can you sit still – development..

I’ve made a couple of storyboards for this idea, nothing special just getting the info and idea on paper. The animation is for children so the themes and design (etc) must match the audience. I’ve chosen quite a simple cartoony style, which i think will appeal to the demographic, its also similar to other animations aimed at the same audience (entertainment and educational).


Here’s a rough script of the narration. I’ve also tried to time it so that its about the right length for the animation, there may be some trimming here and there that i need to do when editing, but really it should be about right.


Slightly better storyboard – more recent.





  • Pitch Presentation – Tuesday 19th January 2016
  • Final Submission – 7pm Friday 5th Febuary 2016

Task: Using sequential drawings/images create a 1 minute animation that helps 6 to 8 year olds understand why sitting still for an MRI scan is a good thing to do and helping them to not be afraid of the process.

So if I’m going to create an animation for children i need to make sure i create something relevant to the target audience.



This example uses 3d and 2d animation to tell the story and  describe the process of getting an MRI scan to children. There are also sounds that are from an actual MRI scanner which lets the audience hear something they may find scary before they are actually in the scary situation. Making them aware of something like that could help to make it less sudden and strange when it happens, and could help the child when it comes to getting their own scan. Children are encouraged to pretend they are in a spaceship when getting the scan.


This 3d animation has nothing to do with MRI scanners or anything, but you could say it is ideal for the target audience. The story is very simple and easy to follow and I think the colours and design would appeal to young children. It reminds me a lot of a couple of kids tv shows, with the sounds as well as the visuals.


This is a really cool rhyming 2d animated film about a young boy who makes funny noises! The style is like pink panther or top cat, and the use of music and sounds is key to that as well, in this particular story it is vital to the storytelling. I really like that its a rhyming poem and would love to try and find a way to do something like that in my 1 minute animation.


A childrens tv show, similar to peppa pig. A narrator helps to move the story along and interacts with the characters directly. The style is simple but attractive with lots of bright colours. No outlines really.


A really great children’s tv show (3d animation) narrated by Stephen Fry, I’ve actually seem this before somewhere and sat through a number of episodes.. Its aimed at the same target audience and the narrator serves the same purpose as he does in ‘Hey Duggee’ and may be a helpful addition to my animation, as the children will find it familiar as they will most likely have comes across narrators before in  shows they enjoy watching. The narrator could help the children be not scared, by being the voice of reason, while the characters could be more reactive, in the end of course begin happy and their fears subsided. Music and sounds are important parts of any children’s media i think, so i need to make sure i keep that in mind when creating mine.



Obviously you cant tell children that the machine will kill them if they wear metal, or can you..?


That was fun! Not sure i learned anything helpful but it was fun!

A guide to a children’s MRI Scan ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging ) at Chesterfield Royal Hospital (2013)

In this video a girl goes with her mom to get an MRI scan. She is asleep when the scan happens, but they still explain in the video what will happen.

I’m having an MRI scan (Leeds hospital)

From the video description:

Published on Sep 20, 2013

This short, child-friendly video explains to kids and their families everything they need to know about having an awake MRI scan. Particularly, it is aimed at preparing children aged between four and ten, who have either never had a scan before or are trying it for the first time without a General Anaesthetic. Along with positive reinforcement from parents and carers, it will enhance the experience of young children who come to the hospital for this test.

This video is aimed at pretty much the same target audience as the video i am making. The girl in the video is the narrator and explains to the audience what is happening.

In this video the girl gets to listen to music or watch a DVD because she will be awake during her scan, so she doesn’t have to worry so much about the scary noises or anything – she just needs to remember to stay still during the scan.

This video notes that you may have to wear a device like a helmet which will help take better images, like some of the other videos, they are preparing children for any possibility so the child doesn’t get scared at something new they weren’t expecting.

Intro to Getting an MRI at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (2010)

What to expect when your child is having an MRI scan (produced by the Child and Family information group, Great Ormond Street Hospital for children NHS trust)

This video is really for the parents or guardians of the children getting the MRI scan. It goes into a lot of detail about things that parents should worry and think about, but stuff the child doesn’t need to think about really (and the animation I’m making is only 1 minute so only so much info will be in there anyway).

Ideas and things and stuff…

  • You can pretend to be a sausage in a hotdog bun, or a donut!
  • You will probably get super cool photos of your brain or heart or something!
  • You are completely safe, the doctors do this everyday.
  • Its just like a big camera – a camera with super magnetic powers!
  • The loud weird noises are just Gary and his band, they have terrible instruments and pretty much zero talent, but they play whenever the MRI scanner is scanning someone. They love an audience..
  • Children often get to listen to music or watch a film or something while the scan is happening, but this depends on the hospital.

