Stealing some of the glitterball limelight from Strictly Come Dancing, Sir Dancealot is out now from Bloomsbury. This nimble-toed young knight has a novel approach to combat – defeating his enemies through the medium of dance!
Written by acclaimed children’s author Timothy Knapman and illustrated by me, this is a hilarious story of sequinned clothes, dragon foes and twinkly toes.
From jiving away trolls to boogying aside bogglesnots and bopping off beasties, there’s not a fearsome foe Sir Dancealot can’t defeat.
But when a fire-breathing dragon arrives at the castle gates demanding a dance-off, everyone is worried.
Could this be one step too far for our hero of the dance floor?
Tim’s rhyming romp was a joy to illustrate. Although drawing a dancing, ice-skating dragon did present some challenges!
*September 2016 Book of the Month*
“This zany idea is perfectly executed through a jolly rhyming text and lively illustrations. Kids will love the idea of Strictly with dragons”
Read It Daddy
“Sir Dancealot” is full of fun and bops along to its own sequin-encrusted rhythm thanks to awesome writing from Timothy and brilliant energetic illustrations from Keith.
Mum To Five
“a much loved recent addition to the kid’s bookshelf”
Blimey! I’m beyond excited to be working with Disney-Hyperion Books, creating all the artwork for The Percy Jackson Coloring Book.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a bestselling book series by Rick Riordan. It follows the adventures of a twelve-year-old who discovers he is a son of Poseidon. Percy and his friends meet gods, battle monsters, and take on the Titans from Greek mythology.
All of which is brilliant fun to draw! It’s going to take a while (the colouring book will run to over 90 pages), but in the meantime, here’s a sneak-peek at the cover.
In other news, I’ve just received my advance copies of Sir Dancealot from the lovely people at Bloomsbury. Hurrahalot!
Written by the brilliant Timothy Knapman, and illustrated by me, Sir Dancealot defeats all manner of fearsome beasts through the medium of dance, until one day, a light-footed dragon turns up.
‘A hilarious story of sequinned clothes, dragon foes and twinkly toes.’
I’ll post more about this when Sir Dancealot will hits bookstores and ballrooms in early September.
And while we’re on the subject of dancing dragons, just for fun here’s a little Knight music to finish off with.
Click below to play the title sequence
I recently worked with Buffalo Pictures, designing and directing the titles for Martin Clunes’ latest series on ITV One.
Martin Clunes sets out on an international journey to investigate the extraordinary relationship between man and beast in this two-part documentary.
From birds to bears, and from pets to primates, involving ancient and modern techniques and partnerships, Martin observes humans and animals working side by side in ways that have existed and evolved during hundreds of millennia.
Title Card Design
The titles were animated by Darian Weir at Fin London
Tonight sees the Launch of Spike – a new addition to the Channel 5 family. Spike will be the first UK terrestrial channel to screen the entire run of Breaking Bad.
I’ve been working with MTV Networks to provide graphics for various promos in the run up to the launch. This involved close collaboration with promo producers to integrate graphic content and exert the brand guidelines for the channel.
Click HERE to see more
Towards the end of last year I had the pleasure of reuniting with Wish Films to art direct the second series of ‘Melody’, the popular BBC – CBeebies show.
Melody is a partially sighted girl with an incredible imagination. Her adventures come to life through animation, as she visualizes stories and characters conjured up by classical music.
The new series can be seen on weekdays at 11am from March 16th 2015
For Series 2, I’ve updated the character design and refreshed the overall look of the show, working with the RNIB to make sure the animation remains accessible to a partially sighted audience. In the first series we often relied on using bold black outlines to make things stand out, which could look a little heavy. In this series I wanted a fresher look, so to achieve contrast we used carefully thought out colour combinations and clear layouts.
One of the great things about art directing this series was working with four fantastic animation studios, each with their own unique style. They have created richly imaginative responses to 20 stories, featuring the music of great composers from Mozart to Gershwin
So, a big thank you to everyone at Keyframe, Tentacle, Finger Industries and A Productions.
2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To celebrate this literary milestone Guernsey Post commissioned me to create a set of stamps and collectable products. Stamps? Alice in Wonderland? Suffice to say it was pretty much a dream project.
My central idea was, what would postage stamps from Wonderland look like? I referenced vintage stamps from around the time of the book’s publication, which typically feature a portrait with decorative frame and border. I used bright colours in carefully chosen combinations, to bring out the slightly psychedelic feeling of the book. The character portraits also had to be instantly recognisable out of context of the book, which meant connecting with a popular consciousness of Wonderland while bringing something fresh to the familiar characters. The illustrations were also designed with the final postage stamp size of reproduction in mind.
