Mayday Ants

antBlack garden ants, Lasius niger, don’t live indoors but will come in to forage. They love anything sweet. Yesterday morning Barbara spotted a column of them following a trail in front of the kick-board of the kitchen units. They were getting in through a chink in the corner of the skirting board. I filled the gaps with silicon sealant but still the odd ant kept appearing. It looked as if there might be a couple of tiny holes, big enough for a determined ant to squeeze through, so this afternoon I’ve smeared some petroleum jelly along the join and I hope that will discourage them.

antI need to take the skirting board off to check what kind of passageway the ants are using behind it, but that’s a job that I’d rather have a joiner in to do. After all the hail and rain that lashed the garden last week we’re now heading into a spell of warmer, settled weather, so I hope that the ant foraging parties will turn their attention to the great outdoors.

From Watership Down to Warren Street

My drawing on cell for an overlay for a scene from 'The Trek' sequence of Watership Down.
My drawing, in dip pen, Pelikan Special Brown Indian ink and cell paint on an overlay for a scene from ‘The Trek’ sequence of Watership Down. This version wasn’t used in the film.
My impressions of the main characters.

Nearly forty years since its release, the film version of Richard Adams’ rabbit saga Watership Down is stirring up a bit of controversy (see below). It brings back memories of when I worked on the film for five or six months starting in the autumn of 1976 when a creative controversy was coming to a head at the Nepenthe Productions studio in Suffolk House, tucked away behind the Tottenham Court Road, near Warren Street tube station.

Producer Martin Rosen was, I guess, aiming to tell the story in a gritty and compelling way, getting as near as he could to the immediacy of a live action drama: a road movie come war film. pipkin

This was probably one of the causes of friction with John Hubley, his director, who was going for a more playful, graphically inventive approach by introducing the folk tales and myths of Adams’ rabbit world as stories within a story. The creation myth at the start of the film is about all that survives of this interpretation.

At my interview, John Hubley looked through my sketchbook and picked out a pen and watercolour sketch of a hawthorn branch: “I’d use this just as it is, with a white background and have the rabbits moving through the drawing.” Continue reading “From Watership Down to Warren Street”