Ben Simpson


BA (Hons) Animation - Senior Lecturer

Ben Simpson a.k.a Doctor Simpo is a Senior Lecturer for the BA (Hons) Animation course at Leeds Arts University. He regards himself as 'Sequential Narrative Specialist' in traditional 2D sequencing techniques with a rich grounding within the shorter comic book format and the longer comic form of the graphic novel, these skills he learnt from the cohort of creatives working out of Glasgow's Hope Street Studies of the early naughties; Dave Alexander, Graham P. Manley, Frank Quitely, Grant Morrison and Jamie Grant.

His fondness for passing-on his extensive knowledge of analogue, digital and 'tradigital' 2D sequencing techniques comes from the enthusiasm bestowed upon him from those that he was mentored by whilst attending the Glasgow School of Art, the Pratt Institute in New York and the Royal College of Art. Including the likes of Tim Webb, Bob Godfrey Quentin Blake and Alan Kitching. Some of this insight is included within his book - "Bring Stuff to Life? YOU can with the 12 principles of animation." His gag-based picture books have been translated into many different languages and has drawn caricatures of the English nobility. Some of his original hand lettered drawings from the first ever 3D Scottish comic book 'Menshies' hang between a Dali and a Picasso at the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock.

If he could have had any job, anywhere at any time he would have been a 'Gag-Man' for MGM Studios in the 1940s or working alongside such greats as Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale for The Beano of the late 1950s early 1960s. His first solo comic book 'Things and Stuff' came out in the spring of 2004 and he has been producing publications in a humorous vein ever since. Watch-out for “a 20th Anniversary T & S special' in September 2024. Following on from his highly acclaimed interactive and multi-visceral exhibition - The Norms: Process and Production of 2018 - where he brought his first glow-in-the-dark children's picture book to life, he continues to make and push the boundaries of visual storytelling. He directed the critically acclaimed animated short starring ex-Beano star Derek the Sheep (created by Gary Northfield), which was produced in conjunction with an animated collective of his ex-students – Schwa.

During the ‘Covid-years’ he was instrumental in producing a variety of concepts for Children’s TV including ‘SnotDog’ for which he won extensive funding from the Young Audience Content Fund from the British Film Institute with help and guidance of Nigel Harris (Producer of Rag Doll Fame – who directed and co-wrote Brum along with directing Teletubbies and Twirly-Woos). His ‘SnotDog’ animated series which was co-created with Shari Clow and Jack Land has been pitched to the likes of BBC, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, Turner Media, Cartoon Network and Disney – but has to yet still be successfully commissioned…but watch this space.

In collaboration with Leeds Arts University’s widening participation department, Thought Bubble Festival, Student Ambassador’s and the legendary Eddie Lockhart he directed and co-produced another internationally screened animated short ‘From Tiger to Anansi’ looking at the Akan folklore character of Anansi the Spider.

In the ‘Post-Covid-Times’ he has been continuing to develop his kids media content with a whole host of visual sequential narrative based publications and animation concepts including Reapercorn, MMM…ARG!, Eggs and Bacon, Bobble the Boggle and Castle Skull-a-Tron. He hopes to keep furthering his knowledge and understanding of storyworld’s and aims to produce the ultimate story one day.

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