Ross Bollinger delved into the key to Pencilmation’s animation style while teasing his next project, Gil Next Door.

Pencilmation It has gained a massive following since it first debuted on YouTube more than ten years ago. During an interview with CBR, Pencilmation Creator and showrunner Ross Bollinger delved into the history of the series, the key elements that define the show, and the growth of his new series. Gil next door.

Reflecting on the massive audience he has gained from his work, Bollinger admitted: “It’s weird in a way because everything is online. It’s not like there are audiences of people that I can see. It’s mostly numbers, so it’s kind of surreal. in that way. It’s weird. I mean, I still feel the same as when I was doing Pencilmation years ago, but it’s certainly very exciting. “

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Pencilmation uses a deceptively simple art style, consisting of a band of color-coded stick figures interacting with an increasingly strange animated world around them. The fluidity of the animation gives the shorts a classic feel that is more reminiscent of the Golden Age. Looney tunes than many animated shows today. Speaking about the key to making Pencilmate a distinct figure, Bollinger described character-specific animation as the linchpin of Pencilmate’s design. “It’s deceptively simple because the design itself is very simplistic, but we spend a lot of time on character acting and expressions. And it’s hard to get that nowadays, especially with a lot of TV animation channels, and you get more or less the same expressions, the same movements “.

“Frame-by-frame character animation takes forever, even for a simple character. I think that’s the secret in a way: that character animation, really wide characters acting through 2D cartoons, just like they used to do. in the Golden Age. That’s the key. ” Reflecting on his inspirations, this sense of movement is a key element of what has always drawn him to “all the old Looney tunes and the old Disney shorts … definitely Daffy and Donald. I mean, I didn’t start with a particular model in mind. I think maybe the same sorts of things resonated with the people that we’re setting the stage for Donald or Daffy resonated with me. The character who gets in trouble and his plans backfire was very attractive, so it just turned out that way. “

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In addition to the regular update Pencilmation, Bollinger is currently in the development of a new animated series, Gil next door. A series a little more ingrained than Pencilmation’s practical joke and occasionally meta-style, Gil next door centers on a pair of brothers, Gil and Wolly, who live in a cartoonish version of the modern world. The series will also feature a large number of dialogue, somewhat Pencilmation been avoided for a long time. But despite these structural differences between the shows, Bolliger revealed, “I think the style of the comedy is the same.”

“It’s all there because it’s just this part of the DNA of the kind of stories I tell. I mean, Gil has dialogue, so it’s different in that sense. When we started working on Gil next door, we actually started as a writing exercise with Pencilmation episodes that had already come out and we wanted to adapt … [and we thought,] Could we adapt this to a new character? The biggest challenge, the first thing that happened was that Pencilmation has no dialogue. And then there are so many scenes where you just have Pencilmate doing something on his own, and you can’t create a dialogue scene with a character alone in their living room. You have to have a partner.

“Pencilmate somehow transformed into Gil. And we gave this little brother Wolly … that was really the starting point for us, and how to split Pencilmate’s personality in two. Sometimes he can be naive and commit At other times, it may be that kind of conspirator, the kind of Donald or Lucas who has the world collapsing on him from his own kind of mistakes. And we take those characteristics and divide them between these two characters. You have Gil, who he’s this kind of know-it-all, maybe he’s got more flaws somehow, but ultimately he’s loyal to his little brother, whom he’s raising. And then Wolly the little brother, who’s this naive little boy who can’t really do nothing by itself. They kind of need each other. It’s like splitting Pencilmate into these two characters. And that was a starting point. “

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As befits the broader approach, Gil next door incorporates a larger and comparatively stronger world for Gil and Wolly to explore, specifically the town of Buddyberg, something that Pencilmation not so long ago. “PencilmationIn the world of paper with the pencil, you remember the medium itself. I wanted to do something completely immersive that would make you forget you were watching a cartoon and get lost in the story. I definitely wanted to make a fully developed world from scratch. “

Reflecting on why now is the perfect time to launch the new series, Bollinger said: “It really is as good a time as any. What I realized was that I really had lightning in a bottle. Pencilmation, and I want to make the most of this great opportunity that I have. And if I wait, who knows? Maybe five years from now, I’ll just be an old man, who used to have millions of YouTube subscribers and is living in the slum and talking about the show that he always wanted to do, but never did. I thought, ‘I have to do it while I can.’

But even though his focus might also be with Gil next door, Bollinger is still hard at work on Pencilmation, including adding the character to the page with the help of Penguin Young Readers licenses. An upcoming graphic novel will adapt certain Pencilmation shorts to print. Considering the challenges of adapting the character for different media, Bollinger said, “I didn’t want it to not have any text like Pencilmation because I feel like there is nothing to read. With a book form, I have to have a few words to follow the story. So it took a little time to find a format that we would use to try to translate Pencilmation stories. There are some Pencilmation episodes that are so driven by audio that it is impossible to make them like a comic. We were particular about who we chose to use for the book. “

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