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Art Works: Sophie Johnson-Hill

15 August 17 words: Sophie Johnson-Hill

The illustrator and animator on the beauty of a child's imagination. N'aww...

Big Bad Wolf is an animated short film that just... happened. I was halfway through my research for my masters in puppetry and digital animation, which focused on the importance of trusting and valuing a child’s creative impulse. I animated a series of short films called Thunk of the Day, where I’d capture a child’s thought and bring it to life through animation using the child’s voice and artwork.

I love working with little ones because they’re not afraid to make mistakes; nothing is polished or perfect, and everything feels spontaneous and earthy. I love their scratchy drawings with scribbly bits sticking out of places you wouldn't expect.  

A friend commissioned a bespoke Thunk as a keepsake for her four-year-old daughter, Amahrya. We began to play with a doll’s house, and we’d take it in turns to knock on or answer the door. I asked her if she was the Big Bad Wolf, and Amahrya found this hilarious. I recorded our play session and the backing music using my iPhone. It’s amazing what you can do with one of those, and I like some of the muffled, clunky sounds that happen from little hands knocking against the microphone.

It took about a year to finish Big Bad Wolf, as I had to fit it in around other paid commissions. I uploaded it to my Sojo Animation Facebook page as soon as it was rendered, and the response blew me away. It got its first tangible audience at the Beeston Film Festival and again at Broadway’s Short Stack short film night, and the audience response was incredible.

This year, I’m attempting to not be broke any more by having a crack at app development. Sojo Doodles – animations that are perfect for sending in text messages – is my tester project; it’s been a giant collaboration between my friends and Sojo followers. You can download it from the Apple app store, but only if you’re over twelve years old because of the hairy balls in the “Amazeballs” sticker.

I’ve also just finished an animated music video for Chester P and DRS called Melancholy Flowers. I can’t wait till I can share the hell out of it.

SoJo Animation on Facebook

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