Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2008

The Valley of the Walking Mills

It says, the term Walking Mills comes from the German word
Walkmühle, which means something like tumbler-mill, i.e.
a mill where large amounts of laundry is tumbled; and which
is the name of the townsite, where i grew up.

But this is not true.
The truth about the valley of the Walking
Mills is the following, told by a tribe called Vembols , who are
living in this valley now since many generations.
I met them one day, when i was trotting around the globe.
This little guy in the header of this page on the left is one of
them. His name is Folm. By the way, the guy on the right is
Mr. Voo. He has nothing to do with WalkingMills and the story.
He just asked if he could appear in the header for personal

selfportrayal reasons. I said, it' s okay because I like him.

So this is the story the eldest of the Vembols told me.

Once there was large beautyful and calm valley surrounded
by harmless welfaring and arboreous hills and sugarloafed
mountains. In the middle was a beautiful lake with water clear
as crystal and sweat as honeywine (what?). The large lushed
meadows smelled puissantly of herbs and flowers.

In this valley were living the walking mills, peacefully.
They were bathing in the lake, eating grass, flowers and herbs
and were sleeping in the sun or the moon when ever they felt
like to. Their children, still light-weighted, were running and
flying around, playing „find the mill“ or „tumble-me“.

But then, one day, from a dark forest, three valleys away in
the north, hundreds of huge, dark and terrifying spirits came

over the mountains and hills and through the trees and destroyed
everything. They hunted and ate the little mills and ruptured
the parents. Nothing stayed alive. Then the spirits left the
totally devastated valley as quick as they came.
For many years the destroyed mills were lying around in the
valley and the vegetation started to cover their stones, bricks
and woods.

One day, the Vembols, until that day a normadic folk, came to
the valley and discovered the ruins. They understood immediatley

what has happened, because the story of the Valley of the Walking
Mills has been told since ages. So they decided to stay and settle down
in the valley to protect the cemetry of the walking mills.
They never touched any of them and left the nature fullfill its purpose.
But they guarded and watched over the valley with eagles' eyes.
They built little turf-huts to live in with their families and while the
wifes and the children were in the village, busy or playing, the men
were standing on the hills, guarding and overviewing the valley,
always aware of a possible return of the dark spirits.

But because of the bravery and courage of the Vembols, the dark
spirits never came back since.

Well, that's it. And it's the truth.

Mittwoch, 27. Februar 2008


was one of the finest chapters.

Here, i was first working as a layout-artist for a new trailer of a children-tv-show called "Rudis Rabenteuer" which means something like "Rudi's raventures", as Rudi is a raven.

After that job they asked me, if i liked to supervize a team of 12 animators, layout- and clean-up-artists for a serial of 5 animated tv-commercial-spots for one of the biggest cellphone-netprovider in germany (now O2). I swallowed and said yes.

The commercials looked like this:

some of the spots here (i.e. the golf-spots) were done before i came by Hansi Helle and Ulrike Pietsch (now Hofmann)

Next Stop... Frankfurt

Then i thought it's time to take my sheets under my arm and take a tour through Germany, to see, what else is there. My first stop was Clayart, a Claymation-Studio in Frankfurt, a division of , runned by Thomas Schneider, who came to the west from the east und who knew Nick Park from Aardman. This was already the last stop of my tour and so I stayed and worked as only 2D-Artist on a redesign of the trailer for a german mishap-show.
as life wasn't that digital at this time yet, that's all what's left at the moment:

a Phonecall...

back in Berlin in January 2000, one morning I had a phone-call by Gerhard Hahn, who is running a big Animation-Studio in East-Berlin. He said he heard of my Junior-Characters. It was early in the morning, 11 am, and i was still in dreams. He asked, if i liked to do some sketches of some characters that shall become the stars of a new tv-cartoon-serial, adopting a video-game.

Some of these sketches were those:

he liked it and he invited me to his studio.

He forgot that i was a trainee at his studio two years ago. I guess, he never knew.

I was sitting on the couch in his office. He brought me some coffee and we were talking about the possibilities of game-characters in cartoon-shows and the future of animation. At this time, they had just started their 3D-Department and were doing some outsourced-job for a munich-based studio, that was working on a 2D-feature-film with 3D-parts in it.

I was working on the game-characters for a month. It didn't worked that well. In some ways, it is strange, to work in his studio. Finally the characters were finished by one of the most talented character-designer at Hahn-Film at this time, Heiko Krischker, himself a follower and padavan of Markus Koch, himself a follower and padavan of Thorsten Kieker.

And this is Jane...

at least, one of the first scribbles...

What time is it...?!

By the way, it is not, that i'm posting in the middle of the night,
it is that I'm about ten hours away from where the posting-time
is set :)
Where I am, it is 6.00 pm now.

good morning!

The Junior-Characters

These guys were born in 1999...
... Junior, Jane and Jaz. There were running for a year or so
as inserts between cartoon-shows and commercial-breaks o
a german broadcast-channel called Sat1. The channel called out a competition to character-designers worldwide. Now guess what. I made it! And this is what they looked like:

I kept working in the studio that was producing the shows for another four months, making additonal character- and prop-design.

Dienstag, 26. Februar 2008


then i went to hamburg for 18 months to get qualified as animation-designer at the animation-school-hamburg.

this is the graduated-film i made there in company with Ulrike Barth, Sabine Dubb,
Axel Nicolai and Alexander Tiedke:

The Beginning... the best way to start.

And I started my animation career in 1997 in Berlin as a trainee, doing stuff like this:

and this:

I still hear my teachers voice saying: "i don't see where the lines go to!" - she was there from london at this time and very experienced and severe. It took me a several times, to finish these turn-arounds successfully...

The Moquats - some drafts

And here is it, the first picture (of course not the first of my life, but
the first in
this blog though).

So to make it more clear I'll seperate time now in B.B. (Before Blog)
and A.B. (Anno Blog) which makes this picture a Picture 1 A.B.
(or to complete : picture 10829 or something B.B. which accidently
equals to my zipcode in Berlin -Schöneberg in 1995 A.D.)

Here we go!

So this is it then.

this blog shall show a bit of my work to those who are interested in - my portfolio.