The NFTS Dispatch: "After Seeing The Skills The Model Makers Were Learning, I Knew I Wanted Be Doing The Same" Eve Bannister

Welcome back to The NFTS Dispatch, a series of blogs written by NFTS students to give readers an insight into their time at the School and the unique journey’s and experiences each of them have.

In this dispatch, Eve Bannister, current NFTS Model Making for Animation Diploma student, reflects on her time on the course, who she’s met and most importantly, what she’s built!


The first week on the NFTS Model Making for Animation Diploma began with a group module, creating a paper maquette of the 2001: A Space Odyssey set. This was a great exercise in planning and scale measuring, as well as encouraging us all to get to know one another through collaborative problem solving. Alongside this our tutor John Lee introduced us to the essentials in a model-maker’s toolkit, and made sure we were all confident using the workshop.

Although initially we were daunted by the complexity of the set, once John showed us some mould-making demonstrations using examples from the previous years’ scale models, we felt more at ease and suddenly the build seemed possible!


Our individual module was fast-paced and intense, and a true testament to what you can accomplish in just ten days. We individually had to create three different props at 1:6 scale - one being a door. The door I selected is known as the ‘Narnia Door’ in Oxford, I was drawn to its carved lion centrepiece and lovely rich texture, although I was slightly hesitant of my selection as I knew it was a complicated design. However, when I asked John he said, “It’ll be a challenge…try it!”

I don’t think I’ve ever used so many new techniques at once to create one prop. Woodworking, laser-cutting, plaster-dragging, sculpting, moulding and casting, wood-turning, priming, painting and finishing. The highlight for me was definitely the plaster-dragging - the process is so therapeutic and rewarding. Being introduced to these techniques took the quality of my work to a level I didn’t previously think I could achieve.

My Adobe software skills also dramatically improved during this project. I have found using digital drawings to be far more efficient and practical, and now I can’t imagine my art practice without it.


Just when I thought model making for animation couldn’t get any more niche…we received a visit from the industry talent that is Lucy Sturley, a specialist stop-motion costume-maker. There was nothing but pure joy on our faces as she presented a selection of beautiful puppets and miniature clothing examples from her various projects, including the Clangers series! For me, clothing design for stop-motion has been a long-term fascination, and so it was a wonderful to hear words of wisdom from a textile genius.

Soup Dragon, Granny Clanger and Eve Bannister at the NFTS

It’s already clear that NFTS industry connections are second to none, as on the very same day we were able to attend a masterclass from director Denis Villeneuve, after having seen a preview screening of his film Dune only the day before. And what makes it even more immersive is that every student is passionate about film, so an interesting discussion is guaranteed after any masterclass at the student bar, and maybe a pint too.

After graduating from UWE in 2020 I was lucky enough to work on NFTS Directing Animation graduate Steve Lawson’s graduation film Build Me Up as an Art Department Assistant, which helped me keep my creative momentum as well as my sanity during the lockdown. I had such a wonderful experience working at the School and met some really talented people, including some of the then model-making students on John’s course. After seeing the skills they were learning and their amazing work, I knew I wanted be doing the same.

Then a year or so later, now an NFTS model-maker myself…we had a surprise visit from Steve who dropped by the workshop to see what we were up to. While we were catching up I couldn't help thinking had it not been for working on his film, I may not be on this trajectory learning all these exciting new things. It’s a wonderful and terrifying thought.

Eve Bannister

You can apply today for the NFTS Model Making for Animation Diploma and get the opportunity to have experiences like Eve!

Location Beaconsfield
Duration 1 year
Commitment Full-time
Next intake September 2022
Application deadline 5 May 2022

Scholarships available