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Digby was created (more years ago than I care to remember!), when I was in my early 20's.
My Mum who was a school teacher at the time wrote a short story about a little dragon called Digby and I drew a series of sketches - but in time the drawings were pushed away and forgotten in the back of a cupboard somewhere, for over two decades, whilst a certain elephant character took the limelight!
Years later it was on a trip to the Scottish Highlands that Digby came back into my mind. Applecross is an overwhelmingly beautiful seaside village opposite the Isle Of Skye.
It has a very special meaning to me as my Great Great Grandmother was born and lived there. Her son grew up to become the local school Headmaster. The tiny house she lived in is still standing, albeit in ruins.
It was whilst walking the mountains that I remembered Digby and decided to bring him back to life with a new story and friends, making my loved Applecross their home.
I worked on Digby for the next 2 years creating his world and friends.
Fizzy Izzy was born and as I drew her I fell in love with her ditsy personality and sweet little chubby legs and tummy. Her disastrous spells and chaotic mushroom house I knew would be a wonderful source of great material for stories. Fizzy became Digby's inseparable best friend.
Grizel, the naughty elf and sweet Mungo Owl her side kick, were a delight to work on. I decided to give them my Great Great Grandmother's ruined cottage as their home.
Darling Albert the Badger with his village shop in the heart of Applecross Wood was based on my memories of the old shopkeeper and postman from my childhood, whose dinner you could smell bubbling away in the kitchen, down the passage behind the shop counter.
With Albert's ageing years I gave him sweet Archie Mouse to help out - I adore her tomboy personality.
Then dear Muddles appeared on my page and he took up home in the mud patch in the middle of the wood... as you do.
Other characters sit in my sketch book, waiting and hoping they will be promoted and make the cut in future series!
The journey from my drawings to global TV exposure has been a steep 5 year learning curve.
I worked alongside the immensely talented team at the London based animation studio, Blue Zoo, on the first Digby pilot episode.
The initial animation - in keeping with my vision, was aimed at a very young audience. But it became apparent that the best future for Digby was to direct the series at an older age group, so he had to grow up quickly, bless him, and lose his rounded edges.
Grumpy Goblin made an appearance next, loveable even with his negative outlook on life, his softer side showing through with the care he takes over his snail friends and his higgledy train Scotty.
From the creation of the computerised body moulds and landscapes, to hearing the voice actors for the first time recording audio, to the meetings discussing story lines and scripts, to being in a huge studio with multiple screens - each one showing one of my characters at different stages of production, it has been an emotional journey!
As an artist and creator there are few experiences as magical as overseeing your creations coming to life, particularly in such a high quality, twice BAFTA nominated animation.
Then crazy Chips bounded in on the scene in his hyper manic way bringing mayhem into the mix and creating an extra irritant to Grumpy's day!
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