Script idea:

Narrator: “Ah what a beautiful day it is today, the birds are singing…”


Narrator: “The bees are buzzing…”

Bees: (unemotional/ flat) “buzzbuzzbuzz”

Narrator: “The sun is shining…”

The sun: “shineeeeeee”

Narrator: “Now where is Sammy?

Ah there you are! And how are you today Sammy?”

Sammy sort of shrugs and smiles a little.

Narrator: “You’re going for your MRI scan today aren’t you Sammy?”

Sammy nods and looks a little worried.

Narrator: “Well you have nothing to worry about, MRI scanners are perfectly safe, they are like big magnets which can take special pictures. And magnets are pretty cool actually Sammy!”

Sammy looks happier and nods more enthusiastically.

Narrator: “When you go to get your scan you will lie down on a bed and go inside the machine, which actually looks like a big metal robot donut or something.”

Sammy smiles along.

Narrator: “Now Sammy. When you are getting a scan you can’t take anything metal in with you, do you have any metal on you Sammy?”

Sammy shakes his head sheepishly.

Narrator: “Good! Now remember Sammy, when the scan is happening you will need to be very still, still like a statue, or a very very still thing. You know how to be very still dont you Sammy?”

Sammy nods his head with a serious look on his face.

Narrator: “The scan could take a few minutes, which may feel like a long time, do you think you could be still the whole time Sammy?”

Sammy nods his head but is still unsure.

Narrator: “I know you will do a great job Sammy!”

Sammy smiles wider and seems content.

Narrator: “Well you’re all set to get your MRI scan now Sammy, maybe after we could go get ice cream or something?”

Sammy smiles really widely and nods profusely.

(Fade out – roll credits)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In this idea the character Sammy is basically the audience, as they are also going to be experiencing an MRI scan. The narrator identifies their concerns and things they need to know and mentions those things and reassures Sammy and the audience as well. So i just need to make sure the information I want passed onto the audience is in the script and the narrators language is appropriate for the target audience. The script when read is a little over 1 minute with small pauses where necessary. I think that its a good base to work from, as its nearly the right length of time, it just needs a few adjustments.

I really like the opening idea for this animation, the birds singing and bees buzzing and sun shining. the kids will not all understand the ironical nature of that sort of joke, but they should enjoy the funny birds singing loudly, the bees buzzing flatly and the large sun saying ‘shiiine’ should be something they will find visually appealing and set the tone for the animation a little. It should sort of grab their attention a little and be interesting.

The character Sammy could be anything. A bear or a crocodile or a human boy or girl. Really i have not decided yet which character i am going to pick, but they will be a simple style like the cartoon characters that the children already enjoy watching in their favourite tv shows at home; although obviously it will be in my own style.

The narrator will be friendly and reassuring for the children. I think it will be an adult voice rather than a child’s voice. If Sammy ends up speaking they will be a child’s voice.

I need to make sure that the animation is around 1 minute. For this particular script i would need a few things.

  • A background
  • The sun
  • Bird
  • Bee
  • Sammy
  • Narration audio
  • Other audio
  • Maybe a MRI scanner..

Sammy would be the main focus and needs to be able to effectively express a few emotions to the audience. Sammy however doesn’t really move anywhere and stays put pretty much the whole time. Its only a 1 minute video but it needs to capture and keep the children watching its attention for the duration to ensure they take in the information.

Other thoughts and stuff and things:

  • Sammy could get distracted and the Narrator tells him to pay attention because its important.
  • The narrator could call Sammy a silly billy!
  • Sammy pulls out a large metal item when asked about if he has anything metal. Something kid of ridiculous that shocks the narrator who tells him its probably best if he left that at hoe actually but just remember no rings or anything like that as well.
  • Basically Sammy goes from being not so sure and worried at the start to completely reassured and ready at the end, there’s even the prospect of ice cream! So children will be able to see that maybe MRI scans are not so bad.
  • Maybe i should mention the loudness of the scanners, or the possibility of music or whatever? maybe not… Have to see how the timing for the animation works with everything and aim to get it as close to 1 minute as possible.
  • Other ways to go would be having the character actually get an MRI scan in the animation, so the audience sees its not scary or anything. Maybe i could show the MRI scan machine to Sammy and he could see its not so bad (When the Narrator mentions the MRI and what it looks like in the script – like a donut, we can show it and Sammy can see its not so bad, maybe touch it and see it is ok..).

