There are a few dozen floors between schlepping luggage at the local Marriott and being the creative force behind animated shows on two of the biggest kids networks in the world. But, Bob Boyle’s elevator is going up, and fast.
The soft spoken 42-year-old now finds himself at the helm of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and Yin Yang Yo!, currently airing on Nickelodeon and Jetix, respectively.
It wasn’t long ago that Boyle was fresh out of art school and toiling away under a bellhop’s cap – using his coffee breaks to sketch cartoon characters on the backs of claim checks and freelancing on the side for The New York Times Book Review.
After a brief stint in the Big Apple, dabbling in darker, moodier illustrations, and with the urging of some of his hotel co-workers, he packed his bags and moved to California to try to make it in children’s animation. It was there that a fortuitous connection led to Boyle’s meeting with animation guru John Kricfalusi, creator of legendary Ren & Stimpy.
‘We sat at his kitchen table and he showed me what I was doing wrong,’ Boyle says. ‘He gave me a little art school lesson right there and a light just went off in my head.’
After working as an art director and producer on Fairly Odd Parents and Danny Phantom for a few years, Boyle pitched a project he’d been working on to Frederator president Fred Siebert and Mixed Media’s Susan Miller, who had just paired up to create preschool IP hatchery Bolder Media for Boys and Girls.
What became Bolder’s Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, started out as a series of stories Boyle crafted for his niece. Nickelodeon jumped at the show and ordered 26 episodes that began airing last summer.
He drew his inspiration for Yin Yang Yo! from a baby he spotted while in Tokyo sporting a t-shirt with ‘Samurai in Training’ scrawled across the front. ‘I just thought it would be neat to have a tiny little creature that would be a fierce samurai or ninja,’ Boyle says. ‘So, I just went home drew this little bunny and took it from there.’
Disney ordered up 24 eps of the series about two tiny ninja rabbits who continually battle Carl the Evil Cockroach, and is close to renewing the series for a second season.
Boyle, who knows a little bit about hard work (he runs marathons in his spare time), says he has more ideas and designs for additional children’s shows, and just needs to find the time to produce them.
‘I thought I would be lucky to have one idea optioned, and everything happened at once,’ he says. Then again, it sure beats those days of lugging baggage on and off elevators. GR