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 I’m 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 don’t get the opportunity to play them as much as I used to. Retro games like ‘Streets of Rage’, ‘Banjo and Kazooie’, ‘The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time’ to more modern titles like ‘The Last of US’or ‘Halo’heavily 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