The secrets of The Snowman and The Snowdog

Find out how a team of 40 artists pieced together the new film from 200,000 frames of animation

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The secrets of The Snowman and The Snowdog
Written By
Andrew Duncan

The Snowman and The Snowdog lasts 24 minutes, cost £2 million, and is made up of 200,000 individual drawings that are painstakingly put together by 40 artists on the second floor of a small townhouse in Islington, north London. Many of them worked on the first film 30 years ago.

Raymond Briggs has given his approval and, “The look of the film is based on his original drawings,” says co-producer Ruth Fielding.

The film features the same Snowman who is joined by a Snowdog with odd socks for ears and a satsuma for a nose. The adventures take them flying over London (rather than Brighton in the original) and on towards the North Pole.

An animator first draws the characters in pencil, and then the image is coloured with Caran d’Ache crayons (30 different colours were used at a cost of £14,000). A team of two can finish five seconds of animation in a week.

Co-producer Camilla Deakin explains, “Eighty-five per cent of the film is made by hand, giving a rich, textured look. There are quirky mistakes, which make it more interesting. Computer-generated imaging can be too perfect, although we use computers at the end to finesse the pictures, adding digital snow and lighting effects.”

Director Hilary Audus and art director Joanna Harrison, animators on The Snowman, wrote the new script. “We’ve worked with Raymond for over 30 years and I think he felt confident this would be in keeping with his style,” says Hilary.

Joanna adds, “This one’s been hugely more difficult, as the expectation is massive. The Snowdog steals the show. And there’s a sad bit at the end when even I cry – and I co-wrote it.”

The Snowman and The Snowdog is on Christmas Eve at 8pm on Channel 4

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