Deep Sea Cartooning

Drawing, This is Interesting

In 2021 I was was really lucky to be introduced to singer/songwriter Jackie Bristow who had recently collaborated with young Kiwi kids two write and record original songs during lockdown as Jackie B and the Mini Band. The group had written songs about saving the environment, space and time travel. Jackie asked if I’d be interested in creating an animated music video full of pirates and deep-sea mysteries. The song was Davy Jones’ Locker.

After listening to the songs I turned verses into scenes and developed a story about a misunderstood pirate king who just wanted new friends to come to his birthday party. I developed this into a storyboard with notes on movement and how each shot would line up with the lyrics.

After the storyboards were approved I moved to the character design stage and developed three very different versions of Davy Jones and an example of one of the pirates. This was my favourite part of the process and felt like the characters were coming to life. We landed on the seahorse-bottomed design and added some long white deadlocks.

I also had to give the characters a place to live, so started developing backgrounds. I loved the moody melancholy vibe of the song and wanted the deep bluish sea tones to match that. I’ve always been a fan of Maurice Noble’s background designs in Looney Tunes cartoons and I hope you can see some of that inspiration creep into the squiggly bushes, tall jagged cliffs and splattered stars.

With all the elements sketched up and approved I worked with my mate and excellent editor/animator Brad Goosen to bring the flat illustrated elements to life and pair with the musical track to take you below the surface and into Davy Jones Locker.

I loved working with Jackie. Even though we were communicating via email and zoom, separated by the Tasman Sea and strict covid restrictions, sharing every element of this process with her was exciting and rewarding. I’ve always wanted to work on a music video. I’m glad this was my first one.

My illustration, storyboard and background work has been nominated for a Stanley Award in this years Australian Cartoonists Association annual awards night. Fingers crossed I can bring home some treasure.

Check out the the video here.