence for once. It will be exciting to see what kind of animation films have come out of Belgium in the last year. I'm looking forward to experience the festival as a whole. Last time I've been to ANIMA, I was still a student, and it was the turn of the century. I'm sure a lot has changed since then. To see the full line-up of juries, click here.

Stick Man back on TV for Christmas.

BBC one will be screening Stick Man again as part of its festive TV schedule. We're on, sandwiched between Kung Fu Panda and Wreck-it-Ralph, on Friday 30th December 4.30 pm. As Santa (spoiler alert) flies off in the distance, waving goodbye to Stick Man, we ourselves can wave goodbye to 2016. Christmas 2016 looks like it's a good year for British animation, with Revolting Rhymes, We're going on a Bear Hunt and Ethel and Ernest being shown on various channels. I'm glad that amongst this output of new animated shows, Stick Man still managed to get himself a little slot. I hope a lot of people are up for a spot of 'repeat viewing'!

Stick Man podcast

On an extremely windy evening in Cape Town, Daniel Snaddon and I sat together to reminisce about Stick Man's first steps and our journey from there. This conversation has been recorded by Dan's wife Julia, who works for Animation SA, and turned into a podcast. It was nice to think back about how we were all thrown together at the start, and how despite many obstacles, we managed to create something we're very proud of. I listened to the podcast and, surprisingly, am not too annoyed with the sound of my own voice...so I guess it's worth a share. If you've got 40 minutes spare, here it is.

Stick Man nominated for Children's BAFTA

Stick Man has been nominated for a Children's BAFTA. Such wonderful news. We are in the 'Best Animation' category. Joining that list are some previous BAFTA winners, such as Shaun the Sheep and The amazing world of Gumball. So we definitely are in good company, gearing up towards an exciting evening. The awards will be held on Sunday the 20th of November, luckily not too long to wait. For full list of nominees, click here.

The Highway Rat

Stand and deliver! Together with Magic Light Pictures and Triggerfish Animation I started production on another adaptation of a popular Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler book; The Highway Rat. It's the story of a greedy rat who robs the dwellers of the highway, in the hope they might carry cakes and sweets. But he doesn't realise he is about to get his comeuppance from the least likely source...... I've enjoyed turning this picture book into a half hour script and look forward to start our CG production. It will be a swashbuckling adventure with bandits and biscuits! But all in due time; The Highway Rat will hit our screens Christmas 2017. For the official press release, click here.

More awards for Stick Man

Keeping my eyes focussed on the award ceremony in Annecy, I completely overlooked that Stick Man was winning awards in other parts of the world. Returning home from France, I discovered we won prizes in Bangalore and Singapore. It's such a privilege, 6 months after premiering the film to a UK audience, people can enjoy it in various parts of the world. Stick Man won 'Best Animation' at the Bangalore Shorts Film festival and scooped two prizes at the Singapore International Children's Film Festival; 'Best Animated Film' and 'Audience Choice'. I'm particularly chuffed about 'Audience Choice', as I feel the film's message and mix of humour and heart is coming across. I gave an interview to the Singapore Straits Times ahead of the festival. Here's the full article.

Stick Man wins Cristal at Annecy

It's been a remarkable week with Stick Man winning awards at festivals all over the world (Shanghai, Canada, Bangalore), but the cherry on the cake has definitely been our win at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival! We won the Cristal for best TV Production. This feels like an incredible moment; Annecy is the festival where I discovered the animation world outside Belgium for the time, and where my love for the medium truly intensified. My first visit was in 1997, a real eye opener.....and after several visits and being in competition with my films 'White love Potion', 'The masque of the Red Death', and TV series 'Bing', I am incredibly proud to be part of Annecy's 2016 palmares. It only took me 20 years, just like the first rule in studying animation; it's all about patience. Many thanks to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler for the original story of Stick Man, Magic light Pictures for offering me this huge opportunity and Daniel Snaddon & Triggerfish Animation for an enjoyable 1,5 year of production. This Cristal is to all of us.

CURE by Benjamin Scheuer

Benjamin Scheuer - CURE (Official Music Video) from Radish Pictures on Vimeo.

