One of the things I like about working in animation is having to change styles for each movie. Sheepish was a movie being developed by Starz animation in 2006. I enjoyed doing some visual development on it for a short time before it was put on hold. Here are some of my sketches that illustrate the simple graphic style they were heading towards.





Sometime after the release of “The Emperor’s New Groove” Disney produced a sequel. I worked from England as a freelance production designer for over a year. Here are a couple of my designs; Kronk’s house and his father’s beach hut.


We painted dozens of colour keys for each sequence. Here is a selection of the thumbnail sketches I painted in gouache.


The Emperor’s New Groove was the last production I worked on where we used traditional paint and brushes. These early visual development sketches were painted in gouache. Unfortunately I only have zerox copies, hence the grainy quality.


Photoshop painting of Eddystone lighthouse, inspired by one of Victor Hugo’s beautiful ink drawings. 


The final pages in the book are reserved for the small-ads. Esmelia and her fellow witches advertise their own restaurants alongside ads for cooking products such as the wonderful HAG oven…


Introducing some of the witches, starting with Mad Elaine de la Moustache, Groanhilde von Wartzhog, Morag McNasty, The Dishonourable Lady Soo-Shi, La Trina Skidmark, Kideeta Skingh, Iris O’Rambly, Maman Bumbumbaya, Sheila Q. Barby, Ugla Snoganov and Elvirrisa Pursley.MAD ELAINEGROANHILDE VON WARTZHOGMORAG MCNASTYSOO-SHILATRINAKIDEETAIRISBUMBUMSHEILA Q. BARBYUGLAELVIRISSA

Esmelia demonstrates the art of making Flat Jacks!


In “How to Cook Children”, Esmelia Sniff (eight times winner of the World’s Stinkiest Crone award) presents a dazzling collection of recipes from around the world that will have any witch drooling with delight. Whether you’re in the mood for sizzling Bratwurst sausage from Germany – stuffed with real brats – or an exotic Indian Moppet Paneer, “How to Cook Children” is full of great flavours presented by some of the world’s nastiest witches. For those who are lucky enough to have a sweet tooth there are also great dessert ideas. You won’t be able to resist Nanny Todd’s deliciously sticky Apple Betty or Esmelia’s own crunchy Flat Jacks!

Text copyright Martin Howard.


When Martin Howard first pitched to me the idea for ‘How to Cook Children’ I was a little nervous about the subject matter, I then read the first chapter and I laughed out loud. I passed it to my son, who was twelve at the time and he quite literally rolled around the floor laughing!

Since publication it has received some rave reviews; the Guardian newspaper reviewed it as their picture book of the week, Dave Myers of the ‘Hairy Bikers’ TV program gave it a wonderful write up and so did the unshockable Gordon Ramsay. 

It’s a quirky book that I thoroughly enjoyed working on and the text still makes me laugh whenever I pick it up.