Monday, 10 September 2018

Introducing.... Frankie Swan

We are delighted to announce that Frankie Swan our most recent 'Pod' signing,  has launched his first commercial campaign as Animation Director! Frankie's fresh design and 2D charm  is much loved in the industry,  so we wanted to bring you more on the man behind the art...

PP: Hi Frankie, let's start with how you got into Animation. When did you know it was for you?
FS: I initially did a BA course in Graphic Design at the London College of Communication, during my final year I decided to experiment with 2D hand drawn animation and I instantly fell in love with the process. I wanted to learn more about animation so I did a post-graduate course in Character Animation at Central Saint Martins. This course gave me the tools I needed to pursue a career as an animator. Being paid to draw was a dream I had as a child so I am glad I am now living it! 

PP: How would you describe your style? How did it evolve?
FS: Working as an animator has hugely influenced my approach to character design and my style has naturally developed over time working on many different projects.  Whenever I design characters I am always thinking about how I would animate them in 2D, so naturally I try to strip out any unnecessary details that would make the animation too painstaking. I also try to consider the form of the character and how it may move in a 3D environment whilst also balancing this between making the character graphic and appealing. 

PP: Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
FS: Honestly I think my Dad has been the biggest influence on my career. From childhood he always supported my artistic development. When I was at school my teachers (esp maths teachers) used to write to my parents complaining about my lack of attention during class due to the fact I was always drawing cartoons in the back of my exercise books. Instead of berating about this, my dad took pleasure in seeing my imaginative creations. Strangely at one time my goal was to be a fitness instructor! Luckily my dad gently steered me into the right direction, which is why I’m doing what Im doing now.  

PP: Is there a specific project you feel best sums up your style?
FS: I think my latest project for Dove best sums up my style. I feel my style is constantly evolving with every new drawing I make or project I undertake. So it is always my goal to have the most recent thing I do, be reflective of where I am at with my development as a director.

PP: What inspires you?
FS: So many things! It may be cheesy to say but my family is my biggest inspiration. A part of me is still that attention seeking little boy who wants to impress his parents with his latest drawings as if they would still stick them on the fridge or keep it forever in the loft! 
I am still inspired by the animated TV shows that gripped my fascination as child. Shows like Dragonball Z, Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Ren & Stimpy, Sponge Bob SquarePants and Pokemon. 

I also still find these influences popping up in my mind as I try to animate something.
Computer games are a constant inspiration though I dont get the opportunity to play them as much as I used to. Retro games like Streets of RageBanjo and KazooieThe Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time’ to more modern titles like The Last of USor Haloheavily influence my ideas.  

I am also inspired by the ever-changing evolution of art and story telling within the animation/games industry. Things seem to move on at a rapid pace and I try to reflect this in my work. I like to think of my style as something loose or pliable ready to change and evolve with the environment. 

PP: Tell us something about yourself that nobody else knows! Well apart from close friends and family...
FS: I absolutely love food and will eat almost anything! In fact I regularly exercise only so that I am healthy enough to eat even more food. 
Nothing makes me happier than a brilliant gut filling meal like my Mum's meatball curry, in fact if it were feasible I would probably accept food as payment for work! Ah, my producer's are shaking their heads, I won't accept food as payment :)  

View Frankie's work here

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Chesh goes to Pride Amsterdam

๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆA couple of weekends ago it was Pride Amsterdam, and Wieden Kennedy Amsterdam held a special event called Superproud to auction artwork from artists around the globe and donate the proceeds to local LGBTQ charities. Our very own CHESH was part of that exhibition and went along so he could report back...๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ

๐ŸŒˆHow did you get selected to be in the Superproud Exhibition?

My work was actually submitted by a friend who I used to work with, as they heard that W&K Amsterdam were looking for LGBTQ+ artists to take part in an auction. My last exhibition in London was called Hey Tranny, featuring portraits of London's top Drag Queens, so my work definitely fits the bill.

๐ŸŒˆDescribe this new work for Superproud.