Comic Development – Winsor McCay

I decided to do a comic based on Winsor McCay because he has an interesting life and is a part of animation history, he also had a really cool cartoon and animation style. The brief says that the comic must be influenced by the subject artists own style, so I have decided to do a black and white comic in McCays style, although if i have time and it looks right i will do a colour version as well, because McCays work was often but not always colourful, and he is remembered for these large vibrant comics in newspaper broadsheets, so it would be fitting to include a colour version. Anyway the comic is going to be, as the brief asks, about his rise and demise. Although his demise involves a few words about not being able to really reach his potential as his employers wanted him to be more available for the newspapers and not go gallivanting off doing his sideshow act. The last line being something like “who knows how famous and popular McCay could have been had he explored that possibility more instead of choosing to settle down and live his life in New York.” Something similar to that anyway, there are many reasons he will have chosen to stay in New York, but had he travelled with his act who knows where he would have ended up, certainly a Europe trip was proposed and rejected by his employers. So really its anyone’s guess just how big McCays act could have gotten and whether that would have influenced how many animations he ended up making. He was unhappy with commercialisation of the art-form, which is a big part of probably why he didn’t pursue that side of things, which is sad in a way.

Anyway the comic will start with a backstory up until McCay moves to NewYork. It will feature a little about each important cartoon strip; sammy sneeze, rarebit fiend and little nemo. Then the major animations: little Nemo, mosquito and Gertie, especially the interaction with Gertie the dinosaurus will be focused on in the animation. Maybe the final frame will be McCay riding on the back of Gertie like he does in his animation.


I decided to find some reference images for the comic and i thought i would share them here. These were helpful as reference when drawing ghe characters and their clothing and also the buildings style, etc. They are images from the early 1900’s (1905 mostly i think) from New York (mostly?). Also i found some stuff that was prevalent to McCay like adverts and also vaudeville stuff, because that where he performed and will be mentioned in the comic.

To make sure that i am able to represent McCays style appropriately i have looked at a lot of McCay cartoons, its really easy to just read more and more, there’s just so much available. I am going to first of all be thinking about how things will look in black and white and then moving to colour after. I want to therefore make sure that the black and white will look stunning and good on its own without colour.

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Classic early age animators/cartoonists – Winsor McCay

McCay1Winsor McCay, born Zenus Winsor McCay (McKay- his father changed this to McCay because C’s are obvs better than k’s, duh!) in Canada. His exact birth date seems to be up for debate, with birth records seemingly destroyed in his obituary in the New York Herald Tribune stated, “not even Mr. McCay knew his exact age.” His family moved to the USA and Winsor was raised in Michigan. Winsor began drawing at a very early age and when he was 13 he drew a picture of a shipwreck on the school blackboard which was photographed and copies were actually sold. He went to business school, as his family wanted him to have a proper job, but Winsor loved to draw and found work in Dime museums where he would draw customers portraits for 25c each, among other jobs. He got a taste for performing to an audience here and it never really went away, as he went on to perform on Vaudeville, which was a sort of variety show where musicians, dancers, singers, illusionists, comedians, animal acts, impersonators, clowns, jugglers, artists, short plays/scenes from plays, celebrities talkers, minstrels and movies. It was entertainment for everyone with a little bit of everything. It was said that his amazing ability to draw quickly and with great accuracy was able to draw crowds when he painted advertisements in public. Before vaudeville though he had various jobs and after starting a family and moving to Cincinnati in 1891 Winsor took a job as a cartoonist/reporter at the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, while doing freelance comics as well. Di.MuseumIn 1900 McCay took a job at The Cincinnati Enquirer, where he went on to become the head of the art department. In 1903 Winsor moved to New York to work for the New York Herald, doing illustrations and editorial cartoons. Winsor worked for the New York American and again for the New York Herald, he stayed in his Brooklyn home in New York until his death on July 26, 1934.


Comic strips 

January 21, 1904 – Mr. Goodenough – published in the Evening Telegram it was about a sedentary millionaire who would seek ways to become more active, with embarrassing results.

April, 1904 – Sister’s Little Sister’s Beau – McCay’s first strip with a child protagonist lasted one instalment.

May 1904 – Phurious Phinish of Phoolish Philipe’s Phunny Phrolics -appeared in the Herald ’​s Sunday supplement – his first color strip.



July 1904 – Little Sammy Sneeze – about a boy who’s sneeze built until he let it out with disastrous results, and was McCays first real success! It ran until December 1906.

