Julian

Frost

My name is Julian Frost. I turn funny ideas into character-based illustrations and animations

I grew up in New Zealand, but I now live in Melbourne where I have a yellow car and a dodgy half-and-half accent.

People are often surprised to learn that I like karaoke. ‘But your personality is shy, lame and awkward and your voice is pathetically quiet, Julian,’ they say.

Back off h8erz here comes Meatloaf.

My studio is currently in a co-working space, my spare room, the dining table and out in the shed—because why tidy up when you can just move to a new spot? Here is a photo of my desk (please imagine huge piles of junk just out of frame).

When I wanted sports equipment as a child my dad would say ‘pssh, no need to buy it, I can make that’. Items such our homemade skateboard, baseball bat and unicycle gave me a lifelong appreciation of store-bought stuff. But also, to be fair, a deep affection for ridiculous but well-intentioned DIY projects ... such as my illustration career.

I firmly believe that the key to coming up with new ideas is to let myself get bored enough that my brain has to start entertaining itself. One of my all-time favourite projects was creating new emoticons for Skype. It was an honour to contribute to a language that hundreds of millions of people the world over use to waste (save?) time.

The best things about working on commercial projects is helping to meet real-world needs, being prompted to think in new ways by limitations, and deadlines. Not long ago I created a modular visual identity for an AI assistant. It’s satisfying designing things that don’t just have to look nice, but also need to communicate specific info in an interactive context.

My work is about finding clean and clever ways to express a concept. Also ... dumb jokes. One of my favourite projects recently was a picture book called Do Not Lick This Book, where I got to collaborate with a scientist and a microscopist. Communicating useful information in an original and funny way is what I love most.

I’m best known for the Dumb Ways to Die safety video and game.

Most of my work starts with having a good long chat to the client to make sure I really understand what they're trying to do (and to hopefully help build their trust in me). Then I begin by making something that looks about 80% finished. Little things, like the precise emotion on a character’s face or the timing of an animated joke, are really important to my work, so I like to introduce those ‘final touches’ as early as possible. Once I’ve iterated those aspects to the point where everyone’s happy, I’ll go ahead and draw or animate the time-consuming boring bits, and ... ta-da!

Some awards currently lining my trophy room include an Annecy Cristal, four Cannes Grands Prix, D&AD Black Pencil, Children’s Book Council of Australia Best Information Book, CCC Sunday School Memory Verse Champion 1987, and One Show Best in Show.

In recent years I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to speak at some amazing events and conferences, such as Semi-Permanent Melbourne, Playgrounds Amsterdam, Berlin's Ciclope, and the Melbourne International Animation Festival.

That’s me! If you want more, check out my full folio and Instagram. Got a brief? Contact me and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.