Entertainment & Arts

Snowman author Raymond Briggs criticises computer graphics

Image caption The Snowman has become a seasonal staple since making its TV debut three decades ago

Raymond Briggs, the illustrator who wrote The Snowman, has criticised the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films for being "too perfect".

Briggs endorsed a 24-minute sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog - to be broadcast at Christmas - partly because it was hand-drawn.

The original film featuring the ballad, Walking In The Air, has been shown on Channel 4 every year since 1982.

"It would have been cashing in to do it before," he told the Radio Times.

"Now it won't do any harm, and it's not vulgar and American."

'Notorious grumbler'

Briggs told the magazine that he has "never touched a computer, or anything like that".

"CGI makes everything too perfect, but they're sticking to the old ways. I'm a notorious grumbler, but I found nothing to grumble about," he said.

Camilla Deakin, the co-producer of The Snowman and the Snowdog, said most of the film was hand-drawn, but added computers were used at the end "to finesse the pictures, adding digital snow and lighting effects".

The original animated wordless adventure featured a young English boy who makes a snowman on Christmas Eve, which comes to life and takes him on a magical adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.

But Briggs revealed it was not intended to become a Christmas-time favourite as it was actually about death.

"The idea was clean, nice and silent. I don't have happy endings. I create what seems natural and inevitable," he said.

Image caption Briggs said the story was never intended to be a Christmas favourite

"The snowman melts, my parents died, animals die, flowers die. Everything does. There's nothing particularly gloomy about it. It's a fact of life."

He told the magazine he is not interested in the "huge amounts of money" that his book has generated since its publication in 1982.

Children's books

"I read it's sold three million copies, but publishers bandy about numbers that aren't usually true.

"I don't spend anything. I don't like going abroad - the Gatwick airport hell-hole. I buy clothes from charity shops, although I draw the line at trousers."

Admitting that he is "not a fan of Christmas", Briggs also revealed he does not read many children's books.

"You can't keep up with the damned things. I've never read Enid Blyton. I went once to Roald Dahl's birthday party so must have read something of his. He was fairly curmudgeonly," he said.

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