September 1904 – Dream of a Rarebit Fiend – another success published in the Evening Telegram, it was aimed at an adult audience and he wrote it using an alias – Silas. The comics characters that appeared in the strip would have fantastic, sometimes terrifying dreams, only to wake up in the last panel, cursing the Welsh rarebit they had eaten the night before, which they blamed for bringing on the dream.

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January 1905 – The Story of Hungry Henrietta – the child protagonist visibly ages week by week, and eats compulsively in lieu of the love she craves from her parents.

June 1905 – A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mister Bunion – another “Silas” strip for the Evening Telegram, which ran until December 1910. Mr. Bunion spent each strip unsuccessfully scheming to rid himself of his suitcase, labelled “Dull Care”.


Oct 1905 – Little Nemo’s Adventures in Slumberland – Nemo, a little boy (based on McCay’s son Robert) had amazing and marvellous dreams which he woke from every week in the last frame. It was basically like dream of a rarebit fiend aimed at a more broad audience.

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While Winsor may not have been the first person to create animation, he was certainly one of the first, and it can be said that Gertie the dinosaur was the first character created just for the animation, making her the very first original animated character. Winsor is credited with being the first person to use key frames, but no matter what he considered it a gift to the community and the art-world, not something to be patented or anything. When it became commercialised Winsor was not happy about that at all, the art being turned into a business was something it seemed Winsor didn’t want to happen. He created ten animated films between 1911 and 1921. mccayworld

Winsor is quoted as saying “My goal is to make something that once you’ve seen it  you cannot ever have not seen it.”



Little Nemo – 1911

McCay drew almost 4000 separate drawings on rice paper, testing and re-testing each one so that the transition from one drawing to the next-each drawing representing one frame of film-would appear smooth and seamless, without jerks or shakiness. And each drawing featured his beautifully rendered line drawings of his characters.No previous animation had featured such strong graphics or care in presentation.

While there was not much of a story, it shows off animation well by morphing the character, which was its principle job, as a further attraction to McCays vaudeville act. Originally black and white Winsor went on to hand colour each frame individually afterwards as the films popularity grew.


How a mosquito operates – 1912

Based on a rarebit fiend comic, this had more of a story to it than the last animation, about a mosquito who goes looking for his next meal, which he finds in a man who he feeds on for the length of the animation. The mosquito is quite a character with hat and case, the grinding wheel it uses to sharpen its tip and McCays attention to how the creature moves is apparent in the animation and makes the character of the mosquito really come to life on the screen.


Gertie the dinosaur – February 1914


Gertie the Dinosaur debuted as part of McCay’s vaudeville act where he introduced Gertie as ‘the only dinosaur in captivity’, and commanded the animated beast with a whip. Gertie seemed to obey McCay, bowing to the audience, and eating a tree and a boulder, though she had a will of her own and sometimes rebelled. The finale shows McCay walk off-stage then reappear in animated form in the film, and had Gertie carry him away.

Winsor McCay cartoonist

A modified version was prefaced with a live-action sequence and replaced the interactive portions with intertitles, which meant it could be played in regular movie theaters, reaching a wider audience and undoubtedly increasing its popularity.

The sinking of the Lusitania – July 1918

McCays serious cartoon, about the infamous sinking of the Lusitania ship carrying civilians from america to Britain by the German military in May 1915.

This was the first film McCay did on transparent celluloid sheets, as had been recently patented by others. Using this technique, the same background painting could be used over and over. It still took almost 25,000 separate drawings, and over eight months of McCay’s time.

Later Animations

The Pet – One of the first monster movies where the monster storms through a cityscape. In fact Winsor used dinosaurs a lot as well, in cartoons and animation. It seems that Winsor may in fact be responsible for influencing popular culture far more than we previously thought!

McCay was a visionary artist who always wanted to push the envelope and try new things. He made some of the earliest animations and left a legacy of incredible comic strips behind him. He also drew many editorial cartoons and illustrations and certainly impacted on the art world in a big way. Unfortunately for Winsor he never really reached the fame and success he deserved, his employers stopped him from travelling and performing his acts more, they stifled his creativity at times and generally made his life difficult. So he was unable to achieve everything he wanted, although he still managed to do a lot. In the end McCay enjoyed a career where he was recognised as a talented artist and illustrator, and also a competent film-maker/animator who made some lovely films. All in all he was a name to be remembered and his art should be enjoyed by more people, his place in animation history is secured and deserved.

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References [accessed on 07/01/16]