These pieces named "London's a Drag" are part of a new series I have created. They are special to me as the brief of "my personal hero's" set by W+K, was a great starting point. This series was inspired by my love of London's Drag Scene.  The colourful looks and elegant/outrageous personas of these UK queens, truly make them my heroes.

๐ŸŒˆWhat was the vibe of the exhibition?

It was a very busy exhibition as it was located on the main canal in Amsterdam, there were many colourful characters buzzing around and the vibe was exciting as it was Pride weekend so a nice start to the weekend.

๐ŸŒˆHow does Amsterdam Pride compare with London Pride?

It was a very different experience compared to London, mainly as the parade was on boats coming down the canal, so the views were amazing.  Everybody (like London) were very friendly and everybody was enjoying the sun, sights and sounds of Amazing Amsterdam. Maybe my new favorite city.

๐ŸŒˆWhat was your highlight of your visit?

The highlight of my weekend was exploring a new city and meet old friends and making new ones. 

To see Chesh's animation work visit his director's page at Picasso Pictures.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Making a Monster....

Motomichi is renown for his striking black and red monsters, but how do they start? We talked about his process for creating so many individually unique characters...

Picasso Pictures: How does a character start? Is it in your mind before you draw?

Motomichi: Yes, most of the time I have an image of how it's going to look especially the eyes or the mouth (teeth) but it doesn't necessary turn out the way I originally imagined. I start with red pen to sketch it out and go from there.

PP: Where do you get your inspiration from?
M: I normally get the inspiration from mythical or cryptozoolgical monster stories.

PP: What pens do you use? Does that effect the character?

M: I use "ZIG writer" markers.

PP: Do you ever discard a character if it starts to not turn out as you want, or do you commit to it no matter what?

M: I commit to it to finish and if I feel that I made a mistake I change the direction and adapt the mistake to it. Sometimes I leave it as is and come back to it days later to continue again. 

PP: Have you ever accidentally made an identical monster years later?

M: I actually draw same characters many times but they come out differently each time such as Water Horse, Mothman, Mongolian Death Worm, Yeti, Killer Otter etc.

PP: How many monsters have you designed in your career, approximately?
M: Ah, good question. I have never thought it... If I count the monster drawings I made maybe around thousand? 

PP: Do you creatively feel like you have more to creative?
M: Definitely!

Thursday, 12 October 2017


The Pod at Picasso Pictures is delighted to announce that Chesh (Paul Cheshire) has joined the roster. Chesh's work is known for being packed with colour, fun, a pinch of cheekiness and a contagious laugh that can be heard three floors down. After years of being a successful animator at London's top studios, we met up for a cuppa to find out why he is turning his hand to directing...

PP: Welcome to Picasso! So can you tell anyone that doesn't know you, who you are and where you are from?
Ch: Hiya! I grew up in Cheltenham and have lived in London for the past 15 years...(Via Bristol and Sydney) 

PP: How would you describe your style?
Ch: Camp & Colourful! From a very early age I was always making things and drawing, mainly inspired from my love of 80's Cartoons and fashion the brighter and weirder the better.

PP: Where did you study?
Ch: I studied Graphic Design specialising in Illustration & Animation at Camberwell College of Arts (UAL)

PP: How did you get into Animation Industry?
Ch: After leaving college I worked as a Runner at an Animation company (by day) and as a Cloakroom attendant at a London Club (by Night).  During my time working at the Animation studio I learned so much about the whole Animation process and techniques involved which inspired me to start making my first animated film "Cloakroom Bitch" mixing my two very strange jobs into one.  Learning new software and lack of sleep made me fall in love with Animation and I knew this was the road for me.

PP: Who/ What has been the biggest influence on your career?
Ch: From Jem and the Holograms, He-Man, She-Ra, Heathcliff the cat, right through to Tank Girl, Madonna and countless John Waters Films, all have had a huge influence on my career.  

Ch: My love of drawing mixed with popular culture is best illustrated in my first solo exhibition "Hey Tranny - A sneaky peek at East London's finest Drag Queens". Where I created a series of Illustrated Prints and Embroidaries of East London's Drag Queens.  This in turn spiralled, ending in creating artwork, animated visuals and commercials for the polysexual party giants Sink the Pink.

