Bruce Simpson

. FASHION May 2000



    all on display on a shelf above Bruce Simpson's workspace. When the animator fires up his computer, you're taken into a strange world of wiggly characters and wacky stories.

    Simpson, 33, is responsible for the Nix & Tix episodes that run on the Popular Mechanics for Kids show. The humorous shorts have run for three years. He is also the creator of Stick Girl, who he originally invented for a Gemini-nominated TVO show called What?

    Simpson's services are constantly in demand because he can do it all. He animates (both on the computer and the old-fashioned way), writes and does voice work. And he delivers for a fraction of the price that big animation studios charge.

    After studying at George Brown College, Simpson was hired on at Lightbox, a small animation studio in Toronto. "I started out as Xerox boy and worked my way up, learning how to paint and ink cells, run the motion-control computer camera, do special effects and inbetweening." (Inbetweening is creating the drawings for between the poses drawn by the animator).

    Sometimes Simpson was just thrown into a job. Luckily, he picks up artistic skills easily. A creative streak runs in his family. "My aunt draws and my grandmother makes teddy bears," he says.

    Simpson left Lightbox after five years to take a contract as animation director for The Official NHL Interactive Hockey Rulebook CD-ROM for Microplacement. Here, he learned to use multimedia software programs on the computer.

    Since then, he's taken on a variety of freelance jobs, although there was a full-time stint at Digital Fusion animating Fred Penner's CD-ROM, Company Coming. Simpson can still screw up his face and talk in Magic Lock's scratchy voice, if prodded.

    Back at the computer, Simpson picks up a nearby Thomas the Tank Engine toy. He just finished working as a storyboard artist on the film Thomas And The Magic Railroad that is due out this summer.

    Although his work involves many long hours, Simpson says he would never trade it. "I get to draw silly pictures and do goofy voices-and I get paid for it."-Deena Waisberg