‘Whibbits!’ are little dogs made from random bits (bots, bike chain, corks, cable ties etc). With the help of crowdfunding support these little guys have been bought to life in a series of animations with more to come this year.
Who makes this stuff? And Why?!
My name is James. I’m 38 and live in Manchester, UK. I am an art tutor working mainly with learning disabled artists and young people at an awesome organisation called Venture Arts. I have also been illustrator, working in medical textbooks. For the past 3 years I have also been having fun as an experimental animator and puppet maker. We have 2 whippets, Penny and Eric, who inspire a lot of my work
My First Puppet…
I had always loved stop motion films and wanted to try it myself, but never took the leap. I knew very little about stop motion and didn’t want to learn from online tutorials or standard techniques... I like a challenge and I like to do things differently, so one day in 2015 I decided to challenge myself to make a puppet inspired by my dogs made only from the items in my tool box! ‘BITZ’ (the original whibbit) was born. I wanted to use this puppet to make and share some animation experiments with the world- however bad they were...! I wanted to learn 'on the job' and keep challenging myself and experimenting- I just hoped the projects would have some kind of handmade charm.
A world of whibbits…
Whilst running my campaigns I had lots of requests to sell my dog puppets, so In 2018 I refined the 'junk dog puppet' idea into something I could replicate and sell- These were no longer a one off puppet experiments, they were a breed of dog- Whibbits! (Currently over 50 whibbits have been built and sent all over the world!) I use the sale of the models and other merchandise (such as books, bags, T-shirts and posters) to bring the whibbits to life and fund the next stages of the project- the whibbits star in a promotional film with a catchy theme song (composed and sang by Danny Ryan) and some short animated loop sequences designed to seamlessly play over and over on social media channels.
I have stopped selling models for this year and will be focussing on animating again. I am now crowd funding and making series 'Whibbits!' animations starring different variations of these little desktop friends. I have designed some new colour variations of whibbit which I’m looking forward to animating. Each will have their own desktop, set and props… You can view the ‘Otto Episode’ on my home page
I am currently raising funds to bring the ‘Mory’ whibbit to life. Throughout September/October I’m selling raffle tickets (to win Otto model) and other merchandise through my website shop.