The Secret Of Kells

Above: The trailer for the "The Secret Of Kells"... The film was directed by my pal Tomm Moore, co-directed by Nora Twomey, Produced by Paul Young, Art Directed by Ross Stewart, with additional design excitement by Adrien Merigeau.

-Above: A few of my development sketches for Brendan

My main job on "Brendan" was helping set the color... and to a lesser extent help out with development. Originally I was slated to be head of backgrounds... unfortunately there was a scheduling conflict... so my stay in Kilkenny was shorter than expected. But I was able to get through the rough color script, and Tomm and I were able to get in a few good work outs.

I have to say the Brendan team was different than any other I have worked with... they were all "artists" who happened to be doing animation. For example, Producer Paul Young was heavily involved in theater, and writing a comic strip. Art director Ross Stewart could as easily be off painting canvases... or playing music ... as designing film.

Click here to visit: Ross Stewart's Site!

So the approach to making Brendan was totally different than I was used to... the art team wasn't referencing Disney, or UPA, they were just splashing color... blowing paint around... creating textures... looking at ancient illuminated manuscripts... just trying to create something new that fit the story. It was totally refreshing... and in my short time in Ireland... I learned a lot! I couldn't really rely on shortcuts... I actually had to draw! And I have to admit... I was more than a bit rusty. But the approach to the art was simply a reflection of Tomm, and the crew making the film... honest, real, and direct.

Above: More development sketches. I tried to keep "color themes" to the various sequences of the film. For example... the vikings represented death and destruction. So I thought it would be good to use more "primitive color"... the kind of colors a caveman might use... for those sequences.

Above: A section of the color script for "Brendan and the Secret Of Kells". All the sketches here are based on the storyboard, painted after talking to Tomm, and Ross about the mood and feel of each sequence. The color script is a rough guide for the crew... a sort of "map" for the background artists... fx artists... compositors, and so on. These sketches were completed very early in the process... and you can see how they were used by watching the trailer. It is interesting to me to see what changed, and what stayed the same in the final film cut.

I feel very fortunate to have been a small part of "The Secret Of Kells" ... a very special film, made by some special people... who I am lucky enough to call friends. -tod

The Blog Of Kells! The Cartoon Saloon!


  1. Well done Tod! Sorry we never met at the Saloon :)
    Keep up the great work, ciao!

  2. love that color script, and the simplified style! hope I will be able to see that film soon...

  3. Thanks for sharing these, Tod! Unbelievably gorgeous. (Just like the film!)