Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Early Days

Here's one of the introduction panels we did for Mad Tom's Farm (when it was called The Funny Farm). We did five or six of these just to get the reader introduced to the basic idea of the Farm and what it was all about really. This was a luxury that we're finding we can't fit into the pilot script for the animation. We've played with the idea of having the whole pilot as an 'origins' story showing how Rufus gets to the Farm and his intial shock at meeting talking animals and mad farmers but it felt to crow barred in.

Our latest idea is to have the title sequence as the intro with a sort of Wizard of Oz parady where Rufus gets ripped from the real world by a hurricane and literally lands in the Farm (maybe squashing Auntie on his arrival) all to the sounds of a crazy theme tune!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Twas the Night Before Christmas.....

Tis the season to be jolly!! Slighty christmassy feel here but I managed to dig out the comic strip sequence I was wittering on about in an earlier post. I don't know why but we seemed to have a fasination with anything mechanical. Tom had tank for a tractor, the rabbits flew in a rocket machine, Odd made submarines and time machines and even Santa sacked his reindeer for the latest Turbo Sleigh (c).

The panel with the dippy mouse is one of my least favourite drawings I did for the strip, it always reminds me of those really duff greetings cards you find at outdoor market stalls, the one your ancient gran gets you for your birthday with a fiver slipped inside to get yourself 'something nice dear'

The final panel with Santa on the moped is based on an old illustration I did for a comic strip called 'Mad Mags' It was about an old lady lollipop woman who lived in a dream world where she was a female Mad Max. I painted a panel where all these mutant bikers were about to get her and in a corner for a laugh, I painted a fat mutant geezer in full body armour riding to death and glory on a tiny red moped, still makes me giggle today. (Very sad)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Rabbiting on....

Although the concept is named 'Mad Tom's Farm', it was never started as a vehicle based around Tom. When we started the original newspaper strip our idea was to focus mainly on Rufus who we envisioned as a young man who sumbles across the Farm. We were aiming for a more adult market (believe it or not, we were trying for the Daily Sport! Naturally we didn't sell it to them but later managed to sell our other strip 'Flasher Mac') in a way we were lucky that we didn't get the strip into the Sport as it would have been a very different story now!

Anyway, we knew that we needed to have a partner for Rufus so Dalton was born. I think Cool Bob eventully appeared a bit later into the series as an antedote to Rufus and Daltons madness and craziness. So as much as I love the character of our Cool Bob, and all the other characters, Rufus and Dalton almost feel like my children to me. (Bizarre!)

Whilst going through my old paintings of the gang, it dawned on me that I drew Dalton the most, even more than Rufus. I reckon if the end of the world was going to come and I could only save one charcter from a fiery end it'd have to be Dalton.

This illo was just done on the spur of the moment, it's obviously Dalton but I was messing around a bit more with his normal set colours. Take note students!! His fur is a lot darker than it should be (Burnt Sienna instead of Yellow Ochre, Windsor and Newton fans) and shock horror.....his hair is red instead of green!! Don't know why I picked green, I guess just to make him that bit more human, I mean, most rabbits have brown hair don't they (apart from the old rabbit who lives in my local woodland, that one has a lovely permed blue rinse) so in conclusion, I actually prefer him with his original colours but you've gotta try eh?

I still use this image as a logo for my letterheads and other business related nonsense.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mistletoe and Wine

This is another oldie I've dug out of the murky depths of history. It's a christmas card I did for my wife (she's the red headed doll in the tartan dress) and features Cool Bob and Dalton. It's a bit out of character though as I don't think that Cool Bob would really look that evil, he's just too cool for that!

Why Santa would have a cow dressed up as a reindeer is beyond me but I suppose it all adds to the overall flavour of the Farm. I always planned on doing a run of jokes at the christmas period where the rabbits would take Santa hostage but we never got to do it in the end. We did do a little set based on The Night Before Christmas which Niel warped into Santa owning a jet powered sleigh, pretty funny if I remember correctly!

Thursday, April 20, 2006


This one is especially for Dean, (what a good memory you have)! It's one of our more surreal moments that requires no explanation!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In the good ol'days!

Here's another illustration from the Funny Farm vaults. This is a pen and ink drawing which I did for promotional purposes, I think we were trying to butter up our editors in the vain hope that they'd keep the strip running in their newspapers. Take note of the Dalek snowman in the right hand corner, a little nod to one of the greatest villains of all time.

This is the colour version I did of the same picture. (It was a Christmas card for Niel and Di) It was hand painted and the background sky was airbrushed in using.... A REAL AIRBRUSH! You've got to remember that this was done in the days before the wonders of affordable PC's and the mighty Adobe, I even had to do the lettering on a different sheet of paper and stick it on to the picture. If you look carefully, you'll notice that Niel (left, behind the chicken) has grown a little goatee between the B+W version and the colour one, he must have hit puberty finally at that point!

God created the world in six days....on the seventh he created Adobe Photoshop.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Character Profile - Bernie

Meet Bernie, Tom's wife. She's the heart and soul of the farm, everything revolves around her in some way.

Bernie was one of the original characters from the comic strip, she was there from day one. Originally called Bernard after a gag in Blackadder she soon changed to Bernie.

Bernie has an unorthodox way of getting things done; she'll use whatevers to hand and is no shrinking violet!

Monday, April 10, 2006

We are still here!

Sorry for the gap in posts - we have had a busy old week (or 2!) Things will be back to normal very shortly!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Character Profile - Rufus

Rufus is our 'everyman', the person whose eyes we see the bizarre world of the farm through.

Rufus is named after the character in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. We both really liked the name, although the characters are very different. Rufus in 'Bill & Ted' is the Zen-like wise old man figure, our Rufus is a bumbling bag of nerves and inhibition!. We later found out that it was Latin for 'red-haired one' which we though fitted very well. (We've always seen him as probably being ginger, but he's a bit more blonde on the concept art!)

Rufus started life as a travelling backpacker who stumbles onto the farm and becomes Tom's Farm hand until he can find his way home. For the animated series we've felt some pressure to make him younger. The only problem with making him younger is how he then finds the farm. We have a couple of options with this which we are working through at the moment. Rufus would desperately like to return to his boring, safe, normal world before the Farm, but no matter how hard he tries he just ends up right back where he started.

Rufus has an Auntie living nearby - she is the sort of woman you don't really want to meet! She routinly tries to get Rufus to stay with her; she has her own diabolical reasons for wanting him!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Script Development

Work continues apace on our pilot script...

We don't always see eye to eye on every aspect of the script...

But it usually works out ok in the end!