Uli Meyer Will Direct A Short Based On Ronald Searle’s St. Trinian’s Girls

Animation veteran Uli Meyer is on a mission: capturing the vivid graphic style of illustration legend Ronald Searle in animation. Recreating Searle’s style in movement is the animator’s equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. Many have tried, but few have reached the summit.

Meyer succeeded admirably a couple years back when he produced a brief animation test of Searle’s St. Trinian’s girls. The piece, posted above, earned him the personal blessing of Searle who allowed Meyer “‘carte blanche’ to develop a story based on his cartoons, as long as it would stay true to his original vision and. . .his vivid graphic style.”

Meyer announced today that he plans to produce a half-hour St. Trinian’s featurette. Further, it will be in his words, “a fully animated film in the classical sense, hand-drawn, with pen and ink, and not a single Wacom pen in sight.” In other words, he’s doing everything right already.

Follow the making of the film by reading Uli’s production diary.


  • http://mattjonezanimation.blogspot.com/ Matt Jones

    No TVoutfit will support a Black & white, half-hour short in the true anarchic spirit of Searle’s original illustrations. The Kickstarter campaign will allow Uli to produce it the way he wants. Searle would’ve been pleased to hear Uli plans to do it all with traditional inking!

  • Brad Constantine

    Ahh Bliss!

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    Now THAT’S something to look forward to! Can’t wait to see/hear more about it!

    Being hooked on it since seeing that test piece a while ago, I’m sure you and the rest of your crew will pull it off splendidly and pay tribute to Ronald Searle more sincerely than anyone else could!

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    I have loved that clip since the first time I saw it. If anyone is going to nail a Searle animation, it’s going to be Mr Meyer

  • http://saturnome.blogspot.com/ Saturnome

    Yes yes yes yes YES YES YES yes yes yes YESYEYSYEYSYESY

    I’m pretty sure half of the views on that animation test are mine.

  • http://www.aceandson.com/blog Richard O’Connor

    The animation of Searle’s work is no more difficult than any other illustration style. The art production is what’s tricky. Stitched line is one of the hardest to reproduce.

    Uli is a brilliant guy, and can more than handle it.

  • Hank

    Yes, please.

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ michael sporn

    The animation in the piece you’ve already done is brilliant and the artwork looks and feels like Ronald Searle’s handiwork. I look forward to seeing this film, and I hope Uli will expand the “Making of” to his blog so I can follow the progress of the work.

  • Slap Happy

    I wish Uli would do something original. What a waste of time and talent.

  • your neighbour

    I’m not convinced but good luck. There’s something intellectually funny into Ronald Searle’s work and world which i can’t see through Mr Uli’s geek career…

  • http://mattjonezanimation.blogspot.com Matt Jones

    Look at the attention to detail in that test clip-even the backgrounds are subtly boiling -Uli made alternate drawings for each background set up!

  • http://enigmation.de slowtiger

    I’m a bit upset about that bit “without a single Wacom pen” – surely there are lots of animators who are as versatile with it as other with pen on paper. Maybe he dislikes some software packages which aren’t able to give him the expressive line he needs? But this is not the tablet’s fault, he just should use software which fits his needs. Given that each drawing will end up in the computer anyway this sounds like a stupid prejudice.

  • Uli Meyer

    Thank you all for your support and words of encouragement. Let me assure you that my main concern is to create a film that will incorporate as many of Ronald’s cartoons as possible, but you know, the St. Trinian’s story is that there wasn’t one. Ronald drew spot gags that weren’t necessarily connected. Yet, he created the St. Trinian’s universe that everybody knew and loved. This is the real challenge for me. Never mind the ink lines at this point.

    So in a way, I do feel like I am creating something original, there is no existing story. But I get to work with characters that I have loved for as long as I can remember, drawn by a man who was my idol. It doesn’t get much geekier than this but I love every little bit of it and can’t express how much fun I’m having plotting away.

    For the ones that lament the lack of entirely original work, believe me, I suffer from the same predicament as all you other creators out there. There is plenty but it isn’t all that easy to get it out there. St. Trinian’s will be our first venture into trying to make something happen in a non-conventional way. Hopefully there will be plenty others.

    And this is for all you wacom wizards out there. I am in awe of what some of you people can do with digital tools. Let me assure you that I can’t even begin to attempt the level of artistry I see on so many blogs and social media sites every day. It is humbling. One of my best artist friends, Neil Ross, who has been working at my studio for almost 20 years is a master painter using digital tools. You might know him as “Limbolo”, check out his work: http://limbolo.blogspot.co.uk. I can’t get my head around this approach, maybe I’m too stubborn and old but probably because I haven’t got the talent.

    But I am quite good with pen and ink, so naturally I cherish a project that allows me and other ink dippers to work in that medium. There is no disrespect intended.

    • Carolyn Bates

      Nick and I would love to help support this. We love your work and Ronald Searle’s. Those St. Trinian’s tests are incredible. Traditional inking takes it to the sublime.

  • KS

    Good Luck Mr. Meyer, we hope you suceed. hope this gets a theatrical release in England.

    Good Luck

  • http://animatedlane.com jwlane

    This looks like loads of fun. In this initial clip, the humor of movement and style look like a great pairing with a ‘true’ rare, vintage quality.

    As to technique, I have used tablets since they were invented, starting with the old Gitico corded [spelling], then Wacoms on Quantel and early Macs, SGI, PCs and new Macs. There is a difference with a physical pen or pencil, effecting mass, friction, rhythm and speed. It may take thousands of hours using both to discern the difference, but there is a difference.

    Sample: http://animatedlane.com/archives/612

  • CrystalRB

    OOH OOH OOH FANTASTIC!!! YES! And I was speaking of Uli this morning too…wishing I could buy one of his prints…! This is the Best NEWS EVER!!!
    (If you’re reading this Mr. Meyer, All the Very VERY best in your undertaking, and thank you for the link to the limbolo blog, it’s lovely to see more work that inspires one to set the bar higher)

  • http://4eyedanimation.com JoeCorrao
  • http://seanvec.com Sean Vecchione

    This is very exciting news. I love both Ronald Searle and Mr. Meyer’s work and really look forward to what he and his team of artists come up with. I’m sure it will be outstanding.

  • Jennifer

    Looks AMAZING!