I have to say that I am more a fan of Nick Parks early stop motion animation movies than for example the more recent Chicken Run. Nick was born in 1958 (he has four brothers and one sister) in Preston, England and wanted to be an inventor more than an animator. Something that is quiet evident from Wallace’s inventions in all his animations. His very first animation was a flipbook type animation which he spent a few days labouring over and sent to the photographers labs for developing ..but never got it back. He was 12 at the time. He then moved on to a character he created in cartoon (drawn form) called Walter the rat.

Nick Parks - Walter the Rat ( Copyright Nick Park )

Nick Parks - Walter the Rat ( Copyright Nick Park )

 Nick’s mother was  a dress maker. She helped him to make cutout characters of felt fabric for “Rat and The Beanstalk”, a 1 minute stop motion animation, his first real movie. He admits making the classic mistake in this early movie that all new animators make of filming in daylight. You can see the image changing light level over the day long shoot during the movie.

Very Early Gromit

Very Early Gromit

Later on when Nick when to college he came up with the Wallace and Gromit characters. He invited Aardman’s co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton to come and guest lecture at the college. Nick used some of his own budget to pay for their lecture.

 

 

 

 

Nicks First Studio Room at College

Nicks First Studio Room at College

Nick had started his first real Stop Motion movie ” A Grand Day Out”. Peter and David needed an animator and offered Nick a job working part time at Aardman with the understanding that he could finish ” A Grand Day Out” using the studios facilities.

Nick Park as a College Student

Nick Park as a College Student

 

 

 

 

 

Nick originally planned that Gromit would have a mouth and had even recorded a voice for him. However when he discovered in the opening scene of “A Grand Day Out” 

Nick Adjusting Wallace - A Grand Day Out

Nick Adjusting Wallace - A Grand Day Out

(with Gromit stuck under a door while Wallace was sawing it) that he could express so much with Gromits eyebrows that he decided to keep Gromit silent.

 Creature Comforts was Nick’s idea while working at Aardman. An idea that David and Peter fully supported and helped bring Aardman to the attention of a wider audience.