In this guest blog, Cilian DuBock takes us through the making of Hey Pappy – a six part series of animated shorts premiering on Aardman’s AardBoiled YouTube channel every Friday.
*Note: this blog contains adult content*
The original concept came from a four panel web comic. I’ve been making these for the past five years and I find them to be an incredible way to test out ideas for short form comedy as they take such a comparatively short time to write and produce, so you can test many ideas in gaps between work. Here’s the original comic strip, created in Photoshop in January 2018:
And here are few more of my comics, if you like what you see there are more on Instagram: @foxy_duboxy.
From this original comic I generated an animatic for the first episode of Hey Pappy, and in doing so I generated a formula for how each story would be structured. The structure is very strict and resembles that of a pre-school style animation which is subverted by the style of comedy. I then proceeded to write many, many episodes – with some help from the boys down at the Hagbox3 studio, turning most of these into storyboards and then whittling them down until I had eight favourites. I created animatics for these and then picked six episodes which I thought worked best in the medium that I had created and took those forward to final episodes.
The art style was also derived from the comic strips that I was creating. I’d experimented in transferring the art style to animation whilst studying Animation at UWE. I wanted to create a visually striking, bright and unique style with a very rigid colour scheme to run throughout the show. There are literally only 6 colours used throughout the entire show (pretty much).
For the past three years I’ve been working mostly as a freelance illustrator. This experience informed a lot of the design choices, especially when it comes to background art. The character design is very flat and stylised so the backgrounds gave the opportunity to lend an illusion of depth as well as using texture, colour and shading to connote the mood.
I first pitched the series to the team at Aardboiled whilst studying in my 3rd year at UWE Bristol, so a large portion of the initial artwork and concepts were birthed on the Bower Ashton campus. Since graduating in 2019 myself and two of my course mates have set up a small animation studio called Hagbox3 based within the Jam Jar – an amazing hub for creatives, from music producers to carpenters to animators!
Here’s our charming little studio!
Writer / Director / Designer / Animator – Cilian DuBock (Foxy DuBoxy)
Pappy – Rhys Salt
Rhys is an actor based in Kent. Check him out on YouTube
Boy – Anna Wodehouse
Anna Wodehouse is an actor represented by Waring & McKenna agency in London as well as a member of Fishbowl Theatre.
Theme music – Protagonist
Creative consultant and animator – Ben Spybey
Creative Consultant – Hector Kuenzler-Byrt
Clean-up animator – Bree Madrell-Mander
Hey Pappy follows the curious lives of Pappy and his boy. Each episode the boy poses a very regular question to his Pappy who responds the only way he knows how: with a rarely related, staggeringly stupid and casually criminal story from his life which feels like he was never really listening. Watch now on AardBoiled.