Curtis Jobling is an animator, a writer, a reader and an ideas breeder.
But the Wereworld series and Bob the Builder creator came very close to abandoning his dreams before he had realised them.
We discovered how he turned down a career in teaching to give animation ‘one last try’ during an interview with him over a crackly Skype line.
KH: I heard you were involved in the film ‘Mars Attacks’, is that true?
CJ: Yes, I was really fortunate. It was an amazing experience, making models and painting props for the movie.
KH: Was that the moment you realised you were doing what you wanted to do?
CJ: Well, animation has always been something I was useful at. But I really only ever wanted to write. Even at school, I knew writing was the thing I enjoyed most.
KH: So how soon after your role on ‘Mars Attacks’ did you begin the ‘Wereworld’ series?
CJ: The process ‘Wereworld’ took from its beginning to seeing it published was a rally long one. After ‘Mars Attacks’ I struggled to find any real work as an animator and I began to wonder if I needed to consider getting ‘a real job’. I had an interview for a teacher training course that gave me a real dilemma, but I kept faith in what I wanted to do, to write, and was given a contact about a production for the BBC. That turned into ‘Bob the Builder’ and I was writing the first ‘Wereworld’ book, ‘The Rise of the Wolf’ throughout that time.
KH: Are you more proud of ‘Bob the Builder’ or ‘Wereworld’?
CJ: ‘Wereworld’ took four drafts before Puffin agreed to publish it. It was almost published with another major publishing house, but at that time, if you weren’t writing about Fantasy worlds that were part of this worlds, or wizards, you were a commercial gamble. I’m proud of everything I’ve written but the first of the series is very special to me.
AT: ‘Frankenstein’s Cat’ was my favourite cartoon for a long time, is there a point where you get tired of the characters you create?
CJ: Well, ‘Frank’s Cat’ was a lot of fun but when you have more ideas and more mediums to produce them, you can’t help playing at them. Do you know ‘Curious Cow’?
AT: On Nickelodeon? Of course, I really like it.
CJ: Well, those episodes are so simple to put together and so puerile that they are a lot of fun.
AT: Why did you decide to ask another illustrator to design the front cover for your book series?
CJ: Illustration is a different skill than animation. I am a model maker and am used to stop-frame animation, that is how ‘Bob (the Builder) and ‘Raa Raa (the Noisy Lion)’ both work. Book jackets and computer imagining is a different specialism.
We found Curtis Jobling to be as colourful as his characters and as kind as he is creative.