Studio AKA Director Manddy Wyckens has delivered new work for Bellefaire JCB, a youth social service agency based in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The film, entitled ‘Value You’ sensitively raises awareness about the trafficking of vulnerable young people in North America and was commissioned by Ohio agency Catbird; to be shared by Bellefaire JCB, through educational programming delivered in schools to children in ages 11 to 18.
The brief from Catbird was to tell the story of a victim of trafficking, and character design was to play an integral part in engaging young people, so they relate to the issues.
Manddy has handled this difficult subject with great empathy and care and her response is both elegant and bold; pairing seemingly effortlessly drawn figures against striking block colour backgrounds.
For clothing brand Joules; Studio AKA Director Kristian Andrews tells the story of a young girl’s efforts to help a homeless Lesser Spotted Woodpecker during the festive period. With characters based on Illustrator Rosie McAdam’s charming designs, the films highlight Joules’ ongoing partnership with the Woodland Trust, and include seven endangered species of native UK wildlife: The Hare, the Dormouse, the Redpoll, the Pine Marten, the Red Squirrel, the Capercaillie and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
Paper box is an intriguing object designed by Graphic Thought Facility for Fedrigoni. It is a box that contains the entire collection of papers available from the historic Italian paper manufacturer. Studio aka was commissioned to both communicate the function of The Box and its contents as well as promoting it. The resulting film unpacks the box. Each of its Three volumes expand to reveal endless tone, texture, colour and sound.
AKA Director Marcus Armitage’s recent work for Estee Lauder is a collaboration with designer Izak Zenou. Adapting Izak’s elegant illustrations for this animated piece, Marcus was able to bring to life these glamorous characters as they meet through secret doorways hidden in a gorgeous and festive urban landscape. Their Journey leading to a magical Estee Lauder wonderland.
The elegant and visually stunning performances were animated and artworked by hand in TVPaint, featuring painted background scenes created by Izak in watercolours and ink. Marcus has directed an eye catching & celebratory piece, produced by Studio AKA.
AKA Director Manddy Wyckens’ new work for Sporting Brand ON tells the story of a young couple’s quest as they climb mountains, traverse glaciers and eventually ascend Mont Blanc.
The brief was to tell this story in the context of a fairy tale journey whereby hidden mountain ‘giants’ are depicted as adversaries to our heroes. However, in due course, as the couple prove themselves worthy, the mountain giants become their friends.
Set in the Swiss and French Alps the background design is reminiscent of stylish 1920s travel posters. At once elegant and visually stunning, Manddy’s keen eye keeps the animation style restrained and fluid, with performances animated by hand in TV Paint and After Effects. This poised and atmospheric film which was produced by Studio AKA.
From executive producer RIDLEY SCOTT, Raised by Wolves centres on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task. This highly-anticipated series is now showing on HBO Max.
For the series, STUDIO AKA was invited to design and animate the Main Title sequence. Studio AKA director STEVEN SMALL designed intricately hand-rendered shots depicting the destruction of our planet and all remaining life departing to find refuge elsewhere in the solar system. Along with a team of animators, Small drew reference from a wide array of source materials, using a combination of 3D, rotoscoping, and simple artwork to create these captivating sequences portraying chaos and destruction.
HEY DUGGEE recently featured in 5th August's Guardian.
'Its fans include Orbital and Evan Davies, and it has won awards galore. Now the CBeebies show Hey Duggee is the smash hit of lockdown.'
In case you missed it, Tim Jonze's lovely piece is HERE
Here We Are
We have a new project with Oliver Jeffers, NOW SHOWING on Apple TV+
'HERE WE ARE: Notes for Living on Planet Earth'; is a 36min animated film based on Oliver's best-selling children's book. Exclusively on Apple TV+, the film coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration. We have been lucky enough to work with the voice talents of Meryl Streep, Chris O'Dowd, Ruth Negga and Jacob Tremblay and we can't wait for you to see it!
Visual artist OLIVER JEFFERS offers observations of the "beautiful, fragile drama of human civilization" in this poetic TED talk paired with his original illustrations and animations - brought to life by Studio AKA director KRISTIAN ANDREWS working in conjunction with NORTH HARBOUR PRODUCTIONS,
Giri Haji is a brand-new series for BBC2 and Netflix, produced by Sister Pictures and directed by Julian Farino. STUDIO AKA was commissioned to design and create a 1x60 animated insert for Episode 1 and a further sequence for Episode 5. The series airs October 2019 on BBC 2 and BBC iplayer followed by an international realease on Netflix
Admiral commissioned STUDIO AKA to animate this 40” commercial - titled SMARTPHONE - for the launch its brand new campaign, devised by Agency McCann.
In this introductory film, set within a brand new world, we follow the exploits of George as he comically tries to run his household using a Smartphone. Luckily for him, our steadfast Admiral - together with her trusty canine sidekick - are on hand to sort out his problems.
WOW! Congratulations to all the @HEYDUGGEE team for their amazing triple BAFTA wins! - A-WOOOOOF!
