The Sandman


This film freaked me out when I was a child:

The Sandman – 1992 – Directed by Paul Berry.

‘The film’s design draws on Expressionist classics like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922), while the use of music, sound and camera is clearly inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and Vertigo (1958). Reflecting such influences, the film’s look is dark and menacing: gothic architecture and minimal sets decorate a landscape of blacks, greys and browns. The music and eerie sound effects add to the sinister atmosphere. The Sandman himself is a mass of blues and yellows, with a twisted face and fierce, beaklike nose.’ BFI Website -

The way the Sandman appears in blue light from the shadows bending up legs first has stayed in my head since I was a kid. The sound is also great a cold icy sound. Synthesisers? Reminds me of the sci-fi films of the 80s.

It makes sense that Paul Berry has also worked on the films: ‘James and the Giant Peach’ and ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ He sadly died in 2001.

Our teachers are often telling us not to be afraid to make ‘ugly characters’ and I think Paul’s work is a good example of this. The characters are effective.  Shame about the singing ….

Image result for nightmare before christmas

The illustrator Richard Gorey is another good example of this:Image result for richard GoreyImage result for richard Gorey


Image result for richard Gorey

I really like his use of composition. There is often a lot of negative space or the character is on one third of the page with two thirds empty.

Tim Burton is another who has some great characters:

Image result for tim burton drawings

His website is fun:

I wonder if he was at all influenced by or an admirer of the work of Ronald Searle:

Image result for ronald searle st Trinian's

Image result for ronald searle st Trinian's

I love the work of Ronald Searle. No doubt I’ll be posting about him again in the future.

I would like to try and create a character design influenced by any of these illustrators. Maybe a moody teenager or a strange creature?

We will be trying to apply the Laban principles to our character on Monday.

Some details about the Laban principles:





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