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Bill Greenhead

Bill Greenhead's Photo - Cartoon illustrator and animator. UK

It was 1987. Bill Greenhead, aka Stik, was sitting there working at Pizzaz, an animation studio. He was doing the in-betweening – drawing the cells in between key frames created by a lead animator – for a shot featuring a dancing musical note. “A monkey could do this,” he thought. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to The Singing Detective was playing and Bing Crosby was singing, “Don’t mess with the in-between.” Already confident in his drawing skills, it was the impetus Bill needed to jump ship and he soon landed a couple of illustration jobs. Today, besides being an illustrator he’s a writer, an animator and an artist who lives in Kent with his wife and three children. He enjoys running and photography, and often travels to Romania to film his whiteboard animations. While away, he plays online games with his sons.

Training

Bill spent a year doing graphic design at Croydon College, but it wasn’t for him. Many of his professional skills were learned on the job, working at Brian Stevens Animated Films and then Pizzaz Pictures. Shooting cels on a rostrum and the special effects work he did back then were great preparation for the computer software he works with today.

Approach

Starting with the brief, Bill thinks about both the imagery that would interest him and what his client would like to see. Sketches are scanned into Photoshop, and then he works up an image digitally, often using After Effects and Illustrator as well. His animation work is done using whiteboards and a rostrum camera, along with a suite of digital tools.

Styles

Bill delivers a variety of styles. He’s an animator at heart and his cartoon style resembles that of Tex Avery. He does caricatures and business illustrations using a more serious cross-hatch style in black and white. For children’s books, he either works in a soft-rendered style, or something that’s super slick with flat colours. He can produce work with a Lichtenstein look to it as well as in a Jamie Hewlett style. Some of his biggest influences include the 70s Spider-Man artists Gene Colan and John Buscema, Mad Magazine, Beano and the lightsabre duel in The Empire Strikes Back.

Client list

Clearasil PG Tips Mad Magazine Bite Levis Sunday Telegraph Benchmark Publishing Punch Hallmark Proctor and Gamble Rising Stars FHM The Times The Big Issue
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This year was the first time I worked with Bill and I must say it was a pleasure. With his creative ideas and hard work he was able to bring Barney's world to life, merging animation and illustration to create on final output with fantastic results. Thanks! :)
Jo Hodge - Junior Art Buyer, Leo Burnett London
I had the pleasure of working with Bill for the last three years on an ongoing campaign for a latvian Telecom company called Bite. From the beginning i found that Bill's relaxed easy going nature made him easy to collaborate with. We quickly became friends as well as work colleagues and his professional attitude makes him a reliable and important part of our team. I look forward to collaborating with him further and i would recommend to anybody this versatile and talented illustrator/animator.
Damian Groves - Director/Head Creative, Studioset Romania
Bill has been fantastic in the development of our new projects with great attention to detail and injecting lots of humour generally and really bringing the whole concept to life. His speed and flexibility has also been a great help.
Katie Knutton - Designer, Red Lemon Press - London
Bill and McCann Erickson Romania started working together almost three years ago. With one project almost every 3 months, I had the chance to get to know Bill quite well and I have a clear picture of his capabilities. His talent is very hard to rival. He is that kind of illustrator everybody dreams to work with: an imagination with no limits, contageous enthusiasm, the energy of a teenager and the positive mindset of an orange buddhist monk. He is also very up to date with all the technological developments. All in all I wouldn't hesitate to call him no matter how challenging a project sounds. I know for sure he would pull it off.
Dinu Panescu, McCann Erickson Romania