For the characters, I went to the sort of ‘central casting’ that I carry around in my head. I quite often approach characters in this way – try to think who I’d cast as them in a film. It usually ends up being an amalgam of several people – and not necessarily famous people. There might be elements of Friends, family or people I’ve sketched on the Tube.
I wanted Alice to be a modern little girl, so I updated her outfit, hairband and hairstyle. She’s about 90% based on my daughter actually. (Who just happens to have a pet flamingo. No, not really.)
The rabbit is sort of based on Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s army as he’s a pompous character, obsequious to his superiors and disdainful to his juniors.
I had the Beat Generation writer William Burroughs in mind for the caterpillar. He’s got that wonderful voice – that’s JUST how the caterpillar would speak!
And the Hatter is quite unashamedly Terry Thomas. By the way, you might notice his hat is a giant tea cup and the famous price tag on the hat is like one of those dunking tea bags on a string. (Incidentally the price is now 52 and a half pence, which I read somewhere is about the modern equivalent of the classic ‘In this style, 10/6’ on the original illustrations!)
Remarkable Stories on the Underground
I’ve been working with creative media agency Fin, on their debut project for the Imperial War Museum: A series of short films focusing on some of the more intriguing and surprising stories surrounding the Great War.
The content spots come in 12 x 25 second episodes, being broadcast on Exterion Media’s Cross-Track Projection (XTP) screens at London Underground stations. They contain rare photos and remarkable facts about the First World War, many of which are related to the modern day life of a typical Tube commuter.
Jane Richardson, Marketing Manager at Imperial War Museums said: “The First World War was a landmark event, which changed the world for ever. A hundred years on, it is through the stories, moments and photos from that time that we can get a glimpse into what life was like for the generation who lived, fought, died and survived the war. Everyone is connected to the war, whether through their own family history, the way in which it shaped life today, or through their local communities and how they were affected.
– See more at: http://exterionmediauk.tumblr.com/post/89060128362/imperial-war-museums-takes-centenary-commemoration#sthash.rXs7vDZv.dpuf
Aardman short film: ‘Flight of the Stories’
To mark the opening of the IWM’s new First World War Galleries and the wider centenary commemorations, Aardman has created a special short film, Flight of the Stories.
(Alas, I can’t claim any involvement in this poignant piece, but I thought it was worth sharing.)
To find out more about IWM’s remarkable new First Word War galleries, visit www.iwm.org.uk/ww1
BAFTA win for Long Lost Family
I designed the titles and logo for the first series of this hit ITV show, which seeks to reunite close relatives after years of separation. It returns for it’s fourth series this summer.
Congratulations to production company Wall to Wall for the show’s recent BAFTA win in the Features category.
Rediscovered Chinese Masterpiece
Listening to the radio one morning, I heard Spring in a Small Town described as ‘The Chinese Brief Encounter‘. That has to be worth watching.
Regarded as the finest work from the first great era of Chinese filmmaking, Fei Mu’s quiet, piercingly poignant study of adulterous desire and guilt-ridden despair – now restored – is a remarkable rediscovery. – BFI
The film was originally suppressed and long thought lost, but rediscovered in the ‘80s, it was soon hailed as one of the finest Chinese movies ever made.
The BFI has now re-released this long lost classic, which is available to rent online and is also on limited cinema release. More details HERE.
I’ve heard much about the legendary Blackwing pencil, beloved of Golden Era animators such as Chuck Jones and the great Ken Harris.
In his book The Animator’s Survival Kit, Ken’s friend and collaborator Richard Williams recalls: When he (Ken) died in 1982 at eighty-three, my real regret was that when I was a pallbearer I didn’t have the guts to tuck a Blackwing pencil into his hand in his open coffin. He would have loved that.
The Blackwing’s roots go back to the 1930’s but it was discontinued in 1998. I thought it was lost forever, save for a few individual pencils, changing hands for silly money on eBay. But now this iconic doodling tool has been revived by Palomino.
I recently spent three weeks with the nice people at MTV, providing graphics for various promos. As a child of the ‘80s it was great to work with this iconic brand from my youth. You can see examples of this and other promo work here.
The MTV building in Camden was also something of an ’80s icon. Originally the HQ of TV-am, the 1983 building was designed by Terry Farrell, and famously features 12 giant egg cups on the roof. The postmodern structure has recently undergone a controversial revamp, replacing the entire ’80s facade. (The eggcups remain though.)
And there’s more…
A few hundred yards from MTV there’s another architectural gem by Farrell’s former partner, Nicholas Grimshaw. These striking modernist flats, built in 1988, were influenced by car manufacturing techniques.
Slightly tenuous this, but on the subject of ‘80s icons, the first gig I ever saw was The Smiths in 1985. They were supported by the then, relatively unknown James, who have just released this beautiful and touching video for Moving On, created by brilliant animator, Ainslie Henderson.