After finishing Stick Man around Christmas, I was craving to do some animation that was short, fun and stress-free....what better project than animating cracks on a naked body! CURE is a thoughtful song by Benjamin Scheuer, depicting his battle with cancer as a 20something. This thoughtful and poignant song was turned into a beautiful music video under the direction of Peter Baynton from Radish Pictures; a motion controlled camera took individual pictures of Benjamin's body, slowly altering depth of field, whilst Peter and I painted growing cracks, centimeter by centimeter. We also had to cut up a suit in order to make it grow in a stop-motion style. I enjoyed the project as it was very fast moving and hands-on. The 'straight ahead' painting approach was in sharp constrast with how I usually plan my character animation, it gave me a nice sense of being outside my comfort zone. We were all very proud of the end result. So far the music video gets very nice write-ups online, culminating in being chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick. This music video was the 4th collaboration between Benjamin Scheuer and Pater Baynton, all animated. Let's hope there are many more to come.

Stick Man wins 'Best Animation' at BANFF World Media Festival

Whilst mingling with other directors at Annecy, I heard from a competitor that Stick Man won another award! We had just received the Rockie Award for 'Best Animation' at the BANFF World Media Festival in Canada. BANFF celebrates excellence in TV and digital content from all over the world. I had the privilege to watch some of the other BANFF nominated TV shows in Annecy; a very versatile selection with high standard in animation quality. BBC performed the best at BANFF with 4 awards. I'm extremely pleased to have been part of that output. The see the full list of winners, click here.

Stick Man wins 'Best Animation' at Shanghai International Film Festival

The week where Stick Man found itself selected in various film festivals started off on the right foot. We won 'Best Animation' at the Shanghai International Film Festival. It's a very prestigious event, which prides itself in being the biggest in South East Asia. It was a huge honour to be up for not one, but two awards: Best Animation and Best Story. Amongst the other winners was Games of Thrones for 'Best TV series', so I count myself in very good company. Sadly enough I couldn't make it to Shanghai as the event coincided with the nearer to home Annecy International Animation Film Festival. So Stick Man himself went to pick up the award. The event was broadcast live on Chinese State television, so I hope he had his speech prepared. It's great to hear Stick Man is popular amongst different cultures. A stick seems to unlock a child's imagination all over the world.

Bing wins Emmy® award

Bing has won an Emmy in the Pre-school category at The International Emmy® Kids Awards. Such fantastic news. It meant a lot to be nominated alongside some of the best international children’s television programmes, but to win makes this moment even sweeter. A big thank you and massive thumbs up to everyone involved in the creation of Bing...it's been a labour of love from Ted Dewan and everyone at Acamar, Tandem and Brown Bag Films. It's a real honour to hear that Bing has so many fans, in and out of the UK. Winning an Emmy®… it’s a Bing thing!

Bing on Belgian TV

Since last year, Bing has been expanding its horizons and has been screened internationally. I'm proud to announce that our favourite bunny has found a new home in Belgium as well. The series has been translated and re-recorded in Flemish and started its run on Belgian children channel, Ketnet. It's got a slot at 5.25 PM. I'm curious to find out if the Belgian audience will relate to the stories with as much fondness as they did in the UK. For more info about the Flemish version of Bing, click here.

Stick Man selected at Annecy

Only just recovered from the British Animation Awards, I found out Stick Man has been selected at the prestigious Annecy Film Festival. It's by far the biggest animation event in Europe, and attracts every year a large crowd of animation fans and many personal heroes of mine. Stick Man will be competing in the 'TV Film' category, which at first glance looks very varied. I'm delighted to be part of the official competition, especially as it gives a reason to celebrate the success of the film so far with my South-African friends from Triggerfish. Annecy at the start of Summer...I'll make sure to set some time aside to visit 'La Plage' (I might even build a sand castle). For the official selection, click here.

Stick Man wins two British Animation Awards

Stick Man looks a bit shocked....he just won two British Animation Awards! What a great night. We picked up an award for 'best sound design and music', and 'best voice performance' for Martin Freeman. That made Stick Man one of only two double winners. The jury recommended our film for 'achieving a rare depth of emotion....who have thought we could feel so much for a stick man!', which was very nice to hear. For full list of winners, click here. Let's hope the British Animation Awards mark the start of many more fun award festivals to attend.

