Saturday, September 17, 2011

Henry's World

"Henry's World", was a stop motion animation series that I designed while I was at Cuppa coffee animation many years ago. As some of you may know, I worked in the animation industry here in Toronto for 4 years, which proved to be a delightful learning experience for me. I love children's programming, and it was here that I was asked to design a 26 episode Stop motion animation series, in 2001, the first of it's kind in Canada, for which I was production designer for the first season.


When Alliance Atlantis approached Cuppa coffee, the show was a piece of print on paper. I designed the main characters, after which it took a couple of years to get funded to go into production. It was an incredible adventure of learning, where I would be involved in the script reads, then go off and design the characters and locations, which would then become puppets about 8" to 11" tall, the locations I made were then made into sets of proportionate sizes. It was an all encompassing job working with the puppet builders, wardrobe department, animators and compositors, all of whom had various requirements from me. Rotations from the puppet builders to know what the characters looked like from front, side and back, sometimes the wardrobe dept. could not find the appropriate fabric in a tiny size that I had drawn, and so sometimes I would have to paint on the designs onto the fabric, or the set build would require tiny paintings made by me that would hang on the walls on Uncle Neptunes lab.....or various other props.

In the midst of all that madness, I got an insightful peek into the animation industry. Very quickly I got to realize that the producers, Alliance Atlantis, and co producers TV Loonland, and the Family channel, didn't really care much about the children, it was all about the money. The tooth fairy couldn't be a black man, Lady Luck couldn't have a Bindi because it was too Indian, and Joel Spencer Martin the child actor had a be a white child because "let's face it, it was a white show"( That's what they actually said!). These were some of the comments that I got from my clients, and I wish I had saved those emails, because they would make for an interesting read.

I also realized that the bottom line was about people's ego's, there were quarrels about how many times the 'creative director' appeared in the end credits, and in how big a type face people's names appeared in. Needless to say this was disillusioning, and turned me into a monster. I was happy to leave the industry after that, and travel in India for 6 months, because I figured that with the 1000's of drawings I did for the season one and having established the world of that show, someone else could easily continue the work for season 2.

I even hand wrote the logo type "Henry's World" which they wanted to make into a Henry's world font......and not a 'Prash" font, because it being my hand writing really didn't matter.

But the beauty of that time was that I met many exquisite souls, and we had a blast!!! So thank you for all of that.

I do not have any of the multitude of watercolours I did for the show, but I did manage to find some of the process that I went through, in a few of my old sketchbooks. I bring this all up now, because I never really got to see that show, or get a copy of it for myself. I ordered the first season of Henry's world online and got my copy today, about 10 years later!

I would like to share a little bit of what I have of what seems to be another part of my life. Stop motion animation is an arduous painstaking art form, and with a whole roster of 12 to 14 animators working on it all the time, we managed to do about 8 secs of animation a day!

There are many amazing stories from that time......but here are some images and videos that I have put together of what I've found online and in my sketchbooks. Some of which bring out the angst, frustrations, joy and wonder during that time.

Have fun,
Prash
The DVD that I just bought.



During the photo shoot for the poster
frustrations!




Characters for the Night monsters













The night monster puppet with wire armatures covered in foam latex, and the character design from my sketchbook

Autumn puppet, plastic head, silicon covered wire armatures, leaf covered wire hair that could be animated to blow in the wind. oh Sarah Morden! What a grand old time we had!


I painted on the dyed fabric


A germ 




video



6 comments:

Judith8Acht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m'leane said...

glad you've told your story;-)

Abha said...

What a fascinating inside look at the industry!

Rukminee said...

Wonderful work Prash.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Trust me,when I took over on the second series it was a real eye-opener for me as well. Not to mention my last professional project in 2D animation as well. Some people just aren't who you think they are. Despite me leaving the industry quite jaded after this, the 1st production remains a fond memory for me because of the talented folks I had the opportunity to work with, and be inspired by.

Scott