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.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Introducing...Caroline Attia

Picasso Pictures is delighted to announce the signing of an incredibly talent designer, illustrator and animation director Caroline Attia. Fresh from the centre of Paris where she lives and works, we met up for un tasse de thé and caught up with all things Caroline...

PP: Hi Caroline, we are really happy to have you join our roster, so where are you based currently?
CA: Thanks! I am based in Paris but I travel to London a lot.

PP: You have such a distinctive style, how did that come about?
CA: I started drawing heavily at the age of 6. I knew then this was my thing and it’s always been very hard to imagine myself doing anything else than that for a living. When I was 12,  I saw an ad in a magazine for Disney, they were hiring animators for their brand new studio in Montreuil (where I live now!). That’s how I first discovered people were actually making a living creating and animating characters, from that moment I knew I wanted to get into animation and I kept going in that direction with my studies.

PP: Is there one specific project that you feel best sums up your style?
CA:  I guess my 'Monsieur Martin' trailer. Firstly because 'Monsieur Martin' is my first book as both a writer and an illustrator, and secondly because I had a lot of fun doing it, it does really represent my style at the moment.

PP: And what were you influences that kept you going from a young age?
CA: I have many influences, it's really hard to narrow it down. I guess Franquin when I was younger was my favorite comic artist and Claire Wendling as well. Of course, my work does not relate to them anymore, but I still think what they do is amazing. I am very fond of Michael Dudock de Witt films, and his feature 'The Red Turtle' did not disappoint me. I also love Saul Bass and it surely has been a great influence in helping me simplify things! In kidlit, I should say, Jon Klassen, Olivier Jeffers, Marc Boutavant, Sasek, among others are people I look up to!

PP: What inspires you?
CA: love walking and taking photos of houses, streets that I think I could use later as an inspiration for one of my projects. 

My husband is a painter, I go to a lot of galleries and look at paintings, photography as well as contemporary drawing and etching. 

Travelling is also a great source of inspiration. Oh yes and a great new source of inspiration for me is baby stuff!  I was asked to design some baby clothes and accessories and really enjoyed that.

PP: Finally, can you tell us something about yourself that people would never know?
CA: Well, I used to do pole dancing and was really into it for a few years. It’s a really great workout, it’s very demanding and it has an element of risk to it so it really helps with self confidence. I had to stop when I got pregnant, and haven’t gotten back yet. For now I am doing Yoga and it’s very soothing.