Stick Man nominated for British Animation Awards

Now the memory of Stick Man's Christmas TV premiere is starting to fade, I look forward to see how the film will be received on the festival circuit. The first one is the British Animation Awards (BAAs), and I am delighted to hear we are nominated in three different categories: Best long form animation - Best sound - Best voice (for Martin Freeman). It's a nice representation of all the hard work we've put in every step of the production. The BAAs are held every two years, and so far I've been lucky enough to get an invite each time. It's as much an evening of catching up with old friends and celebrating animation in the UK, as it is an award ceremony. The awards are hand made by local animation talent, which gives them that little bit extra. I've never been personally nominated before, so hopefully come March the 10th, I will be able to hang a hand crafted sheep on my wall. See the full list of nominees here.

Stick Man DVD release

Since the start of February the Stick Man DVD is for sale. HMV and ASDA have them stocked on some nice tailor made shelves, and Sainsbury's sells a special edition version....very nice to see during my weekly shop. For those who loved the film over Christmas, it's definitely worth to get; there is an insightful 'making off' documentary and a gallery of concept art (colour treatments) by art director Daniel Clark. For the little ones there's a live performance by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and either a poster or sticker sheet with the characters. My involvement was to oversee the design of the DVD cover. We tried to mimic the book cover, with its winter theme and a 'happy-go-lucky' Stick Man having a morning jog. The back and front cover connect as one big panorama, which includes the whole Stick family, and various hidden woodland creatures. After one week on sale, Stick Man has jumped to number 4 in the UK DVD chart, which is the highest scoring TV programme. It's lovely to know that there is still a lot of love for our wooden friend out there. DVD can be bought online via the Gruffalo Shop or Amazon.

Stick Man 4th most watched program on Christmas Day

Christmas 2015 has been an amazing time. Not only could I finally share Stick Man with the viewing public, but also witness how well it went down. Whilst being aired, Stick Man managed to be trending on Twitter in 2nd place, just after the Queen......the tweets were amazing, especially when they were combined with photo's of whole families glued to their TV screen. The online paper reviews were extremely complimentary, but what really pleased me were the overnight viewing figures; we managed to be the 4th most watched program on Christmas Day with 9.27 million viewers! So after the Queen's Speech, Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, the adventures of our wooden friend managed to captivate the nation the most. This has been an amazing Christmas present that will keep me grinning well into the New Year.

Stick Man Trailer released on BBC One



For those who can't wait till Christmas, BBC One has released a trailer for Stick Man. It hints at the trials and tribulations we're putting him through, but luckily it's not giving the story away yet. There will still be quite a few surprises come Christmas Day!

Stick Man to premiere on Christmas Day

We finally have a release date for Stick Man on BBC 1. The film will premiere on Christmas Day at 4.45 PM...a perfect slot for optimal family viewing. We're on right before Doctor Who, so I count myself in marvellous company. In the meantime you can find a few snippets of the film tucked inside BBC's Christmas trailer, here

Stick Man cast + first image revealed

If I had to keep it to myself any longer, I would have exploded. But finally I can reveal my cast for upcoming Stick Man film. I just love writing this down; Martin Freeman = Stick Man, Hugh Bonneville = Santa, Jennifer Saunders = Narrator, Sally Hawkins = Sticklady and other characters, Russell Tovey = Big Dog, Rob Brydon = a mix of funny characters. It has been an honour to work with with such varied talent. They have really helped turning these 2D book illustrations into charming 3dimensional characters. Their voices were a real inspiration during the animation process. On top of that, here is our first still from the film (spoiler alert). Other updates will follow soon. More cast info, read here

Bing nominated for an EMMY Award

Bing seems to happily hop along his path to world domination. The TV series is nominated for a Children Emmy Award, such fantastic news. It's lovely to hear our hard work gets recognition outside Britain as well. We're up against 3 other shows in the pre-school category. The awards will be in April 2016, so it's a game of patience for now. I'll keep my bunny ears crossed in the meantime. More EMMY news, read here.