Studio AKA’s Hey Duggee, won three awards at the 2018 Children’s BAFTA's , winning in the Pre-School Animation, Director and Digital categories.
This is the third pre-school animation BAFTA win for Hey Duggee. Hey Duggee’s creator and director Grant Orchard also picked up the Director award. The educational app, Hey Duggee: The Counting Badge, was awarded the Digital Award. The app was created by digital agency Scary Beasties, in association with BBC Studios and Studio AKA.
40 years after his death, the Antoni family and Gallerist Mikael Hauberg are reintroducing the gems from the Ib Antoni Archives to the world. They have partnered with Studio AKA to create two animated gifs directed by Steve Small, bringing to life the two Ib Antoni Illustrations Tivoli and Concierge.
For its product launch, NaturNes creators BBH commissioned STUDIO AKA to animate a 60" commercial titled FIRST FAMILY to promote NaturNes as a natural baby food brand,
In the film, Directed & designed by MANDDY WYCKENS and co-directed with MARC CRASTE, we follow the First Family, as their caveman clan grows from two to three. Our hero parents have a first taste at parenting; first night's sleep, first burping attempt, first tooth. Challenging at first, our parents come into their own, as their natural instincts emerge. Nature knows best.
For the series BLACK EARTH RISING, STUDIO AKA was invited to create four animation sequences, as well as the main titles. Produced, written and directed by BAFTA award winner Hugo Blick and produced by Abi Bach (The Honourable Woman) for BBC Two and Netflix, Black Earth Rising follows the prosecution of international war crimes and the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa.
AKA director Kristian Andrews created the show’s Main Titles, while the inset animation sequences - directed by AKA's Steven Small - depict events around the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath, imaginatively interpreting violent and tragic events – events where, as one character puts it: ‘words would fail’.
MORE on Sequence Animation HERE
MORE on Titles Animation HERE
New York Public Library - THE RAVEN
Mother NYC commissioned STUDIO AKA, through Psyop, to animate a 15” Instagram Story for the New York Public Library initiative that brings classic works of literature to the public.
For Halloween, the eponymous The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe is re-envisaged by Director Marcus Armitage within a stark landscape where the differing perspectives of both the Raven and Poe’s protagonist steadily converge, until there is “darkness there and nothing more...”
Channel 4 challenged us with an interesting & open brief which was to create some fresh ideas for their re-branding of E4. We took this by the horns and produced 2x30 sec idents, each one using a very different & effective approach.
'NEW BREED' observes as two big cats clash in a desolate neon pink desert. Using a combination of CGI and hand-drawn animation, AKA's MARCUS ARMITAGE has created an arresting & attention-grabbing spot - with a side of romance.
Meanwhile, in 'CHIPPY', Director KRISTIAN ANDREWS has paid homage to the classic Lambie-Nairn Channel 4 ident - albeit deep-fried - using a combination of stop-motion and 3D digital techniques.
For the brand new live-action Netflix show ALTErED CArBON, Studio AKA were approached by series producers Skydance Productions to animate three segments from the dark tale of THE PATCHWORK MAN episode. Based on the classic cyberpunk novel by Richard Morgan ALTErED CArBON is set 300 years into a dystopian future, where human minds are digitized and downloaded from body to body. With animation directed by Studio AKA's KRISTIAN ANDREWS, the 'Patchwork Man' debuts in the third episode of the series.
HEY DUGGEE is featured in @WIREDUK magazine’s annual list of summer picks that they just can’t live without. A-WOOF!...
"Meet Duggee, the titular character of award-winning TV show @heyduggee. The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that Duggee is channelling Steve Jobs here while surrounded by his tech-enthusiast pals from the Squirrel Club. We included the show, which is created by the UK-based @studioaka (who also created this illustration) in our annual list of summer picks that we just can’t live without. You can see what else we chose in the current issue of @wireduk."
HEY DUGGEE won the INTERNATIONAL EMMY® KIDS AWARD for Kids Pre-School at the @MIPTV in Cannes...Hurrah! we will sit it next to Duggee's BAFTA!
Devised & Directed by AKA's GRANT ORCHARD, Hey Duggee is based around 'The Squirrel Club'; run by a big friendly dog called Duggee. It's a place where kids take part in all kinds of activities, have adventures and earn activity badges along the way. Duggee teaches the kids about being responsible, working as a team, and taking acceptable risks.
Exec Producer. SUE GOFFE & Series Producer. JANINE VOONG pick up the Award:: HERE
The Berlin based Pictoplasma Academy recently decamped to Mexico City and invited a selected group of participants for a unique 1-week CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT COURSE, supervised by tutors Rilla Alexander and Nathan Jurevicius. STUDIO AKA's Philip Hunt ran a course on character driven storytelling, as part of a program challenging participants to explore specific personal projects or their general style right across the media spectrum – from drawing and illustration to sculpture and visual storytelling – to find the right path for their further development.
