Interview with Encounters Award Winner Andy Martin

Andy Martin is an animator, illustrator and music maker. His project 'Illustrated Aliens' ended with a final animation called 'The Planets' which won our Children's Award at last year's festival.
Encounters has caught up with Andy to hear more about his creative process during the project and what he's up to now.

If you would like to submit your film to the festival, don’t forget that our Call for Entries is now open!

Illustrated Aliens was a yearlong project, where did the inspiration come from?
It started out as a way to get back to drawing in my sketchbook. I found I was working more and more straight on the computer so I set myself a challenge to draw a new character each day. This then spiralled out of control and became a year long animated film.

Can you expand on your creative process with each planet?
Each planet starts in the same place, my sketchbook. The first alien illustration of the month always took the longest as this was where I have to come up with a style that I would use for the whole planet. About half way through each month I would start thinking about the animation, coming up with an idea that would be born out of the characters I’d already created. Once this was set I had to get on and make it before the first of the next month, when the process would start all over again. 

There wasn’t any time to dwell on anything as there was so much to make each month. I think this gave the project and the animations an energy and spontaneity that I don’t think they would have had otherwise.

What was your favourite aspect of the project?
I enjoyed writing the song for the last planet. I wanted to have a definite end to the project that would be a celebration and a full stop… and what better than an apocalyptic sing song!

I always enjoy doing the audio for my animations, it’s that sync of picture and sound that creates the magic. When it works it’s really satisfying.

What were the main challenges you faced?
Getting a finished animation out at the start of each month was the main challenge. I knew if I got behind on the project that it would all fall apart so whatever happened I had to get something done. Some months were harder than others as I was doing paid work at the same time and I think you can tell how busy I was by how complicated that particular months planet was.

Planet Six uses 3D stop-motion animation with plasticine, what would you consider to be the main differences between working in 2D and 3D animation? Do you prefer either?
The main difference is that it is really tough to tweak something once it has been animated in stop motion. With 2D stuff you can refine as you go along but with stop motion if you want to refine something you have to reshoot it. You need to be prepared and know what you want to achieve before you dive into the animation.

I like a mix of the two. even on Planet Six the characters where a combination of stop motion and 2D animation. In the new short I’m working on at the moment I use this mixed media technique throughout.

Each planet has a unique style; do you have a particular favourite?
I do, but I will never tell.

Is there any advice you would give to emerging animators?
The only way to make things is to make things. You can spend a long time putting off starting a project but once you get going things usually start falling into place relatively quickly.

Also, doing lots of small achievable things that build up to make a larger thing is the way I tend to make my work.

What’s your next project?
I’m trying to finish an animated short I’ve been making (on and off) for about 6 years. It’s called ‘Mr Director’ ( and hopefully it should be done later this year. It’s the most ambitious animation I’ve done so far and I’m really excited to finish it and let people see.


Watch ‘The Planets’ Here
To find out more about his project click here



Reminder that our call for entries is now open!

Early Deadline 31 March 2015 – for works completed in 2014
Final Deadline 5 June 2015 – for works completed in 2015

Short films and animations of any genre (fiction, documentary, experimental, music video) under 30 minutes are eligible. Encounters festival does not have a premiere policy.

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Full entry guidelines and online submission at