Leighton’s Mat presents a Snowman to Tim Peake!

Major Tim and Mat
Major Tim and Mat

An illustrator and former Vandyke pupil had a festive treat when he got to meet Major Tim Peake.

Mat Williams, 30, was commissioned by Lupus Films in December 2015 to produce a drawing of the astronaut floating with The Snowman and The Snowdog because Major Tim had tweeted to say he was a fan of the film and its composer, Ilan Eshkeri.

Mat, a background artist for the 2012 animation, had to scan the drawing to send an image of it to the International Space Station, but a few weeks ago the artist finally got to meet Major Tim in person, giving him the special picture.

Mat said: “Tim is really, really nice and we met at a book sale in Piccadilly. I asked what would happen if the characters did go into space, and Tim said they would turn from snow, to ice, to water vapour, and disappear!”

But that’s not all Mat has achieved this Christmas, as he has worked on two big Lupus Films animations.

The talented Leighton man, whose parents still live in Taylor’s Ride, was working as a background artist for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and also spent nearly two years as assistant art director on new Raymond Briggs film, Ethel and Ernest.

Mat said: “For Bear Hunt, I was working on the background for the living room. We wanted it to have a ‘lived in’, bohemian feel – they have five children!

“Ethel and Ernest is an animation of Raymond Briggs’s novel about his parents. I was designing the concepts for the artwork and the heartwarming story follows his parents from when they meet in the 20s to their death in the 70s.

“It’s a picture history of Britain and Raymond even met us, giving advice about his parents’ mannerisms!”