INTERVIEW: Aardman director Darren Dubicki

QUESTION: What do you enjoy most about your job?

"Watching the seed of an idea grow through lots of creative input from strong talent, into fully realised and believable worlds and comical characters."

QUESTION: Stop-motion, claymation, CGI. Which is your favourite medium and why?

"I’ve spent the majority of my animation career working in computer animation, even when working on stop motion films. Back then I used computers as a pre-viz tool to help plot film sequences and design sets at the same time.

CGI is a powerful tool that's helped me to bridge the gap between story and design

"It’s a powerful tool that I’ve really embraced as it’s help me to bridge the gap between story and design… and much more. I don’t see it as anything else than an additional tool for creating animation, and is on par with stop motion as a creative process."

Darren Dubicki: Fly

Concept design for the short Aardman film Fly, for which Dubicki was the production designer

QUESTION: How do you relax?

"Throwing myself down a hill on a bike, and heading for the coast as much as possible. My kids have just put a ‘bird cafe’ in the garden – which is relaxing to watch, until the seagulls storm on in."

QUESTION: Can you recommend a book or movie...

"‘What I did’ by Christopher Wakling. It’s a story told through a small boy’s perspective, about a split second decision that plunges his family into every parent’s nightmare. I’d also recommend that everyone should watch Spinal Tap… at least once."

Darren Dubicki: Curio Jungle

A frame from Curio Jungle, a set of idents Dubicki worked on for the E4 music channel

QUESTION: Tell us who inspires you...

"Russell Mills, David Carson, Phil Hale, Andreas Gurskey, Cy Twombly, Thrush Holmes and Joseph M.W. Turner, to name but a few."

QUESTION: What's the most useful thing anyone has ever said to you?

"I’ve heard this several times in my life, and it probably belongs in a cliché box but ‘don’t be afraid to make mistakes.’ In fact, it’s very useful and I try to encourage it. Especially in the world of CGI, where no one wants to break the rules."

In the world of CGI, no one wants to break the rules

Darren Dubicki: Twistmas

Frame from Twistmas, a set of idents for the Family Channel

QUESTION: Which of your characters is your favourite design and why?

"I don’t really have a favourite, but I am quite fond of my Ping Pong Pigeon. He was one of many rough designs for the 2012 Olympic mascot, but obviously it didn’t work out.

Ping Pong Pigeon was one of many rough designs for the 2012 Olympic mascot

"It was one of those designs that immediately felt right without having to go through several rounds of tweaking. And I like the way he’s getting pumped for ping-pong action."

Darren Dubicki: Olympic mascot

Ping pong pigeon, character design for the 2012 Olympic mascot

QUESTION: What are you working on now?

"I’m in the middle of making an interesting live action and CGI viral film for a drinks company. Then I’m lined up to work on some more commercials and visual development for a feature film. But that’s hush, hush etc. I’ve also got a children’s book on the go and it would great to see that published within the next year."

Darren Dubicki: children's book

Colour study for Dubicki's children's book that is currently in progress

QUESTION: What's the most eccentric thing on your wishlist?

"A vintage Pachinko machine. They are beautiful objects, and I’d love to have a wall of them."

NOW READ: My inspiration: Aardman Digital's Gavin Strange

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