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All artwork and text is copyrighted by Frederick Gardner, unless otherwise attributed to the respective copyright owner, it is illegal to publish or print any such artwork or text without written permission by the artist or copyright owners.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Tom & Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes"

    In 2009, I had the pleasure to work at Warner Bros (again) on a new Tom & Jerry project. This "direct to dvd" feature was directed by an old friend, Jeff Siergey. I had worked with Jeff on many projects over the years, from Tiny Toons and Animaniacs to Space Jam. Spike Brandt (another old friend from WB) would produce and serve as creative consultant on the film. I was brought in to Production Design the "Tom & Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes" ( and deliver a look that was inspired by the old MGM Tom & Jerry shorts of the 1940s, in particular... "Dr Jeckle and Mr. Mouse" (1947) and "Mouse In Manhattan" (1945). In my opinion, these two episodes represent the best of the series and we arguably the MOST memorable.

   No coincidence that this project was being developed at the same time Guy Ritchie's, "Sherlock Holmes" was being filmed with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. As images of this exciting new film were being released, our crew was surprised at the similarities of the two productions and their content. I initially thought of setting the film in the earlier years of Homes' investigative work, 1880-85... but seeing the set pieces from the Ritchie movie caused me to rethink the period and include a version of the London Tower Bridge under construction. This would place the two films in the same world. That would be just the beginning of references to the Holmes world of film and literature. I tried to include a reference to Tom & Jerry or Sherlock Holmes in almost every design. At this point, the Production Design took on a life of it's own. 

   The project started out with me being the Production Designer as well as the sole Background Designer, Layout Artist and Prop Designer. It quickly became apparent that I had more work than I was able to finish in my 6-8 months of production. 

   The first 2 months were spent designing and laying out every background for the first few sequences. As time passed, I focused on key establishing shots and major prop designs. By the end of production, I was roughing out designs for animators to work on and designing larger set pieces that set the period and location of the film (1890 London).

   What I have posted in this blog is a brief collection of the hundreds of designs and drawings I did for "Tom & Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes". 

This is the first time I have worked on a "Tom & Jerry" cartoon... I hope it is the first of many.

 "Tom & Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes" can be purchased on Blu-ray and DVD at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"West In Pieces"

"West In Pieces" was the last episode (#606) of The Powerpuff Girls. I had the GREAT opportunity to design all of the backgrounds for the finale to a terrific series. This episode was very different from any prior, because it takes place in the Old West and the characters are all reimagined for the 1860s period. I really enjoyed redesigning all of the iconic locations with a western influence. I worked with the great storyboard artist, Chris Reccardi and background painter, Chris Rozak to design the look which I describe as a "Western Little Golden Book". This episode aired as a Season 6 (Episode 7) cartoon on July 30, 2004 as a rare 2 part... most episodes were :11 min each. 

I had a little extra time to take the background designs to a new level of refinement that I really didn't have time to attempt before. I laid out most of the backgrounds to the character poses in Chris Reccardi's board and I took time to render almost every drawing!

Everything in the city of Townsville is made out of wood planks and riveted steel. I really pushed the look of the clouds to resemble the embroidered motif on western shirts. 


"Townsville" Main St. Design
Reimagining of Prof. Newtonium's House

... In 2005, I received the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for Background Design". It was a great year for Cartoon Network as we swept the Emmys that year. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"The Mouse That Soared" (Part 1)

"The Mouse That Soared", originally known as "Wing Nuts", is a CG animated short produced by a large group of talented artist that used to live in Portland, OR and work at the CG division of Laika Studios. This short has won close to 50 awards to date and screens at film festivals all around the country and around the world. 

The main cast of characters, 2 young bluebirds, share a nest on the rooftop of a steam-powered sawmill in the forest of Central Oregon. They are supposed to be brothers, though many people assume they are a married or gay couple. Which ever is funnier works for me!

Production Design: Frederick Gardner
Character Design by: Frederick Gardner, Chris Sasaki and Ovi Nedelcu
Color Design by: Scott Fassett

Directed by: Kyle Bell