Simon Otto – Character design in “How to train Your Dragon”

I’m a massive fan of both “How to Train Your Dragon” films, mainly because the characters are so well developed, entertaining and believable, and character design and development are an important element in the animation and comics workshops I run.  So I found this interview with Simon Otto, head of character animation at Dreamworks, really fascinating. Have a look if you want some tips on how to create fantastic characters, and find out how Toothless was inspired by his cat and baby boy!




We need to keep arts teaching in state schools!

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre made great arguments for keeping arts teaching in state schools in his recent Guardian opinion piece, here it is if you didn’t see it. Arts are VITAL for children’s development, improving observational skills, lateral thinking/problem solving, fine motor skills, to name only a few benefits. All private schools in the UK include the arts in their curriculum (Eton has three theatres for the use of its students), and even they have stated clearly that they do not understand the government’s attitude towards the arts in state schools. Let’s hope the new Education Secretary sees the light.


February – March Animation Workshops in Teignmouth

Two  Small World events are coming up in February: a one-off animation workshop during half term celebrating the release of the new Aardman film “Early Man”, and an animation club kicking off at Teignmouth library after half term 🙂

“Early Person” Animation Workshop

To celebrate the release of “Early Man” come and create and animate your own 3D early cave person character! This fun workshop is aimed at 7-12 year-olds, but open to keen-beans either side of that age group 🙂

Running from 10am-12.30pm on Tuesday 13th February at TAAG, Northumberland Place in Teignmouth, you have the option of staying to enjoy making and creating with your child, or dropping them off and collecting them at the end of the session. Unaccompanied children must be aged 8 and over.

The session is £8 per child, with sibling reductions available. Advance booking is essential as there are limited spaces.



 Animation Club at Teignmouth Library

Kicking off on Monday 19th February and running till March 26th, the Small World Animation Club will run between 4-5pm on five consecutive Monday nights (except March 5th when there is no session).

We’ll be inventing and creating characters, making up stories and working in all sorts of different media to make short 2D and 3D animations.

The price for all five sessions is £20 per child, payable in advance. Booking in advance is essential. The club is aimed at 7-11 year olds, but 6 year olds can join if accompanied by an adult at all the sessions. Limited number of places so early booking advised.

Get in touch by email or phone 07746326860 for inquiries or if you want to book.

Happy New year from Small World

Having finally emerged from a post-xmas and new year slumber, Small World projects have now started in earnest 🙂

Last week saw the start of The Alice in Wonderland Drama project for magic Carpet in Honiton. I’m helping the guys design and make animal puppets and masks to use in their performance. During the first session we concentrated on how to create an “animal character”, and how talking animals are really quite a strange idea! People were particularly inspired by the “Wind in the Willows” book I took in, with the original EH Shepard illustrations, and made some great drawings. Photos to follow.

And today is the first day back for Bishopsteignton Comics Club, which has turned out to be really popular with the kids. We’re in the process of putting together their first comic, which will be available in print and as a download. More news soon 🙂 In the meantime, here’s the lovely “Mr Toast the Detective”, and  his baked-goods adversaries by seven-year old Rupert. I think they’re brilliant 🙂

Light Up your Xmas!!

THIS FRIDAY!!! 😀😀😀😀😀

I’m teaming up with brainy Ruth MacLaren of Sciencedipity to bring a fab LED Light-up Christmas card workshop to Exeter Library. See flyer for details! Hope you can join us, it’ll be lots of fun 🙂

Still here!!

Radio silence no more!! I finally have an opportunity to blog all the busy-ness of the past couple of months 😀 Crikey!

From Big Draw drive-in movies to animation projects and workshops to comics clubs here’s a taste in pictures of the last two months in World of Small… 😊

The Big Draw at TAAG – Programme of Events

TAAG’s “Animated Magic!” Big Draw Event

What’s On

There’s a whole range of exciting activities taking place between 14-27 October at the Big Draw event at TAAG in Northumberland Place, Teignmouth!

This year’s theme is “Living Lines” – aka animation – so come along and watch animations made by local artists and children, and if you want to learn how to make your own animated films, join in with some of the fab workshop activities we’ve got lined up. There is something for everyone, whether you’re 2 or 102!

We’ll be open every day between 10am to 5pm showing animated films made by local artists and children specially for the Big Draw, and displaying “behind the scenes” and still images to give an insight into how the animations were made.

Programme of Activities and Workshops

All day every day: Cartoon Hall of Fame: Come and grab some paper and pencils and draw your favourite cartoon character! You can take your picture home or pop it on the wall in our gallery area for everyone to admire! All ages: free drawing activity (suggested donation £1 to go to the brilliant Helen Foundation who have partly funded this year’s Big Draw).

18th October: Drive-In Cinema: Make your own cardboard box car and motor into our drive-in cinema to watch a selection of short animations specially selected for tinies. Booking essential. 11-12.30: Under-5s. £3, parents/carers free

19th and 26th October: Living Lines Drop-In animation workshopJoin Small World Animations’ Claire Evans and make your own hand-drawn animation. 11am-1pm: all ages; free (suggested donation £2)

 21 October: Comics Club Animation Workshop Special! Design, make and animate your own superhero character in this Halloween-themed workshop! Can your superhero defeat the crazy scientist’s diabolical monsters? 10am-12pm: ages 5 and up (5-7 year olds must be accompanied by an adult); £3 per child; booking essential

 24th October: Drive-In Cinema: Come and make your own cardboard box car and motor into our drive-in cinema to watch a selection of short animations specially selected for 5-10 year olds. Booking essential. 11-12.30: Over 5s and up. £3, parents/carers free; booking essential


Animation Project with Magic Carpet

This was so much fun, and everyone made brilliant characters to go in our animations. Here for your delight and delectation is “The Adventures of Robin Hood!”  Enjoy! 🙂

Announcing the Big Draw in Teignmouth!

The Big Draw at TAAG in Teignmouth is starting on 14 October with exciting exhibitions, screenings and workshops for everyone!

Come and make your own animated superhero at the Comics Club animation special, find out how we made the intriguing animated drawings and paintings on show, or make your own box-car chevvy and motor along to the kids drive-in movie! Details below – and get in touch via email 😀

Bristol festival of Puppetry – Your Stop-mo Animations!

Hi Guys, here are your animations. I’ve put them up on Youtube, I hope you like them!

If you were in the morning session click HERE

If you were at the afternoon session click HERE

I had a great time working with you all, I hope you had a lot of fun too! 🙂


Stop Motion Workshops at Bristol festival of Puppetry!

What a blast we had at BFP!! Two sold out stop motion workshops at The Watershed in Bristol  and lots of creativity and brilliant characters with a bunch of very imaginative and creative kids 🙂

Animations coming soon, here are some photos from the day, courtesy of the lovely Alena who helped out brilliantly during both sessions!

Arts for Wellbeing Project

Over the summer I’ve been working on a really interesting pilot project for Magic Carpet at Ide Surgery in Exeter, based on evidence that creativity and arts activities have a big part to play in wellbeing.

Every Thursday afternoon for six weeks I’ve set up a small table with printing equipment in the surgery reception area and invited people to take part and make a small nature monoprint while waiting for the doctor or nurse.

Some people declined, but chatted about hobbies and pastimes, while many, aged anywhere between 4 and 90 were happy to have a go, and very pleased with what they were able to produce in the ten minutes it took them to make their print.

I gained lots of useful insights during the project, and the hope is to set up a more permanent arts for wellbeing project with the surgery, which from chatting to patients and carers would be very welcome and highly beneficial.