Interview with 'Kunstenloket'

I was recently interviewed by 'Kunstenloket', an online magazine that provides information to artists in the cultural and creative sector. I talked about how I chose the path to become an animator and director, my recent projects, and how easy (or hard) it is to maintain a happy medium between being creative, but still considering it as a profession. It was nice to reminisce about the studies I chose and how I ended up doing the work I love doing. Full interview (For Dutch/Flemish readers only) click here

Stick Man online

Now autumn is around the corner, Christmas suddenly doesn't feel that far away anymore. Better get on with finishing this movie, Jeroen. In anticipation of Stick Man reaching our screens over Christmas, a Facebook fan page has been set up. There will be lots of juicy news being revealed soon, so keep an eye on it! Click here to visit.

Bing nominated in Annecy

I was delighted to hear that Bing got nominated in Annecy, one of the most prestigious animation festivals in the world. Episode 'Bye Bye' was in competition in the 'TV film' category. Annecy has always been a bit of an animation 'home from home' to me, so I didn't need a lot of convincing to visit this beautiful town again for the award ceremony. Sadly we didn't win first prize, but the fact that this show has been considered amongst the cream of the crop, and allowed me to see a Bing episode on a cinema screen for the first time, has been absolutely amazing. Hopefully there will be many returns to Annecy!

'Best Director' at the Irish Animation Awards

Some exciting news: Nicky Phelan and I won 'Best Director of Animated TV Series' at the Irish Animation Awards for our work on Bing. This is an incredible proud moment, as I feel all the extra love and care given to this project is being noticed by its audience. Bing also won 'Best Design/Art Direction'. Pictured is producer Lorraine Morgan accepting the award on our behalf. Click here for the offical website

Bing nominated for a BAFTA

To our big surprise (it was officially still in production) BING got nominated for a BAFTA, in the 'Best Pre-School Animation' category. This was the perfect antidote to the long hours that were spent trying to raise the bar for this show. The award went to the very worthy 'Sarah and Duck', but that didn't dampen our spirits. The realisation that BING has gathered quite a fan base in such a short time, and the delight of being at the BAFTAs, made for a memorable and incredibly fun night. Here's a link to the official BAFTA page.

Bing Bunny on CBeebies

Bing Bunny has been having a long run on CBeebies. I've been told it's doing really well, both on TV as on Iplayer, which is great to hear. I'm especially chuffed that parents seem to like it as much as their toddlers. That's what I set out for from the start, trying to create nice family viewing. I hope the success will continue. And of course, I can't wait for the first toys to come out!

Coldplay 'Ghost Stories'

Coldplay 'Ghost Stories' Album Stream 'Making Of' from Trunk Animation on Vimeo.

Here's a nice 'making off' from The Coldplay music video I worked on. It was a 42 minute (!!!!!!) animated cycle to promote new album 'Ghost Stories'. Even if I wasn't in the studio any more at time of filming, there are some bits of my animation that make my presence known :) Keep your eyes open for the 'Man in the Mirror' and the 'Sitting Lady with Floating Hair'. It was lovely to work with TRUNK again, and to meet the director's duo Alistair & Jock.

Depression Studies

Depression Studies from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

I got asked to design and direct a short film to highlight the issues of depression and how depressionstudies.com could potentially help. After years of Rennie, Moshi Monsters and bunnies, it was a great opportunity to explore 'human' animation and emotion again.

The Usual Suspect

The Usual Suspect from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

I noticed the link to my short short 'The Usual Suspect' had disappeared online. So here's a re-post of my first venture into CG animation

BING BUNNY is coming to life

This page has been very quiet recently....and for good reason; for the past year I've been Series Story Director on Bing Bunny, a new animated show, coming to your screens very soon. Bing Bunny started life as a series of charming pre-school books, created by Ted Dewan. They are funny, but recognisable stories, very true to the life of each toddler. Acamar Films saw huge potential in these stories and partnered up with Brown Bag Films and Tandem Films to bring 78 episodes to life. I came on board creating the pilot episode, and continued to develop the story and animatics for the full season. It was (and still is) an amazing venture, with a strong emphasis on creative co-operation between the 3 studios involved. I'm looking forwards to share this precious project with toddlers and parents out there, and hope they'll be as moved as I have been by the stories of Bing Bunny. Read the full press release here.

