Hercu-Liz the Final Trailer

stephen welch

Here is my Hercu-Liz animated trailer for this final project for the Foundation course at Farnham UCA.

Please click on the image to view it:

Rating Click here to see the finished Hercu-Liz Trailer on Youtube


My project is based around a strong, independent female character role.  Both my final concepts were always going to be animations. Apart from my initial idea, I did not know which direction to go with it at first. However, I developed the idea from previous projects done throughout the units within this foundation course, I extracted ideas from these works I did previously.

The final choices were between a theme on ‘Survival’ (that would include a female explorer, connected to the survival-kit summer project).  Alternatively, I developed a theme based on the MIP project ‘Ritual’ (originally  in that project I wanted an animation that included creatures from myths.) This  would have either a theme…

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Hercu-Liz Project: Medusa pt. I

Medusa design sketches

Medusa design sketches

Hercules did not fight with the Medusa, It was Perseus that was sent to slay and bring back her head.

However, as Hercu-Liz is my very own version of the demi-god hero, she can battle a whole variety of mythical creatures.  I really like the idea of Hercu-Liz out to slay the Medusa herself or even some of her Gorgon sisters even?  The other Gorgons differed to Medusa as they were described as having wings (like Harpies), and talon-like claws as hands.  I prefer the actual design of Medusa because of her snake-body replacing the legs, and I am not too fond of drawing feathers wings, especially if I am to animate this.

I could however, overcome this task with the wings if I changed them for feathers to bat-like wings, that should be slightly easier to draw and to animate?

The Medusa is probably one of my most influential characters still to this day.  Her design as a character.  She is versatile in ways of defeating her foes, and she is unique in a very haunting way.

Medusa designs



Marks & Traces. Pt. 2

I have gotten over my fear of Photoshop!  I was becoming more and more frustrated and flummoxed with the complexity of it.  I would thought that it’ll just be a slightly more advanced version of ‘Deluxe Paint 2’ that I had on the Amiga 500?  Boy was I wrong.  To me, using Photoshop for the first few attempts is the equivalent of trying to pilot the ‘Millennium Falcon’ blindfolded!

I found the whole concept of layers and background baffling.  Quite frankly, the only ‘Magic Lasso’ I was familiar with is Wonder Woman’s Lasso Of Truth.wonder-woman-lasso-of-truth

Magic LassoBut…

I am working my way towards getting on the course of Computer Games Art, so I knew I had to start to become more comfortable with it.

For the ‘Marks & Traces’ project we had to use my digital nemesis to merge my photos (which I took over the Xmas break) with a drawn version.

Firstly I scanned in my experimental hand drawn copies, of which I thought we needed to work from?  This wasn’t the case as I hadn’t realised that we were to take the standard original photos into the workshop lesson, not the modified ones.  This held me back due to my mistake, and therefore had to do them again in my own time.  This was fine, as I managed to achieve the objective in the end.

Here are my finished ‘Marks & Traces’ pictures done in Photoshop:

Traces in Photoshop

Traces in Photoshop

bucket bin chickenbone4 drained umbrella2 urban door

Project: Interview


This project was so far, the most difficult to date.  It’s design was based on an interview, but not allowing the use of any relation, friend or really anyone you may know to be the Interviewee.

After three pages worth of ‘brain-storming’ in my sketchbook, I narrowed it down to either a local Butcher, a Tattooist, a Busker or a member of Bar staff at a local pub.  Thanks to good advice and a bit of ‘Lady Luck’ (not the pub’s name), me and group friend Mr Mestre we went to the pub (always good research) in hopes to find our project structure.

That evening, he agreed to take part in the interview project.  Got his number (first time I have asked for a mans number I don’t know in an unfamiliar pub), and all was going well.  The following day he met up with us and using the equipment supplied by the UCA we shot the interview.

