Huhu me te Taniwha Matakore – Animation & Character Design


Huhu is a fun-filled puppet show for kids where chatty inquisitive book grub, Huhu, reads te reo Māori books with his friend Pai. It broadcasts on Maori Television, and I was contacted by Production Shed.TV to design and animate a series of characters for Series 2. Watch the episode below for a high-quality full resolution look at the animations, illustrations and the story they help to tell (if a password is required, use ‘huhu2magicbook’).

Huhu (the purple character based off a huhu grub) was originally designed as a puppet, so my job was to translate his design into 2D and then to design a series of friends who would join him in his adventures. Below, clockwise from the top left, we have Huhu the Huhu Grub, Wetini the Weta, Matatau the Morepork and Tui the Tuatara. Further below, there is also Kuki the Kakapo, an old witchy character, and Taniwha who has lost his face, the central character within this short episode. The characters were designed to be bright, bold and to fit in within Huhu’s world and environment.

Below, you can see some of the design work that went into these characters – particularly how they moved from more natural to poppy, children’s-cartoon colour schemes.

character sketches_2character sketches

character sketches_3

The following are a series of looped animations and backgrounds, all illustrated by myself in Photoshop (backgrounds) and TVPaint (animations) that played throughout the episode. To see the animations in high-quality resolution, watch the episode itself at the top of this page.


wetini goes into the cave_eye open_mergedkuki's housekuki screams at the nosematatau flying_bg

Make sure to watch the episode for high-quality versions of these animations (and more!) as they were intended to be seen.




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