Rennie Christmas Idents from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

Ever wondered how tummies celebrate Christmas? Here's how: jolly, but with lots of little mishaps. I directed 6 little Rennie idents, which will be aired on Channel 4 and sister channels during the festive season. This means you're probably pretty bored with them already :) Mr Tummy is always a joy to animate...simple flash animation, with a big traditional wink (no symbol in sight). Happy, jolly, clumsy....a perfect animation character to end the year with. Bring on Christmas!

Missy Kix

Missy Kix from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

Here's another Moshi Monsters music video I worked on, the 'Missy Kix Dance'. I was responsible for the main character (bar the bike scene). This was a very exciting project, because I've been wanting to do a dance animation for a very long time now. I animated her in Flash, but tried to move away a bit more from the usual flat vectorised Moshi style. My aim was to make her more rounded, giving a sense of 3D...a look that was cleverly enhanced by Wip Vernooij's visualisation of the backgrounds and effects.

Rennie 'Happy Tummies' TV ad


I was asked to re-design and direct the new RENNIE campaign, in which Mr Tummy encounters a whole new world of other tummies.
In this first outing you find him in the restaurant, where romance is only a table away...
This was an incredible satisfying job, trying to combine the latest digital animation tools with some proper 'old skool' design and animation.
A big thanks to Rick, Pete, Tim and Filipe at Tandem for their invaluable help, and the guys at JWT for being such a trusting agency.

I hope the world of tummies will become a vastly populated one :)

Big Bad Bill


Together with Wip Vernooij and Cako Facioli, I worked on another Moshi Monsters music video. In this song 'Moshi expert' Buster ventures deep into the jungle where he encounters Big Bad Bill and the woolly blue Hoodoos. A perfect excuse for a big bad jungle party!
As usual, all the animation was done in Flash, and then taken into After FX to ad some warmth and atmosphere.
We welcomed Mel Northover and Jason Kotey to the team, who are by now specialists in conga and limbo dance moves :)
This is a montage of the scenes I animated on.
To see the full music video, click here.

Muller Wunderful Ad

Last month I animated on the ambitious Muller 'Wunderful' ad, which is getting a lot of airplay at the moment.
I worked both in Flash and traditionally on paper, which felt like a nice luxury, not often being able to afford lately.

As an unexpected surprise, I just noticed myself in Creative Review, highlighting 'the making of'
Here is a link to the article.

Tandem's recent short films

Save Our Bacon from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

Speechless from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

Sticking to the world of short films for another post, here are two exports from the Tandem stable, which I animated on; Daniel Greaves' SPEECHLESS and Peter Baynton's SAVE OUR BACON.
Both very different in style and technique, both very enjoyable to work on.
Short films are great to make you think again as a character animator, as there's more room for observation and acting than in your standard 30 second ad. They're also useful projects to help you tick over inbetween the more lucrative commercial jobs.
Both clips are scenes I animated.

Wedding Invite

A few months ago, I designed the wedding invite for my cousin Lode and his partner Kristof.
I got a lot of nice compliments about it on the wedding itself, and to my surprise it has recently been used in a national news report, highlighting the rise of gay marriage in Belgium.
This wasn't really planned, but it's nice to know that it has traveled beyond that one fantastic day.
Next time I just need to remember to actually sign it :)

Dr. Strangeglove song

Dr. Strangeglove from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.


Together with Wip Vernooi and Cako Facioli I created a music video for Moshi Monsters.
Here we meet their formidable adversary 'Dr. Strangeglove', who in his secret lair turns innocent moshlings into gormless glumps (if you don't know what this means, ask your kids :)
I'm quite proud of this job, as the short time frame hasn't sacrified the quality of the animation. I tried my best to make full use of the limited amount of symbols I had to work with in Flash, to make the animation as full of character as I possibly could.
Which wasn't too tasking to be honest: animating a sinister and ever so slightly camp character breaking out into a song and dance routine... it's a dream come true! :)
These are a few of the scenes I animated.
To see the full video, click here.

The Tortoise

The Tortoise, directed by Pedro Lino from Sparkle Animation on Vimeo.


Here's an animation test I recently finished. It's for Pedro Lino's upcoming shortfilm 'The Tortoise'
My task was to animate a few scenes and explore a style that fits with the story.

