Back in October 2009 I was contacted by Mainframe a creative production studio specialising in motion graphics and animation for ads, promos and branded creative content. They asked me if I fancied working on a job for Virgin's digital channel 'Bravo' promoting the new series of 'The Worlds Strongest Man', I'd do the drawings and they'd animate it, sounded fun already.

The basic idea was that we'd take five well know strongmen from the competition, Zydrunas Savickas from Lithuania, Phil Pfister from the USA, Mariusz Pudzianowski from Poland, Terry Hollands from the UK and Derek Poundstone from the USA and draw them as super-heroes in the act of some tremendous show of strength. So the first thing for me to do was design their costumes. The brief for the costumes held information on each of the strongmen and also gave rough ideas for colour schemes and ideas to make each outfit fit that particular character.
Shown is the final approved costumes and from there it was straight onto producing the illustration work for each individual scene. I'd receive an email with a sketch and brief outline of what was happening in each case. In most cases it was fairly easy to see what was happening but a quick chat with the people at Mainframe would always resolve any questions and often result in extra reference being sent onto me.
With all the scenes I pencilled the work first for the client to approve and as you'll see from the pencil examples below all the elements in the scenes had to be produced separately. In this case the 'Zydrunas' scene there wasn't actually too many elements to draw. The main figure of Zydrunas himself, the tree he was holding and the background. In the final coloured work the rocky pinnacle he's standing on, the trees and the sky where all separated so that the animators could work their magic on all the different sections.
After approval of the pencils it was a straight forward job to ink and colour the work ready to be supplied to Mainframe. And work their magic they indeed do as I was often sent their work in progress and was always amazed at the effort they'd put into my illustrations to breathe life into the scenes. I'll take a moment now to sing the praises of Mainframe as I found them to be one of the easiest and most appreciative clients I've ever worked with. I feel that for the whole project time was slightly against me and although I've worked long hours before on various jobs I've never felt so involved with an agency that keeps me well informed and is quick to give credit for the work you've produced. My thanks go to Adam Jenns for approaching me for the work in the first place, the animators Mark Warrington and Fraser Davidson for turning my scribbles into animated gold and especially to the producer Emma Phillips who was by far the easiest going and nicest person I've worked with in years. Sometimes a job and the people you work with just click and it definitely clicked this time. I thoroughly enjoyed this work and it would be a pleasure to work with Mainframe again in the future.
© 2009 Virgin Media
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