Christmas Seals Animation

If you’re somewhere in Canada watching TV this holiday season and you see this cute little ad, hit the PVR button and turn up the volume — that’s one of mine!
In September, the very awesome and talented Jenn Strom asked me to develop the characters and animated elements for an on-air campaign she was directing for the Canadian Lung Association.
The characters and scenes in the animation were loosely based on past iconic images from the Lung Association’s annual Christmas Seals campaign.
The animation had to be clean, but not sterile. Bright colours and strong lines defined the characters, but the animation needed to retain a handmade feel. Keyframing was done digitally to enable a quick turnaround for feedback from the director, but the drawings were then transferred to paper for the nitty-gritty work of in-betweening.
The sequences were hand-drawn on paper and inked with a black Monami Plus Pen before being scanned and cleaned-up digitally using custom Photoshop actions.
The colours for the scenes were inspired by the original stamp images, but the exact palette was still being edited very close to the deadline. I had a file-proxy system set up the director that would allow her to download updates I sent her and update her edit with virtually no file-wrangling at all.
My favourite animations to watch are the ones that hint at the enormous artistic and technical process that go into them (e.g. Disney movies from the era of Xerography like Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians), and I was very happy to be able to work with the director on a piece like this which hybridized digital and hand-drawn techniques.

The finished Christmas Seals promo went to air in Halifax on in mid-October, and will be rolled out across the country as winter approaches.

Head over to and show these good people some love! (The Christmas Seals artwork this year is gorgeous)

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