I've been on a massive TINY TRIP

Indeed, indeed...My laziness has reached another gear: 6 months of no blogging action.
But this time I've got an excuse; I've just been too darn busy!
So, ironically, whilst absolutely no-one will check this blog anymore, I've got lots and lots of goodies to show. Like TINY TRIPS for instance :)

TINY TRIPS animation reel from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.


TINY TRIPS is an animated show about Rosa, a girl who travels around the world in a hot air balloon, discovering new cities and friends. It's fun and educational, and has exactly the kind of whimsical storylines that I like (who wouldn't like to be trapped in the Guernica painting, or have a picnic with Albert Einstein)
I truly enjoyed the animation style, which was my prefered 'do it in Flash, but make sure nobody can tell it's done in Flash' combined with lovely designs by Joao Fazenda.
We created 5 episodes in total (Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, London and Berlin), which was quite an accomplishment, regarding our little micro team. It was a wonderful crew that remained remarkably upbeat for various months, but I'm sure the discovery of the only Shoreditch pub that serves pints for £2 has something to do with that :)

This is a montage of my scenes (assisted by Jonathan Clarke). In the near future I'll be able to show a fully finished episode. So you better brush up on your Portuguese!

VW Desert Island

Desert Island, for VW Caddy from Peter Baynton on Vimeo.


Happy New Year strangers!

My new year's resolution is (just like last year) to faithfully post my animation work with a considerable delay.

This one is from late November 2010, a VW ident for the Discovery Channel, directed by Pete Baynton at Tandem.
I tremendously enjoyed this job because every animator had their own 10 and 15 second ident to animate, making it more like a personal project than a job. And by now, we are all masters in the new school of black&white animation, so stress levels were quite low.
The style was inspired by 'The New Yorker' designs,but I have to admit that my character occasionally looked more like Papa Smurf. That's the Belgian in me, I guess :)

Suspiciously looks like Elvis

Elvis 'Suspicious Minds' music video from Chris Hemming on Vimeo.


Here's a music video I did a small stint on, directed by Chris Hemming at Passion Pictures. It's a re-release of Suspicious Minds, using Elvis as a silhouette shape, performing in front of a LED screen display.

I was part of the rotoscoping team, doing the scenes where the live action footage wasn't clear enough. I had to ad 2D animation on top of the footage to make sure Elvis regained his usual bouncy quiff and trembling lip.

Feliway Dog


Here's another Feliway commercial I animated, currently on TV.

This time a dog is added to the scene, obviously afraid of fireworks.
It was fun to try and get some realistic dog behaviour into this character, despite the cartoony design. Not that straightforward as I'm very much a 'cat person' who never had a dog in his whole life. Therefore I had to put myself on a strict diet of youtube and Muybridge. Seems like those books I bought in college weren't a waste after all :)

No pencils or paper were injured during this 2D production.

To see the ad, click here.

Shell Guitar Girl


Here's another animation of mine that I've seen on telly recently.
Well, 'seen' is a big word...it features on a television screen in a live action commercial, somewhere in the background, roughly 7 pixels wide, 5 pixels high. But I know it's there, and that's what matters! :)

I did the character animation. Design by Max Oginny. Visual graphics by Jasmina Jodry.

boing boing

Here's a little animation of mine I keep seeing on telly lately. (should stop watching children TV)
Done by Tandem's micro team, this little 'tag on' ad might be short in duration, but elaborate in animation techniques; a concoction (I hope this is a word) of rotoscope, Maya, Flash and After Effects.

Save our Bacon


And another short film :)

This one is 'Save our bacon' created by fellow Tandem director Pete Baynton.

Pete designed the film in a nicely textured 'cut out' style.
This technique was a bit of a challenge at the start, not being able to distort the characters into my usual squashy stretchy ways.
But I really started to enjoy how this limitation made me think more creatively and inspired some quirky animation.
I animated most of the final scenes, where the tensions run high. When the film has had a proper run at festivals, I will be able to show a clip.

The Man with the Cardboard Head


Here is a link to the trailer of a short film I animated on at the start of 2010.
The last bit of the trailer is one of my scenes, so don't switch off in the middle!!

Only nice memories about this one: nice director (Pedro Lino), nice studio (Trunk), and a nice team (too many to mention)

There is more information and bits of the film on Pedro's personal blog, here.