The first game app for Hey Duggee is NOW LIVE! Join Duggee and the Squirrels as they work hard to earn their six club badges. Fun missions include styling Duggee's hair, making your very own funny-faced Totem Pole, baking cakes for the Squirrels, hunting down Duggee’s leaf collection, colouring in your favourite characters, and even dressing up each of the Squirrels in their heroic Super Squirrel costume. Completing each activity wins you a badge and a Duggee Hug!
See GRANT ORCHARD talking at HERE 2012. WATCH
The Story ...
Studio AKA’s Philip Hunt was honoured to be a guest speaker at 'THE STORY 2015', a one-day conference about stories and story-telling. The day is an eclectic celebration of everything that is wonderful, inspiring and awesome about stories, in whatever medium possible - written, spoken, played, described, enacted, whispered, projected, orchestrated, performed, printed – whatever form stories come in. THE STORY 2015
FAUX IMAGES XIV...
SUDIO AKA was delighted to be a guest speaker at FAUX IMAGES on December 16th in Berlin. FAUX IMAGES is a quarterly meeting for local and international filmmakers, designers and artists from related disciplines, who are invited to present their work through lectures and screenings. FAUX IMAGES is organized by Mate Steinforth in cooperation with LEAP (Lab for Electronic Arts and Performance). MORE
A Southbank Show...
STUDIO AKA's BAFTA-winning, animated adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ much loved picture book, LOST AND FOUND was screened to a packed house in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the 1st November as part of a weekend of events celebrating 10 years since 'The Boy' first appeared in Oliver's 'How To Catch A Star'. This was followed by a Q&A with Oliver Jeffers & Director Philip Hunt who adapted the book for the screen...Missed the screening? Fear not, it's but a click away...PAL DVDNTSC DVDAbout The Film
Issue 02 of MINCHO - The Illustration & Graphic Arts magazine - has a feature on STUDIO AKA ( and as a bonus there's a piece on Chris Haughton too!) READ
Moving Stories …
The National Media Museum & Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children's Books) are again staging an exciting exhibition showcasing innovative & influential film and television adaptations, inspired by children's books. Featuring manuscripts, illustrations, storyboards, costumes and film footage from some of your favourite authors, including Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll and Julia Donaldson, as well as AKA's telling of Oliver Jeffers LOST AND FOUND … 05/04/2014 - 27/04/2015 Seven Stories, Newcastle upon Tyne. ABOUT SEVEN STORIESNMM
Kristian Andrews Interview...
The Animation Research Centre visited AKA to talk to Kristian about his practice as an animator. He talked about his influences and inspiration and showed his fantastic collection of sketchbooks. Conducted as part of 'Oral Histories and Visible Witness' - an exploratory project into the documentation of the creative practice of current UK animators. WATCHMORE INFORMATIONhttp://www.kristian-andrews.com
Directors Notes invited AKA's Kristian Andrews to become the latest filmmaker featured in their 'They Are Animators' series. READ
Dpi Magazine …
Taiwan’s Dpi Magazine ‘The Variation of Comic Art and Animation’ - A collection featuring dozens of Eastern and Western artists and a selection of their work organized into the subcategories of "Sheer Vision", "Tangible Illusion", and "Satiny Boundary". Oh, and us...
Cartoon Brew takes a closer look at Studio AKA’s A Morning Stroll with its writer/director Grant Orchard...CARTOON BREW
Library book: Animation In Process …
From Hollywood blockbuster to striving independent filmmaker, from mobile phone games to characters advertising products on television, from pseudo live action through to virtual environments, animation is able to transcend boundaries to reach new audiences. This book (featuring AKA's LOVESPORT by Grant Orchard) shows how artists, designers, filmmakers, programmers, directors, writers, and producers have seized the chance to entertain using a versatile and compelling medium.
The unexpected change in direction forced by technical difficulties or spontaneous audience participation is always fun. Let’s be honest though, the most fun thing is just ‘showing off’ isn’t it?
DIGITAL ARTS askedus a few questions about Sing Up - a government-funded music education organisation which aims to get primary school children to realise that singing is an infectious and liberating experience that has the power to build confidence and self-esteem and to assist learning. Sing Up delivers training and tools to teachers and works to inspire children all over the country to find their voice.
AKA Dir. STEVE SMALL was asked by agency AMV/BBDO to bring the campaign to life & DIGITAL ARTS asked him a few questions about it...
Directors Notes invited AKA's Eamonn O'Neill to feature in their 'They Are Animators' series...READ
The Book Of Varmints...
The most overlooked threat in the world is the loss of peace and quiet…
Marc Craste & Helen Ward's beautiful book - Winner of the English Association's 4-11 Book Awards 2008 / Judge’s Top Choice for the Fiction and Poetry Ages 5-7 - Scholastic Best Books 2008 / Shortlisted for the British Book Design and Production Awards 2008. / Shortlisted for the 2009 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. / Green Earth Book Award, Picture Book Category.
From scriptwriting through to production, Andrew Selby's introduction to animation for students surveys key technical processes and examines a variety of stylistic approaches. The book includes visual examples from key animators (ahem, including AKA) and illustrated features on how to create exciting animation for a variety of audiences...