The Interview was based on computer/video games, as our interviewee was a Graduate from the UCA and studied Computer Games Art.  On top of the footage we took, we then had to animate scenes to blend into the interview.  Each person in our group of four having their own small section.  I had a short chapter when he mentions the vintage SEGA game Golden Axe of which I grew up on by owning the Amiga 500 version, which was slightly easier and better graphically with better sound than the SEGA original.  The game is set in a fantasy sword & sorcery era allowing you to choose from three individual characters: A Barbarian, an Amazon or a Dwarf.  My favourite was always the Amazonian Tyris=Flare, so I wanted to have her in my part.


Above:  Still one of the best female characters in gaming.

(Click on the Image taken from the internet to view the video).

Another reason I picked Tyris to animate is that I happen to have a small miniature figurine of her which gave me the idea to blend the plastic model into the drawing.  This effect also reminds me of the classic AH-HA Take On Me music video.

Cut-Out Animation influences

Whilst researching for my joint project on Day Of The Day, I thought about any form of cut-out animation I had seen before.  I looked at music videos and remembered these of which helped me experiment, and bring back some memories…


Charley Says‘ was a cut-out animated cartoon in the 70’s and 80’s by Richard Taylor Cartoons – which also did Crystal Tipps & Alistair.  This was quite a psychedelic looking cartoon that reminds me of  The Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine‘, but that was made by George Garnett Dunning. Things I can take from this for my work are the deliberately jumpy movement which gives it a rugged- retro feel. Back in their rave days, Electronic Punks – The Prodigy used samples of ‘Charley Says‘ in their track ‘Charly‘, (click on the picture of Tony & Charley above for the track).

Another later Prodigy track ‘Warriors Dance‘ used  a clever mix of puppetry and paper model animations as well, directed by Corin Hardy. I like the way the bands ‘ant logo’ is displayed on some of the characters and the attention to detail, the storyboard is quite dark in hindsight.  I would like to have a chance to animate a track to music, but fitting to the theme of the music must be difficult.  I love the music too.


Another amazing animator/illustrator who’s superb style influenced me is Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne).  She has done wonderful animation for music videos such as: Bim / Second Person / Lucid Edge. I love the simplified characters overlaying the real photograph and other real objects- it hadn’t occurred to me to merge my own work and other produced materials before I saw this several years ago.
Teaser/viral for company: Whipcar Ltd / Learn Big Teach Big.


Brainbox Mills Studios

I have been amazed by animation, in both drawn and model form, since a young age.  I remember two particular children’s series that used to be shown on TV when I was little, Trap Door and Stoppit & Tidyup.  These were both made by British animators Terry Brain and Charlie Mills.  Together they formed Brainbox Mills.

Trap Door was extremely good for its time.  Even though each episode only went on for five minutes, it was jam-packed with unique creatures,  atmospheric environments and lots of laughs.

Click on image for a Trap Door episode from Youtube:

The Trap Door DvD cover

The Trap Door DvD cover

Trap Door,  Stoppit & Tidyup and lots of other cartoons during the 1980’s were a huge influence on me and as a child.  I even drew and made versions of them from plasticine  Fimo.  As an adult now, I still love it (and own it on DvD), it remains one of my first inspirations.  It is a shame it didn’t continue longer than it did, it seemed short lived to me.  Trap Door left a lot to a childs imagination, with what ‘The Thing Upstairs’ looked like.  To me I found this rather annoying as a kid, as I wanted to draw it.

As a child I kept getting Willie Rushton and Terry Wogan’s voices mixed up.  Willie Rushton did the voice of Berk from Trap Door, while Terry Wogan narrated Stoppit & Tidyup.  I would have preferred it if then, they had figures or soft toys made from these animations.  I feel I wasn’t the only child deprived of having a ‘Go To Bed’ teddy.

Click on image below for a Stoppit & Tidyup episode from Youtube:

Stoppit and Tidyup main characters.

Stoppit and Tidyup main characters.

Below are some photos of Stoppit & Tidyup characters I painted on a creche at a leisure centre some years back:

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti: Stoppit (close up)

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti: Stoppit

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti: Tidyup

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti: I Said NO!

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti: Eat Your Greens

Glass Graffiti

Glass Graffiti: Calm Down