About Memory Problems



Last year I designed and animated two virals for the Delinquent boys, to highlight the common symptons of early Alzheimer's disease.
As usual a long-ish script and a short-ish schedule meant to go immediately to the wonderful world of flash, but as usual I tried to go a bit beyond the 'look at it tweeeeeeeeen' mode. With only two weeks of animation on each viral, I'm happy with the result, especially as they seem to work as little mini-films....and get the message across in a not too boring way.
I did 'Tippy Toes' all by myself. I designed and started to animate 'Purple Scarf', but my pre-planned Swedish holiday (tip for freelance animators: book a holiday...you'll always get called for a job) meant I had to pass the rest of the animation (and a design change) on to the more than capable hands of Tom Baker (no puns please).

To see the virals, click here

The Marriage Ref


Here's a little animation jobbie I did at Passion Pictures.
It's the title sequence for NBC's latest entertainment show 'The Marriage Ref', produced by Jerry Seinfeld.
I got asked to animate Jessica, Jerry's wife.
It was great to figure out baseball moves, not immediately a sport I'm affluent in. But thinking about it...which sport is? :)
The animation was originally done in old fashioned 2D, but due to the workload I animated my scenes directly in Flash. It saved a lot of time in the clean up stage.
I'm happy to find out that the difference between the flash and pencil animation isn't too obvious. But if you want to make up your own mind, the whole animation is below, or you can find a bigger movie here.

Speechless



I just discovered a short film I animated on has been nominated at the British Animation Awards 2010, in the section 'Public Choice Award'.
Daniel Greaves' 'Speechless' is a beautiful film which combines his trademark quirky humour with a strong view on our evolving ways of communication.

Over the course of a year I animated the mother character, every time I was inbetween commercial jobs at Tandem.
I enjoyed working on that character a lot. She had small mumsy mannerisms and a nervosity which was interesting delving into. And the fact that a scene could last for 30 seconds or more gave us animators a good oppurtunity to think about proper character acting.
On top of that, it was all done in an old fashioned animation style, on paper!!!!!! Blue pencils, dopesheets, a hot hand from the lightbox,...it all came back in my life. A nice little nudge that made me realise why I wanted to become an animator all those years ago.

I hope the film will do well on the BAA's and other festivals.

Feliway



Here's a cute little ad I animated on.
Although it was a very nice and relaxed job, I learned a very valuable lesson the hard way: in 2D animation, try avoiding stripy animals at any cost. Once starting inbetweening, it's fun fun fun in a masochistic kind of way :)

Kids aren't that smart



OMG - an update.
Here is a commercial I animated for CalciYum,a drink in New-Zealand. Directed by Daniel Greaves and designed by Helene Friren.
With a fairly open brief, basically saying 'have fun with the subject', this was a nice little project to work on. Especially as every animator got one commercial to complete by themselves, it felt a bit like a mini-film.

I also had to turn it into a longer version for the online campaign. To see that one, click here

Paddington Bear illustration


About time this blog got a little update (I seem to say that with every post)

Here's an illustration I did for today's Evening Standard in good old fashioned Paddington Bear style. It accompanies a quirky 'Micheal Bond' article about London.
Hmmm, doing one single drawing and the job's done.....why am I doing animation again :)

Director Reel


Director Reel 2009 from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

A little compilation of the jobs I directed at Tandem over the last few years.
I'm enjoying editing clips to music at the moment. Me and Premiere are starting to become firm buddies. Does anyone out there need a show reel by any chance? ;)

Animation Showreel


Animation Showreel 2009 from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

I haven't done a showreel since 2001, about time to get the cow out of the stable again! So I collected my many VHS tapes from under the dust (oh yes, the concept DVD was just a whisper in the wind in the olden days), and started something that might easily become a new hobby...posting movies on my blog!
Bizarre though, a showreel; my professional life crunched in 3 minutes. Feels like the world couldn't possibly spin without me ;)

Aren't they nEYEce

Here are some more Acuvue designs I did for the Grey's Anatomy sponsor idents.
And beware, one day I'll be a techno geek.......with a bit of luck you'll find underneath this text an actual movieclip!!!!!!!!! Can you tell which film I ripped the movement of? :)



To see all the idents we did, click here.