PP: Is there one specific project that best sums you up?
Ch: I would have to say "Skittles - play the Rainbow" commercial which I directed in 2016, would best sum up my work, due to its colourful 2D charm mixed with live action footage which is one of my favourite media mixtures.

PP: Where would you like to see the future leading you, career wise?
Ch: Definitely in Animation. I am very excited about the future and extending my role as an Animation Director into other fields too. Fashion and Fashion Illustration have always played a huge part in my work so I am looking to mix the two... I am currently working on an eighties inspired animated catwalk show.  

PP: Tell us something that nobody else knows...
Ch: um...well........   I can fit my fist in my mouth...  

To see more of Chesh's work click here

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Pictoplasma Report...

We sent our Senior Producer Melissa Venet to Berlin to explore Pictoplasma and report back...

PPWhat is Pictoplasma for those who don't know?
MV: Pictoplasma is all about Character design and innovation. They hold conferences in New York and Berlin. It's where some of the best character designers and animators get together to show their work and talk about their creative process. Picasso has had our directors and artists involved over the years, showcasing their designs and presenting their work. They also hold character exhibitions, taking over galleries allowing us to get up close and personal with the work and it's an opportunity to present their Academy graduates. It's always good to be on the look out for new and upcoming talent!

PP: So what does a day at the conference involve?
MV: I find a nice cafe with wifi for breakfast to see what talks were on that day and go through the programme and plan my 'character walk' around that; visiting the galleries and exhibitions along the way. It was a full day of animation and design which was great. The theme of this year's conference was 'Character Upload' so there was a real focus on VR and digital technology in animation which I find really interesting.

PP: What did you take away from the conference?
MV: I found it to be really beneficial learning more about different creative processes and I think that it would be really informative to young directors and designers who are looking to expand on their creative process. Inspiration seemed like a huge focus for all of the talks, where people have come from, the journeys they have made, their personal backgrounds and their random thoughts. What I took from this was that you have to run with yourself sometimes and see where it takes you. We all have to pay the bills of course but try to use your own time to create your own things. You can make amazing creative discoveries which would interest and inspire others and that's the goal... 

PP: Can the inspiration from Pictoplasma be applied to our day to day work in Commercials?
MV: Interestingly in the conference talks by directors, they were all pushing themselves from both a style and technological approach which helped to enhance their work. One director said that he found commercials really difficult at the beginning of his career because of the constraints brought to him through selling a product, but then decided to approach it as a method to try new things stylistically and question his creative process...once he'd accepted that, he was happier creating for a client and found a new alternative voice for commissioned work. This was really interesting for me as I know how frustrating it is for some directors who have to find a balance between their creative vision in a commercial world. This particular director felt that he has evolved as an artist by having outsiders question him and in doing so questioned himself, which took him down lots of different paths creatively.
We are so often tied to computers and the majority of our production work is computer based but take yourself away from that, get your hands dirty now and then and different creative juices will get flowing.We usually get around a week to put a treatment together but if you have a bank of ideas and creations that you have found whilst playing around you can already be one step ahead.

PP: What was the highlight of the festival for you?
MV: Catching up with our Directors is always fun, especially out of production time when the pressure is off. Also seeing all the great exhibitions, it was amazing to see Anna's personal project 'Goats of Quiet Disappointment'. Her work was really thought provoking and experimental and so different in style from the commercials that we produce with her. I was so proud that she'd create this artistic space for us to visit and share.

Also, going secret bar drinking with Jens in Friedrichshain and having a proper catch up was great - yes, we inevitably starting talking about crew and software, but there were lots of laughs in between!

All in all I came back feeling inspired - I think it's great for producers to immerse themselves in creative circles. We are surrounded by so much artistic talent every day it's important not to get lost in spreadsheets and crew coordination and remind ourselves why we chose a path in animation production; to be part of something pushing boundaries and presenting craft through innovation. Just because we're selling something doesn't mean it can't be with style and creativity.