Animation Design Development Pre-production The Precinct

Ackersley vs dead eyes

Ackersley, alleyway

This is the first in a series of posts describing the characters in The Precinct and their relation to the story of what I’m optimistically calling “The Precinct: Season One”.

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Ackersley is the guy you’ve been seeing in the animation tests and most of the sketches I’ve been posting. This is not because he’s the main character, but because he’s my favourite.

The Precinct is a station full of police officers with emotional problems, like in every good cop show. And there’s usually one cop with MORE or BIGGER or MORE EXCITING problems than anybody else. In Lethal Weapon, it’s RIGGS. In Law & Order: SVU, it’s STABLER. In The Precinct, it’s ACKERSLEY.

Ackersley is angry and crazy

Ben Ackersley was once a suave, debonair officer with a taste for the nightlife and a quip for every occasion. As an undercover “narc”, he spent much of the late ’80s in disturbing leisure suits and more disturbing clubs, hunting down major drug importers and other nasty types.

At some point in the past, multiple personal tragedies befell Ackersley, although details of these are unknown to most of the other officers at The Precinct, as they are mostly younger officers Ackersley considers either fucking idiots or fresh meat (“mince of a new generation”).

Today, fortysomething Ackersley has gone to seed somewhat. He is still an effective officer, but his methods are often violent and/or strange. He generally does not talk to anyone other than his informants (who seem to be fewer and fewer these days) his boss, The Sarge (a longtime colleague he tolerates, respectfully), and the talking potatoes that appear in his waking dreams.

His personal hygiene is not the best, although his mullet, not having remained in the ’80s where it belongs, is still as well kept as ever. Despite his age, he is not a senior officer at The Precinct (being virulently disrespectful of hierarchy), although he is the only officer permitted to wear tight T-shirts rather than standard uniform blues.

Naturally, he is a time bomb waiting to go off.

Ackersley goes off

As I said, he’s not the main character. At least, not at the outset. But ultimately it’s his story that provides much of the thrust of the series.
I wonder if an unconventional, “crazy” cop like the ones you see in movies and TV shows would actually be allowed to go about his business with just a bit of yelling from the angry black lieutenant, or if he’d actually get the medical care he needs?

Anyway, the other point of this post is to mention how I feel about characters’ EYES. They’re super fucking important and must be perfectly rendered if they’re to look as though they have any brain or emotion behind them (although I don’t always want that). Obviously I have personal tastes, but here are some horrible DEAD LOOKING cartoon eyes I would never want to see on my characters:

Bad animation eyes

I did a pic tonight of Ackersley in an alleyway (this one) —

Ackersley, alleyway

— which was mostly for background design purposes, but I reckon it’s also one of the best character drawings I’ve done. I think the pose and the face really tell you something about the character. Check out a large version of the image here. I’m using it as my wallpaper now.

1 thought on “Ackersley vs dead eyes”

  1. Yo, I found this blog while (I admit it) shamelessly ego surfing. I had actually pretty much forgotten we’d even done that recording. It seems like it happened about a million years ago, eh. Hope you’re having fun doing it all! The stuff on this site is amazing. I think I’m just a leeetle bit in love with Hermann the Legal Labrador, bless him.

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