British illustrator Julia Pott tells a melancholic tale about a pair of sparring boys, a kindly monster and an undersea trip that goes awry.

“I employ awkward animated characters to act out my inner struggles,” says animator and illustrator Julia Pott. Her film Belly is about love and loss, a quietly disturbing tale with just enough sweetness to render it moving but not treacly. 

The British artist, based in Brooklyn, New York City, has her master's in animation from the Royal College of Art. Her technical skill, clearly on display in this short film, has won her numerous accolades and commissions for clients such as Sainsbury’s, Oreo and Madewell. She was named one of three animators to watch by Creative Review in 2013, is an ADC Young Gun and has blogged for the Huffington Post. Her films have screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide including Sundance, SXSW and Annecy.

Pott uses her offbeat, sometimes dark, animation style to depict difficult feelings such as guilt, anger, sadness and shame. But her storytelling has a light touch and just enough realism - the animals' strong English accents, the sound of the ocean, real footage of breaking waves - to draw you in to her universe.