Animator Leanne Rule on the joys of art and farting

We speak with the irreverent up-and-comer about her love for farts and Monty Python, and the pressures of Instagram on her work.

During graduate season Digital Arts likes to look out for the best new talent, going around the various grad shows in search of talented new illustrators and designers.

Along the way we managed to overlook up-and-coming animators like Leanne Rule, an Arts University Bournemouth grad who puts Jack Sachs-style characters into a scatological Monty Python dreamland.

A stand-out piece by is her grad piece Journey to the Centre of a Lad, a squeamishly funny look at the travels of alcohol in the bloodstream that sends up both science animations and yobbo culture. Watch the short below, and find a chat with Leanne after about all things art and farty.

Giacomo Lee: How's it been going since graduation Leanne?

Leanne Rule: "Hey! It’s been going great since graduating. A little stressful and a lot of fear, but what’s new?

"I’m hoping to try out a bit of anything I can for now. I’d love to try making some music videos or something along those lines, but I really enjoy just going with the flow with my work so I’m open to pretty much anything that comes my way."

GL: Journey to the Centre of a Lad is so funny, I was in tears. What inspired this madness?

"In terms of where the idea came from, I'd finished my pre-grad project YOLO (below) which was an idea I’d had lurking for ages, and then had absolutely no idea what to create at all, so I asked my tutors and they told me to just trust my humour and make something that made me laugh.

"In terms of the content I was inspired by my best friend and a ‘Womb Room’ installation that she was making. It got me onto the idea of a silly body-related video, and then the pub itself was based on my favourite local at home and the people that go there.

"The voiceover was originally my boyfriend putting on a terrible Scottish accent but it sounded horrific and I wanted a way of getting the timings roughly right so I used a computer voice which made me laugh so I stuck to it."

GL: Who are your inspirations?

"I was raised on Python, and even chose to write my A-level film studies exam on Terry Gilliam so that’s absolutely a massive influence of mine.

"I’m also hugely inspired by things like The Mighty Boosh (my grad project was even named after one of their episodes, Journey to the Centre of a Punk.) My friends and I would spend hours watching it in our teens and I think those days definitely had an effect on us, for sure.

"In terms of style I love things like Heinz Edelmen's Yellow Submarine and those late '60s, early '70s psychedelic artworks. Also a lot of illustrators and directors online: Parallel Teeth, Tara Booth, Sophie Koko Gate, Jelly Gummies, Cabeza Patata, Cesar Pelizer, Laurie Rowan – all people I massively look up to! 

GL: How do you make your characters?

"It depends what I’m creating really. If it’s a longer-form animation, or something that involves other people before I get a go-ahead, I tend to sketch out ideas first. If it’s just personal work though or a short loop I tend to just go straight in with creating the character and sets in 3D.

"I find that I have a similar way in which I make the basics of all my characters, and so playing around with them straight in 3D works best for me as I can work out all the details as I go along. This really lets me be more free and open to happy accidents; I mostly just like to play around and see what happens If I’m given the chance.

GL: Do you prefer making loops or longer works like your grad piece? Or is Instagram controlling your choices here?

"I think I prefer creating shorter loops, but you’re absolutely right,  social media probably has a big effect on that.

"There’s a lot of pressure to be creating content constantly and to put it all online. I almost feel guilty if I’m working on a longer project and can’t post often, or my posts will all be from the same project and so people lose interest.

"On the plus side though, it can be liberating to create short quick content. If it’s only a small loop then it doesn’t matter as much what it is as people don’t worry so much about it being a big important video. That means you can be quite free in making whatever you feel like and that can be fun. Plus loops are quite satisfying to make and watch."

GL: You've even made a game, how was that?

"That was a small experiment in my second year at uni when I was really starting to work in 3D more full-time, and then it turned into a sillier, bigger thing.

"I’m not much of a gamer so I didn’t want to make something that has a plot or an objective as much, but I really like the idea of creating a 3D interactive world to explore.

"I think of it more as a short video that you can explore like a game rather than a game in itself. It was super fun to make though, and I have an idea for a sequel game/world that will hopefully be much better now I actually (sort of) know how to use the software, haha."

GL: Your bio says you live for fart and design, and you sure like to poop and guff in your work. So tell me, what is it that you love about a good old fart? 

"You just can’t deny that they’re funny! Nothing makes me cringe more than when people take themselves too seriously and especially when artists think art needs to be deep and conceptual all the time.

"Art can be an amazing tool for making people think and incite huge change, but it also can be a little moment of joy in your day.  I think a small guff might bring some much needed joy into people’s lives, if only for a second, and If you don’t find a fart funny then my work isn’t meant to be for you anyway."

GL: What's your favourite on-screen fart?

"My favourite fictional one is probably either Fat Bastard from Austin Powers describing how everyone loves their own brew.

I also love when Jerry has a fart attack on Parks and Recreation.

GL: My favourite is the 'More Beans' whiff from Tropic Thunder.

Leanne Rule rules, yo – check out more of her work on Instagram.

Read next: Coexist – Michael Marczewski's bizarre loops combine lo-fi animation with home video-like footage

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